USA Car Hire Fleet Guide

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 ‘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.

  1. Size – enough room for your family?
  2. Luggage – does all your luggage fit in?
  3. Mileage – will your family/group be comfortable over a long distance?
  4. 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: Ford Fiesta (2019)
  • Thrifty: Mitshubishi Mirage (2019)
  • Hertz: Fiat 500 (2019)

Compact – CCAR/CDAR

  • Alamo, National and Enterprise: Nissan Versa (2019)
  • Dollar: Kia Rio (2019)
  • Thrifty: Ford Focus (2019)
  • Hertz: Nissan Versa (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: Hyundai Elantra: (2019)
  • Thrifty: Nissan Sentra (2019)
  • Hertz: Toyota Corolla (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 road trip 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, Thrifty and Hertz: Volkswagen Jetta (2019)

Full Size Cars – FCAR/FDAR

  • Alamo, National and Enterprise: Ford Fusion (2019)
  • Dollar: Chevrolet Malibu (2019)
  • Thrifty: Kia Optima (2019)
  • Hertz: Toyota Camry (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: Buick Regal (2019)
  • Thrifty: Ford Taurus (2019)
  • Hertz: Chevrolet Impala (2019)

Luxury – LCAR/LDAR

  • Alamo, National and Enterprise: Cadillac XTS (2019)
  • Dollar: Chrysler 300 (2019)
  • Thrifty: Buick LaCrosse (2019)
  • Hertz: Cadillac CTS (2019)

Pick Up Trucks

  • Contact us for a quote for this popular category, available at Orlando, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Models include Ram 1500 Classic, Nissan Frontier and Ford F150. Features such as a lockable load space cover cannot be guaranteed since the location will not know which makes and models will be available at the time of pick up.

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

  • Alamo, National, Enterprise: Ford Mustang (2019)
  • Dollar: Ford Mustang (2019)
  • Thrifty, Hertz: Chevrolet Camaro (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. Convertibles are usually only available to rent in the Southern (warm year round) states of the USA.

People Carriers

Minivan 7 Seat Car Hire Category – MVAR

  • Alamo, National and Enterprise: Dodge Grand Caravan (2019)
  • Dollar: Dodge Caravan (2019)
  • Thrifty: Chrysler Pacifica (2019)
  • Hertz: Dodge Grand Caravan (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

  • Alamo, National, Enterprise: Ford Transit Wagon (2019)
  • Dollar: Ford Transit Wagon (2019)
  • Thrifty: Chevrolet Express ( 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: Hyundai Tucson (2019)
  • Thrifty: Ford Escape (2019)
  • Hertz: Nissan Rogue (2019)

Standard SUV – SFAR

  • Alamo, National and Enterprise: Nissan Pathfinder  (2019)
  • Dollar: Jeep Grand Cherokee (2019)
  • Thrifty: Kia Sorrento (2019)
  • Hertz: GMC Terrain (2019)

7 Seat SUV – FFAR

  • Alamo, National and Enterprise: Ford Expedition (2019)
  • Dollar: GMC Yukon (2019)
  • Thrifty: Chevrolet Tahoe (2019)
  • Hertz: Toyota Sequoia (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.