What affects the price of car subscription?

Check out the factors subscription companies use to price your monthly subscription.

What affects the price of car subscription?
8 min read
✓ fact checked

Here's what you need to know

✔️  The cost of your monthly car subscription is mainly affected by the type of car you get, deposit, and add-ons.

✔️  There are ways you can reduce your monthly payment, but not by much.

✔️  Subscriptions remain one of the most flexible routes to car ownership and what you pay monthly can often be changed.

When you plan your budget for your next car, you should be aware of the factors which may affect the price of your monthly subscription.

In this guide, we explain exactly how the monthly price of a car subscription is calculated.

1. The make and model of the car

The very first factor which influences the cost of your monthly subscription is the car you want to get. This may seem like an obvious one, but subscription costs depends heavily on the make, model, year of production and version (or trim).

A single car model is often available in different versions. Say you really fancy getting a BMW 3-Series, well you will be spoilt with choice! There is a 320i M Sport, 320i M Sport Auto, M340d xDrive Touring… to name a few.

More premium models would cost more per month, and normally certain add-ons (such as additional mileage) would cost more too! Check our our car subscription vs car buying guide!

2. The cost of maintenance and servicing

Most, if not all, subscription services in the UK include the maintenance, servicing and MOT in the monthly price. This means they have to forecast the additional cost for any repairs and factor that into your monthly payment.

The cost of MOT is straightforward but when it comes to understanding what a repair for a particular model could cost, then that’s more tricky. Some cars are more reliable than others, spare parts are cheaper for certain makes, and particular cars may require more specialist knowledge and may be harder to service (e.g. EV)

The good news is that pretty much every single subscription provider offers new cars produced within the past 2-3 years, so maintenance on these is likely to be much cheaper.

3. The cost of your subscription deposit

The terms and conditions of paying a deposit when getting a car on subscription vary from provider to provider.

Some, such as Onto, do not charge a deposit or sign up fees so all you pay in your first month is the monthly subscription cost. This is the same with Volvo Care.

Elmo, on the other hand, charge a small, one-time upfront fee of £95.

Wagonex requires a refundable £500 deposit when taking out a car with them.

Cazoo charge a one-month refundable deposit.

As you can see, the deposit can affect the cost of your car subscription quite a lot! The good news is that most providers either don’t ask for a deposit, or it’s refundable. So, you just have to think about your budget in the first month. Check out our in-depth elmo vs. Onto comparison.

4. The value of the car

The price of a car is another factor which may look very obvious – you want a high-end Tesla Model 3 with all the bells and whistles, well you should prepare to fork out a lot!

However, one of the biggest reasons the value of the car is a huge influence is the fact that more expensive cars could cost more to replace if stolen, or written off in an accident.

Car subscription companies take this into account when they put together their monthly subscription packages. They must work at a profit margin that would allow them to cover all expenses relevant to the car and also leave a small profit for them.

5. Where you live

One of the initial payments you may have to pay when subscribing to a car is the delivery fee. Thankfully, most providers can deliver your new car if you live in close proximity to where the car is held. This is normally around 40 to 50 miles.

If you live further than this, you should expect to pay for every additional mile over this. Sometimes this price can go as high as £1 per mile.

There are providers, such as Onto, which offer a flat delivery fee if you want your car delivered anywhere in the UK mainland. The price for this hovers around £100.

Also, in addition to your delivery, some providers have different rates for collection (when you cancel your subscription and have to return the car) and exchange (when you simply want a new car). Swapping your car is normally either cheaper than the delivery fee or is free altogether.

6. Your mileage

How much you plan to drive is the next factor that requires attention. Similarly to other car finance agreements, such as Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Hire Purchase (HP) or lease, car subscriptions have limits on mileage too.

Most subscription providers offer up to 1,000 miles a month as part of your monthly package. But this could vary on the provider, car and type of vehicle (internal combustion vs electric vehicles).

For example, Wagonex works with car dealerships and each subscription agreement would largely depend on that. Before you sign it, they will provide you with all the details you need.

Other providers such as Onto have a very clear mileage structure. You get 1,000 miles a month included in your monthly payment, but you can also pay to add more. Just how much depends on the car.

For example, if you want to add an extra 500 miles monthly and you drive an Audi e-tron, you will have to pay £330. For cheaper, lower-tier cars, the cost is £75 for the same distance.

7. Your car insurance

“But isn’t car insurance included in the price?” I hear you ask. It is for most providers, such as elmo, and that makes car ownership so much simpler and easy.

However, other providers take into account more personal information about the driver to provide you with a car insurance quote. So, same as when insuring a car you own, the quote will be just as personalised and the premium would depend on your personal circumstance.

This means the cost would usually depend on:

  • Driving history
  • Claims history
  • Years of driving experience
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Marital status

This tailor-made car for subscription insurance normally also take into account the contract length.

Also, if you decide you want to drive abroad, you will have to mention that when subscribing to a car as you want to make sure you’re covered overseas.

8. Car subscription add-ons and additional benefits

If you want to add even more to your monthly subscription, some providers would let you pick and choose from some handy additional benefits.

The very first one which most drivers would appreciate is additional mileage. As we mentioned above, how far you can drive isn’t that limited when paying monthly. You adjust your mileage every month and buy more as and when you need more miles. Quite handy if you’re planning long road trips!

The only provider that currently offers add-ons that aren’t mileage, is elmo. As part of your monthly payment you can opt for free public charging (via BP Pulse), installation of a home charging point (via Ohme), and switching to a renewable home energy provider (via So Energy).

Editorial guidelines: We are a free, independent online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car subscriptions. Our goal is to be a trusted and objective website for everything related to car subscriptions. We update our site regularly and always fact-check and verify the claims and information included in every page. Read our full guidelines.
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!

More car subscription advice