Back to list
Canvas vs. Leasing - Part 2
by Benjamin P. • April 24, 2019

4 Real-World Situations Where Canvas Saves Your Money vs. Leasing

For many drivers, a Canvas car subscription is far less costly than a standard car lease. In a recent deep dive on the subject, we found that your savings with Canvas can reach $89 per month or more. But that’s just a basic, apples-to-apples comparison - and we all know life is never that simple.

What happens if you’re moving to a different city and no longer need a car? Or if you take an extended trip, and leave your car sitting idle? What if you change jobs, and your mileage needs suddenly spike? In cases like these, you’ll save huge amounts of money with Canvas, thanks to a flexibility that traditional car leases just can’t offer.

Let’s explore four of these scenarios in detail.

1. When you need to escape a lease

Imagine that you live in Los Angeles, and you’ve signed a standard 3-year lease for a practical sedan - something like a Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, or a Hyundai Ioniq. Your monthly payments come out to $279 per month (which balloons to $520 per month when you count the hidden costs of car leasing). But halfway through your lease term, you get a job in NYC, where having a car is more trouble than it’s worth. What are your options?

Unfortunately, none of them are good.

First, you could buy the car from the leasing agency and then resell it. This is called the “early buyout” option. It requires you to come up with a lot of cash, or to get a traditional used-car loan. Then, of course, you have to find a willing buyer - but what if you can’t? This entire approach is riddled with uncertainty, and the automaker may still penalize you with a large “buyout” fee. It’s a lot of time, effort, and money for a vehicle you no longer want.

Your second option is to sell the car to another person and transfer the lease using a marketplace like Lease Trader or Swap a Lease. But again, you have to find a willing buyer. And even if you do, you’ll owe a fee to the marketplace, plus a $300 - $500 “lease transfer fee” to the automaker. Let’s say it’s $400. That’s actually your best-case scenario here.

Finally, you can simply return your car to the dealership and tell them you want to end the contract. This is called “early termination,” and it’s often your worst financial option. Frequently, you’ll be on the hook for all of the remaining monthly payments. In other words, if there are 18 months left on your contract, you’ll owe $5,022 (18 X $279). Plus, the dealership will require you to pay major fees and penalties, bringing your total cost to well over $5000.

Ending your car subscription with Canvas is a different story. Just return the car to us, and pay a nominal fee if you’re ending the subscription ahead of schedule. This fee varies, depending on your contract length and when you’d like to end it - more details are here. In this case, since you’re halfway through your second year-long subscription, you pay just $252 to end your plan. That’s it.


2. When you need an upgrade

Now let’s imagine that your vehicle needs are changing. Perhaps you’re starting a family and need some extra seats. Or maybe you’ve taken up surfing, and want some extra cargo / roof space for your board. Either way, your once-practical sedan just isn’t cutting it anymore. You need a larger vehicle, like an SUV.

So what can you do? You’ve got a few options - and again, they’re all going to cost you a pretty penny.

The best-case scenario is that you’re already quite close to the end of your current lease. If so, the automaker might offer you a special deal called a “pull-ahead.” This just means that they’ll waive your final few lease payments if you agree to sign a *new *car lease. Of course, this is simply a sales strategy. They’re willing to absorb the cost if it keeps you hooked in as a customer for another three years.

And that’s why, generally speaking, the pull-ahead option is only available in the final three months of your current lease. If that timing doesn’t work for you, you’re out of luck. And even if you do happen to snag a pull-ahead offer, the new car lease will invariably be more expensive than your current one. So if you’re hoping to swap out for a more affordable vehicle, a pull-ahead can’t help you.

So where does that leave you? In the eyes of your leasing agency, it doesn’t matter that you’re looking for a new car. You’re still asking for an early termination. So fundamentally, this is no different from the scenario we detailed above. Your options are to buy and resell your current vehicle, transfer the lease to a third party, or terminate the lease early - which could cost anywhere from $400 to $6000, *plus *the monthly costs for your new SUV.

With Canvas, most of that expense (and all of the hassle) simply vanishes. At any time, for any reason, you can swap out your current vehicle for a different one. Just return the car and pay a $99 new-vehicle fee.


3. When your vehicle is sitting idle

Now imagine that an exciting opportunity has come up: Your employer wants to send you abroad, to a remote office, for several months. You’ll be away from Los Angeles, so you have no need for the car. What are your options?

In a traditional car lease scenario, there *are *no options. You have to keep making your monthly payments, whether you use the car every day or let it gather dust in a parking garage all year.

In our example, you owe $279 per month in lease payments, plus $164 in car insurance premiums, which totals $443 monthly. During your two months abroad, you’ve forked over $886… for nothing.

With Canvas, on the other hand, you can skip a month - or even skip several. Just return the car and you won’t be charged a vehicle price for that period. You’ll only owe a low subscription price to keep your plan active. In this case, since you’re on the 12-month plan, you just need to pay a $50 monthly subscription price for those two months. And you don’t even need to worry about long-term parking.


4. When your mileage needs change

Now imagine you’re moving to a dreamy new beachfront apartment. You love the place, but the length of your commute just doubled. And perhaps you’ve also got a few exciting vacations lined up for the summer, spiking your mileage needs even more. Doing the math, it looks like you’ll drive about 15,000 miles this year - 5,000 more than your lease contract allows.

In the traditional car lease scenario, you’re stuck. You’ll be billed anywhere from $0.10 to $0.30 for each extra mile. (The other option, of course, is to avoid driving - but then what’s the point of having a car?) In this case, let’s say that your contract charges you $0.20 per extra mile. That means you’ll end the lease stuck with a $1,000 overage fee. (5,000 X $0.20 = $1,000.)

With Canvas, you can change your mileage allowance at any time. Bumping up your miles from 10,200 to 15,000 per year costs just $30 extra per month. We’ll even notify you if it looks like you’re going to exceed your monthly allowance, so you can make appropriate adjustments.

Have a monster road trip coming up? Buy a month of unlimited mileage, and don’t fret about it. Doing more bicycle commuting lately? Drop down to a smaller plan and save some money. It’s that flexible.


The real savings are (once again) in your heart

These are just a few common scenarios where a Canvas Car subscription can save you you hundreds or thousands of dollars over a traditional car lease. But we also protect you from the stress, worry, and headache of traditional car ownership. Those are deeper benefits that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.

Moving to a new city, changing your work commute, traveling extensively - these are complex, challenging life situations. The last thing you should be thinking about is your car. With Canvas, you don’t have to stress about your three-year plan, study depreciation rates, or dread the hidden fees. Use your car as much as you need it, for as long as you need it - and when you don’t need it anymore, return it.

Just subscribe and get driving. We’ll handle the rest.