Difference between Leasing and Renting a Car

Car lease vs. rental car is one of the popular topics among new residents in Dubai. Of course, Dubai has an excellent public transportation system but it does not afford the convenience and comfort that comes with driving a private car. 

If buying a car is out of your league at the moment, the next best option is to consider renting or leasing a car. So, what is the difference between leasing and renting a car? Understanding the differences would help you make an informed decision.

Usage Duration

The timeframe of the usage of the car is a major difference between leasing and renting a vehicle. Leasing is often for long-term usage while renting is for a shorter timeframe. 

To lease a car, you have to pay a specific amount for a timeframe, which is often for a longer period when you would use the car. You can lease a car for months but for renting, it varies from a few hours to a day, or at most a week.

Car Ownership

In answer to the question – what is the difference between leasing and renting a car, another major difference that comes to mind is car ownership. When you lease a car, you retain the vehicle for as long as you pay the lease. 

You enjoy the same privileges that a car owner enjoys, such as having the car in your possession as using it whenever you want to. With renting, you only have access to the vehicle for the couple of hours you are renting it for and you return it to the owner as soon as the rental period is over.

Monthly Payments

Renting a car in Dubai does not require that you pay a monthly fee except you have signed a rental contract whereby the car rental company provides monthly vehicle rental services to you. Rent is often a one-off payment for the duration of use. However, when you lease a car, you have to make a monthly payment for the duration of the lease. 

Rental Car vs Rental Lease

Car Insurance Requirements

You do not have to worry about car insurance when you rent a car in Dubai. However, you need to consider the insurance when you lease a vehicle. Usually, the car rental company offers insured vehicles to the renters but for lease, you will be liable for the insurance of the car.

Vehicle Maintenance

You do not have any business with the maintenance of a rental car. The rental car company handles everything that has to do with the maintenance. For a leased vehicle, you are to pay for the maintenance fees because the vehicle will be in your possession. Since you would be using it as your own, you must take care of it as you would maintain your vehicle.

 Vehicle Customization

With a rental car, you decide on the specific vehicle you want and the model. After renting the vehicle, you cannot make any changes to the car and you must return it the same way you picked it. With leasing, you can customize the car based on your style and taste for the duration of use.

However, when you want to return the vehicle, you need to remove all changes you have made if the contract states that you must return the car in its original condition.


In this post, we have looked at different factors that differentiate car lease from rental car. Therefore, if you ask the question – what is the difference between leasing and renting a car, these factors have provided detailed differences. 

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