The Best Luxury Car Brand to Lease From May Surprise You

One American manufacturer’s residual values have been on the rise.


Lincoln has struggled against its German luxury competition over the past few decades, but this may be coming to an end. Cox Automotive compiled data on 36-month residual value for luxury car brands, which is the length of a standard lease. Lincoln, at 50.3 percent, retained more value than Mercedes, BMW, and Audi in January 2019, and has been ahead of BMW since November 2017.

Why the improvement? The simplest explanation is Lincoln has been overhauling its lineup and producing better, more attractive cars, particularly as concerns its cars’ interiors. The Lincoln Navigator and its smaller sibling, the new Lincoln Aviator, have been absolute standouts. Other new SUVs like the Nautilus and Corsair are upgrades over the cars they replaced. Lincoln sales were up 8.3 percent year over year in 2019 while Ford sales fell.

High residual values should lead to cheaper lease rates. If your car is worth more at the end of the 36-month lease, the dealer can charge you less to lease it. That’s why you can lease a Toyota Tacoma, a perennial residual value stalwart, starting at $219 per month. Logic would suggest the coming months may be an excellent time to explore a Lincoln lease deal.

One caveat to note is that Lincoln may be better placed for a company-wide residual value number because it’s a much smaller company — it sells seven models in the United States while Mercedes, for comparison, sells 28. A small number of cars doing well will have a disproportionate impact on Lincoln’s overall number. So an individual BMW, Mercedes, or Audi vehicle may still have a high residual value and offer a better lease deal than a Lincoln.

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