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Zipcar vs Maven: Which Carsharing Service Reigns Supreme?

Last updated: May 29, 2021
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The Best Carsharing Service

When you consider that car ownership and maintenance can cost as much as $9,000 a year, it’s no wonder why more and more people are using car sharing services. When Zipcar got started in 2000, they had four cars in one location. Now they are in over 300 countries around the world and have over 12,000 vehicles. Over 900,000 people use ride-sharing services and if you’re a regular user you likely want to find the best service for you. While Zipcar has been around the longest, GM has now entered the car-sharing game with Maven. You can read our review of Zipcar, here, but in a comparison of Zipcar vs Maven how do the two services stack up?

In the comparison of Maven vs Zipcar, you’ll find that these two services share plenty of similarities. Many of the major differences will include the cost of the services, vehicle selection, and the locations where these carsharing services currently operate. So, for some, the decision of Zipcar vs Maven will be based on your location. If you have both options in your area, this comparison of Maven vs Zipcar should give you the side by side look at both companies, allowing you to choose a carsharing option with confidence.


The Signup Process with Zipcar vs Maven

Sign up for both Zipcar and Maven is relatively easy. You can sign up online or you can use the smartphone app. Either way, you will need the app once you begin reserving cars. During signup, you will be charged the annual fee or application fee for both companies. Maven offers a free lifetime membership, which begins when you sign up and if you use this link, $20 off your first reservation. Zipcar charges a $25 application fee, but if you use this link you’ll get a $25 credit, essentially erasing your application fee!

Signup includes some basic information. Whether you go with Maven or Zipcar, signup does not mean you’re approved to drive. Before you can be approved, both companies will check your driving record to ensure that you’re a safe driver. If you’ve had few problems on your driving record you should be approved immediately. That said, both companies reserve the right to approve or deny anyone on an individual basis.


Car Selection for Maven vs Zipcar

Both Zipcar and Maven offer a decent car selection. Zipcar states that you can choose your car model. They provide access to as many as 50 different makes and models. So, no matter why you need a car, there is a good chance they will have what you need. Zipcar offers a variety of cars in each location from economy size cars to vans.  That said, specific vehicle selection will depend on your location.

Maven also offers a good selection of vehicles that will be perfect for a variety of activities. You can even reserve electric cars. Also available are a selection of compact cars, sedans, and SUVs. Like with Zipcar, the specific selection will depend on the area where you are located. Still, every location has a variety of smaller and larger vehicles available to suit various needs.


Zipcar vs Maven when it comes to Cost

Zipcar starts with a driver picking the membership option that works for them. Maven does not require a paid membership. They just have you pay for the time you’ve reserved a car. With Zipcar, some memberships waive the annual fee. Otherwise, you can assume you’ll pay a $70 annual fee for membership and then the cost of each reservation. Rates will vary based on location and the car that you reserve. Generally speaking, rates fall around the $9.75/hour range, but can be more or less depending on the car. Daily rates are around $74 though the same rule with pricing applies. Don’t forget, you can get a free $25 credit for Zipcar!

Maven has changed their pricing structure a few times in the past, but currently the reservation price you pay will depend on the class of vehicle you choose. Compact cars start at $7 per hour, while Sedans, SUVs, and Electric cars start at $9/hour. Like other carsharing services Maven determines daily rates by 10x the hourly rate, So, you can assume the daily rate will be close to $100. This makes it pricier than some carsharing or rental companies, but the cars are generally newer, come with lower miles, and are cleaned regularly, so you end up with a nice, spotless car.


Locations & Availability for Zipcar vs Maven

Zipcar is a worldwide carsharing service, with locations in many North American cities and over 170 cities around the world. They have also partnered with more than 400 universities in the United States. Zipcar isn’t in every city, but you can assume that if you’re in a larger town you probably have Zipcar. If not, you can assume you will probably have it soon.

Maven is still a bit on the newer side, with only a few major cities they currently service. According to their website, Maven currently operates in:

  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Detroit, MI
  • Denver, CO
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Orlando, FL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington DC

Unfortunately, if you’re not in one of those cities, the Maven vs Zipcar debate ends there for you. As Maven continues to grow it will reach more cities, but for now, availability is limited to a handful of cities.


Basics for Zipcar

  • Cars should be picked up and returned to the same spot for round trips
  • Use the app to check vehicle locations and make reservations (you can call, too)
  • Cancellations are required within 3 to 24 hours depending on the reservation
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Gas card is above the visor and gas lower than a quarter of a tank should be refilled
  • Insurance coverage up to $1 million
  • Signup here for a $25 Zipcar credit


Basics for Maven

  • Cars should be returned to the same station you picked the car up
  • Heavily app-dependent for reservations, unlocking the car, and cancellations/extensions
  • Cars can be booked anywhere from one hour to 28 days
  • No one-way trips are allowed
  • Mileage allowance of 180 miles per day. Additional miles at $0.42 per mile
  • 24-hours are required for cancellations. Otherwise, you’ll pay the full fee.
  • Gas card is available and should be filled up if less than ¼ tank
  • Click the “extend” button to extend your reservation, assuming the car is not reserved to another user

If you’re considering Zipcar vs Maven, for many the choice is going to come down to availability. Zipcar is available in more cities and is a great option for world travelers, as it is in a number of countries. Maven on the other hand, is a great start, but just not as available. If you’re in one of the cities Maven operates, they are worth trying out. Otherwise, Zipcar is a great choice and available in most major cities.

You should also consider reading our post on Enterprise carshare vs Zipcar and also our comparison between Zipcar & car2go.

Check out our post regarding services like Zipcar and see if you agree with our choice of best car-sharing services.

If You already decided to go with Zipcar, feel free to check How does Zipcar work? post and see all options available.

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