We tried the ‘Airbnb for Cars’, and it could completely upend the car rental industry

TuroAirbnbforCars4x3It’s easier than renting from Enterprise, but that doesn’t mean it’s better.Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

  • Turo is a person-to-person car-sharing service that is most easily described as “Airbnb for cars.”
  • I decided to try the service on a recent trip, renting an SUV for hundreds less than it would have cost through a rental company like Hertz or Enterprise.
  • I had a generally pleasant experience, but the sign-up was frustrating and I was left with a lot of questions about what happens if something goes wrong.

I’ve long been a sharing economy aficionado. I stay in Airbnbs or HomeAways rather than hotels, take Lyfts or Ubers rather than taxis, and hire for my freelance business through TaskRabbit. I’m something of a millennial clichè.

But I’ve never rented a car through Turo, a person-to-person car-sharing service that is most easily described as “Airbnb for cars.”

Despite Turo’s easy sell to venture capitalists, it hasn’t caught on quite like Airbnb. Originally founded around the same time under the name RelayRides, Turo now operates in 4,700 cities spread across only the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom with about 170,000 cars listed.

But that could soon change.

The company announced in September that it had raised $92 million in additional capital, primarily from Daimler AG. The money, along with its purchase of competitor Croove, is intended to expand the platform to Europe.

I decided to put Turo to the test on a recent trip to Seattle. Here’s how it went:

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