Ask an expert


What is your opinion on buying an ex rental or ex lease car?

I am considering purchasing an ex rental (Diamond Class) 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer LS-SP.

The first year and a half the car spent at Avis Car Rentals and the rest of the time it spent at Mitsubishi New Zealand and subsequently the local Mitsubishi dealer, presumably as a sales person's runabout.

On one hand I've heard people vowing never to buy ex rental/lease cars as they will have been invariably thrashed to death by the customers. On the other hand I've heard they are serviced regularly and well maintained.


From the "Ask Jack" archives - 22 September 2009


There is probably a wee bit of truth in both opinions however ............

The rental fleet from the big players in the industry normally only spend a short time as rentals and are normally on a buy back agreement with the new vehicle distributors. As part of the condition of buy back, the cars have to meet a certain standard and servicing is normally one such condition. A look at the service book should confirm whether this car has had regular servicing to date.

My understanding of Diamond Class is Mitsubishi NZ undertake to stand by these vehicles.

In my experience with rentals over the years most of them are in good condition and not overly abused. There will be the odd driver however who will give a rental a hard time, whether it has any long term affect on the vehicle is hard to know.

One positive way to look at this is to think if the vehicle was being sold as a standard used car and had been abused by the previous owner all its life, it is probably a worse car to buy than an ex rental which may have had a hard time occasionally. Remember also those who tend to drive a rental car hard would avoid hiring a Mitsubishi Lancer. Nothing against a Lancer as such, but the hard drivers are more likely to go for a bigger vehicle in my view.

Any rental vehicle which has had a major accident is also very unlikely to be sold through the original selling franchise as a used car. More likely these vehicles are sold through other channels.

If it were a choice between a privately owned one owner well serviced car or a ex rental for the same money, I would go for the privately owned vehicle every time but often the price difference is enough to entice people towards the cheaper option, which I'm sure would be the ex rental.

It would definitely pay you to get a pre-purchase inspection prior to agreeing to purchase if you are still keen.