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Car Subscription Pros and Cons

April 07, 2018

Car subscriptions are trendy and luxurious. When you subscribe, you typically pay a premium for the ability to switch cars several times a year. Each manufacturer decides how many times they let you switch. Most car subscription services offer a better-than-usual level of service, with perks like pickup and drop-off for maintenance appointments. You might also get to drive a vehicle trim that you can't purchase or lease, one with exclusive styling or features. The prospect of these things is exciting, but downsides to car subscriptions exist.

Con: Mileage Limits

Like leasing a car, subscriptions usually limit you to a certain mileage every month. Subscriptions are shaping up to be a little more generous in this area than leasing, but limits can still be restrictive.

Pro: Tip-Top Condition

Since wear and tear coverage is included in the price, it's likely that no matter what you drive, it will be in very good condition. Most services provide inspections every time the vehicle is traded, which means you're unlikely to experience a breakdown or malfunction. Although, you'd be unlikely to experience that anyway since the vehicles are new or barely used.

Pro: Convenience

Subscription services typically include insurance, maintenance, taxes, tires and even repairs in their packages. Nobody really wants to take care of all these things themselves. It's nice that they're all included in the service. Car subscription programs like Volvo's "Care" will deliver the vehicle to you and pick up it up when it needs to be serviced. All you have to do is choose the time. BMW will even set your personal presets (presumably seat and infotainment settings) before delivering the vehicle, according to The Verge. Moreover, you don't negotiate the cost of a subscription. The rate is just the rate and that's that.

Pro: Ability to Switch

Let's say you're going to take care of your friend's kids while she and her husband go on vacation in Europe. You currently drive the Cadillac ATS-V and are subscribed to Cadillac's BOOK subscription service, but you need a bigger vehicle to carry those munchkins around with. No problem! Just switch to the Escalade SUV. Most subscriptions offer a range of vehicles, some large and some small.

Con: Price

Subscriptions are still new to the auto industry. Someday, prices might be more reasonable. Now, though, subscribing can be costly. In some cases, it's about three times the cost of a lease. In other cases, it's not so bad. Cadillac's BOOK subscription service costs $1,500 per month, but you can choose from some of the automaker's more expensive vehicles, such as the Escalade and the ATS-V.

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