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FREE 30-Day Returns
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Rated Excellent
Road Tax & Roadside Assistance Included
FREE & Fast Delivery
Lowest Price Guaranteed
FREE 30-Day Returns
Trust pilot logo
Rated Excellent
Road Tax & Roadside Assistance Included
FREE & Fast Delivery

How Long Is A Car Lease?

How long is a car lease?

With car leasing, you agree to a set time that you’ll have the car. Lease contracts are usually 24, 36, 48 or 60 months, with each suiting different types of drivers and their motoring needs. 

The average lease period is usually 36 months, but with Vanarama you can choose anywhere between two and five years.

The contract length can affect your monthly payments, the initial deposit, your upkeep and maintenance and more, so you’ll have to think about the right lease term to suit you.

What Is A Lease Term?

A lease term, also known as contract length, is the agreed time you will have your lease car. It’s typically displayed in months but can be shown in years. They range from around one to five years depending on your leasing provider.

For the total lease contract, you may see the contract length as well as the initial rental. This is an amount that you pay upfront before your deal begins, which is normally one to 12 months of the value of your vehicle. For example, if you’re taking out a two-year lease and paying six months up front, it’ll look like 24+6. The entire contract term can be referred to as your payment plan.

What Length Is The Average Car Lease?

You can lease a car for anywhere from two to five years with Vanarama but the most common lease is three years. This duration is popular as you avoid having to MOT the vehicle. Manufacturer warranties are also usually three years, meaning you are covered up to this point if something goes wrong.

Which Lease Term Should I Choose?

Whether you choose short- or long-term leasing, there are pros and cons for each type of contract for a leased vehicle.

Short-Term Car Lease

Short-term car leasing is a contract term of up to two years. They’re not the most common type of lease term as they can be more expensive and you don’t have the car for long before you have to return it.

Some providers will offer a one-year lease, however, these can be expensive if they’re on brand new vehicles. The car could also be second-hand, going against one of the key benefits of leasing - driving a brand-new vehicle. 

Vanarama doesn’t provide one-year leasing and the shortest contract length you can choose is 24 months.


  • Access a vehicle for a short period.

  • A good option for people with bad credit.

  • Not tied to a vehicle or financial agreement for long.


  • Monthly payments are more expensive.

  • The choice of vehicles is more limited as you’ll have to choose one that’s in stock.

Mid-Term Car Lease

Mid-term car leasing is a contract length between two and three years. It’s the most common lease term for customers thanks to the cost and maintenance benefits.

Mid-term leasing has average monthly fees and initial rentals deposits, giving you the flexibility to suit your budget. Drivers also benefit from not having to MOT cars until they’re over three years old, a manufacturer’s warranty covers them and more.


  • Reasonable leasing deposit and monthly payments.

  • MOTs not needed.

  • The manufacturer’s warranty is generally for the duration of the contract.

  • Return the vehicle before maintenance costs increase.


  • Not as cheap as long-term leasing.

Long-Term Car Lease

Long-term car leasing is a contract over three to five years. It’s more common than short-term leasing thanks to the budget benefits. 

Long-term leasing is the cheapest way to lease a vehicle as you spread the costs over a longer period. This means if you have a more expensive car in mind, it’s the best way to get behind the wheel of one.

You should consider that after the first three years, you’ll have to MOT your vehicle and ensure it’s maintained.


  • Best value for money.

  • Access a higher-value car.


  • You’re responsible for MOTs.

  • Car warranties last around three years or to a set mileage.

  • You’re more likely to encounter maintenance issues.

What You Need To Consider When Choosing Your Car Lease Length

Now you know the different lease terms, we’ll walk you through what you should consider when taking out your lease.

The Costs

As we mentioned, the lower your lease term, the more expensive it will be. If cost isn’t an issue, this won’t be a deciding factor but if you’re on a tight budget, a mid to long-term lease may be better thanks to their lower initial payments and monthly fees.

Upkeep, MOTs And Warranties

Also tying in with the cost is the upkeep and maintenance of your lease car. When a car hits three years, you’ll have to start paying for MOTs. 

Car warranties will usually only last for the first few years or up to a specific mileage. Once the warranty has expired, you won’t be covered if something goes wrong.

Typically, cars are more prone to faults after the first three years of ownership so there’s a chance you’ll encounter issues after this period. 

All of these can increase the cost so savings made by a longer lease can be eaten up through maintenance. 

Your Credit History

If you don’t have the best credit history, a shorter car lease may make it easier for you to get a new car. If you have an average credit history, leasing for longer can help to improve your credit as you’re sticking to a financial agreement for a long period.

Fair Wear And Tear

When you take out a lease, you agree to keep it in good condition with only fair wear and tear. This means you’re responsible for fixing anything if it goes wrong whether that’s cosmetic or mechanical. If you don’t fix it, you could be fined. 

Keep this in mind as the longer you have a vehicle, the more wear and tear is expected.

How Long Does It Take To Lease A Car?

Leasing a vehicle depends on the availability of the specific vehicle lease you can choose. In-stock vehicles are delivered in around two to three weeks. However, a factory order can have a longer lead time as we will have to wait for vehicles to be made and sent out.

With the current delays in the car market caused by supply problems from ongoing global issues, the wait for cars may be longer than usual. Vanarama keeps you up to date with the expected delivery date of your vehicle and will contact you with any delays to make the process of getting your new lease car as easy as possible.

For more information on how car leasing works, take a look at our easy-to-understand leasing guides for everything you need to know.

If you're ready to look for your next vehicle, browse our cheapest car leasing offers to see our best deals and find out how quickly you can get a new car.

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