How do Australia’s car subscription services compare?

How do Australia’s car subscription services compare?2020-05-06T06:36:14+11:00

It’s fair to say that the way people use cars is changing quickly. Younger generations, especially, are avoiding committing to buying a car because they’d rather drive a vehicle that matches their lifestyle today – not what suited them a few years (or even months) ago. And everyone knows the ongoing costs of owning a vehicle can be a real burden anyway, right? 

So, it’s not surprising, then, that as the subscription economy takes off across all kinds of consumer goods and services – including music, TV and food – car subscription services are rapidly growing. In fact, a survey recently found that 78% of Gen Z would consider shifting from owning a car to accessing one through subscription.

These are exciting times for people who now have a way to drive their car of choice without making any compromises.But, it’s not always easy to decide who to go with when you have a few options in front of you. 

Here, we’ve compared some key features across Australia’s car subscription services – Carly, Carbar, Hellocars and Motopool – to help you decide which one could be right for you.  

It’s fair to say that the way people use cars is changing quickly. Younger generations, especially, are avoiding committing to buying a car because they’d rather drive a vehicle that matches their lifestyle today – not what suited them a few years (or even months) ago. And everyone knows the ongoing costs of owning a vehicle can be a real burden anyway, right? 

So, it’s not surprising, then, that as the subscription economy takes off across all kinds of consumer goods and services – including music, TV and food – car subscription services are rapidly growing. In fact, a survey recently found that 78% of Gen Z would consider shifting from owning a car to accessing one through subscription.

These are exciting times for people who now have a way to drive their car of choice without making any compromises.But, it’s not always easy to decide who to go with when you have a few options in front of you. 

Here, we’ve compared some key features across Australia’s car subscription services – Carly, Carbar, Hellocars and Motopool – to help you decide which one could be right for you.  

How flexible are car subscriptions?

To really get the most value out of your car subscription versus buying a car, you’ll need to find a provider that offers you genuine flexibility – which means not getting locked in to a contract as well as having the freedom to change your car whenever it suits.

Minimum subscription periods and cancellation 

Carbar, Motopool and Carly all have a standard 30-day minimum subscription period across all their pricing plans before subscribers can cancel. Meanwhile, Hellocars requires subscribers to sign up for a minimum term of 4 months (120 days) on its cheapest Economy plan. This reduces to a 45-day minimum subscription period on Hellocars’ second tier Cruise Plan and 30-days on the most expensive Explorer plan. 

Unlike other car subscription services, Carly offers subscribers additional flexibility with the option to pause their subscription at any time. So, you won’t run the risk of wasting money on a service you’re not using if your needs temporarily change (and you won’t have to cancel and sign up all over again either).

How many times can you switch cars (and what’s the cost)?

The other big point of difference when it comes to flexibility among car subscription services is the amount of times you can change your car (and how much they charge you to do it). 

While Hellocars and Carbar charge a swap fee to change cars on their cheapest plans, Carbar allows a free swap every three months (90 days) on its most expensive Shift Plan while Hellocars allows subscribers to swap vehicles every 90 days on its mid-tier and upper tier Cruise and Explorer pricing plan.

So, if you think you’ll be partial to a new car experience quite frequently, you’ll probably be better off looking more closely at Motopool and Carly. Motopool allows one free swap per month on its cheapest Starter Plan, increasing to two changes per month on its Value Plan and three changes per month on Motopool’s most expensive Premium Plan. 

On the other hand, Carly allows one free switch per month on its Entry and Medium plans and two switches per month on Carly’s Ultimate plan. What’s important to remember here is that Carly’s Entry plan pricing starts at around $495 per month compared to Motopool’s cheapest $750 per month Starter package – which means Carly is probably where frequent switchers will find better value.  

Upfront fees and charges

The most expensive car subscription service when it comes to upfront fees and charges is Carbar, which charges new subscribers non-refundable fees anywhere between $1000 to $7,000 – depending on the weekly rate you’re paying. Meanwhile, if you decide to join Hellocars, you’ll have to security deposit of $500, $1000 or $2,500 based on an online assessment to determine your serviceability. Better still, Motopool’s one-off joining fee is even lower at $250 across all three of its subscription pricing options.

If you’re looking for a car subscription that won’t leave you out of pocket right from the start, then you might not look any further than Carly. There are no upfront fees or charges for new Carly subscribers – the first payment you make will just be your monthly subscription fee. This flexibility means that if you cancel your subscription early because your needs change, it’ll still be a worthwhile experience, nonetheless. 

Service and accessibility

Signing up to a car subscription quickly and for the right price is extremely important, but you should also consider how well you’ll be looked after once you’re on the road. 

The first thing to note when comparing your options is that car subscription services are generally not Australia-wide. While both Carbar and Carly currently service Sydney and Melbourne, Carbar advertises availability in Queensland, but has limited listings here. On the other hand, Motopool only offers vehicles across the broader Brisbane area while Hellocars services Sydney. 

It’s also important to be confident your subscription service will live up to your expectations when it comes to choosing your car and dealing with a subscription service day-to-day. Carly offers a complete end-to-end online transaction which enables customers to find and subscribe to vehicles using their desktop or mobile, so you could get into a car within 24 hours and with less hassle. 

Carly also provides vehicle delivery and extended support hours between 9am and 11pm on weekdays and between 9am and 6pm on weekends. Meanwhile, Carbar and Motopool’s support hours are more limited – 9 to 5pm Monday to Saturday and closed on Sunday. Hellocars advertised hours are 9am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and 9am to 4pm Sunday.

Vehicle Running Expenses

One of the most appealing aspects of using a car subscription service compared to buying a car is that you won’t have to foot the bill for ongoing maintenance and running costs. So, it’s not surprising that most subscription services are pretty good at making sure their pricing is all-inclusive of incidental vehicle costs. 

All subscription services include vehicle registration, insurance and roadside assistance as part of their weekly or monthly pricing plans – which means all subscribers need to pay for is the fuel they use and any tolls. 

Car Subscription options for everyone

So the main thing for consumers now is that there are plenty of car subscription options to choose from. The watch out though is that not all car subscriptions are equal nor are they as simple as other subscriptions we’re all used to like Airbnb or Netflix.

If you’re wanting to get a car subscription, we recommend you have a look on Carly and at least find out how we can help get you into the car you want with all the flexibility you need.