A friend of mine and I were discussing this the other day as he was considering leasing a new car while he finishes up college. He has a note on a maybe 2 year old Scion, not upside down in debt.
My understanding is that leasing is appropriate if you have a business that requires impressing/entertaining clients, in which case it is necessary to have a new-ish car. Also the expense can be written off on the business.
My mental hurdle with leasing is that at the end of the 24 months or whatever, there is no equity in the car so owning seems like a better option for the average end user. Pay for the car outright or pay it off as soon as possible, and then have one less check to write and an asset (even though it is depreciating). Again, I am not considering this but just curious about the ins and outs.