If you’re all set for your holiday and plan to hire a car, knowing exactly what type of vehicle you need can prove challenging. The wide array of vehicle jargon can easily become confusing, which is why it helps to know exactly what you’re getting when selecting a car category.
It’s important to note that rental companies don’t categorise their vehicles by their make, but on a number of other factors including the size of the car, the number of seats, the number of doors, the engine size and the boot capacity.
So while you may select a model that you want, you may end up with one in the same category if your chosen vehicle is not available.
In Europe, as well as many other regions, a standardised classification is used which helps rental firms to put their vehicles into groups.
The option exists to get a car with a manual or automatic gearbox, although the latter usually costs more.
Rental companies in the USA follow much the same protocol, but the descriptions tend to differ as the vehicles are generally larger, have more boot space and have at least five seats. However, nearly all US cars are automatic – you can still drive them with a manual licence, although it may be worth talking to the desk staff about how exactly they work if you are unsure.
Here we have an overview of each group and detail how a vehicle in each may be beneficial for your holiday.
Mini – These vehicles will typically have two or four doors, four seats and room for limited luggage, and are best suited for city breaks.
Think: Hyundai i10, Peugeot 108, Fiat 500
Economy – Similar to mini vehicles but with more luggage space, making them suitable for city breaks and short trips.
Think: Seat Ibiza, Ford Fiesta
Compact – Ideal for city and mid-length trips, compact cars have room for two large cases, as well as accommodating three adults and two kids.
Think: Hyundai i30, Peugeot 308, Ford Focus
Compact Estate – Estate versions of compact vehicles with additional luggage space.
Think: Peugeot 308 Estate, Ford Focus Estate
Intermediate – Suitable for mid-length and long trips, intermediate vehicles can comfortably carry four adults and one child, alongside two large and one small suitcase.
Think: Skoda Octavia, Volkswagen Jetta
Intermediate Estate – Estate versions of intermediate vehicles with additional luggage space.
Think: Renault Megane Estate, Vauxhall Astra Estate, BMW 3 Series Tourer
Standard – Very similar to intermediate vehicles in terms of size and luggage space, but slightly larger for additional comfort, meaning five adults could all fit inside.
Think: Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat
Standard Estate – Estate versions of standard vehicles with additional luggage space.
Think: Vauxhall Insignia Estate, Ford Mondeo Estate
Full Size – Capable of carrying five adults and a considerable amount of luggage, making it an ideal option for long trips where comfort and vehicle performance is needed.
Think: BMW 3 Series, Audi S6
Full Size Estate – Estate versions of full-size vehicles with additional luggage space.
Think: Mercedes Benz E-Class Estate, BMW 3 Series Estate
Luxury – For those that want to travel in style, with space for three large suitcases and five adults.
Think: Audi A5, Mercedes Benz E-Class, BMW 5-series
Convertible – Usually available in small or large variants depending on the number of passengers, these vehicles can carry up to four adults and are suited for those that want an open-air driving experience when on holiday.
Think: Audi A3 or A5 Convertible, Jaguar F-Type, Mercedes Benz E-Class Convertible
SUV – Perfect for longer trips and rural road networks, an SUV can comfortably fit five adults as well as two or three large suitcases.
Think: Nissan Pathfinder, Volkswagen Tiguan
People Carrier – The option for large families and groups, people carriers come in several forms. Some will have five seats with a further two that fold up in the boot, some will have seven seats and other larger vehicles can take nine passengers.
Think: Vauxhall Zafira, Ford Galaxy, Seat Alhambra
If you do intend to hire in the months ahead, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to protect against the excess you would need to pay if your hire car is damaged or stolen.
Not only does this cover provide peace of mind for your time away, but it also costs less than you may think. Get a quote today to find out how little the cover could cost you.
Date Created: 17/09/2019