Is a Car Subscription Better Than Leasing?

Photo: Virage images (Shutterstock)

If you’ve needed to shop for a car in this inflation-ridden hellscape of a marketyou might be searching for a solution to your woes. Aside from buying and leasing, there’s now a third option: a car subscription.Subscribing” to a car is Designed to be more affordable than a rental and more flexible than a lease. However, in its current state, the car subscription model probably isn’t worth the trade-offs involved. For car shoppers avoiding a long-term commitment, here’s what to know about car subscriptions as an alternative to leasing.

What is a car subscription?

With the general consensus that you should probably never lease a car, the promise of a car subscription is a flexible, short-term deal that bridges the perks of a rental with those of a lease. This alternative to buying or leasing isn’t a brand new concept, though. While major car manufacturers have offered car subscriptions in the past, the business model is again gaining traction through third-party startups.

Car subscriptions differ from leasing in that you aren’t locked into a set term (typically two to five years). Instead, you can subscribe on a month-to-month basis, regularly trying out a new ride as you please. Plus, the subscription companies handle things like maintenance and insurance.

So, is a car subscription the right move for you? The answer depends on how much you’re willing to spend on the promise of flexibility.

The trade-offs probably aren’t worth it

While a month-to-month subscription model might sound appealing, the current state of car subscriptions is a limited market with fairly steep prices. According to, monthly car subscription payments can cost 30% or more than the monthly lease payment you’d get for the same car.

It’s worth noting that subscription costts do cover the extras that you’d be stuck with for a leased car, namely the cost of insurance on top of your monthly payment. Even after those extras, thoughmost car subscriptions are still going to cost you more in the long run.

The bottom line is that while car subscriptions sound like a promising alternative to leasing, they’re not mainstream enough to offer competitive prices yet.. If the appeal of trying out a new car every month is more important than affordability, then go for it. But for most drivers, the flexibility and variety of a month-to-month subscription simply isn’t worth how expensive it is. Instead, you’re better off navigating the traditional routes of leasing or buying.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo