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Which Car Rental Company Is Best In 2024? 6 Best Options Explained

Unveiling the leading contenders in the car rental industry, this article guides you through the essential criteria to determine the best car rental company suited to your unique needs, from pricing and variety to customer service and availability.

Key Factors in Choosing a Car Rental Company

Judging a car rental company can be a relative matter. It depends on your specific needs.

This doesn’t mean that there are no criteria to guide you. In fact, you should consider the following crucial factors to determine the quality and reliability of any car rental company:

  • Price: The price you pay for car rental depends on the type of car and renting duration. For that matter, peer-to-peer car rental can be your cheapest option.
  • Service variety: The range of services offered by the rental company makes the difference. Does the company offer protection plans? One-way rentals? Airport rentals?
  • Customer service: It’s good to know that you’re not alone while on the road. A rental company with solid customer service can help you with any trouble along the way.
  • Availability: A highly accessible rental company always wins. With locations widely available, your rental experience can be much easier.
  • Additional Features: Some companies offer other perks, such as unlimited mileage, free gas, or bonuses.

Top 6 Contenders in the Car Rental Industry

Before choosing a car rental company, you should determine the duration for which you want the car. That’s a crucial factor when selecting the best services.

You can find plenty of short and long-term rental options to choose from. Here’s a list of the top contenders in the car rental industry to help you find the company that suits your specific needs:

1. Sixt

A screenshot of the sixt homepage

Sixt allows you to rent cars short and long-term in more than 2000 locations around the world. It requires you to have a valid driver’s license and a debit or credit card to make the reservation.

Sixt gives you several insurance options to purchase. Apart from this, there are three rules to abide by:

  1. Only the driver(s) in the contract can drive the car.
  2. Pets are only allowed inside animal transport boxes.
  3. No smoking inside the vehicle.

Using Sixt is simple via the app, website, or phone. All you need to do is select your dates, vehicle, pickup, and drop-off locations.

That’s not all! This rental company offers extra features for an additional fee. For instance, you can request a car seat or GPS. It also offers discount prices for students, military personnel, and seniors.

2. Turo

screenshot of the Turo homepaeg

Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental company that connects you with car owners. That way, your choices are endless. You get cars of all types and for all terrains and adventures.

It’s an easy process. Set your dates, put your location, and choose from a myriad of cars available in your area. Some car owners even offer to deliver the car to major airports, hotels, or train stations.

The company operates in the USA, Canada, Germany, and the UK. It’s a win-win solution for both the user and the vehicle owner.

Turo car rental doesn’t require you to buy insurance. You can choose a protection plan from three options that cover any physical damage to the vehicle.

It also lets you include additional drivers in the rental contract for free. That way, you can enjoy being on the road on a long ride with friends.

Look for bargains and discount prices offered by some owners. You can also get discount prices if you book a week in advance.

3. Lyft

Lyft has partnered with Flexdrive and Hertz to launch a car rental program called Lyft Express Drive. It operates only in the US and allows users to rent a car through Lyft.

This program was initially set to allow people who don’t own cars to drive with Lyft for extra cash. That way, their earnings can cover the car rental expenses.

This rental program is ideal for short-term rentals. All you need to do is fill out an application on the website or the mobile app. The only catch is that you need to be at least 25 to rent a car with Lyft and its partners.

The best part about it is that insurance and maintenance are covered in the price plans. That way, all you need is your driver’s license and bank account.

As for the payment method, all major credit cards are accepted. Upon making your reservation, you’ll be prompted to pay a refundable security deposit for your Lyft rental car.

4. Uber

Although Uber isn’t a car rental agency per se, it offers a rental service called Uber Rent. It operates in every city in the US with a wide range of cars and SUVs to cater to different needs.

Uber car rental allows you to rent a car for an hour and up to six months. You can even book your car last minute at no extra charge.

Use the website or app for a hassle-free reservation. You can pay online or at the counter when you pick up your rental vehicle.

You can rent a car with Uber if you’re 18 or older, but sometimes you’ll have to pay an extra charge if you’re under 25. That depends on the car type and the supplier.

This service is affordable with highly competitive daily rates and rental deals on longer reservations.

For a bit extra, you can get a car seat or bike and ski racks. All in all, the rental prices depend on the rental car and all the additional features you require.

5. Enterprise

Enterprise is one of the largest car rental companies in the world. It operates in around 10,000 rental locations worldwide.

You can book your car online and pay when you pick up the vehicle. It’s a flexible service that enables free cancellation.

To make the reservation, you need to be at least 25 years old with a valid driver’s license and credit card.

You fill in your dates and location to choose from a wide selection of vehicles that cater to all your travel needs.

The more you spend with Enterprise, the more points you receive with its loyalty program Enterprise Plus. In other words, a frequent renter can guarantee the best rental deals with less-than-average prices that can reach up to an entirely free rental.

Enterprise can be your best shot if you’re going on a road trip, as the company doesn’t set a mileage limit. That way, you can travel between states with no worries.

6. Zipcar

A screenshot of the zipcar homepage

Now, that’s not a traditional rental car company. Zipcar is a revolutionary rideshare company that offers a selection of vehicles in various cities around the US.

When using Zipcar, you don’t pay for insurance or even gas as long as you abide by the mileage limit.

The process is simple and doesn’t entail much human interaction unless you call customer support, of course. Here’s how you get a rental vehicle with Zipcar in six easy steps:

  1. On the application or website, create an account with your driver’s license and credit card information for the company to check.
  2. Choose a monthly or yearly membership plan.
  3. Receive your Zipcard.
  4. Book a rental car by selecting your date and time, as well as rental location.
  5. Choose from the cars available in your area.
  6. You’ll find the car parked at a special spot reserved by the company in various parking lots around the city. Use your Zipcard to unlock the car.
  7. You’ll find the key and gas card under the steering wheel, and enjoy the ride!

Customer Satisfaction and Reviews

Here’s what customers think of our picks of the best car rental companies:

  1. Sixt: Sixt is rated 1.4 on Trustpilot, 1.3 on Tripadvisor, and 1.5 on Yelp. These reviews were mostly due to the high cancellation fees and poor after-sale customer service.
  2. Turo: Turo has a 4.7 rating on ConsumerAffairs and 4.6 on Trustpilot. These high reviews are attributed to the great service provided by various car owners.
  3. Lyft: According to users on Quora and Reddit, renting a car from Lyft Express to drive with Lyft isn’t profitable. Using their own words, “You’ll turn yourself into a slave.”
  4. Uber: Most Uber reviews online are about Uber carshare. A user on Reddit says that the process takes time and you need to work for at least 30 hours a week to break even. Another on Quora says it’s a fairly easy process if you deal with Uber’s partner Hertz.
  5. Enterprise: Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a 1.7-star rating on Sitejabber, 2.2 on ConsumerAffairs, and 2.0 on Trustpilot. The reviews are based on inefficient customer service and high mileage on cars.
  6. Zipcar: Zipcar’s rating is 2.3 on ConsumerAffairs, 1.4 on Yelp, and 1.9 on Trustpilot. The problem is that the cars aren’t always ready. Most customers agree that the company was much better in the past.

Pricing and Value for Money

Car rental prices vary depending on the company, location, and type of vehicle. Here’s a general overview of the prices offered by the different companies:

1. Sixt

The average prices at Sixt are:

  • $85/day for a compact car
  • $130/day for a luxury car
  • $170/day for an SUV
  • $237/day for a Van

It also has several regular offers, including:

  • Up to 30% off midweek rentals
  • 15% discount for business customers
  • Up to 25% off luxury vehicles
  • BMW from $769/month
  • Mercedes-GLA  from $829/month
  • Tesla $1,099/month

2. Turo

Turo offers competitive prices, such as:

  • A Jeep from $59/day
  • A Tesla from $56/day
  • A Porsche from $115/day
  • A BMW from $54/day

3. Lyft

Lyft’s rental prices vary according to the car type. On average, it ranges between $219 and $479 per week.

4. Uber

Uber Rent offers a base rate of $180/week. If you rent the same car for a certain number of weeks, your base rate decreases.

That makes Uber Rent ideal for Uber drivers who want to make money from their rentals.

5. Enterprise

Enterprise offers special discounts for veterans and military personnel. It also has a 10% discount on airport weekly and weekend rentals.

The prices vary according to the location and car type. They also constantly change.

6. Zipcar

Fortunately, Zipcar gives an hourly and daily rental price. For instance:

  • A Honda from $11/hour or $88/day
  • A Jeep from $12/hour or $88/day
  • A Mercedes-Benz for $17/hour or $133/day
  • A Van for $18/hour or $113/day

It also offers special discounts for students and businesses. You can even cut down on gas if you abide by the limited mileage set in your reservation contract. That’s double saving.

Geographic Coverage and Accessibility

Some companies, such as Lyft and Uber, operate only within the US. Others operate worldwide with a huge number of rental locations.

  1. Sixt: This company has 2000+ rental locations in 105+ countries.
  2. Turo: This peer-to-peer car rental company operates in the USA, Australia, Canada, the UK, and France.
  3. Lyft: It’s based only in 40+ US cities.
  4. Uber: Uber is available everywhere in the US.
  5. Enterprise: This is a widely available car rental company that you can find in more than 160 US cities, 15 airport locations, 9500 locations, and 100 countries.
  6. Zipcar: That’s a leading company in the USA, UK, and Canada. It covers about 185 US in addition to plenty of rental locations at different universities across the three countries.

Membership Programs and Loyalty Benefits

Some companies offer reward programs that allow you to reap the benefits of being a loyal customer for long enough:

  1. Sixt: Frequent renters with Sixt receive a Sixt card. The more you rent, the higher the value of your card gets. It qualifies you for discount rides, free car category upgrades, or free additional drives.
  2. Turo: Turo offers a reward program for hosts. The All-Star Host Program offers benefits for high-rating hosts, such as a $100 promo code, high visibility for your listings, no cancellation fee, and priority customer support.
  3. Lyft: Lyft has a reward program for its drivers. If you rent a car for personal purposes, don’t expect any benefits.
  4. Uber: Uber Pro Rewards are only for Uber drivers. You don’t get special benefits from renting a car through Uber for personal use.
  5. Enterprise: It offers the Enterprise Plus program that gives you a point for every dollar you spend. You can later get free rentals in exchange for your points. The best part is that your points never expire.
  6. Zipcar: The Zipcar Referral Program offers benefits for users who refer others to the car rental services.

Insurance and Safety Protocols

Rental car insurance and safety protocols are crucial factors to consider when renting a car. Here’s what each company has to offer:

  1. Sixt: Sixt leaves the level of protection for you to choose with every reservation. You can even provide your personal insurance plan as long as it meets the minimum state requirements.
  2. Turo: This company offers three tiers of protection plans to cover at least the minimum level of liability required by the State.
  3. Lyft: Insurance is included in the price of every Lyft Express Drive rental.
  4. Uber: Insurance and protection are included in the rental price.
  5. Enterprise: With your rental, you can choose from various protection plans, such as damage waiver, personal effect coverage, supplement liability protection, and roadshare assistance protection.
  6. Zipcar: The basic insurance included with your rental covers physical damage. You’ll only pay up to the first $1000, and the rest is covered by the insurance. You can also buy a damage waiver plan to avoid paying any damage fines.

Conclusion: The Verdict On the Best Car Rental Company

After checking all the facts, can you tell which car rental company is best?

Right! There’s no easy answer to this question. In fact, it all depends on your needs and budget. For instance, if you’re renting a car to make some extra cash, go for Lyft Express Drive or Uber Rent.

Zipcar is ideal for short-term rentals. When you need the car to run an errand for a couple of hours, go with Zipcar.

If you’re a business traveler in need of a car in international locations, Enterprise is the solution. It’s highly accessible at major airports and cities around the world.

Best overall is Turo. It has the best customer service and the most appealing customer experience. Turo also offers competitive prices and occasional discounts.

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