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Carbar car subscription - is it worth it?

Do car subscription services like Carbar provide good value for drivers? We crunched the numbers to find out. Click here to learn what we discovered.

Shannon Barker

With the costs of owning a car in Australia steadily increasing, more and more people are turning to flexible car ownership as a way to have a car without being locked in to the ongoing costs. Car subscriptions, available through services like Carbar, Carly and HelloCars, are becoming more popular - but are they worth it?

We’ve crunched the numbers, (below) and found that you’ll save over $700 upfront, and from $120 a month ongoing, by car sharing instead of signing up for a car subscription.

What is a car subscription?

A car subscription works a little like Netflix or Spotify: you pay a weekly or monthly fee (from around $120 a week) to use a car and you can swap cars or cancel your subscription and return the car any time. With Carbar, the fee includes registration, insurance, roadside assistance and maintenance, so you just need to pay for your fuel and tolls.

For someone looking for alternative car ownership, a car subscription is a flexible, low-commitment way to have a car for a short time, or easily change cars as your needs change. Unlike owning a car, with a car subscription you can return the car within as little as two weeks if you no longer need it.

Car sharing: another flexible way to access cars

If you don’t need to drive every day, car sharing with a service like Car Next Door is a cheaper, flexible way to access a car. Instead of keeping one car for the length of your subscription, you can borrow a car by the hour or day just for the times you actually need to drive.

At the end of your booking period, return the car and you live car-free until you need to drive again. There’s no minimum commitment period – if you only need a car for two hours a week, you’ll only pay for two hours a week – and with Car Next Door there are no monthly membership fees. Plus with a huge variety of cars to choose from, you can pick the one that’s right for each trip. You’re not locked in to 30 days with the same car.

Car Next Door is Australia’s fastest-growing car sharing network, with nearly 4,000 cars available across Australia. Once you’ve joined for free, you can book a car instantly, so it’s no less convenient that owning a car or taking out a car subscription.

Learn more about borrowing cars with Car Next Door

Car ownership, car subscription or car sharing?

We crunched the numbers to work out what method of accessing a car is cheapest, depending on how often you need to drive. These figures are based on a small car.

As you can see, even for a regular user, car sharing with Car Next Door is the cheapest option.

Car ownership Car subscription with Carbar Car sharing with Car Next Door
Upfront cost $13,000 $769.30 $0
Insurance $847.20 $0 $0
Registration and CTP $834.80 $0 $0
Roadside Assistance $110 $0 $0
Depreciation $3,250 $0 $0
Maintenance $865.50 $0 $0
Hire rates N/A $119/week $5/hour or $25/day
Fuel 10c/km 10c/km 21c/km-45c/km
Hourly/daily cost to reduce insurance excess N/A Not an option - standard excess is $2,000 $1.50 an hour or $18 a day to reduce from $2,000 to $500
Booking fee per trip N/A N/A Up to $6.99
Total monthly cost
Light use: driving twice a month $500 $484 $107.38
Regular use: driving 1-2 times a week $511 $495 $251.15

Instead of looking for flexible car ownership, why not ditch car ownership altogether and take up car sharing? Car Next Door is the cheapest, most flexible way to access a car when you need one, with thousands of cars, utes and vans ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Join Car Next Door for free


Car ownership:

  • Upfront cost based on a 2016 Hyundai Accent advertised on (July 2019)
  • Insurance price quoted by RACV for a 2016 Hyundai Accent with the youngest driver a 30 year old male for a Blue member (July 2019)
  • Registration and CTP insurance quoted by Vicroads for a car kept in a metropolitan area (July 2019)
  • Roadside assistance quoted for RACV Roadside Care for a Blue member (July 2019)
  • Depreciation based on diminishing value at 25% per year, in line with ATO allowances
  • Maintenance cost based on figures from RACV for the average cost per kilometre for tyres and servicing for a small car, multiplied by the national average of 15,000 kilometres a year
  • Fuel cost based on a fuel consumption of 8L/100km and fuel price of $1.40/L

Car subscription with Carbar

  • Upfront cost based on the non-refundable upfront fee for a subscription for a 2016 Hyundai Accent on the CRUISE plan
  • Hire rates based on weekly rate for a subscription for a 2016 Hyundai Accent on the CRUISE plan
  • Fuel cost based on a fuel consumption of 8L/100km and fuel price of $1.40/L

Car sharing with Car Next Door

  • All costs based on borrowing a small car with a distance rate of 33c/km

Driving scenarios

  • Light use - assumes one 3-hour booking and one all-day booking each month
  • Regular use - assumes three 3-hour bookings and two all-day bookings each month
  • All scenarios assume 30km per 3-hour booking and 50km per all-day booking
  • All scenarios assume the driver wants to reduce their insurance excess
  • For car ownership, all scenarios include the monthly average of all costs except the upfront cost

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