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In the past few years the idea of subscribing to a vehicle, just as you would a streaming service or gym membership, has really taken off. One of the leaders in this new industry is the Sixt+ (or Sixt Plus) car subscription service, a German car rental company that has made major inroads into US markets thanks in large part to its competitive pricing on premium and luxury vehicles.
Sixt+ was launched in 2020 as an alternative to buying or leasing a vehicle, and has proved incredibly popular, according to reports from the company. This article explains the Sixt+ car subscription program, from how it works to rules and requirements to the pros and cons of using the service for your vehicle needs.
On this page:
- Pros and cons of Sixt+
- What is the Sixt+ car subscription service?
- What’s included?
- How it works
- TLDR: Is a Sixt+ car subscription right for you?
Pros and cons of Sixt+
- Advantages of Sixt+:
- More flexible than buying or leasing a car
- Includes costs like maintenance, registration, wear and tear
- Cancel anytime
- Can be paid with credit / debit card
- Option to swap vehicles every 30 days
- Can pause for up to 3 months
- No down payment
- Can pick up car tomorrow
- Delivery available at some locations
- Options available: insurance, GPS, car seat, etc.
- Disadvantages of Sixt+:
- Monthly mileage limits
- Not available nationwide
- Geographic restrictions on vehicle use
- Limited insurance choices
- Can be more expensive than a financed vehicle, and you don’t own the car at the end of the contract
- $199 enrollment fee plus additional fee at some airport locations
What is the Sixt+ car subscription service?
The Sixt car subscription service is just what the name implies – a program in which you subscribe to a car rental service rather than buying or leasing a particular vehicle. The program is essentially a rental contract which you have the option to renew or cancel every month.
Some of the main features of Sixt+ that differ from traditional buying or leasing include the option to swap one vehicle for another, as well as the inclusion of costs like maintenance and depreciation in the subscription price. The rates are much more affordable than traditional car rental rates, in line with monthly car financing or lease payments.
The process for signing up for the Sixt+ subscription service is similar to renting a car from Sixt. You can complete the online enrollment form in just a few minutes, pay with a credit or debit card, and pick up your car as early as the next day.
One of the most appealing aspects of Sixt+ is its overall flexibility. The minimum contract period is only 30 days, and you can cancel at any time. The subscription can also be paused for up to 3 months. The price is also competitive with financed or leased vehicles, and in some cases may be even cheaper.
In addition to affordable rates, the benefits included with a Sixt car subscription are what makes it both a good deal and an attractive alternative to buying or leasing a vehicle. Here’s what you get with every Sixt+ car subscription:
Registration and associated fees: Since this is a rental vehicle that you don’t own, you don’t have to pay for license, title, registration, and other associated fees as you would if you were buying or leasing a vehicle.
Depreciation: Again, because you don’t own the car, you don’t have to worry about how much its value is depreciating during the life of a financing contract.
Maintenance: When you subscribe to a Sixt+ car, maintenance and repairs are included as part of the contract. If the vehicle is in good working order and doesn’t need to be serviced, simply reply to the monthly email you’ll receive from Sixt about the vehicle’s condition.
Wear and tear: Subscribers aren’t responsible for normal wear and tear that occurs to the vehicle.
Monthly car swap: With a Sixt car subscription, you have the option to exchange vehicles at the end of every 30-day cycle. If you prefer, you can keep the car another month or two (or until it is due for maintenance).
Monthly cancellation option: You can cancel a Sixt+ car subscription and return the vehicle anytime. Be aware, however, that if you cancel during a 30-day billing cycle rather than at the end, you won’t receive a refund for the unused portion of your monthly payment.
Pause option: You have the option to pause a Sixt+ car subscription for up to 3 months.
Newer car: Subscribers drive last year’s models or newer. In fact, you’re required to exchange your vehicle for another every 12 months even if you love the car and you don’t want to swap.
Next-day pickup: Cars are usually available for initial pick-up the following day after the enrollment form is completed.
How it works
Fees and monthly costs
So, how expensive is it to use Sixt’s subscription service? Once you take into account everything that’s included, it’s actually quite affordable. Monthly rates are comparable to financed vehicle or lease payments and include many of the additional costs associated with vehicle ownership, like registration and maintenance.
Monthly vehicle rates: Sixt+ monthly rates range from $649 for a Nissan Sentra or similar to $1269 for a Chevrolet Suburban or similar. There are more than 15 car classes available in the program, like a VW Jetta or similar for $659, a Toyota RAV4 or similar SUV for $699, or a BMW 2 Series or similar for $769.
Enrollment fee: There’s a one-time fee to enroll in the program, currently $199.
Deposit: In addition to the enrollment fee, a hold will be placed on your credit or debit card for at least $200, and sometimes more depending on the type of car. The deposit is returned to you at the end of the rental term.
Airport fees: An additional fee is assessed when vehicles are picked up from certain airports. This is the normal fee associated with airport car rentals.
Location fees: The New York Manhattan and New York Queens locations have a surcharge of $195 per month.
Additional driver(s): Adding an additional driver to a Sixt car subscription incurs a fee of $40 to $50 per month, per additional driver. The additional driver doesn’t need to be present when you pick up the car, but you must show their driver’s license to the rental agent.
Toll pass: About $100 per month, but varies by location. One or two packages available, depending on location.
GPS: about $60 per month. Most new vehicles have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so you can skip this cost and link your phone to the vehicle display screen instead.
Child seat: about $50 monthly. It’s probably more cost-effective to purchase your own.
Roadside assistance: about $20 per month.
Liability and comprehensive insurance: customizable options and packages include basic and supplemental liability coverage, as well as personal accident and property coverage. Starts at about $100 per month.
The Sixt+ car subscription service is currently available in 46 locations in 14 states in the US, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago, and Miami. In some cities, you can choose to have the vehicle delivered to you. A list of Sixt+ locations is included below.
When you choose a subscription car from Sixt+, you’re not guaranteed a particular make or model. Instead, you’ll receive a car from a group of vehicles similar in size, features, and performance. It goes without saying that you can’t select the color of your subscription car.
When using the Sixt+ car subscription service, you’ll be required to exchange cars every 12 months. This is to ensure the safety and quality of your subscription plan vehicle.
The Sixt+ subscription requirements aren’t overly strict. Anyone over the age of 21 (or 18 in New York) with a valid driver’s license, payment method, and the ability to pass a simple credit check is eligible for the program.
Drivers under the age of 25 are subject to a young renter fee in addition to the monthly rental charge. Renters not from the United States must provide a valid government-issued secondary form of identification such as a passport.
Mileage and geographic restrictions
A Sixt+ subscription includes 1,000 miles per month. All unused miles are credited to the next month, which is a really great feature. If you go over the limit, there is an additional per mile charge which varies by location and vehicle, roughly $0.15 to $0.60 per mile.
You can add another 1,000 miles per month for an additional fee, which differs depending on the vehicle and rental location. Most additional mileage fees are in the $55-$65 range, but can be up to $90 or so per month in some markets. If you realize you’re going to exceed the 1,000 base miles, you can avoid the additional per mile charge if you upgrade your mileage plan before the next 30 day rental term.
One thing to keep in mind with a Sixt+ subscription is that Sixt restricts vehicle use to the rental state and surrounding region, meaning you can’t just drive the car to any old state you like. You can check the restrictions here. Scroll down to the section titled “Territorial Restrictions & Rentals Across State Lines”.
Payments and deposit
You can pay for a Sixt+ car subscription with a credit card or debit card. Sixt will place a hold on your account for $200 plus the cost of the rental (the first 30 day period). A larger deposit is required for high-end vehicles, the amount of which varies by vehicle type. For local renters using a debit card, a utility bill is required as proof of residency.
Regardless of whether you pay with a credit card or debit card, Sixt will run a credit check to determine if you qualify for the Sixt+ program. The requirements for approval are not nearly as stringent as those for buying or leasing a vehicle. If your credit is OK to good, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.
Insurance and liability protection
You’re not required to purchase insurance coverage for Sixt+ cars. However, there are several customizable insurance options that you can tailor to your needs and budget. Since this is a rental car, you may already have a credit card that offers liability and other coverage. If so, you should consider using it to pay for your Sixt+ subscription. Make sure to check the card terms for any restrictions on using it for this purpose.
You can select a package that includes a loss damage waiver, supplemental liability insurance, and roadside assistance that will save $100 per month or more than if you paid for these coverages individually. You can also customize your own insurance package with basic and /or supplemental liability coverage, as well as personal accident and / or property coverage.
Pickup and return
Once your enrollment form is complete, you can pick up a Sixt+ subscription vehicle as soon as the next day. There are 45 locations in the US where you can pick up your vehicle or have it delivered to you.
Return the vehicle to the same location where you picked it up. If you have it delivered, be aware that you must return the vehicle to a Sixt location, usually an airport.
If you need to travel toll roads in a Sixt+ vehicle, you can choose to be billed through your subscription account or you can use your own transponder. If your Sixt+ car doesn’t have a transponder, the tolls will be tracked via the vehicle license plate.
In addition to the tolls themselves, there’s a $5 administrative fee per toll charge, so if you don’t have a transponder, we recommend signing up for one of the toll packages Sixt+ offers. You can add one of these packages at any time during the 30-day rental term, even if you’ve already accumulated toll charges.
- Sixt+ toll packages:
- The Express Tolls Unlimited package includes unlimited use of toll lanes without toll charges or administrative fees.
- The General Toll Service, available at some locations in the northeast US, waives the administrative fee for each toll charge; customers are still responsible for paying the tolls.
How to set up a Sixt+ subscription
Starting and setting up a Sixt+ car subscription is a simple process. Here’s how to do it:
- Select the desired vehicle. Click “More Details”.
- Choose pickup location and date. Click “Continue”.
- Select Mileage Plan, either 1,000 or 2,000 miles per month.
- Select insurance package, or decline coverage.
- Choose any desired additional options, like a toll pass or child seat. Click “Continue”.
- Enter your personal and payment information and follow the instructions to complete the reservation.
- Pick up your car at the designated location on the date you’ve chosen.
Deals and discounts
Occasionally, Sixt+ offers discounts on the enrollment fees and / or monthly rates for certain model cars. You can check here for deals – if any are available, they’ll be clearly marked in the vehicle detail box, as shown in the image below.
TLDR: Is a Sixt+ car subscription right for you?
- The Sixt+ car subscription program is best for consumers who:
- Have changing vehicle needs on a monthly (or less frequent) basis
- Want the option to exchange for a new vehicle (can swap every 30 days)
- Don’t drive more than 1,000 – 2,000 miles per month on average
- Don’t drive farther than surrounding states
- Desire greater flexibility than buying or leasing
- Want to make their car payments with a credit or debit card
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