Consumers can take advantage of the fact that pickup trucks are a highly competitive market, by looking for a discount.
Even kings of the road like the Chevy Silverado and its sibling, the GMC Sierra, have to fight for market share, and that leads to several offers included on the list below, of Best Lease Deals for Pickups, identified by Market Scan. (See methodology, below.)
The 800-pound gorilla of the full-size pickup market, the Ford F-Series, recently introduced an all-new generation, so everybody else in the space has stepped up their game with lease deals that offer more vehicle for the money.
If anything, the market is even more competitive for mid-size pickups like the Toyota Tacoma, the Ford Ranger, the GMC Canyon and the Chevy Colorado.
Ford threw down a new challenge recently, with its announcement it will build the Ford Maverick, an even smaller compact pickup (200 inches long) than the Ranger and F-150. First deliveries are this summer.
So, for competitive reasons, no pickup manufacturer can afford to be complacent.
Not only that, manufacturers in a sense compete with themselves. Truck designs have a shelf life, and when a model nears the end of its life cycle, that’s a logical time for automakers to start discounting, and they do. That accounts for some of the latest Best Lease Deals, too.
Best Lease Deals for Pickups
2021 Toyota Tacoma
- $35,835.61 average suggested retail
- $328.49 average best monthly lease payment
Why We Picked It:
This average best monthly lease payment has gone up about $20 since April. Nevertheless, for the money, it’s still Market Scan’s highest-rated Best Lease Deal for all pickups. Notice, Market Scan’s average best monthly lease payment on the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is roughly equal to the Ford Ranger, even though the Toyota Tacoma is more expensive. And the 2020 Toyota Tacoma just misses the Top 10 list of lease deals for June. Click here to read our review of the Toyota Tacoma.
- A best-seller. The Toyota Tacoma handily outsells the next-nearest midsize pickup competitor, the Ford Ranger.
- New special editions: the blacked-out 2021 Toyota Tacoma Nightshade, and the 2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail special edition.
- Maintenance. No extra charge for ToyotaCare scheduled maintenance, 2 years/25,000 miles.
- Rear seats are cramped.
- Base engine, a 3.0-liter, four-cylinder, isn’t especially powerful, at 159 horsepower and 180 foot-pounds of torque, and it’s scarcely more fuel-efficient than the optional V-6.
2021 Chevrolet Colorado
- $34,206.11 average suggested retail
- $343.99 average best monthly lease payment (captive)
Why We Picked It:
The Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon are GM’s entries in the highly competitive mid-size pickup segment. The 2021 Chevy Colorado got a mid-life facelift after five years on the market. Market Scan also listed the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado separately among its Top 10 Best Lease Deals for Pickups, at $33,405.33 avg suggested retail, and best average monthly lease payment at $356.08. Click here to read our review of the Chevrolet Colorado.
- The 2021 facelift includes a new grille and front-end exterior styling.
- Can trailer up to 7,700 pounds, which is a lot for a mid-size truck.
- Top-of-the-line ZR2 models share some styling and equipment with the Chevy Colorado ZR2 off-highway racing program, like a lifted body, special shock absorbers and skid plates.
- The 7,700-lb. maximum trailering is only with the optional 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine. That’s twice as much torque as the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder.
- All versions have a rear vision camera, but upgraded high-definition view is optional on the less-expensive versions. Ditto for certain driver-assistance features.
2021 GMC Canyon
- $37,666.43 average suggested retail
- $382.33 average best monthly lease payment (captive)
Why We Picked It
The monthly payment on the current Best Lease Deal on the 2021 GMC Canyon is $78 cheaper than the offer in April, or about $2,800 cheaper, over the life of a 36-month lease. Like its sibling, the Chevy Colorado, the 2021 GMC Canyon got a facelift, with new front-end styling, plus upgrades in keeping with GMC’s more upscale brand image vis-à-vis Chevrolet, including extra chrome in the exterior design. Click here to read our review of the GMC Canyon.
- Updated exterior styling and interior features
- New-for-2021 AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition, adds front and mid skid plates and deletes the front air dam, which produces higher and safer ground clearance entering and leaving steeply angled slopes.
- Optional, top-of-the-line, luxurious Denali trim level.
- Pricier than the Chevy Colorado; average suggested retail higher by $3,460, or about $1,380 in total monthly payments over 36 months, according to Market Scan.
- Despite the higher price, some convenience and driver-assist features are unavailable or optional on cheaper versions.
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- $44,711.67 average suggested retail
- $458.90 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)
Why We Picked It:
The 2021 Chevy Silverado is a sturdy, full-size pickup available with a seemingly endless variety of engines and cab configurations. In addition to the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 listed here, Market Scan also listed the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD, for Heavy Duty, separately among its Top 10 Best Lease Deals for Pickups. That model is $47,658.64 average suggested retail, and best average monthly lease payment of $519.63 (non-captive). For brevity’s sake, Forbes Wheels lists the heavy-duty model here. Click here to read our review of the Chevrolet Silverado.
- GM makes available its “Multi-Flex” tailgate, which folds in sections. Possible permutations include a backstop to keep extra-long loads from sliding out of the bed, or it can be folded to create a step up to the bed.
- New options include features designed to facilitate towing, like improved rear-facing camera views and a warning if a “jackknife” situation is imminent while backing.
- For 2021, some convenience and safety features, which were optional or unavailable on less-expensive models, are made standard.
- The Multi-Flex tailgate is optional, at $595 by itself or it can be ordered as part of a package of options, according to chevy.com.
- It’s pricey at almost $45,000 average suggested retail, but that’s how people order them.
2021 Toyota Tundra 4WD
- $46,178.64 average suggested retail
- $481.42 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)
Why We Picked It:
The full-size Toyota Tundra gets two new, optional special editions for 2021, the blacked-out Nightshade treatment, and the off-highway Trail package, similar to the mid-size Toyota Tacoma. Market Scan also listed the 2021 Toyota Tundra 2WD separately among the Best Lease Deals for Pickups, at $41,722.22 average suggested retail, and best average monthly lease payment at $464.92 (non-captive). For brevity’s sake, Forbes Wheels lists the 2WD model here. Click here to read our review of the Toyota Tundra.
- Optional trim and equipment packages, Nightshade or Trail, can customize your Toyota Tundra depending on how you plan to use it.
- Analysts expect a redesigned Toyota Tundra later this year for the 2022 model year, so now could be a good time to get a better deal on the old model.
- No extra charge for ToyotaCare scheduled maintenance, 2 years/25,000 miles.
- The exterior styling and the interior features may look a little dated, when the redesigned model comes out.
- Absent the special, optional packages, a standard Toyota Tundra may look a little plain already.
- 2021 model is part of the second generation Tundra first sold as a 2007.
2021 GMC Sierra 3500 HD
- $50,520 average suggested retail
- $531.92 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)
Why We Picked It:
The GMC Sierra is the upscale sibling of the Chevy Silverado, and the GMC Sierra 3500 HD, for Heavy Duty, is the big brother of the GMC Sierra 1500. Market Scan also listed the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 separately among its picks for Top 10 Best Lease Deals for Pickups, at $46,832.04 average suggested retail, and best average monthly lease payment at $499.28 (non-captive). Click here to read our review of the GMC Sierra.
- More than half of GMC Sierra HD buyers choose the top-of-the line Denali version, according to GMC.
- The most over-the-top version, with double rear wheels and a special hitch mounted over the rear axle, can tow up to 36,000 lbs.
- A “transparent trailer” feature sends the image from a camera mounted on the rear of the trailer to the driver’s display. This allows the driver to see what’s behind the trailer.
- Pricey, with options. Starting price for the Denali version is $65,500, not counting destination charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and any additional optional equipment.
- Nevertheless, some driver-assistance features aren’t standard on less-expensive versions.
2021 Ford Ranger
- $33,062.50 average suggested retail
- $374.18 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)
Why We Picked It:
The Ford Ranger re-ignited consumer interest in midsize pickups, which the domestic brands had more or less left to the Toyota Tacoma. Besides the Best Lease Deals identified by Market Scan, for qualified buyers, Ford Credit is offering loans at 1.9% annual percentage rate on the 2021 Ford Ranger, for 60 months, plus $500 trade assist, for customers with a 1995 or newer trade-in or lease return. Click here to read our review of the Ford Ranger.
A captive lease comes from the automaker’s financial services arm. A non-captive lease is from a bank or third-party financial service.
- New(ish) styling, latest redesign was for 2019.
- Off-road options. The optional Tremor off-road package for 2021 includes bigger wheels and all-terrain tires, underbody skid plates, and a modified, heavy-duty off-road suspension.
- Driver-assist technologies, like Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert and Trailer Coverage, Automatic Emergency Braking
- Off-highway cred is lacking, where the Toyota Tacoma excels, according to some reviewers. Ford addresses this with the optional Tremor package for 2021.
- “Cheap plastic” comes up in reviews of the interior, although some reviewers also give the interior good marks for comfort.
2021 Jeep Gladiator
- $43,883.81 average suggested retail
- $500.13 (non-captive)
Why We Picked It:
Until the Gladiator debuted for the 2020 model year, the Jeep brand hadn’t offered a pickup since 1993. Features like removable doors and a windshield that folds flat are aimed mostly at low-speed, off-highway driving. For 2021, Jeep added a diesel engine option, something that’s good for low-speed rock-climbing, because diesel engines have more torque than similar-size gasoline engines.
- Curb appeal. The Jeep Gladiator is distinctive, and somehow appears bigger than it actually is.
- Jeep offers a variety of special editions, like the Gladiator 80th Anniversary Edition and the Gladiator Willys.
- For 2021, full-time four-wheel drive is available (but not standard) on all models.
- While it’s unmistakable for anything but a Jeep, from the front it sure looks like another Jeep, the four-door Jeep Wrangler.
- It’s pricey considering it really isn’t as big as some full-size pickup competitors. Even with a Best Lease Deal, the best average monthly payment is higher than some competitors with similar price tags.
2021 Nissan Frontier
- $32,094.55 average suggested retail
- $378.10 (captive)
Why We Picked It:
The 2021 Nissan Frontier is unchanged from the 2020 model, which got an all-new, 310-horsepower V-6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission. The current Nissan Frontier is about to be phased out, so it’s a good time to get a good deal on the old model. A redesigned Nissan Frontier for the 2022 model year is expected to go on sale this summer. The redesigned model gets the same V-6 engine, so the 2021 model on sale now already gets one of the key features of the new version.
- Engine and transmission. As noted, the 2021 model already has the most important powertrain components from the new model coming this summer.
- Reliability. The existing Nissan Frontier was the top-rated midsize pickup in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability study, based on results for 3-year-old models from 2018. The 3-year time frame reflects the length of the average lease.
- Ruggedness. The Nissan Frontier sits on a ladder-like steel frame, and has maximum towing capacity of 6,720 lbs.
- Based on photos from Nissan, the redesigned 2022 Nissan Frontier gets much more imposing, squared-off exterior styling. The 2021 model looks curvy and SUV-like in comparison.
- On the inside, the 2022 model gets a much bigger (optional) touchscreen, with features like Apply CarPlay and Android auto, so if that’s a priority it might be worth it to wait.
2021 Honda Ridgeline
- $41,750 suggested retail
- $494.48 (non-captive)
Why We Picked It:
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline gets a facelift, with squarer, truck-ier exterior styling, giving it a more imposing appearance. The previous Honda Ridgeline came across like a raised, extra-large car or SUV, and not so much like a pickup truck. Even with the new styling, unlike a lot of domestic-brand pickup trucks, it still doesn’t give the impression of a tall building overtaking you, when you see it in the rearview mirror. Click here for a review of the Honda Ridgeline.
- Interior space. Reviewers give the 2021 Honda Ridgeline high marks for interior room and practical stowage space.
- Exterior space. There’s a lockable “in-bed trunk” in the pickup bed.
- There’s only one engine option but it’s a good one, a 3.5-liter V-6, with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
- Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 lbs., lower than some competitors.
- No diesel or other engine upgrade available.
- Traditional body-on-frame pickup owners criticize its unibody construction. (Owners and many reviewers feel the opposite.)
Methodology: Pickup Truck Leases
Market Scan Information Systems Inc., Camarillo, Calif., identifies Best Lease Deals based on constantly scanning actual offers in the market, and comparing the best average monthly lease payment it can find, versus an average suggested retail price for that model. Market Scan’s monthly payment is all-inclusive, including options, taxes and dealer fees. Therefore, it may not be as low as special lease deals advertised on dealer and manufacturer web sites, which typically don’t include taxes or fees, and may be for a stripped-down model that lacks popular options.
All of those factors would serve to raise the real-world monthly payment. Market Scan also assumes: a 36-month lease term; a customer cash contribution of 5% of suggested retail; and a prime-rated credit score of 720. Deals may vary by region, and subject to change without notice. A captive lease is from the automaker’s own finance company; a non-captive lease is from a bank or finance company unrelated to the automaker.
FAQ (frequently asked questions)
I’ve heard people don’t lease pickup trucks.
Analysts say lease share is lower for pickups than the industry average for leasing of about 25% to 30%, but it’s still substantial, since even a small percentage of pickups represents a big volume. In terms of volume, the Ford F-150 and the Toyota Tacoma, for instance, are among the Top 10 most commonly leased vehicles in the U.S. market, according to Experian Automotive. But it’s true fewer people lease pickups.
On the practical side, an owner who uses a pickup for work might get socked for extra fees at lease end, if their truck has too many miles and too much wear and tear. And philosophically, many truck owners want to hang onto their trucks longer; they aren’t as motivated to get a new one every three years, which is typical for a lease.
What’s the advantage of leasing?
The biggest headline is: a lower monthly payment. For a Ford F-150 bought or leased in the first quarter of 2021, the average monthly loan payment was $674, vs. $548 for the average monthly lease payment, according to Experian. The $126 difference is worth $4,536 over the life of a 36-month loan.
What’s the disadvantage of leasing?
Besides having to keep an eye on mileage and wear and tear, a lease customer also never owns the truck, and never builds up equity that can be used towards a down payment on the next vehicle. But for customers who don’t drive a lot of miles, who don’t put on a lot of wear and tear, who don’t mind always having a car payment, and who put a premium on having a new vehicle every three years, leasing should be an option.