Best Pickup Truck Lease Deals For September 2021

While there are Best Lease Deals on some full-size and midsize pickups, many pickups are in short supply because of the current computer chip shortage, and that affects how quickly, or even whether, customers can find the truck they want, deal or no deal.

To be sure, some of the best-selling pickups are among the September Top 10 Best Lease Deals for Pickups identified by Market Scan, such as the GMC Sierra and the Chevrolet Silverado from General Motors. 

But it’s telling that most of this month’s lease offers are from non-captive auto lenders, instead of from the automakers’ own, captive finance companies, which usually dominate leasing discounts. That’s probably because the automakers don’t see the point in offering deals on vehicles that don’t require a discount, and that dealers might not have in stock. 

GM Financial, the captive finance company for General Motors, is an exception to the rule among the Top 10, offering Best Lease Deals on the GMC Canyon and the Chevy Colorado.

According to AutoForecastSolutions, because of factory shutdowns due to the computer chip shortage, around 1.5 million units of vehicle production are already ”unrecoverable” this year in North America, as of Sept. 7. That’s because when they do run, the factories where those models are built are already running flat-out, so they can’t make up for lost time. 

The 1.5 million includes all body styles, not just pickups. Another 750,000 units are either “at-risk” or potentially recoverable, for instance if they are built in factories that can add shifts, AutoForecastSolutions said.

Here are the Top 10 Best Lease Deals for Pickups, for September:

Best Lease Deals, for Pickups

1. 2021 Toyota Tacoma

2020 Toyota Tacoma
Toyota Tacoma. Toyota

Average Price:

  • $35,835.61 average suggested retail
  • $303.98 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive) 

Why We Picked It: 

Toyota says the Toyota Tacoma is the nation’s best-selling mid-size pickup for the last 16 years. In 2020, it outsold its nearest two competitors, the Chevrolet Colorado and the Ford Ranger, combined (see both, below). The Toyota Tacoma is trouncing its rivals again in 2021, but sales are down sharply in recent weeks for the Chevrolet Colorado and the Ford Ranger, likely because of temporary production halts due to the computer-chip shortage. Click here to read our review of the Toyota Tacoma.

Pros:

  • U.S. sales year to date through August for the Toyota Tacoma were 182,672, 162,884, up 29.2% versus a year ago, according to Motor Intelligence. 
  • New special editions for the 2021 model year include the off-highway oriented 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 hp and 180 ft-lbs. of torque, and it’s scarcely more fuel-efficient than the optional V-6.

2. 2021 Toyota Tundra 4WD

Toyota Tundra. Toyota

Average Price:

  • $46,178.64 average suggested retail
  • $492.22 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive) 

Why We Picked It:

An all-new, redesigned Toyota Tundra is expected to be introduced for the 2022 model year, so it’s a good time to get a Best Lease Deal on the 2021 Toyota Tundra. That is, if you can find one. Besides the 2021 Toyota Tundra AWD, the 2021 Toyota Tundra 2WD also makes Market Scan’s Top 10 Best Lease Deals this month. Its average suggested retail price is $41,722.22; best average monthly lease payment, $471.59. Click here to read our review of the Toyota Tundra.

Pros:

  • The 2021 Toyota Tundra AWD has more utility and a substantially higher sticker price, yet the Best Lease Deal monthly payment isn’t that much more than the 2WD model, so the 4WD is ranked higher.
  • No extra charge for ToyotaCare scheduled maintenance, 2 years/25,000 miles.
  • Optional trim and equipment include the blacked-out Nightshade package, or the off-highway Trail package.

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 5,780 in September, down 46% versus a year ago, Motor Intelligence said.

3. 2022 GMC Sierra 3500 HD 

2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD
GMC Sierra. GMC

Average Price:

  • $51,128.33 average suggested retail
  • $555.77 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)

Why We Picked It

A monthly lease payment above $500 is pretty high, but with options, the average sticker price for the GMC Sierra 3500 HD (Heavy Duty), is north of $50,000, after all. For September, Market Scan’s top 20 Best Lease Deals also include four other versions of the GMC Sierra: the 2021 GMC Sierra 3500 HD, the 2021 and 2022 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, and the “light-duty” 2021 GMC Sierra 1500. They are listed here together to save space. Click here to read our review of the GMC Sierra. 

Pros:

  • It’s big and imposing.
  • Lots of bling. 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: 

  • It’s likely to be scarce. Sales in August were 17,233, down 30% versus a year ago, Motor Intelligence said, even though year-to-date sales through August were up 17%. That suggests supply shortages.
  • 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.
  • General Motors says some versions of the GMC Sierra would get its optional Super Cruise hands-free driving system “late in the 2022 model year.” 

4. 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD 

Chevrolet Silverado. Chevrolet

Average Price:

  • $48,349.55 average suggested retail
  • $520.57 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive) 

Why We Picked It:

The Chevy Silverado is the less-dressed-up sibling of the GMC Sierra. In addition to the 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD listed here, Market Scan also listed four other variants among its Top 25. They are the 2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500, and the 2021 and 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD. Click here to read our review of the Chevrolet Silverado.

Pros:

  • 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.
  • Some 2021 models get the new, multi-use  Multi-Flex tailgate, which can be folded and secured several different ways, for instance to create a step up to the load bed, or lowered to create a flat extension to the bed, for extra-long loads.

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, and that’s also how people order them.

5. 2022 GMC Canyon 

2021 GMC Canyon
GMC Canyon. GMC

Average Price:

  • $37,959.29 average suggested retail
  • $424.86 average best monthly lease payment (captive) 

Why We Picked It

The GMC Canyon is to the Chevy Colorado, as the GMC Sierra is to the Chevy Silverado, the upscale sibling. The GMC Canyon and the Chevy Colorado got a facelift for the 2021 model year, so changes to the 2022 are relatively modest. The 2022 GMC Canyon gets a new, blacked-out trim and equipment package, the Denali Black Edition. Market Scan also included the 2021 GMC Canyon in its Top 10 Best Lease Deals for pickups, at very similar pricing in terms of monthly payment versus sticker price. Click here to read our review of the GMC Canyon.

Pros:

  • Updated exterior styling and interior features, starting with the 2021 model year.
  • 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 $2,460.32, or about 7%, according to Market Scan. The best average monthly payment is proportional, an increase of 7% versus the Chevy.
  • Despite the higher price, some convenience and driver-assist features are still unavailable or optional on cheaper versions.

6. 2021 Jeep Gladiator 

2021 jeep gladiator - 8
Jeep Gladiator. Jeep

Average Price:

  • $43,883.81 average suggested retail
  • $499.01 best average monthly lease price (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

For the tail end of the 2021 model year, through October 2021, Jeep made some wild colors available for the Gladiator, such as the electric green “Gecko,” which was 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. 

Pros:

  • Curb appeal. The Jeep Gladiator is distinctive already, even without colors like “Gecko” and “Nacho.” 
  • 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 – call it $500 — is higher than some competitors with similar price tags. 

7. 2021 Chevrolet Colorado 

2021_Chevrolet_Colorado
Chevrolet Colorado. Chevrolet

Average Price: 

  • $34,206.11 average suggested retail
  • $393.43 average best monthly lease payment (captive) 

Why We Picked It: 

The Chevy Colorado is a much bigger seller than its sibling, the GMC Canyon. In addition to the 2021, Market Scan also included the 2022 Chevrolet Colorado among its Top 20 Best Lease Deals for Pickups in September. The 2021 rates higher, in terms of monthly payment versus sticker price. The 2022 gets a new Trail Boss package. Click here to read our review of the Chevrolet Colorado.

Pros:

  • A 2021 facelift includes a new grille and front-end exterior styling.
  • Can trailer up to 7,700 lbs., which is a lot for a mid-size truck.
  • Trail Boss package for LT and Z71 models includes suspension-leveling kit, front- and mid-vehicle skid plates to protect the underside in off-highway driving, black wheels and black styling accents.

Cons:

  • The 7,700-lb. maximum trailering is only with the optional 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine. That has 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.

8. 2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline
Honda Ridgeline. Honda

Average Price:

  • $41,750 average suggested retail
  • $494.06 average monthly lease price (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

The 2021 Honda Ridgeline gets a facelift, giving it a more imposing appearance – Honda calls the new styling “ready to rumble.” That’s a little generous, but the new look is much more like other, squared-off pickup trucks. The previous Honda Ridgeline came across like a curvy, extra-tall car or an SUV. Supplies could be scarce. Ridgeline sales down 53% in August versus a year ago, even though sales year to date were up 39%, 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 lbs., lower than some competitors.
  • No diesel or other engine upgrade available.

9. 2021 Ford Ranger

2020 Ford Ranger
Ford Ranger. Ford

Average Price:

  • $33,062.50 average suggested retail; 
  • $394.43 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

The Ford Ranger is probably also in short supply. Ranger sales were down 68% in August versus a year ago, even though sales year-to-date were up 4%, Ford said. Ford had dropped the Ranger in 2011, when smaller pickups seemed out of favor. 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 is 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.

10. 2021 Nissan Frontier

2020 nissan frontier
Nissan Frontier. Nissan

Average Price:

  • $32,094.55 average suggested retail
  • $389.61 average best monthly lease payment (non-captive)

Why We Picked It: 

There’s an all-new, redesigned Nissan Frontier for the 2022 model year, so it’s a typical time to expect a Best Lease Deal on the outgoing 2021 model. The 2021 Nissan Frontier is unchanged from the 2020 model, which got an all-new, 310-hp V-6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission. The redesigned, 2022 model gets the same V-6 engine as the 2021, so the 2021 model on sale now already gets one of the key features of the new model.

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 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 the 2022 model might be worth it.

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, 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.


FAQs (frequently asked questions)

If pickups are in such short supply, what’s an ordinary person supposed to do about it?

Auto retail experts say shoppers should search online for the truck they want, at much greater distances than they normally would. Some manufacturers, and big dealership chains, are making it easy to search a much greater inventory at multiple dealerships, or even nationwide. Dealerships don’t advertise it, but they can and often do sell each other vehicles, to fill customer orders.

If I don’t need it right away, can I order a truck, and wait for it?

Yes. Faced with shortages, dealerships have had to learn to accept what they call “be-backs,” customers who say, “I’ll be back.” They’re usually motivated to make a sale on the spot, since be-backs often never do come back. 

How long does it take, for a particular truck to arrive?

That’s hard to predict because of the chip shortage, and because the automakers frequently shift the chips they do have between different models, to favor more-profitable vehicles, and new models that are in launch mode. One improvement is that because of the inventory shortage, many manufacturers say that they are sharing earlier and more-detailed information with dealers, for what vehicles will arrive at the dealership, when, and how they’re equipped. That way, dealers can confidently sell customers “upstream” cars that have been allocated to the dealer, but haven’t arrived at the dealership yet. That sounds pretty basic, but before the current crisis, depending on the brand, dealers didn’t always know exactly what to expect, when, or how many. That’s improving.