When you hire a car, you'll be presented with a choice of vehicles, so you must be clear about your needs before you start. Booking online gives you the opportunity to have a good look at the types of cars on offer, so you can select the best hire car for you.
Here are some things to consider when you are choosing your hire car:
- Think about the types of location that you'll be visiting. If you will you be based in a town or city, you may prefer a smaller hire car that's easy to park. For tips on driving in built-up areas, see our driving in the city page. On the other hand, if you are intending to drive your car through rough terrain such as the desert, you may want to consider hiring a 4-wheel drive or 4x4 vehicle.
- Consider the number of people in your party and the amount of luggage that you'll be taking, as some hire cars have limited space. Cars typically accommodate 4 or 5 adults, however people carriers or MPVs can seat up to 7 people.
- If you are going to a winter resort, you'll need to hire a car that can carry any sports equipment (such as snowboards, skis etc.) that you may be taking with you.
- The weather may also play a part in your decision. Whilst it is a lovely idea to hire a convertible, it won't be practical in wetter or colder seasons or locations. Snowy conditions may mean that you'll need snow chains or tyres and a hire car that's easy to handle in such situations. For tips on winter journeys please see our driving in winter conditions page.
- Anyone travelling with young children needs to ensure that local laws are adhered to. Where child seats are required, make sure you hire a car that can accommodate them. Hertz hires out a range of seats suitable for children of varying ages, weights and sizes, including infant carriers, child seats and booster seats for older children.
- Budget may also play a big part in your decision, so check out the likely cost of the type of car that you're thinking of hiring. If you are planning to cover a lot of miles, then note the engine size and fuel type - you may find that a small diesel or hybrid engine hire car, such as those found in the Hertz Green Collection, more economical.
- Another factor may be the size of car that you're used to driving. Some people find it easier to stick to what they know, especially for parking purposes.
- Hiring a car also gives you the chance to try something new; this can be a fabulous opportunity to spend a few days or weeks driving a car that you can't afford to own or that you've always dreamed of driving, like the selection available in the Fun and Prestige Collections.
Car hire companies offer a range of vehicles, which are divided into certain categories. The ease with which you can hire them will depend on availability and on your destination. The types of hire car on offer include:
- Mini e.g. Ford Ka - This is a very small car that is suited to one or two people, and usually has only two doors. Mini class hire cars are easy to park and find space for, which is an advantage if you are spending your holiday in a city or town. They also take less petrol than a larger hire car. A mini hire car is the ideal choice if you're not going to be using it constantly, and are only planning to drive around the immediate area. If you hire a car like this, bear in mind that your luggage will need to be minimal.
- Economy e.g. Ford Fiesta - This is a small vehicle with two or four doors, and is best suited to two to four occupants. The comfort level in such a car will depend on the size of the passengers. An economy hire car is suitable for shorter trips, and will be easy to park with relatively low petrol costs, making it ideal for anyone on a tight budget. If you have a large amount of luggage, however, this won't be the right type of hire car for you.
- Compact e.g. Ford Focus - This type of hire car is great for shorter journeys, and it can accommodate a family and their luggage (as long as it's not excessive). You will find this type of hire car better equipped than the smaller vehicles. Most compact hire cars come with air conditioning (but if you are travelling to a hot location or taking a trip in the summer, check this with the car hire company in advance). This is a perfect type of car to hire if easy parking and low fuel consumption are priorities for you.
- Intermediate or Standard e.g. Ford Mondeo - A nice sized car with a bigger engine that won't break your budget. This type of hire car comfortably fits four or five people, and can cope with a standard amount of luggage. Longer journeys can be made without anyone feeling cramped. The intermediate or standard hire car is a good choice for anyone wishing to travel around and explore outside of their immediate destination. Hire cars in this category often include features such as tilt wheel and cruise control.
- Full Size e.g. Ford Galaxy - You should hire a full size car if you prefer a large vehicle with extra space and legroom. These hire cars hold five or more people, so are perfect for larger parties or big families. Fitting your luggage in should be easy too. Full size hire cars are often 4-wheel drives and generally include CD players. Cars like this are the perfect choice for long journeys, where the comfort and space they offer make the trip very pleasurable.
- Premium e.g. Mercedes C-Class - These are four-door hire cars that can accommodate a family's luggage easily. These powerful cars are often automatics, and they offer optimal comfort to both the driver and the passengers. Premium hire cars usually have a number of features that make driving easier, such as air conditioning, cruise control, power driver seats and power mirrors.
- Luxury e.g. Mercedes E-Class - If you want to look good and feel good, try hiring a luxury vehicle. Whether you opt for a luxury hire car as a special treat, or for the fabulous space that you and your passengers will enjoy, you will certainly arrive in style. A luxury hire car offers a smooth drive and will accommodate your luggage with ease, so both short and long journeys will be a pleasure.
- 4x4 - If you are planning to go off road, drive on rough terrain or visit a ski resort where you will encounter winter driving conditions, you will need to hire a 4-wheel drive vehicle. This type of hire car offers better control in such environments, and the undercarriage is further from the ground, helping you to avoid any mishaps. Most 4x4 vehicles allow you to carry several passengers, so are perfect for larger parties.
- Convertible e.g. Peugeot 308CC - A wonderful choice if you are going to a hot destination such as Spain, France, Italy, Florida or California. A convertible hire car seats between one and four people, but there won't be much room for luggage. This is the kind of car you may not have at home, so if you want to hire something totally different, hire a convertible, put down the top and have fun.
- Fun e.g. Mini Cooper - This is the perfect hire car for one or two people who do not have much luggage. If you have always dreamed of driving around in a sports car but wouldn't normally be able to afford one, here's your chance.
- Green e.g. Toyota Prius Hybrid - Some car hire companies have a range of green cars. With people becoming more environmentally aware, it's nice to know that you can drive around in your hire car enjoying your holiday without having a negative effect on your surroundings.
You'll also need to decide whether you want an automatic or manual hire car:
- Manual - In Europe, this is the kind of car that most people are used to and, due to their numbers, are generally cheaper to rent than automatics. Hire a manual car, and you will have to change gears and use a clutch.
- Automatic - If you hire an automatic car, you won't need to change gears and you won't have a clutch. Many hire cars in the USA are automatic. It may seem odd at first, but you will soon get used to it, and it's one less thing to think about when you are trying to find your way around an unfamiliar location.