My Experience Leasing a Car in Europe through AutoFrance

As an American traveling in Europe, I had the opportunity to take advantage of Peugeot’s Open Europe Program though AutoFrance and saved considerably compared to a traditional car rental. This post details why I needed a car while traveling in Europe, what I loved most about the experience, and the benefits included in the program.

Finding fields of sunflowers near Beja, Portugal while on a roadtrip in my Peugeot from  AutoFrance

Finding fields of sunflowers near Beja, Portugal while on a roadtrip in my Peugeot from AutoFrance

Why I needed a car while traveling in Europe

After living in Europe for three months while my boyfriend completed a graduate program in Madrid, we had a few weeks of time off before joining his family in Lisbon to celebrate his 30th birthday. Our plan was to return home to the US after Lisbon, which meant bringing home all of our belongings. We had quite a bit of luggage and accumulated even more on our travels, so planning how to get ourselves and our stuff from Madrid to Lisbon and also visit multiple destinations around Portugal in between was getting complicated. I researched several options and compared costs: I considered renting storage space in Madrid for our luggage, and flying to Portugal and back to Madrid before flying to the US. I also considered flying with all of our baggage from Madrid to Lisbon and renting storage space there while driving around to other destinations in Portugal. Both these options were looking expensive, inconvenient, and inefficient.

I would have never considered driving a car from Madrid to Lisbon had it not been for AutoFrance. I assumed a car rental would have been out of my budget, and if I were to only consider traditional car rental companies, I would have been right. The price to rent a small SUV for 21 days with a one-way drop off from a traditional car rental company would have been outrageous. Instead, my lease through AutoFrance was thousands of dollars less and included full comprehensive insurance, 24hr roadside assistance, unlimited mileage, and GPS. AutoFrance is a partner of Peugeot’s Open Europe Program, which allows non-EU residents to sign a short-term buy-back lease while traveling in Europe. AutoFrance was the perfect option for our trip: it was convenient, cost-effective, and gave us the flexibility and security to enjoy our trip without worry.

Our 3-week Road Trip Itinerary:
Madrid — Toledo — Córdoba
Sevilla — Carvoeiro — Lagos
Beja — Porto — Douro Valley
Cascais — Azenhas do Mar — Lisbon

Why I chose the Peugeot 2008

For our itinerary, the two of us needed something versatile. We were moving, traveling to beaches, traveling to cities, spending time with family, and spending a few hours on the road at a time. We had a long list of destinations we wanted to visit, and because we were in our own car we were able to be spontaneous and take unplanned detours to find sunflower fields near Beja, Portugal, and spend the night in the romantic Douro Valley wine region.

The Peugeot 2008 was the perfect choice because we wanted something small, yet big enough so that it would still fit all of our luggage when we needed, and fit our family members when we needed. It was important that we have a car that was fuel-efficient because we were planning to cover some ground, and preferred something that was agile for city streets and would fit in small parking spots and garages. The Peugeot 2008 is a comfortable crossover and the size proved to be perfect for our trip.


What I loved most about my short-term Peugeot lease through AutoFrance

  • My car was brand new! When I went to pick up the car in Madrid, the experience felt like the best parts of buying a new car without any of the annoying negotiation, worry, or stress. I was shown the basics of how to connect to Bluetooth, add an address into the GPS, and how to set and activate cruise control. I was provided all of the necessary documentation and proof of insurance, as well as the yellow vest and traffic triangle required for all drivers in Spain. The Peugeot 2008 only had 10km on the odometer, and still had that new-car-smell.

  • There were no hidden costs. With AutoFrance, there were no additional fees for airport locations, one-way drop offs, or extra drivers. Everything I was shown in the initial quote was the final price, and the entire reservation was tax-free. The only costs I covered were for gas and toll roads, which were expected.

  • Your model is guaranteed when booking. The process of choosing a car was made easy with all the info provided on the AutoFrance website. What I found most helpful were the specs and interior measurements so I could make sure we’d have space for two large suitcases, two small suitcases, our backpacks/purses, and other miscellaneous belongings. We chose an automatic and it came with GPS, which was so nice to have because we didn’t have to rely on our phones for navigation. I usually opt out of GPS with traditional car rentals because it’s an extra charge, but it was included in our lease with AutoFrance and was incredibly useful.

  • Peace of mind. Our lease from AutoFrance came with full insurance coverage with zero deductible, full factory warranty, 24hr roadside assistance, and breakdown assistance benefits that include towing, accommodation, or a rental car. Yes that’s right- their coverage includes a rental car for your ‘rental car’! I was so pleasantly delighted when reading through the coverage provided by the AutoFrance Open Europe Program, and knew that I would be in good hands while driving my Peugeot in Europe. We thankfully didn’t need any of these services or benefits while we had our Peugeot, but knowing we would be covered in case anything happened allowed us to travel worry-free.

  • Convenient pick-up and drop-off. The staff at both the Madrid and Lisbon locations were friendly and professional. They provided shuttles to pick us up and drop us off at the airport (at the time no other travelers were picking up or dropping off, so the transportation was private). AutoFrance takes care of all the paperwork so pick up and drop off are pretty much as easy as showing ID and handing over the keys.

Going for a drive through the Douro Valley, Portugal’s wine region, in my Peugeot from AutoFrance

Going for a drive through the Douro Valley, Portugal’s wine region, in my Peugeot from AutoFrance

After three weeks with our Peugeot 2008 it was time to drive to the Lisbon airport for our scheduled return appointment. I had gotten attached to our vehicle and was sad to turn it in! I would love to lease another car through AutoFrance next time I travel through Europe, and even though I just got back from my trip, I’m starting to imagine the possibilities for the next one!

For more details on eligibility, buy-back lease terms, and coverage, visit AutoFrance’s website ( Are you considering leasing a Peugeot in Europe through AutoFrance? Leave a comment below with any questions!

Exploring the rugged (and windy) coastline in Cascais, Portugal.

Exploring the rugged (and windy) coastline in Cascais, Portugal.

Enjoying the view from the comfort of the Peugeot 2008’s spacious trunk.

Enjoying the view from the comfort of the Peugeot 2008’s spacious trunk.