The ultimate guide to car subscriptions

If buying a car is too big of a commitment and renting one is just not enough, car subscriptions may be for you.

The ultimate guide to car subscriptions
8 min read
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Here's what you need to know

✔️  Car subscriptions are a new, more flexible way of car ownership (without the hassle of it).

✔️  Most subscription companies include all car costs into one flat monthly fee.

✔️  There are more and more cars available on subscription so you have a wider choice of vehicles.

If buying a car, be it outright or on finance, is too big of a commitment and renting one is just not enough, car subscriptions may be for you.

By subscribing to a car service, you can experience car ownership without the hassle. In this guide we explain what it is and why it’s a great alternative to owning or leasing a car. Read on the learn more about this new way of owning a car, especially if you're wondering what is a car subscription plan.

What is a car subscription exactly?

A car subscription is a flexible, monthly plan that grants you access to a range of vehicles for a flat monthly fee. The subscription contracts are inclusive of your essential car costs, such as insurance, road tax, servicing, breakdown cover etc.

Unlike leasing or buying on finance, the subscription terms are more flexible. They tend to be on a month-by-month basis until you decide to cancel, or swap your car for a different one (if you get tired of it). Some services require you to commit to at least 2-3 months, but that can be the case for specific car models only.

What are the benefits of car subscription services?

The main benefit is the flexibility and convenience. Subscribing to a service is a growing trend, you get a regular food delivery from HelloFresh, a bunch of random gifts from LootCrate or even clothes from services like  TrunkClub. Every single one of these services which tries to make our busy lives easier.

The freedom to swap and change your car once a month is a game-changer for many. Gone are the days of being stuck in a finance contract, tirelessly waiting to hit the midway point of your agreement so you can trigger the voluntary termination clause!

Another big thumbs up for car subscriptions is the convenience of having all costs and bills included in one, all-inclusive monthly bill. Everything is clear and easy to understand, which makes your monthly budgeting that much easier. There aren’t any unexpected costs. Check our our car subscription vs car buying guide!

Normally, you’d be responsible for the maintenance, MOT, repairs, roadside assistance, tax and insurance, but a car subscription service takes care of all of that. You just need to pay for fuel and get on the road!

What cars can I get with a flexible car subscription?

There's literally a car for everyone. There are quite a few subscription providers now which makes finding the right car  simple.

Subscription providers often source their vehicles from new, but if it’s a used one, more often than not, your car will be under 6 months to 1 year old. If your heart desires, you can basically drive a brand new car every couple of months.

Most car brands are available on subscription, here a list of manufacturers available from services like elmo, Onto, Cazoo and Wagonex:

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Fiat
  • Kia
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • MINI
  • Range Rover
  • Renault
  • Tesla
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

The car inventory is updated often as and when cars are available and released. It’ll be hard to run out of choices!

How does car subscription work?

The process of subscribing to provider is actually quite straightforward and you can be on the road quite quickly. Here are the usual steps to getting a car on subscription:

  1. Find the right car - Browse through the list of makes, models, and trims providers offer and find the right one for you! Be it a sporty Tesla Model 3, or a chunkier Volvo XC 90, there will be a car for everyone.
  2. Register and confirm your details – When you find the car and provider you like, you’ll have to create an account with them and provide them the usual details.
  3. Credit check – Similarly to other product and services on credit, car subscription providers will carry out a credit check to confirm your identity. This will be a “soft credit check” which won’t affect your credit score.
  4. Schedule a delivery – The final stretch. Once the car has been ordered and details confirmed, you’ll just need to wait for the vehicle to be delivered.
  5. Drive – Enjoy simple car ownership without the hassle.

This is the usual process when creating a new account with a car subscription platform. However, when it comes to swapping the car for another, you won’t have to go through the same process again. Often. the car subscription company would arrange for the old car to be picked up, and the new one, delivered.

How much does car subscription cost?

A car subscription in the UK can cost anything from £180 to £2,000 or more per month. In addition, many services ask for a refundable down payment, activation fee, or deposit. In many cases that’s a flat £300 deposit which you get back at the end of the agreement.  

The cost of your car subscription plan will mainly depend on your chosen car and contract length. The cheapest car on subscription we could find is this Renault Twizy from Wagonex which costs just £180/month. The most expensive car, however, goes to this Porsche 911 which will set you back £2,760/month.

When picking a car, always make sure the plan and cost fits in with your monthly budget. Also, as always make sure you shop around and compare subscription companies before committing to one.

Is getting a car on subscription worth it?

If you value convenience and flexibility then a car subscription is the right option for you. However, if you want your money to be going towards something you’ll eventually own, you should pick a car on finance (e.g. PCP or HP).

Some people find subscriptions to work as a quick or temporary solution until they buy a car they want to own. You can also treat subscriptions as an extended test drive. Find the model you want, drive until you are fully happy with it, and then go and buy it so you can own it.

The main downside with car subscriptions is the hefty monthly price tag which, for many, isn’t feasible for an extended period.

Having said that, the option to try a new car for a month or two, no strings attached, is an exciting prospect for many drivers in the UK. This is such a big reasons why you could considering replacing your old car.

What happens at the end of car subscription?

Once your subscription has come to an end, your car will be collected by the subscription provider. You can normally arrange a collection from your home.

The car will then be inspected for any damage that isn’t just normal wear and tear. If any additional servicing is required, you may be asked to cover the cost.

If everything looks good and the subscription company is happy, no further monthly payments will be taken!

Dropping the car at the provider’s premises is sometimes also an option. Most providers don’t charge a collection fee for up to a certain amount of miles (usually 50 miles). Read our full guide on deliveries and collections.

Are car subscriptions halal?

Yes, car subscriptions are halal because the subscription agreements do not involve interest.

Under Sharia law interest is forbidden. That's why Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Hire Purchase (HP), are not halal. Although, they can be if they are interest-free.

It can be a bit challenging to find the right car finance deal if you want to follow the law because most car finance lenders do not have halal car finance options. That's why car subscriptions can be an excellent sharia-compliant alternative!

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It's time to browse all subscription cars and to find the best subscription service for you!
Article sources

Car subscription not for you? Browse cars for sale with Motorpoint!

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