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We all know and more or less understand what it means financially to buy, lease, insure, repair and maintain a car. It's one of life's biggest big-ticket items. But new on the scene are subscription services, which simplify all of the above with a flat monthly fee. They're so new that you might be curious but confused about them. We were, too, so we took a deep dive and compiled this extensive guide to automotive subscriptions.

Subscriptions fill a niche somewhere between a short lease and a long rental. Sort of. Lots of automakers are experimenting with them (and their dealers are plenty mad about that). Third parties, too. Subscriptions dangle some cool features, like bundled insurance or the opportunity to swap cars — from, say, a stable of Porsches — as often as you change your shirt.

So, which subscription services are too pricey, and which might just pencil out? Which offer a mix of appealing features, and which have restrictions you'd chafe at? Which are even offered in your area?

Vehicle subscriptions could be ideal for many people. Maybe for you. You need never think about your car's depreciation again. Ultimately, could one of these coax you away from vehicle ownership — or, depending on your point of view, alleviate the drudgery of it?

We lay it all out, including our take on each service. Read on.

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