When I started car shopping in September I was more budget conscience than I had been - maybe since a few years out of college. I looked at an Honda Accord Coupe, VW Jetta & CC, Audi A4, Saab 9-3, BMW 328, Volvo S40 and the Lexus 250. I was leasing the car and there seemed to be a lot of "deals" from the manufacturers. To me, if you are going to lease you should be the least amount of money down (no capitalized cost reduction) and leave with the payment you are comfortable with. The upfront fess you have to pay (title, taxes (at least in NY), registration, bank fee, etc.) Every lease I looked at had advertised very low monthly payments but when you read the fine print there was a lot of money upfront. The Lexus was advertised at $349/mo for 36 months but required a $3600 CCR. While a Lexus is the last car I would have considered (I've only driven Audi's since 1990 except my last car was a BMW 3 convertible - only because they had a much better lease deal than Audi.

The Lexus did drive much better than I expected and the one I leased had all the bells & whistles on it (NAV, Xenon, memory seats that are cooled & heated). The toys made up for the lack of handling and punch from the engine. While I certainly would have preferred the A4 or 328 - the difference in price was to great to ignore. The dealer was a pleasure to do business with and they even let me pick the car up 30 days after we agreed on the price and consummated the deal. Lexus certainly had an incredible financing deal which made the lease payment pretty reasonable considering it was a $41k car - MSRP. Every other car I looked at was easily $75-100 more/month and they even cover your first 2 services on their dime - 1k & 5k. I've had the car for about 3 months and you can cruise effortlessly all day at 80-90 and still get decent mileage - 23-25mpg.

While this could easily be my first & last Lexus, I will certainly give them another shot when my lease expires in another 33 months.

source:http://www.lexusreports.com/blog/1041775_2009-lexus-is250awd-lease-expereince

Lexus IS250AWD Car Review