I have both leased and financed all my cars for the last 28 years -14 cars at all and counting. Financially to me, it does not make any difference as I sell privately all my cars. 100% of the time I get the downpayment back at least, sometimes I get some some extra money. There is no distinction between a leased or financed car mod-wise to me: the wheels, brakes, audio are always upgraded with aftermarket. And still they are sold fine.
I do not see any of my cars as commodities, utilities or just transportation. I have to really like and enjoy what I get. Nevertheless, I can change cars like t-shirts and move on to the next one easily. If there is a finance deal too good to pass, I will take it -only after trying to get the car as close to invoice as possible. On the other hand, I do not see leasing as getting a car that I cannot "afford", I see it as getting the car that I want... for now.
I think that this thread is going too deep into something that it is very simple.