Best Lease Deals On Pickups For August 2021

2021_Chevrolet_Colorado
Chevrrolet Colorado. Chevrolet

Bargain hunters looking for leftover 2021 pickups better get a move on.

Some new 2022s from General Motors join the Top 10 Best Lease Deals for Pickups in August, a sign that the supply of 2022 models could be improving, and that leftover 2021s are maybe starting to run out of stock.

Those 2022s are versions of GM’s full-size pickup siblings, the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra. To work around an ongoing shortage of computer chips, GM and its rivals say they’re putting full-size pickups at the head of the line for chips. That’s because full-size pickups are so profitable, and because customer demand is so strong.

As they were last month, just about all of this month’s Best Lease Deals for Pickup Trucks identified by Market Scan are from non-captive finance companies. That’s unusual, because the automakers and their captives usually dominate leasing. 

Currently, though, the captives have cut back on their usual incentives for lease deals, due to the ongoing shortage of new trucks. That creates an opportunity for non-captive lenders. Market Scan doesn’t name the lenders in its list of Best Lease Deals, but it does say if they’re captive or non-captive, so that narrows it down. 

Here’s the August list for Top 10 Lease Deals, Pickups.

Best Lease Deals, for Pickups

1. 2021 Toyota Tacoma

2021 Toyota Tacoma
Toyota Tacoma. Toyota

Average Price:

  • $35,835.61 average suggested retail
  • $315.84 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive) 

Why We Picked It: 

The Toyota Tacoma is the nation’s biggest seller in the competitive mid-size pickup segment. The contest in the segment is to see which mid-size pickup can be No. 2, the Ford Ranger (see below) or the Chevy Colorado (also see below). Market Scan also cites the 2021 Toyota Tundra 2WD version among its Top 15 Best Lease Deals for August, but not among the Top 10. Click here to read our review of the Toyota Tacoma.

Pros:

  • It’s popular. U.S. sales year to date through July for the Toyota Tacoma were 162,884, up 33% vs. a year ago. 
  • Off-highway cred. New special editions for 2021 include the 2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail special edition. 
  • Maintenance. No extra charge for ToyotaCare scheduled maintenance, 2 years/25,000 miles.

Cons:

  • 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.

2. 2021 Toyota Tundra 4WD

2021 toyota tundra - 3
Toyota Tundra. Toyota

Average Price:

  • $46,178.64 average suggested retail
  • $489.44 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive) 

Why We Picked It:

It’s good timing for a deal on the 2021 Toyota Tundra, because there’s a new one in the future-product pipeline, and Toyota and its dealers will be clearing out the old ones. For more than a year now, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. has been promoting an all-new, redesigned Toyota Tundra for the 2022 model year. Besides the 2021 Toyota Tundra AWD, the 2021 Toyota Tundra 2WD just misses being among the Top 10 Best Lease Deals this month, too. Its average suggested retail price is $41,722.22; best average monthly lease payment, $472.17. Click here to read our review of the Toyota Tundra.

Pros:

  • Optional trim and equipment packages, Nightshade or Trail, can customize your Toyota Tundra depending on how you plan to use it.
  • The 2021 Toyota Tundra AWD has more utility and a substantially higher sticker price, but the Best Lease Deal monthly payment isn’t that much more than the 2WD model.
  • No extra charge for ToyotaCare scheduled maintenance, 2 years/25,000 miles.

Cons: 

  • The exterior styling and the interior features may look a little dated when the redesigned model comes out.
  • It might be hard to find the Toyota Tundra you want. According to press reports, the Toyota Tundra is in short supply due to the computer-chip shortage. U.S. sales were 6,444 in July, down 3.16% vs. a year ago, by daily selling rate, Motor Intelligence said.

3. 2021 Chevrolet Colorado 

2021_Chevrolet_Colorado
Chevrolet Colorado. Chevrolet

Average Price: 

  • $34,206.11 average suggested retail
  • $367.43 average best monthly lease payment (captive) 

Why We Picked It: 

The Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon are both mid-size pickups from GM. The Colorado is a much bigger seller. In July, the Chevy Colorado passed the Ford Ranger (see below) in sales for the month, according to Motor Intelligence. The Ranger is the perennial No. 2 in the segment, but its sales were down 33.7% in July. Sales of the Colorado were down in July, too, just not as much. Just because sales are down, doesn’t mean mid-size pickups are out of fashion. Supply shortages have cut production this year for some competitors. Click here to read our review of the Chevrolet Colorado.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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 get a rear vision camera, but upgraded high-definition view is optional on the less-expensive versions. Ditto for certain driver-assistance features.

4. 2022 GMC Sierra 3500 HD 

GMC Sierra HD 2020
GMC Sierra HD. GMC

Average Price:

  • $51,128.33 average suggested retail
  • $551.26 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)

Why We Picked It

The GMC Sierra 3500 HD, for Heavy Duty, is the big brother of the GMC Sierra 1500, and the in-between GMC Sierra 2500 HD. For August, Market Scan’s top 10 Best Lease Deals include two other versions of the GMC Sierra: the 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, and the 2022 GMC Sierra 2500 HD. In addition, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 just misses the Top 10. Click here to read our review of the GMC Sierra

Pros:

  • It’s a hot seller. According to Motor Intelligence, including all variants, GMC Sierra sales were 160,743 in the first seven months of 2021, up 26.4% vs. a year ago.
  • More than half of GMC Sierra HD buyers choose the top-of-the line Denali version, according to GMC.
  • Cool features (optional, or part of a package) aimed at making trailering safer and easier, like cameras with rear and side views.

Cons: 

  • 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.
  • Some driver-assistance features aren’t standard on less-expensive versions.

5. 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD3500
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD. Chevrolet

Average Price:

  • $44,711.67 average suggested retail
  • $477.23 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive) 

Why We Picked It:

The Chevy Silverado is in a race this year with the Ram Pickup to see whether either one can hope to catch up with the perennial No. 1-seller in the U.S. market, the Ford F-Series pickup. The computer chip shortage has upset the usual order, as sales come and go when inventories come and go. Year to date through July, the Ford F-Series was back in the lead, but the Chevy Silverado overtook it for the month of July, and the Ram Truck was ahead a month earlier, in June. In addition to the 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD listed here, Market Scan also listed other variants among its Top 15, including the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and the 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD. Click here to read our review of the Chevrolet Silverado.

Pros:

  • Even if automakers are reluctant to push discounted lease prices, they can afford it right now, and having the No. 1-selling pickup is a bragging right worth fighting for.
  • 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.
  • Some convenience and safety features, which were optional or unavailable on less-expensive models, are made standard.

Cons:

  • 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.

6. 2021 GMC Canyon 

2021 gmc canyon turn
GMC Canyon. GMC

Average Price:

  • $37,666.43 average suggested retail
  • $407.17 average best monthly lease payment (captive) 

Why We Picked It

This offer from captive finance company GM Financial is an exception that proves the rule about this month’s Best Lease Deals coming mostly from non-captives. 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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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.

7. 2021 Jeep Gladiator 

2021 jeep gladiator-7
Jeep Gladiator. Jeep

Average Price:

  • $43,883.81 average suggested retail
  • $485.50 best average monthly lease price (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

For the tail end of the 2021 model year, from now until October 2021, Jeep made available for the Gladiator some wild colors, like an electric green called “Gecko,” which had been available previously only on the smaller Jeep Wrangler. 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. Click here to read our review of the Jeep Gladiator.

Pros:

  • Curb appeal. The Jeep Gladiator is distinctive already. Colors like “Gecko” should help capture even more eyeballs.
  • Besides the new colors, Jeep also made available (as an option, $95 suggested retail) an extra-strength windshield made of Corning Gorilla Glass. 
  • For 2021, full-time four-wheel drive is available (but not standard) on all models. 

Cons:

  • 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. 

8. 2021 Ford Ranger

2021 Ford Ranger Tremor
Ford Ranger. Ford

Average Price:

  • $33,062.50 average suggested retail; 
  • $370.03 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

Ford dealers say Ford Ranger customers love their trucks, and customers and dealers complained when Ford dropped the Ranger in 2011. Ford reintroduced it in 2019, which helped reignite interest in the mid-size pickup category. In the meantime, the Toyota Tacoma has dominated the mid-size pickup segment. Click here to read our review of the Ford Ranger.

Pros:

  • 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
  • Ranger STX Special Edition is another optional package for the 2021 model year. It comes with black-painted wheels with machined edges, and an 8-inchee center touch screen with Ford’s Sync3 system with
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more.

Cons:

  • Off-highway cred has been lacking. That’s an area where the Toyota Tacoma excels. Ford addresses this with the optional Tremor package for 2021.
  • Some reviewers give the interior good marks for comfort, but “cheap plastic” comes up in reviews of the interior.

9. 2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline
Honda Ridgeline. Honda

Average Price:

  • $41,750 average suggested retail
  • $494.17 average monthly lease price (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline gets a facelift, giving it a more imposing appearance, making it more like other pickup trucks. The previous Honda Ridgeline came across like a pickup truck wearing a disguise, like an extra-large car or SUV. U.S. sales in the first half were up 55% vs. a year ago, to 26,725, according to Motor Intelligence. Click here to see our review of the Honda Ridgeline.  

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, lower than some competitors and no better than the just-introduced compact Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.
  • No diesel or other engine upgrade available.

10. 2021 Nissan Frontier

Average Price:

  • $32,094.55 average suggested retail
  • $390.65 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

Sales of the Nissan Frontier more than tripled doubled in July, to 4,047, and were up 50% to 30,439 in the first half, vs. the same periods a year ago, the company said. Some of that gain could be because inventory is in short supply for domestic rivals like the Ford Ranger and the Chevrolet Colorado.

Nissan Frontier is unchanged from the 2020 model, which got an all-new, 310-hp 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 in “late 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. Early reviews of the 2022 Frontier are quite positive. 

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

Methodology:

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, vs. 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 websites, which typically don’t include taxes or fees, and maybe 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.


FAQ

Why are mid-size pickups a good idea today, if they were a bad idea a decade ago?

Ford dropped the old Ford Ranger in 2011 and reintroduced a new one in 2019. The Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon are still pretty new, and the Hyundai Santa Cruz, resurrecting the compact SUV, is newer still. You could argue that the relatively new Jeep Gladiator is mid-size, as opposed to full-size. What’s changed since 2011 is a couple of things: One, full-size pickups are so expensive today. Even the “light-duty” 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 cited above has an average suggested retail price of $46,832.04. The heavy-duty ones cost a whole lot more. Pickup buyers need a more affordable alternative. Two, the new mid-size pickups are more fuel efficient, better styled, and better equipped than the old ones. The automakers are making mid-size pickups more lifestyle-friendly for various niches, like off-road or on, or high-performance vs. rugged, instead of building a smaller, less-capable version of the full-size truck. 

If the car companies are prioritizing pickups, why is it so hard to find the exact model you want?

Part of the reason is that there are so many varieties of the same model. That’s especially true for the domestic brands, which may offer a choice of engines, two-door or four-door cabs, long or short cargo beds, towing capacity, 2WD or 4WD, on and on. Dealers complain that so much complexity means they have to keep a wide variety of models on their lots, to anticipate different customer choices. 

Other than sit and wait, what can a consumer do if their local dealers don’t have the truck they want? 

Dealers and automakers have begun to encourage customers to order a truck to their specifications and wait for it to come in, instead of buying from dealer stock. They may even offer a better deal, in return for a commitment to buy, and a willingness to wait. If you really can’t wait, it’s easy enough to expand your online search to a bigger radius, and potentially find what you’re looking for somewhere more distant. But you may need to pay extra for the second round of shipping. Not only that, don’t be surprised if many dealerships are a little suspicious of unseen, faraway buyers, looking for a distant delivery. That’s a common scenario for identity-theft scammers. If you contact a dealership and try to buy a truck from two states away, be prepared to answer a lot of questions.