Choosing The Right Size Hire Car

What Size Hire Car Do You Need? – Choosing The Right Size Hire Car

When Choosing The Right Size Hire Car we need, at the time of booking the main thing we usually consider is the price for obvious reasons. But sometimes booking the cheapest car available is not always the best option.

Booking the wrong hire car because it is easier on the purse strings can end up costing more in the long run, if you turn up to collect your vehicle and your party and luggage cannot fit in the vehicle then you have a problem.

You could upgrade the vehicle there and then but this would be dependent on availability, larger vehicles are less likely to be sat around waiting to be hired because rental companies generally have less of these on their fleet.

Then you have to consider the cost of a last minute upgrade. Booking a larger car in advance generally would be a cheaper option than booking a smaller hire vehicle and then upgrading on the day.

Then again you could be one of the lucky customers who are given a free upgrade automatically because the hire vehicle they booked is no longer available, although this is not something we would advise you hope for ?

There are certain things that a hire company have to guarantee, like the size of vehicle and its engine, the number of doors, if it has air conditioning, manual or automatic and even sometimes the fuel type.

If the company allows you book any of the above specific options then they are basically guaranteeing that your vehicle will come with what you have selected. If you turn up to collect the vehicle and it doesn’t have the diesel engine or 5 doors that you have booked then you are entitled to an upgrade the next available vehicle that has the options that you selected.

Sometimes if a hire company finds themselves in a situation where they do not have the vehicle they need for your hire, they will try and sell you an upgrade before telling you, they will say ‘Hi Mr. Smith, did you know you can upgrade your car today for only £5 per day’ if this happens to me I say NO every time because the likelihood is that you will be given that car anyway.

Here are some tips on Choosing The Right Size Hire Car

Research The Vehicle Type

Vauxhall Zafira Car HireNo car hire company can tell you exactly what vehicle you are going to receive until much closer to the time you are due to collect it. This is mainly down to logistics, hire vehicles move around the country on a regular basis.

When booking the vehicle you will be told a particular model OR SIMILAR, this means if you are booking a Peugeot 107 OR SIMILAR then you could receive a Peugeot 107, Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 or any one of many other Small city cars that are available.

Most rental companies use SIPP codes which are used to summarise the key features of a vehicle, click here to see our guide to SIPP codes.

Are you moving home/office and need more space?

If so then you may want to consider hiring a van rather than a car or an estate. See our tips on hiring a van here.

Are you going on a family trip?

If so then you will probably be looking at hiring a people carrier of an estate vehicle. People carriers come in a number of different shapes and sizes:

A Mini MPV, sometime referred to as a 5+2. This means that although they have 7 seats, 2 of them are fold up seats (suitable for children) situated in the boot/truck of the vehicle. Always bear in mind that if you are going to occupy all 7 seats then there will be minimal room for luggage.

A Standard MPV, 7 Seater. This vehicle will generally have 7 proper car seats with 3 point seatbelts that will be suitable for adults and children. They generally have more space then the Mini MPV again if you are going to occupy all 7 seats then you will struggle to get 7 large pieces of luggage in too.

An Estate, Wagon. This group of vehicle will always have 5 seats and loading space in the back. For a family of 5 with luggage this would be the ideal vehicle.

A Large MPV, Shuttle Bus. These vehicles are generally ‘vans’ with seats in the back and can have 8, 9 or 12 seats. They generally have more space for luggage. Please bear in mind that these vehicles are quite rare with most suppliers so be sure to enquire well in advance of your rental needs.

You don’t have a car for day to day life but need one for a short period of time?

There are many standard vehicles available for hire of between 1 and 28 days. Ranging from small economy hatchbacks right through to large saloon vehicles and prestige/sports cars. Obviously the further up the range you go the more expensive the rate will be. So always consider the following.

Am I just looking for practicality?

Hire Car Too SmallIf you are just looking for something for yourself and your partner to go away for the weekend, then you will probably find that the small economy vehicles will do, they have small engines and a little amount of space but ideal for a quick blast to the spa with an overnight bag.

Do I need the car to have 4 doors or will 2 be ok?

If you have kids or are planning to take an elderly relative out for the day then you may want to consider 4 doors, it makes life so much easier when getting in and out of the back seats.

How many miles will I be travelling?

If you are planning a longer trip, again you may want to consider a larger vehicle, motorway miles can be quite tiring in a smaller engined car, having to change gear much more often and the once good fuel economy usually flies out of the window when doing long motorway journey. So a larger car with a bigger engine would make the journey that little bit more comfortable and usually more economical.

Is it for business purposes? Hiring a vehicle for business purposes can be straight forward but some issues can arise, so always make sure you discuss your requirements with someone over the phone. In our experience when people are hiring a car for work purposes they usually want to use their managers/directors credit card and this is not acceptable with some hire car suppliers.

Can I drive a manual?

Even if you are used to driving an automatic vehicle, if you do have a valid licence to drive a manual vehicle and are comfortable doing so then it can be advisable to hire a car with a manual transmission. The biggest reason being cost: Automatic vehicles do come at a premium and can sometimes double the cost of your hire. The secondary reason being availability, in the UK and most European countries, automatic vehicles are quite rare and availability is low.

Do I need air conditioning?

Most hire vehicles nowadays will have air conditioning, but some of the smaller groups and economical vehicles may not. If you only need to hire a small vehicle but are considering a larger vehicle because it has air conditioning then consider the following: There are probably 3 months out of the year (in a good year) that you will need air conditioning, and even during this time it is not guaranteed. Sometimes opening the window will do a good enough job.