We tend to think of pickup trucks as long-term purchases that will take us to work, haul our cargo and sit in our garages for years, long after we've paid them off. But the sticker prices of new vehicles have reached record highs, and a $650 monthly payment for a full-size truck can be a lot for some owners to manage.
If you want a truck and want to keep the payments more manageable, it might be time to think about leasing. Edmunds data shows that the monthly payment on the lease of a new truck is roughly 30 percent less than its finance payment.
A lease typically requires less out of pocket for the down payment and has smaller monthly payments. Also, you don't have to worry about repair costs for an out-of-warranty vehicle if you lease. By the time the warranty runs out, you'll have turned in the truck and moved on.
When the lease is up, you can either begin another lease on a newer truck with the latest technology or choose to buy out the truck and keep it. The buyout price will likely be less than a comparable 3-year-old used truck.
Lease vs. buy price difference
To highlight the difference in payments, Edmunds has chosen seven of the most popular trucks on the market: three midsize and four full-size. Also included is a review excerpt from its editors so you can see which trucks might work for you. Edmunds chose the crew-cab configuration on each truck since that's the most popular body style.
• 2017 Chevrolet Colorado
Average finance payment: $525
Average lease: $368 (30 percent less)
The midsize Colorado does everything that full-size trucks do, just on a smaller scale. This Chevrolet offers a full range of bed and cab combinations, as well as a selection of engines that include a torquey diesel and a gasoline V6.
• 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Average finance payment: $645
Average lease: $404 (37 percent less)
The Chevy Silverado is a capable user-friendly full-size truck and a strong competitor in the class. It offers a full range of body styles, multiple engine choices, an impressive maximum tow rating and lots of optional features.
• 2017 Ford F-150
Average finance payment: $654
Average lease: $470 (28 percent less)
There can only be one technology leader in a class, and the full-size Ford F-150 is it. The F-150 has a lightweight aluminum body for efficiency, a wide range of engines, and a comfortable and quiet interior with lots of entertainment options.
• 2017 Honda Ridgeline
Average finance payment: $584
Average lease: $487 (17 percent less)
The midsize Ridgeline boasts an impressive towing capacity and a useful bed that can haul a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood flat. It's also the best riding and driving truck in the class, but it can still handle rough dirt roads thanks to its well-engineered suspension.
• 2017 Nissan Titan
Average finance payment: $859
Average lease: $497 (42 percent less)
Nissan bought back the full-size Titan for 2017 after a one-year hiatus. Fully redesigned, it boasts an aggressive new look, a vastly improved cabin design, and a powerful V8 bolted to a seven-speed transmission.
• 2017 Ram 1500
Average finance payment: $605
Average lease: $400 (34 percent less)
The full-size Ram 1500 has been a consistent favorite among Edmunds' editors for its refined ride, quiet cabin and all-day comfort. It also has a wide selection of body styles and engines that include the only high-torque diesel in the half-ton class.
• 2017 Toyota Tacoma
Average finance payment: $543
Average lease: $393 (28 percent less)
The midsize Tacoma offers a great combination of capability, design and toughness. It's also one of the best trucks when it comes to off-road driving. The Tacoma's interior might seem basic, but it offers all the features you need in an easy-to-use layout.
Lease concerns and solutions
Leasing can make some people wary. Here are the most common issues and ideas on how to approach them:
Excess wear-and-tear: Maybe you're hard on your trucks because of work, kids or off-roading. You can avoid a lot of the excess wear and tear charges that you might face at the end of the lease by adding a bed liner and some all-weather floor mats. But if you really thrash your trucks, stick to buying.
Mileage limits: Most leases are set up for 12,000 miles per year and can be customized for more. It will raise the price of the lease accordingly, so make sure you inquire about the price difference. That being said, if you don't feel comfortable with limits on how much you drive or are worried about excess mileage fees, leasing may not be for you.
Financial freedom: If your long-term goal is saving money, leasing is not the answer. It's best to finance the truck, pay it off and keep driving it.
Edmunds says: If you've been considering a truck but the payments seem too high, leasing can be a way to make it more attainable.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.