Zipcar Review

As the pioneer of car sharing, Zipcar continues to lead the industry by offering user-friendly technology and vehicles in more cities than any other company. Zipcar charges an annual membership fee, but it's worth it if you're committed to using the service regularly.

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The Good

Simple to find, simple to reserve, simple to use

Zipcar is a leader in car sharing because they’ve made the process easy — so easy that Avis, the budget car rental company, purchased Zipcar in 2013. Zipcar spots are easy to find around the city and their mobile app offers a great picture of where cars are available. Reserve a car online or from the convenience of your mobile device. When you get to a car, your Zipcard unlocks the doors through RFID technology and gets you access to the keys effortlessly. Simply leave the spot and return it to the same parking spot when you’re done. No searching for parking, and no parking tickets.

Well-rounded mobile app

Four-star ratings by actual users in the Apple app store say it all. The Zipcar app has everything you need to manage your reservation on the fly. You can browse vehicles and reserve a car in your neighborhood or in another country. View, extend, or change your reservation on the go. You can use the app to lock or unlock your doors after first accessing the vehicle with your card, and even honk your car’s horn with the app if you can’t find it.

Widest available network, including international

Zipcar is available in over 170 cities throughout the U.S. and Europe. This is by far the most locations of any other car share service reviewed. Zipcar’s wide breadth of options gives their members many more opportunities to utilize the service when traveling for work or leisure, which is a huge advantage particularly for frequent users.

Strong member benefits

With Zipcar, key services you’d expect to receive from a car share service are all included in their standard rate. You don’t have to worry about paying for gas since Zipcar provides a gas card in each vehicle. All you have to do is use the card at the gas station when the vehicle falls below a quarter of a tank. You also don’t need to worry about purchasing insurance. Zipcar provides up to $1 million coverage on each vehicle. Finally, 24/7 roadside assistance offers peace of mind by ensuring you’re taken care of if you have any troubles on the road.

High mileage included

While some car share services charge a mileage rate on top of an hourly or daily rate, Zipcar includes 180 miles per day in your reservation rate. Among the services reviewed, this ranks second only to Getaround, who includes up to 200 miles per day. However, Getaround only allows 25 miles per hour of use so, for a two-hour reservation, you can only travel 50 miles before getting charged an excess mileage fee. If you reserve with Zipcar for two hours, you still get 180 free miles.

The Bad

Annual fees

Zipcar may not be the best choice for infrequent car share customers because Zipcar charges an annual fee of around $60. If you’re likely to take just a few trips per year, the annual fee may not be worth it. On the other hand, if you take frequent trips several times a month, the annual fee quickly becomes worth the price.

No one-way trips

With Zipcar, you are required to return the vehicle to the exact location you picked it up from. This prevents you from taking one-way trips in a Zipcar without some way of returning the vehicle to its original location. If you need a vehicle but don’t know where you’ll end up at the end of the day, you’ll benefit more from Car2Go, who lets you return a vehicle to any one of their many designated areas.

The Details

General Info

  • Age Requirement: 18
  • Availability: 170 cities in the U.S., Canada, England, France and Spain
  • Free Daily Mileage Limit: 180

Rates And Fees

  • Annual Fee: $72
  • Cancellation Fee: Up to full trip amount
  • Daily Rate: $69 - $77
  • Damage Fee: Up to $750
  • Deposit: None
  • Excess Mileage Fee: $0.38 - $0.45/mile
  • Hourly Rate: $8 - $10
  • Late Fee: $50/hr ($150 max)
  • Low Fuel Fee: $20
  • No-Show Fee: Full trip amount
  • One-Time Sign Up Fee: $25

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