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I'm trying to find a way to own a car for 2-3 months and do it as economically as possible, specifically a sports or luxury car that I don't necessarily want to outright buy and own. The two options I'm aware of are getting a lease which usually start at 24 months (too long) or using a service like Turo (but the daily rate comes out way too high). Is there some sort of happy middle between these two?

I'm in Washington, USA.

I just want to experience what it feels like owning a high end car without having to subject myself to sales tax and depreciation.

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  • Why such a short time? – quid Jan 14 '17 at 3:05
  • Please specify the country, and maybe the state. – mhoran_psprep Jan 14 '17 at 3:10
  • @quid I just want to experience what it feels like owning a high end car without having to subject myself to sales tax and depreciation. – Ivan Lesko Jan 14 '17 at 8:08
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You have several options to "experience what it feels like owning a high end car without having to subject myself to sales tax and depreciation"

You will not own the vehicle. If you were to buy it, drive it for a few months and sell it; you will definitely experience depreciation, sales taxes, plus the cost to register the vehicle in your state. Don't forget about insurance. Expensive cars are expensive to insure.

Leasing in the sense of a 24 month lease is out. It is too hard to end it early, and you would be "owning" it during the most expensive part of life of the car. Plus there are still taxes and insurance.

What you are looking for is a long term rental. Several of the car rental firms in the US will rent vehicles for months. Just like staying in a hotel they advertise the daily/weekly rate, and you have to ask about the monthly rate. These aren't a lease, they are rentals. It is lower than 30x the daily rate because they know that a typical car is not rented every day.

You still have to understand what insurance will cover. You will have the option of buying your own, getting it from the rental company, or using one through your credit card. But make sure that those that you purchase cover your situation.

The other option is to see if any of the car sharing services get you access to the vehicle class you want. I don't know if any do, but it is possible that ones near a large city do. That way you can only pay for the hours you actually need it.

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The cheapest way to do this is to buy a used car from a private seller. The initial depreciation has already happened, and you should be able to buy it for significantly less than a brand new one from the dealer. After you are done with it in a few months, you sell it to someone else, hopefully for about the same amount that you bought it for. If you got an especially good deal when you bought the car, you might even come out ahead.

The next best option would be to rent it from a car rental company. This won't be cheap, but at least it will be predictable: you'll know exactly how much it will cost and can budget for it.

Alternatively, instead of renting the same car for a couple of months, you could just rent one for a day or two. Get the need for speed out of your system, then return the car. If you feel the need again, you can rent another one (or the same one) next week.

The worst options are buying new or leasing new from the new car dealer. The depreciation over the first two months will be too much, I think.

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  • This way you will have to pay sales tax & registration up front, but you'll pay them anyway: they'll just be rolled into a monthly rental charge, lease fee, or whatever. – jamesqf Jan 14 '17 at 18:53
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The other answers provide some great options, but I'm going to propose something a little different - buy out someone else's lease. If you use a site like swapalease, you can get a shorter portion of a lease, and still have the car for a longer period than you might with a rental.

You should lay out all of your options, along with how much you are willing to spend, before you make your decision. And always read the terms, for rentals, leases, etc.

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