Is renting a car cheaper than buying?

Posted on: 20 January 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

We consider whether renting rather than buying a car outright can help save more cash.

Petrol prices, parking costs, insurance and tax have all shot through the roof in recent years, forcing thousands of Britons to reduce the amount of driving they do.

Here we consider whether renting rather than buying a car outright can help save more cash.

Car Clubs

One of the most convenient ways to use a car without actually owning one is to join a car club.

Renting A Car

50connect's guide to renting a car online.

Streetcar is one of the largest schemes. It has more than 500 VW Polos, Golfs and Transporter vans parked in streets across London, Brighton, Southampton, Maidstone, Guildford and Cambridge that you can rent by the hour, starting from £3.95, or for up to 30 days at £695.

Joining the scheme costs £49.50, you must be at least 21 years of age, and you must have had no more than one accident in the past three years.

Zipcar is a similar scheme in London, while another, Whizzgo, has cars parked in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Worcester, Birmingham and York.

Visit for details of all the pay-as-you-go cars available around the country. If you would like information on starting your own car club in your area, visit

Car Sharing

Commuters wishing to make regular journeys could join a car pool or car-share scheme.

There are thousands around the country. is a directory of car-sharing clubs and schemes, including those run by councils and local employers.

Another website, Liftshare, matches the journeys of thousands of registered users, making it easier to find someone with whom to car share.

Supercar Rental

If you need a car for the weekend, you could rent a supercar or a classic motor, but it isn't cheap. has the new Audi R8 at £600 a day, and a Lamborghini Murcielago at £1,500 a day. There is a £100 booking fee and drivers must be aged 25 or older.

You could hire a classic Jaguar E-Type V12 coupé from Reflections Classic Car Hire in York for £260 a day. Classic Touring, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, also has a 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow available, from £220 a day.

Alternatively, you could hire a petrol-guzzling Hummer H2 for £450 a day or a Mercedes S-class, complete with chauffeur, for £600 a day from

Buying Your Own Car

If you decide you want your own motor, a personal contract purchase (PCP) agreement will cost less in monthly payments than a personal loan or a hire purchase agreement.

If you decide that you don't want to keep the car, you can hand back the keys before you make the final payment.

“PCPs are increasingly popular. The monthly payments are lower because you make a final large payment of up to half the car's value. However, you can return the car or roll the equity into a new vehicle,” says Tim Moss, of, the comparison website.

An agreement from for a vehicle worth £18,000 costs £330 a month at 9.9% APR, with a deposit of £2,500 and a final payment of £6,889, making a total of £21,275.

Have you tried renting instead of buying? Did it work out cheaper? Would you consider renting a car?

Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. 

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