Car Rental

7 Important Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Rental Car

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Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Rose Morah

There are several factors that you will need to consider when choosing a rental car.

Below are the things to consider before choosing a rental car:

The number of passengers on board

Tally up the total number of passengers and remember to include those who will be in the car, even for a limited period during the trip.

For instance, a family trip in the company of 2 kids will require you to rent a four-seater with plenty of trunk space.

However, your choice of car will be different if friends and family members accompany you. And in that case, you are going to need a bigger vehicle.

To choose the right vehicle, you will need to consider the size of the car.

Take a look at the examples in the table below.

Each car is categorized by size, with each size carrying a certain number of passengers.

CATEGORYNO. KIDSNO. ADULTS
Economy22
Mid-size14
Full size/premium/luxury/SUV 5
Hybrid & Electric22

Remember to also check the trunk beforehand as the vehicle’s trunk or boot space may vary regardless of the category/model.

The amount of luggage you intend to carry

The cargo space of the vehicle you want to hire for your trip needs to be enough for you, your passengers, and your gear.

When you are renting a car for a road trip, your reason for the trip dictates the choice of the vehicle.

For instance, a family road trip may require more capacity than a business trip.

Consider measuring the space in terms of the number of suitcases a vehicle can carry.

For example:

CATEGORY/ CLASSSUITCASE CAPACITYNO. OF SMALL SUITCASESNO. OF LARGE SUITCASES
Economy211
Compact 321
Mid-size321
Full size532
Premium523
luxury624
SUV55
Hybrid & Electric 321

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Where you intend to travel

Let’s assume you need a car to drive around the city. Your choice should be the smallest size possible, and one that can accommodate your luggage.

A small car is able to maneuver easily on the streets and highways. It is also convenient in heavy city traffic or on narrow roads. 

However, if you are going camping, you will need a bigger car, possibly an SUV that can accommodate you and your gear. 

Like, if you will be off-roading, your choice of car should be a vehicle with a high road clearance, or a 4-WD.

Hence, you will need to consider your destination before making a choice.

See the Best Off-Roading Tips For Beginners.

Going on a winter road trip? Check out our best tips for surviving a winter road trip.

You’re ideal car features

These include satellite radio, a GPS for navigation, a child safety seat, a booster seat, a DVD player, and roof racks, to name a few. 

Most of the features will influence your choice of car.

Some features, such as air conditioning and automatic transmissions, come as a standard feature in the US but are offered optionally in other countries.

Your intended destination and the length of your road trip will dictate the features you will want in a rental car.

For instance, a long-distance trip will require a more comfortable vehicle with various features. 

A vacation road trip with the family will require different features from a business trip.

Once you have defined your travel needs, you should be able to get the right rental car.

In other words, your travel will need to match the car’s features.

You may also like these14 Types of Travel For Different Types of Travelers.

The pick-up location of your rental car

Rental companies located at the airport will undoubtedly be convenient for you.

But the reality is, they also come at an extra cost compared to those in an off-site location.

One cool thing about these off-site rentals is that you don’t have to wait in queues to get a rental car. You also get a variety of rental cars.

But if you are an AAA member, you automatically qualify for rental discounts regardless of your pickup location.

It is certainly a membership program you should consider signing up for to save you time and money.

Manual or automatic transmission

You will have to stick with an automatic transmission if you cannot drive a manual.

You will most likely come across manual transmission cars in South America, Africa, and Europe.

Renting an automatic in these regions will be a little bit more expensive.

The condition of the car

Before driving off a rental car, you need to thoroughly check the car’s condition for any visible damages such as scratches and dents.

You will need to look for any damages to the headlights, power steering, windows, and the location of the gas tank. 

See what you need to check when picking up a rental car.

The result of this inspection should help you decide whether to pick up the car or to leave it.

You deserve a good ride, one that is comfortable and safe for the trip.

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.