Your car – Your choice
Your Guide to the USA Car Hire Fleet
Having the right car for your holiday turns a great trip into a fantastic trip! With TripWheels ‘Choice’ options from Alamo and Dollar, you can choose your own car. In ‘Choice’ locations the cars are ready to go with the keys in. If you would like further information about ‘Choice’ and the locations where this is offered please click here.
You only book a category of car when you make your initial reservation. Hence there are many aspects to consider when selecting that category, but the most important one is size. Will your family or group be comfortable?
Then comes the luggage question, will you get all of your luggage into the car? Certainly this is less important if you only need to get your luggage from airport to hotel and can put up with a few bags on your knees. However, it is critical if you are planning a road trip across America from San Francisco to New York for instance.
★ Size – enough room for your family?
★ Luggage – will all your luggage fit in?
★ Mileage – will your family/group be comfortable over a long distance?
★ Budget – What is the largest size car within your budget?
Use our guide to our supplier’s fleets below to work out the best category for your trip.
Economy and Compact Car Hire Categories
Economy – ECAR/EDAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Mitsubishi Mirage (2019)
- Dollar, Thrifty and Hertz: Chevrolet Spark (2019)
Compact – CCAR/CDAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Nissan Versa (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Nissan Versa Note (2019)
- Hertz: Ford Focus (2019)
You will always see ‘or similar’ after any example cars. This is because the companies use these examples just to illustrate the size and capacity of the ‘category’. There are usually other cars also available within these categories with each supplier. For example, within the economy size car hire, you may also see BMW minis and small Fiats.
These groups are great for couples and small families. Whilst technically you can get 5 people in a car – it is a real squeeze in one of these! Furthermore, luggage space is usually severely restricted, perhaps as little as just one main suitcase. Historically, there has been a school of thought that the car hire companies don’t usually have many small cars and if you book one of these you may get upgraded to something bigger. That may once have been the case. However, suppliers responded to the general downsizing requirements of most Americans since the Great Recession. As a result there are more smaller cars are available for hire. These prove popular as tourists become more economically minded. Unless you can face having a smaller car if your luck is out, it is wiser to book the car size you need.
Intermediate Car Hire Category – ICAR/IDAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Hyundai Elantra (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Toyota Corolla (2019)
- Hertz: Mazda 3 (2019)
This category is great for young families or groups doing short trips. It may be too small for 5 people to spend large amounts of time on a roadtrip for instance.
Standard and Full Size Car Hire Category
The Standard and Full size hire cars can be really close in terms of capacity and models. In some US car rental locations, such as the state of New York, the Standard will be the largest car available to drivers under 25.
Standard cars – SCAR/SDAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Volkswagen Jetta (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Chevrolet Cruze (2019)
- Hertz: Volkswagen Jetta (2019)
Full Size Cars – FCAR/FDAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Ford Fusion (2019)
- Dollar, Thrifty and Hertz: Chevrolet Malibu (2019)
When we look at the mid-size to full size vehicles you have to think about your usage. Depending on the amount of hours you expect to spend in your car a couple of young teenagers will be perfectly happy – but do check the luggage allowance. If your group is made up of adults – or adult sized children – you would do well to look at the Premium or Luxury vehicles.
Premium and Luxury Car Hire Category
Premium – PCAR/PDAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Nissan Maxima (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Chevrolet Impala (2019)
- Hertz: Buick Regal (2019)
Luxury – LCAR/LDAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Cadillac XTS (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Chrysler 300 (2019)
- Hertz: Lincoln Continental (2019)
The Premium and Luxury cars offer the largest capacity for luggage amongst saloon cars. Also the most room in the back for your passengers with the possible exception of the people carriers. For 5 adults, these will be the most comfortable cars if you are doing a bit of driving and don’t want to be cramped. They will also add a touch of luxury for smaller groups.
Convertible Car Hire Category – STAR
- All Suppliers: Ford Mustang (2019)
This is a very popular category and most people want to get the Mustang. It is certainly worth noting that this cannot be guaranteed. Other cars in this category include the Chevrolet Camaro and the Chrysler 200.
Minivan 7 Seat Car Hire Category – MVAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Dodge Grand Caravan (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Nissan Quest (2019)
- Hertz: Chrysler Pacifica (2019)
The seat style of this van offers flexibility and comfort along with a good driving position. Furthermore, sliding rear doors provide easy access. However, whilst some models have more luggage space than others, for 6 or 7 adults travelling together, the luggage space might not be enough. Consequently you may wish to consider the 8 seat van from Alamo, usually a Toyota Sienna. These have good luggage room and the extra width provides more elbow room. Finally, these are great for vacation home-owners who may need to carry small items of furniture around!
Minivan 8 Seat Category – SVAR
- Alamo: Toyota Sienna (2019)
12 Seat People Carrier
- All suppliers: Ford Transit Wagon (2019)
12 seat people carriers come with very little luggage room. Because of this, for a large group we suggest hiring two vehicles. A smaller vehicle on a one-day hire either end of your holiday can take your luggage between airport and accommodation.
Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs)
There are several different categories of SUV for hire in the USA. Below, we give you the examples from the car hire fleet guides of our suppliers. For an in-depth look at the possible alternative vehicles available within this ‘type’ please head over to our blog article about SUV car hire in the USA
Intermediate SUV – IFAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Toyota Rav 4 (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Jeep Compass (2019)
- Hertz: Jeep Cherokee (2019)
Standard SUV – SFAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Nissan Pathfinder (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Hyundai Santa Fe (2019)
- Hertz: Jeep Grand Cherokee (2019)
7 Seat SUV – FFAR
- Alamo, National and Enterprise: Ford Expedition (2019)
- Dollar and Thrifty: Nissan Armada (2019)
- Hertz: GMC Yukon (2019)
Premium SUV – PFAR
- All suppliers: Chevrolet Suburban (2019)
Luxury SUV – LFAR
- Alamo: Lincoln Navigator (2019)
I hope you have found this USA car hire fleet guide useful, if you have any questions about choosing the best vehicle for the people on your trip, please do get in touch and we will try to help clarify your options.
Hire all these cars & more from TripWheels and enjoy our great customer service too!