When you lease a vehicle, you decide on a lease term, usually between 1-5 years. This will be spelled out in your lease contract. It's similar to a rental agreement, where you don't own the title to the car. When you purchase a vehicle, it's yours until you decide to sell; However, if you finance the car, the title isn't yours until you've paid off your car loan. At that point, you own the car free and clear.