Short-Term Car Lease Vs. Car Rental | Avis Rent a Car


If you’re looking for car lending options for a year or less, then signing a lease or choosing a long-term rental may be your two best options. Both options have pros and cons, so consider both carefully along with your personal circumstances before you settle on one or the other. Let’s dive into the reasons to rent a car or lease a car.


Requirements: What You’ll Need to Lease or Rent

One main difference between leasing and renting a car lies in what you’ll need to provide upfront. In general, a car dealership offering a car lease, either short-term or long-term, has more stringent requirements than a car rental company providing a long-term rental service.

Let’s look at the specifics.

Can You Lease a Car with Bad Credit? 

Maybe. Car dealers definitely prefer their lessees to have good credit. Why? Car dealerships typically only lease brand-new vehicles. Because they are fresh off the assembly line, these cars are in pristine condition and haven’t lost any of their value. Dealerships want to protect the value of these vehicles, so they will only lease to drivers who appear financially stable.

If you don’t have good credit, a dealership offering you a lease will probably put additional restraints into the contract, such as:

  • Requiring a cosigner

  • Requesting a larger down payment

  • Increasing the price of monthly payments


No Credit Check Car Rental

To rent a car, no matter how short or long you want it, you don’t need a good credit score. The rental company will not run a credit check on renters who present a credit card when they pick up the vehicle. Simply put, if you have a credit card, they trust you can pay for the rental.

You should know that if you present a debit card instead of a credit card, the rental company will probably run a credit check. The rental company just wants to verify your credit worthiness, which they can’t do with a debit card alone.


Cost of Leasing vs. Renting a Car

A lot of factors go into the pricing for both of these options, making it difficult to compare specific numbers. Let’s look at the factors instead.

The minimum cost to lease a car includes these expenses:

  • A down payment

  • Monthly payments for a set period of time, usually 2-4 years

  • Auto insurance

  • Car maintenance

  • Fuel

A rental car comes with these costs:

  • Rental payments

  • Fuel

Note that the rental company assumes some of the big costs associated with driving when you choose to rent: they cover the primary insurance on the car and any needed maintenance.

If you would like to see what it would cost you to rent, submit the dates for the borrowing period you’re considering in the form above. Once you submit the form, you’ll see a page with vehicle options and their rates. 

The total price of a rental versus a lease depends on how long you drive the car, which leads right to our next question.


How Long Can You Rent or Lease a Car?

A car lease usually lasts between 2 and 4 years, which means 24-48 payments. Because a lease locks you into making those payments for several years, the overall cost is predetermined. 

On the other hand, a long-term car rental is more like a month-to-month agreement. The total price goes up only if you choose to keep renting. You pick the start and end dates, and most rental companies are happy to help you extend your rental period. Avis allows long-term rental for up to 11 months.


 Can you get a short-term car lease?

 Most car dealers don’t offer short leases, meaning if you want a car for less than two years, monthly car rental may be your best option. To understand why, you need to know how both the dealer and the driver benefit in a typical lease.

 In any lease, the person leasing the car pays the estimated amount the car will depreciate during the leasing period. This transaction saves the driver money because it’s cheaper than buying a car. Similarly, it saves the dealership money because they aren’t losing money while the car loses value. 

 A lease becomes less appealing to both parties when the terms of the lease are shorter. For the driver, the monthly payments go up because a car’s biggest drop in value occurs during its first year on the road. For the dealer, finding drivers who want to pay more per month for a lease is harder, so they usually just avoid offering 6-month or 1-year car lease options. 


Should I Lease, Rent, or Buy a Car?

Taking all the factors into account, there are good times to use all these options. 

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