Car Rental Company Reviews
The Best Car Rental Company
We found 8 exceptional car rental services based off of critical features, but the one that ranks the highest on our list is Budget due to its wide range of discounts offered and numerous locations.
Budget surely stands out amongst the competition mainly because of its nationwide locations. Budget not only can be found in most major airports and cities, but also offers huge pay-now savings, where you can save up to 35 percent, with most other car rental companies offering only 10 to 15 percent. This car rental company has you covered if you ever encounter unexpected car trouble by giving discounted rates on all its models just for these circumstances. If that wasn’t enough, its mobile app makes it simple and easy for on-the-go reservations.
It’s no wonder why it has such loyal customers with its Roving Rapid Return system, where returning your car will take less than one minute. Avis’ TripIt Service allows you to organize your trip all in one place, saving you a lot of time and energy. And if you need to make a last-minute reservation, it will be a smooth transaction with the company’s reliable mobile app.
Choosing the Best Car Rental Company for You
The lists below highlight the rental car companies that stand out the most in a particular area. Customers looking for a rental car company that suits a particular need may want to begin their search here.
How We Chose the Best Car Rental Company
We gathered a list of 13 car rental companies and selected 8 of the best to review based on 54 important features.
What Car Rental Features Matter and Why
Locations discusses the different places where cars can be rented from the rental car company. Airports are common locations to pick up a rental car, but some companies also have other locations in major cities and towns throughout the country. Not every car rental company has locations in every state, but the majority of companies can be found in all 50 states and internationally as well. This category is important for all individuals, as it’s crucial to make sure the rental car company they’re interested in is available in their area.
The Most Important Location Features
- 50 States — The company has rental locations in all 50 states.
- Airports — The company has rental locations at airports.
- International — The company has rental locations outside the US.
- Local — The company offers rentals in cities within local neighborhoods and outside of major airports.
- Major US Cities — The company has rental locations in major cities across the US.
Rentals refers to the types of trips for which individuals can reserve rental cars. Most people are probably interested in a round-trip rental, where the car is picked up and brought back to the same location. One-way rentals are another option, though this may cost a little extra. For individuals who need a rental car for longer than just a few days, long-term rentals are a good way to go. However, with these, customers usually have to return every 30 days to renew their rental agreement. The best car rental companies also have special business rental programs as well.
The Most Important Rental Features
- Business — The company has a rental program that offers special benefits for businesses.
- Long-Term — You can rent a car for more than one week.
- One-Way — You can rent a car for a one-way trip.
- Round-Trip — You can rent a car for a round-trip.
Reservations describes the process of booking, modifying, and canceling car rental reservations. Most companies enable individuals to reserve vehicles online or over the phone. Either of these methods can also be used to view, modify, or cancel reservations as needed. Some of the best rental car companies also allow customers to check in online in order to save themselves some time when they pick up their vehicle. This is an important category because it contains many of the core features related to getting started and reserving a rental car.
The Most Important Reservation Features
- Cancel Reservation — You can cancel an existing reservation.
- Modify Reservation — You can modify an existing reservation.
- Online Booking — You can make a reservation online.
- Online Check-In — You can check in for your reservation online.
- Phone Booking — You can make a reservation by phone.
Additional Services examines the extra services a company provides beyond renting cars. Vehicles with hand controls for disabled drivers can be found with most car rental companies, but some go beyond that by offering roadside assistance, a bus or shuttle service, and instant return, which saves time by allowing customers to skip the line when returning their vehicle. If the rental car is a replacement vehicle while a person’s car is in the shop, most car rental services will bill the insurance company directly and may even pick up the individual and bring them to the rental car location. These services are not central to a car rental company, but they could be a deciding factor if a customer is torn between several companies.
The Most Important Additional Services
- Bill Insurance Company — The rental car company will directly bill your insurance company for your replacement vehicle when your car is in the shop.
- Bus/Shuttle Service — The company offers a courtesy bus or shuttle service.
- Car Sales — In addition to renting out its vehicles, the company also sells rental cars.
- Disability Assistance — The company offers vehicles with hand controls or spinner knobs for steering wheels, or provides other disability assistance at no extra charge.
- Instant Return — You can return the car without waiting in line and leave the keys in the car.
- Pick Up — The company will come pick you up and drive you to the car rental location at no extra charge.
- Roadside Assistance — The company offers roadside assistance if your rental vehicle has problems.
Mobile refers to the existence and capabilities of the mobile app provided by the car rental company. Most offer their apps for both Android and iOS, and many have mobile versions of their website as well for those individuals who don’t wish to download the app. These mobile apps work much like the website, allowing customers to reserve, view, change, and cancel reservations. This category will be very important for those who spend a lot of time away from a computer, but would like an easy way to update their reservation if need be.
The Most Important Mobile Features
- Android App — A native Android mobile app is available.
- Change Reservation — You can change your reservation using the app or the mobile website.
- Favorable Reviews — The iPhone and/or Android apps have garnered at least a combined 3.5 stars in reviews.
- iPhone App — A native iPhone mobile app is available.
- Mobile Website — A website optimized for mobile use is available.
- Reserve Vehicle — You can reserve a vehicle using the app or the mobile website.
- Update Account — You can update your account on the app or the mobile website.
- View Reservations — You can view your reservation on the app or the mobile website.
Optional Extras are additional items that can be purchased when reserving a rental car. Insurance is the most common one and can help pay for any damages to the car itself or personal property if an accident were to occur. For those traveling with small children, renting child safety seats could be a worthwhile investment if traveling with their own proves to be too cumbersome. GPS and satellite radio are not available with all vehicles, but there are usually a few different models that offer these features. While all these extras may be nice to have, they’re not crucial to renting a car, so this category won’t be a deal breaker for most people.
The Most Important Optional Extras
- Child Safety Seats — Child safety seats are available.
- GPS — The company offers GPS devices.
- Insurance — You can purchase additional insurance coverage.
- Satellite Radio — The company offers satellite radio.
Programs and Discounts
Programs and Discounts explains the different ways customers can save money when reserving a rental car. Some companies give consumers an easy way to save by paying when the reservation is booked. Other car rental companies are partnered with airlines, hotels, or other businesses and provide discounted rates to individuals who use their services. The best rental car services also have special promotional offers from time to time and a loyalty program to reward their most frequent customers. This category is a good one to pay attention to for individuals who are operating on tight budgets, but it probably won’t play a crucial role when choosing a car rental company.
The Most Important Programs and Discounts
- Pay Now Rate — The company offers discounted rates on certain rentals if you pay when booking the reservation.
- Rewards Program — The company has a loyalty program that rewards you with free rentals, upgrades, and other perks.
- Special Offers — The company provides special promotional offers that enable you to rent a car at a discounted price.
- Travel Partners — The car rental company has partnerships with airlines, hotels, or other businesses and offers discounts or rewards for using its services.
Support describes the different ways customers can get assistance or answers to their questions. Most car rental services have a phone number customers can call for assistance as well as an email or ticket system for less urgent needs. The best companies also have live chat services. For those who prefer to find their answers on their own, most rental car companies have a list of frequently asked questions on their website. This category is another one to pay attention to because it could have a large impact on the quality of service customers receive.
The Most Important Support Features
- Email/Ticket — The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
- FAQs — The company has a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
- Live Chat — The company offers live chat support.
- Phone — You can contact the company via phone for support.
Vehicles lists the types of vehicles the company has available for rental. The available cars vary from location to location, but for the most part, it’s easy to find a nice selection of compact and midsize cars, vans, and SUVs with any rental car company. Luxury cars, hybrid vehicles, and pickup trucks may also appeal to some clientele. Individuals moving from one place to another may want to select a company that rents moving vans as well, though these can be slightly more difficult to find. Vehicles is a good category for customers to pay attention to if there’s a specific type of car they’re interested in.
The Most Important Vehicle Features
- Compact — The company’s rental fleet includes compact cars.
- Convertible — The company’s rental fleet includes convertibles.
- Hybrid/Electric — The company’s rental fleet includes hybrid/electric vehicles.
- Luxury — The company’s rental fleet includes luxury vehicles.
- Midsize — The company’s rental fleet includes midsize cars.
- Moving Truck — The company’s rental fleet includes moving trucks.
- Pickup Truck — The company’s rental fleet includes pickup trucks.
- SUV — The company’s rental fleet includes SUVs.
- Van — The company’s rental fleet includes minivans or full-size vans.
Fuel and Tolls
Fuel and Tolls encompasses the different ways customers can pay for the rental car’s fuel and any tolls they may encounter during their trip. Usually for an additional fee, it’s possible to prepay tolls and use the available express lanes rather than waiting in line. As far as fuel goes, there are typically three different options to choose from. All cars come with a full tank of gas to start, but customers can choose to prepay for their gas upfront then, when they return the car, it doesn’t matter how little gas is left in the tank. For those who don’t choose to prepay, they can either pay when they return the vehicle or fill it up themselves prior to returning. This isn’t a crucial category, though, because almost all companies work the same way and offer similar options to their customers.
The Most Important Fuel and Tolls Features
- Company Refuels — You can choose to allow the company to refuel your rental car.
- Driver Refuels — You can choose to refuel the rental car yourself.
- Prepay Fuel — You can choose to prepay for fuel.
- Prepay Tolls — You can prepay for tolls, enabling you to use express lanes to bypass tollbooths.