Renting a vehicle can feel like a big commitment, even if it just for a few days. You are responsible for this vehicle, after all, and every bump on the road can feel like the end of your deposit. Then there is the fact that far too often families will opt for the smallest, cheapest option to go alongside their road trip or city exploring. Though this is a perfectly acceptable option, it is not always the best.
It is important to know what you need out of a rental car so that you can select the best type for you and your family. An option that might be more expensive up front might end up being cheaper due to better gas mileage, for example. Spending more for a larger vehicle can give you peace of mind and some quiet when you are driving long haul to another city for a day or two.
The best rental cars for families will depend on your family, budget, and needs. This guide will help you discover what option is best for you.
Know Your Family’s Needs
Family rental cars often need to be more practical than flashy, especially if you have more than two kids you need to accommodate. To help you choose the right class, follow these tips:
Know the Distance You Intend to Drive
If you intend to drive both within a city and around a city, or are going to go on a road trip, then gas mileage and drivability are very important. As is legroom. If you are going to be traveling for long periods of time, being comfortable is a must. There are rentals that take a middle ground, so you won’t be forced to choose one or the other.
For rentals that only need to take you through the city, you have a lot more options. Your main priority when driving a vehicle within the city will be comfort, ease of parking, ease of driving, and how well your vehicle can be heated or cooled depending on which season you are visiting.
The Best Rental Cars for Large Families
The best rental vehicles for large families are as follows:
- Spacious cabin
- A lot of legroom and space for luggage.
- Seats up to seven adults
- Lots of luggage space
- Five adults
- Lots of legroom
The Best Rentals for Road Trips
The best rentals for road trips will depend on the number of people traveling with you. If you are a small family of three then you can get away with an economy vehicle that has 30 to 35 miles per gallon and still have enough space to be comfortable.
Otherwise, if you have four or five in your family you will want to choose the Standard class, which offers more room than economy and still lets you benefit from 25 to 36 miles per gallon. This makes it even more economical than the economy vehicle on highways.
Best for Comfort
If comfort is your main and only priority, you have a few options.
- Full Size
Premium and luxury offer the best features to go alongside spacious cabins and lots of legroom. They are typically the best to handle and the most comfortable to be in. As they don’t typically have great gas mileage however they are best suited for driving around a city or when you don’t mind the cost of refilling your tank.
Standard vehicles are the most budget-friendly option in this list, next to full-size vehicles. SUVs offer the largest amount of space.
Best for Budget Travelers
The best choice when you are on a budget is to choose:
They are the smallest options, but when it comes to upfront costs you won’t find a better deal and you will end up saving as you use them due to their great gas mileage options.
Choosing the best rental car for your family will depend on the size of your family, how much space you typically need, how long and how far you are driving, as well as your budget. If you want the best experience in a vehicle, then premium or luxury is your best bet. If you want the cheapest ride, then you have economy or compact vehicles.
In-between these two options are the full size, standard, and the intermediate or mid-size. Each has its own benefits, but all will typically hold up to five passengers and are able to store three large suitcases. Choosing the right class to start with will mean getting the right vehicle when it comes time to pick it up, instead of getting your heart set on a specific make or model only to find out it’s in the shop when you get there.