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Car subscription vs car rental

March 19, 2023

Car subscription vs rental

While there are now so many ways to purchase, lease or rent a car, if you’ve needed a car for just a few months, your options have always been limited. Generally, your only two options were either long-term car rental or short-term car lease.

However, that has now changed with the introduction of car subscriptions, which is a modern alternative to car access/usership.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the details of long-term rental and introduce you to car subscriptions, allowing you to make an informed choice on the best option for you.

What is a car subscription service?

Car subscription brings the usership model of services like Netflix to the car market. It provides access to a wide range of vehicles at short notice, without any long-term commitment, a low upfront cost and a simple, all-inclusive monthly payment.

These are just some of the reasons that it is anticipated that by 2025 nearly 10% of all new cars on the road could be car subscriptions.

The defining features of car subscription lie within the freedom and flexibility it offers. The monthly rolling subscription allows you to pick a car which is right for you at that point, keep it for as long as you want/need it, before returning it, giving you the freedom to change it when you want/need to.

It also offers you the freedom to live your life without having to worry about your car or unexpected costs. The all-inclusive payments include everything, from tax and fully comprehensive insurance to servicing, maintenance, new tyres and even breakdown cover. All you need to do is add fuel.

What’s included in a car subscription?

Car subscriptions are designed to give you freedom. As with all services; the exact details of what’s included vary slightly between providers, and we’d encourage you to check if you’re comparing like for like; but ours includes:

  • The ability to choose from our range of high-spec models
  • Road tax
  • Fully comprehensive insurance
  • Maintenance
  • All servicing & MOTs
  • Breakdown cover
  • Consumables, such as new tyres and brakes
  • Online ordering
  • Delivery to your door in just seven days

This means that once you’ve chosen the car that suits your needs, you’ll know exactly what your monthly costs will be until you return or change the car; giving you the freedom to live your life without worrying about unexpected costs.

What is car rental?

Car rental is best known as a short-term solution, often something you may only do on holiday or when you need a car temporarily for a few days. However, there is also a long-term car rental option which people use to rent a car for anything from a few weeks to a few months.

Typically long-term car rental has filled the gap between daily car rental and car leasing, with a lower cost per day than a standard rental, and more flexibility but a higher cost than leasing.

Long-term car rental could be for situations where your normal car is off the road for an extended period; for instance after an accident or breakdown. It can also be used if you’re waiting for your new car to be built and delivered after purchase, or if you need a different type of car for a fixed period.

Key differences between car rental and car subscription

Both car subscriptions and rentals offer significant levels of freedom from long-term commitments - but there are key differences.


The primary difference between the two is found in the duration of the agreement. And if you’re looking for a car for just a few days, then a car rental will usually be the best and cheapest option.

Car rental is primarily considered a more short-term option, usually a few days or potentially weeks; even long-term rental is a comparatively short term-option due to the costs involved. Rental agreements may also require you to specify the exact length of time you wish to have the car.

As car subscriptions use rolling monthly agreements, you have the flexibility to keep the car anywhere from a month to several years, handing it back when you no longer need it. This makes a car subscription more appropriate if you need a car for a longer period or you don’t know the exact period required.

Breakdown cover

Breaking down in a hire car can be problematic. It's often necessary to contact the hire company and wait for them to arrange roadside pickup. It may also be possible that the cost of this won't be included in a car rental agreement depending on the provider.

With a car subscription, breakdown cover is provided to you directly by a national provider and you’ll be in complete control of contacting them should you need to.


Car insurance is a major factor when assessing the pros of car subscription vs rental. Often, only basic levels of cover with high excesses are provided as standard, with significant extra charges for improved fully comprehensive cover. You may even be required to provide your own insurance cover, meaning you will have to arrange this yourself, and it could come with higher premiums as it is only required for a short period.

With our car subscriptions, fully comprehensive insurance is included in the monthly payment, meaning you only have it while you have the car and we can provide it at a better overall price. However, not every car subscription provider includes this and so you should check.


Both car rental and car subscription come with refundable upfront costs, with the exact amount depending on the provider and the car. Car subscription services typically charge one month's payment upfront.

The main difference comes with the monthly payments. Car rental costs are determined by size, availability, location, vehicle make and length of rental. Usually costs range from £25 to several hundred pounds per day for daily rental, with long-term rental commonly being from at least £500 per month upwards. As mentioned, these costs may not include fully comprehensive insurance or other items.

Car subscription prices are determined by the exact model of the car you choose - all other costs are included. Car subscriptions are generally more comparable to leasing costs and can start from as little as £349 per month.

Vehicle availability

When renting a car, the vehicle selection is down to the rental company. Rental company sites will give an example car for a class, but also state “or similar”. This means there is commonly no option to choose the exact car you get and you won’t know the car, colour or specification until you receive the keys. By contrast, a car subscription offers the chance to select from a specific range of vehicles, including different levels of specification, to suit your needs. You should always get the exact car you ordered.

Car subscription or rental - which is right for you?

Deciding between a car subscription and a rental is a personal choice and everybody has their own set of circumstances. There are a few things that to consider to help make a final decision; these include:

  • How long you’ll need the car for
  • How much flexibility you need
  • Your monthly budget
  • How important predictability of payments is
  • How important the specific model is

Start your flexible car subscription today

At Drive Fuze, we understand that modern life is always evolving so we provide freedom to focus on what matters to you. No complicated contracts, no long-term commitments - just cars in a range of prices to suit whatever you need right now, as well as in the future.

Check out our range and let us get you on the road quicker.