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I rented a Tesla through car-sharing app Turo, and would absolutely rent a car through the site again. Jordan Erb/Insider
- I rented a Tesla through Turo, a car-sharing app that's basically the Airbnb of the car world.
- It was simple and convenient to use, and I would absolutely rent another car through the site.
- But some quirks, like the "young driver fee" — for a 25-year-old — were less than ideal.
Earlier this month, I used Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing service, to rent a Tesla for the first time. Incidentally, since I'd just turned 25 in July, it was my first time renting a car at all — and I can see why Turo became a pandemic darling.
As the pandemic raged on through the summer of 2021 and travelers turned to rental cars for domestic vacations and road trips, Turo's business boomed, and in the fall, the company confidentially filed paperwork for an initial public offering. In January of this year, Turo disclosed its finances for the first time, revealing that through September, its revenue had jumped 207% year-over-year.
I thought the overall experience was exceedingly easy and convenient — and though I felt the app fell short in a few ways, I don't know if I'll ever rent through a traditional car-rental service like Hertz or Enterprise.
Pro: Using Turo was so easy that I don't see myself ever using another rental service
About a week before my trip, I began my search for a Tesla in the Bozeman, Montana, area. (There were only four to choose from, which made it easy.) I requested to rent the car I wanted, put down a payment, and waited for the host to approve my request. Within 10 minutes, it was confirmed.
I chose to have the Tesla delivered to the airport, and scheduled to pick it up about 20 minutes after my flight landed. As my flight got in, I received a message from the owner telling me where the car would be.
Once I landed, I headed to the pickup spot, which let me skip the line at the rental-car counter, and saved me time and a headache after getting off a red-eye flight. The owner gave me a 20-minute overview of the car, and then I was off.
The return process was equally as easy: I charged the car, dropped it off where I picked it up, and texted the owner to tell him I had returned it.
Con: I was charged a "young driver fee" — even at 25
Even though I'm 25, I still had to pay a "young driver fee" on Turo. Jordan Erb/Insider
I turned 25 in July. With my brain finally fully developed, I was ready to rent my first vehicle. I went through the process of reserving the Tesla, and at the very end, was hit with a $148 young-driver fee.
According to Turo's website, if you're between 18 and 20 years old, you'll pay a minimum young-driver fee of $50 per day (which isn't dissimilar from other rental services). Unlike other services, however, even if you're 25, you'll still pay a minimum young-driver fee of $30 per day. Mine came out to $49.50 per day.
Another thing for young renters to keep in mind: If you want to rent a "Super Deluxe Class" car — a vehicle worth more than $85,000 — on Turo, you have to be at least 30 years old.
Pro: It's a good way to rent Teslas and other specialty vehicles
I picked up the Tesla at the Bozeman airport. Jordan Erb/Insider
While both Hertz and Enterprise have announced partnerships with Tesla, neither has a fleet in Montana (or other states like the Dakotas, Idaho, and Wyoming, among others), so Turo was the only way to rent the electric vehicle in the state.
With hundreds of thousands of cars in all 50 states, as well as in countries around the world, Turo has tons of other fun vehicles you can toy around with for a few days — from vintage VW camper vans to Lamborghinis and Porsches.
Con: I felt anxious driving another person's car
I was sad to return the Tesla, and surprised by how much I enjoyed driving it. Jordan Erb/Insider
Since it was my first time ever renting a car — let alone a luxury vehicle — I felt nervous driving the Tesla. It felt like being responsible for another person's baby: I wanted to keep it safe in any way I could.
That's not to say that I wouldn't be as cautious while driving a car I rented from Hertz or Enterprise, but since this was someone's personal car, I felt under increased pressure to keep it safe.
Pro: You get the exact car you book
There were no surprises when I picked up the Tesla; I got exactly what I paid for. Jordan Erb/Insider
Unlike other rental services, Turo lets you book the exact car that you're looking for. Whereas with Hertz you're not guaranteed the car you selected (as the website says "specific makes/models within a car class may vary in availability"), you know exactly what you're getting when you book through Turo.
This was particularly nice when I arrived at the Bozeman airport, as I knew there would be no surprises when I went to pick up the car.
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