There’s nothing like the freedom of the open road. Whether it’s adventuring through a new place on vacation or enjoying the convenience of transportation after your own vehicle fails, rental cars are a great way to get out there and explore. With plenty of options to choose from, which are the best car rental companies, according to travel experts?
Even with the price of vacations rising, many still view a rental car as a non-negotiable part of the experience. A 2022 survey reports that 28% of respondents consider vehicle travel “vital to have, no matter the budget.” Yet another study finds that 3 in 4 Americans prefer to travel by car than by plane, despite the significant difference in travel time.
Renting a car is a great way to see new places and get more out of any trip. Still, with so many companies out there, it can be difficult to find the best options and the best deal. That’s why Study Finds did the hard work for you, looking at 10 expert websites to narrow down the top 5 options for your next rental. If your favorite isn’t on our list, please give us your recommendation in the comments below!
The List: Best Car Rental Services, According to Experts
Our undisputed top pick goes to Enterprise, earning top acknowledgments for customer service, selection, and experience across the board. TripSavvy chooses Enterprise for best customer service, stating “a recent study showed that they ranked highest overall in customer satisfaction, with a score of 861 compared to the industry average of 830. Only three other companies ranked above the industry average.”
“Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a trusted name that performs impressively well across all categories, including customer satisfaction, online booking, and price,” says Business Insider, ranking Enterprise best overall.
“Enterprise has been around for over 60 years and has grown into one of the most respected and ubiquitous companies in all of vehicle rental,” adds CNET. “Enterprise’s unique selling proposition has been that it picks customers up and brings them to the rental office, an extra service that could also help explain the company’s presence on this list.”
Another powerhouse in the rental car industry, Hertz proves tough competition for Enterprise in all areas. With awards for customer service and a great rewards program for frequent customers, Hertz earns their spot as number 2 on our list. “It’s not hard to see why customers are so satisfied — the host of awards the company has won just over the past couple of years for its customer service speaks to its continued performance across all key metrics,” says CNET.
For those traveling further from home, Hertz wins at ZDNet for their many airport locations. “It made picking up a car a simple matter by eliminating the need for airport counters or tedious check-ins. The app allows you to make reservations, as well as modify them, without any need to visit a full website,” ZDNet says.
“The company has more than 1,600 locations at airports in the United States alone, with a varied fleet and an impressive rewards program,” adds Business Insider.
Though perhaps not as universally recognized as our top 2 picks, Alamo earns significant recognition from experts for its flexibility. “Alamo offers unlimited free mileage as a standard, and if you’re hitting the open road with another individual or a group, Alamo outlines a number of exceptions where it’ll waive the additional daily driver’s fee that is typically $15.” says TripSavvy.
“As the largest car renter for international travelers visiting North America, Alamo’s business is centered around serving people on vacation.” adds CNET. “The company prides itself on its car rental deals and offers a variety of ways to save money on rental fees — from partner point programs with hotels and airlines to benefits programs for businesses.”
Alamo also wins points for its budget-friendly quotes. “Alamo’s prices were regularly among the cheapest prices we found when gathering quotes both through the various companies’ own websites and third-party comparison sites,” says Business Insider. “Alamo’s prices are always very competitive.”
It’s all in the name; Budget is a great pick for finding competitive discounts on your vehicle rental. “Budget offers a discount of up to 35 percent if you pay when you make the reservation,” states TripSavvy. “They also have rotating limited time offers, like 10 percent off rentals of five or more days, or SUV rentals for $50/day, an offer that’s attractive for families hitting the road and want more room.”
“Budget starts with an already low daily rate for both domestic and international car rentals and then offers heaps of promotions and special discounts,” adds Money. “Even just spending five minutes in the “deals” tab on the Budget website can provide significant savings given their frequently updated promotions.”
On top of its fantastic promotional offerings, Budget is also popular for its free Fastbreak program. “Budget’s Fastbreak program is designed to make the car rental and return process quicker, with the ability to bypass lines and drop off your vehicle in a designated area,” says CNET.
Owned by parent company Enterprise, it’s no surprise that National takes after our top pick with its great service and selection. “National Car Rental is particularly proud of its services and loyalty program for business travelers, and this focus on customer service bleeds over into its leisure customer service as well,” says Business Insider. “National may be a division of Enterprise, but the company consistently receives high service rankings and positive customer reviews of its own accord,” adds CNET.
National is also recognized for its avoidance of many additional fees that are widely considered standard. “Across the board, most car rental companies charge an additional daily fee for additional drivers and any added equipment you might need. Car companies will also often charge one-way car rental fees,” says TripSavvy. “National, however, will not charge you this one-way fee if you’re picking up and dropping off between airport locations.”
- Travel + Leisure
- Business Insider
- USA Today
- Consumer Affairs
You may also be interested in:
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.