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rent or lease a car for 27 days in France?

My wife and I will arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport on April 3, 2019, and want to rent/lease a car until April 30, returning the car to the Paris area (not necessarily at CDG - we would prefer drop off at Orly). I have checked out car leasing with Renault, and for a car we would be interested in it would be about $200 more than it would cost renting the car through AutoEurope (after adding in the environmental surcharge, the airport fees, and the road fee). What are the advantages/disadvantages of leasing versus rental? We do not have our heart set on any particular car (although I would prefer a diesel), and am perfectly able to drive a stick shift. Thanks for any information. Peter

Posted by
8021 posts

AutoEurope also brokers leases. Check into their programs. Peugeot also has a factory sponsored leasing program.
The advantages is that you get much better insurance with the lease than a rental car company's CDW plan. You can also take it into countries often excluded from car rentals. Anyone in your party can drive the car without having to pay for extra drivers. You usually get a brand new car vs. a used car on a rental.
You can avoid airport fees, etc. when you pick the cars up in the city or off airport or off train station rental.

Posted by
752 posts

Leasing is usually the way to go, for all the reasons previously mentioned. I’ve done it a number of times, from both Peugeot and Renault, based on which car I preferred. Pickup is very easy, and having a brand new car is great!

If you’re spending a significant number of days in Paris at the beginning or end of your trip, be aware that parking charges continue to rise as Paris attempts to encourage public transit.

Have a great road trip!

Posted by
16893 posts

I've had good experiences with both rental and leasing but do see in my own test that AutoEurope's regular rentals with Europcar are coming out cheapest for the time period, including no-deductible insurance, so I'd probably choose that option for this trip. There may still be some differences in whether the CDW covers things like tires, windows, undercarriage, or roadside assistance, but you're probably not planning to drive off-road or into countries or onto islands that wouldn't be covered by the rental insurance, are you? AutoEurope makes it pretty easy for you to check out this fine print.

Posted by
32 posts

I have been extremely pleased with leasing through IdeaMerge, and currently have another trip booked for late April that entails our 4th auto lease from them. The insurance aspect is what stands out the most for me, as I can attest that they do truly stand behind “zero deductible” insurance. I won’t go into details, but on our last trip we did finally have a minor “altercation” with a granite bench driving a Citroen from IdeaMerge (agent of Eurocar TT). The return of the car wasn’t something I was looking forward to, but the kind station agent assured me that everything was covered by their insurance, and even filled out the damage report for me. I never heard another thing about it, no further charges to my credit card, no nasty letter, nothing!
When you lease through this program, you can choose exactly which auto you want from a very long list of car models / transmissions / fuels. You get the brand-new auto you contract for delivered to the station you choose as a starting point, a far cry from “sorry, we’re currently out of the size car you requested, but we do have this other one that will work”. Add not getting jacked-around on insurance coverage BS, and it’s hard to stomach dealing with most rental agencies.
I’m not employed by this company, just very enthusiastic about a company that seems to do things right. Driving in Europe is getting more complicated each time I make a driving trip, but this lease program has been very helpful to take a lot of the stress away on obtaining a suitable car. Speed cameras / Average speed cameras / ZTLs / suddenly lowered speed limits for no obvious reasons…..all of those are the stress makers that seem to be steadily ramping up.

Posted by
189 posts

We usually lease. Nice to pick out exactly what you want. Leasing this year In May/June. I checked gas vs diesel fuel prices and gas vs diesel car prices and concluded that leasing a gas vehicle was easily cheaper. This hasn't always been the case.

Posted by
10043 posts

TT is the company that handles all the leases. If you want a Renault you lease via AutoEurope has Peugeot. Now we know who carries Citroen. But the contracts are the same, as TT is the leasing company, and here’s another report that insurance is seamless. We stopped mid-lease to replace a windshield after a gravel incident in a work zone. The 500-euro repair was handled directly between the autoshop and TT’s insurance. Other pluses: the car manual will be in the car, unlike a lot of rentals. No charge for a second driver. No extra, hidden charges. I usually have anywhere from 50-200 more to pay with my AutoEurope rentals (airport or train station pick up, Hertz drop fees, second driver, taxes)

The only drawback to the lease: you’ll have red license plates, which indicates the car has been paid for with money coming from people residing outside the EU. People know that these cars are more likely being used for travel and carry suitcases. We’ve never had a break-in, though one guy tried to help my husband find his way in Paris due to the red plates. A nice gesture, but it was the neighborhood my husband grew up in, so he sent the samaritain on his way. So it’s not just tourists who lease, but also overseas French who come home at vacation time. Personally, I have more peace of mind with a lease despite the red plates.

Posted by
795 posts

I agree with what David said except for one minor detail. With a lease car you always get a new car, it is part of the French VAT law loop hole that makes the lease programs possible. I have used both Renault USA (Renault) and Auto France (Peugeot) and been very satisfied with them. In 2006 when I rented through Hertz for a month, I got a deal that was $600 better than a lease and by the time the smiling man at the Hertz desk in Frankfurt was finished, I had a car I had not chosen that smelled like cigarette smoke and I was $200 in the hole. Never again! With a lease the car is built for your order and the bill is paid in full before you leave the country. However, you are rapidly running out of time for an April lease.

Posted by
2536 posts

When compared side by side, renting probably saves significant money as long as you are able to obtain complete insurance in a cost effective manner. Insurance typically is the deal breaker for long term rentals vs. leases. Leases usually come out cheaper.

However, American Express offers primary insurance coverage for only $25 when using their card for the rental. I have yet to find a scenario where renting costs more leasing when using AE rental insurance.

Another element of leasing that I find worrisome are the red license plates. Red plates mean untaxed vehicle which means a factory lease which means tourist and these cars become fertile ground for thieves who break into cars to steal contents. Car break-ins are a huge problem in many areas of France and tourists are often targets.

Posted by
1625 posts

We leased a Citroen car through Idea Merge in August for 3 weeks and had a great experience. No issues. We ordered a gasoline car and were upgraded to diesel a couple months before pickup. They programmed the GPS to English for us. Since we picked up in Calais and dropped in Milan, the huge rental one way charge ($1000) made the lease more cost effective vs the $250 lease one way charge.

I wondered if the red license plate had to do with the lease. Now I know.