Best Car Rental Companies of 2023

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is our pick for the best car rental company

smiling woman handing over car key to man

 

martin-dm / Getty Images 

When it comes to renting a car, the options can be overwhelming and hard to sift through. And depending on how and why you’re traveling, car rental companies are not one-size-fits-all. Maybe you're seeking the most bang for your buck, or you just want the convenience of an easy online experience. From stand-out customer service to companies with impressive rewards programs, our top picks for the best rental car companies have you covered.

Best Car Rental Companies of 2023

01 of 07

Best Overall: Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Enterprise

 Enterprise

Key Specs

  • Standard Rates for Economy: $35 to $72 a day
  • Daily Mileage Limit: Unlimited in U.S. and Canada only
  • Airport Locations: Yes

Why We Chose It

Enterprise ranked the highest overall in customer satisfaction, with a score above the industry average. It has over 7,600 locations and a solid loyalty and rewards program.

Pros & Cons

Pro
  • Thousands of locations

  • Great loyalty program

  • Wide range of vehicles in the fleet

Cons
  • Can be expensive

Overview

Although Enterprise may have slightly higher rates in some cities, it's still a favorite for customer service. With more than 7,600 locations across the country, you are bound to find an Enterprise at the airport or city you're visiting. It also has a four-tiered loyalty program, called Enterprise Plus, which allows members to earn upgrades on rentals each year. They can also earn and redeem points for free rental days, receive faster members-only check-ins, and use a dedicated phone number for customer service. (Fun fact: The company was named after the aircraft carrier the founder served on during World War II.)

02 of 07

Best for Avoiding Fees: National Car Rental

National

 National

Key Specs

  • Standard Rates for Economy: $72 to $84 a day
  • Daily Mileage Limit: Unlimited
  • Airport Locations: Yes

Why We Chose It

National does not charge one-way rental drop-off fees, an extra driver fee, or fees for amenities like car seats, ski racks, or GPS devices.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Exceptional customer service

  • Great car selection

  • Special deals and promotions

Cons
  • Can be expensive

  • Charges a cancellation fee within 24 hours

Overview

Across the board, most car rental companies charge an additional fee for extra drivers and one-way car drop-offs. But not National. National also lends you equipment, like car seats, ski racks, and GPS devices, for free. National's Emerald Club loyalty program allows you to earn points for free rental days and receive car upgrades in certain cities or countries. And, since National and Enterprise are owned by the same company, you can even earn Enterprise points for renting with National. Plus, you may even already have automatic Executive status with National simply by carrying the right credit card, giving you a guaranteed upgrade when you rent a midsize car or above.

03 of 07

Best for Unlimited Mileage and Second Drivers: Alamo Rent a Car

Alamo

Courtesy of Wiki Commons 

Key Specs

  • Standard Rates for Economy: $40 to $72 a day
  • Daily Mileage Limit: Unlimited
  • Airport Locations: Yes

Why We Chose It

Alamo offers unlimited mileage and one free additional driver if you meet one of its requirements for this offer.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Available at most airports

  • Corporate programs

  • Pricing specials

Cons
  • Few locations outside of airports

  • Small car fleet

Overview

Alamo offers unlimited free mileage as a standard, and if you’re hitting the open road with another person, Alamo outlines a number of circumstances for which it will waive the additional driver fee. These include if the second driver is the spouse or domestic partner of the registered driver, or if the additional driver is a business partner or employer when driving on a corporate contract. If you’re a Costco member, you won’t be charged an additional driver fee either. Other benefits include the Alamo Insider program, which gives customers a guaranteed 5 percent discount. Rotating discounts include deals for military members, AAA members, and free car upgrades for certain categories of drivers.

04 of 07

Best for Airport Locations: Hertz

Hertz

 Hertz

Key Specs

  • Standard Rates for Economy: $40 to $78 a day
  • Daily Mileage Limit: Unlimited
  • Airport Locations: Yes

Why We Chose It

Hertz is one of the largest worldwide car rental companies, having a presence in nearly every major U.S. airport and many airports abroad.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Available at most major airports

  • AAA members discounts

  • Solid rewards program

  • Good selection of luxury vehicles

Cons
  • More expensive than others

  • Reports of stolen cars in its rental fleet

Overview

While Hertz is one of the largest car rental companies worldwide—with more than 1,600 airport locations in the U.S. alone, and coverage in smaller cities, too—it's not the cheapest. Hertz’s daily rate averages $60 (it varies depending on location). Still, the range of car offerings—business-trip economy cars, high-capacity family cars, Teslas, and luxury cars from Mercedes and BMW—makes Hertz a standout. Also, the company offers up to 30 percent off prepaid reservations, up to 20 percent off for AAA members, and no additional fees for AAA renters ages 20 to 25.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Best Discounts: Avis Car Rental

Avis

 Avis

Key Specs

  • Standard Rates for Economy: $60 to $75 a day
  • Daily Mileage Limit: Unlimited
  • Airport Locations: Yes

Why We Chose It

Avis' standard rates can be heavily reduced with various discount codes, rebates, and promotions available to savvy customers who aren’t afraid to put in the research. AARP members also get special rates, by default.

Pros & Cons

  • Good discounts and promotions

  • Easy pick-up and drop-off

  • Low long-term rates

  • Great small business membership program

  • Discounts require some web searching

  • Expensive base prices

Overview

Avis’ average daily rates might be higher than competitors, but you can usually knock down the price with coupons and promotions. For example, U.S. active duty military, military veterans, and National Guard and Reserves members receive up to 25 percent off base rental rates, while union members receive up to 30 percent off pay-now rates. AARP members receive up to 30 percent off base rates, as well. Additionally, if you’re renting in the Northeast (Maine to North Carolina), California, Chicago area, Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, or Puerto Rico, all cars come equipped with an e-Toll device, so you don’t have to think about toll fees. And, signing up for Avis' business program also means a complimentary Avis Preferred membership, which allows customers expedited pick-up and drop-off.

06 of 07

Best for Paying Upfront: Budget Car Rental

Budget

 Budget

Key Specs

  • Standard Rates for Economy: $63 to $140 a day
  • Daily Mileage Limit: Unlimited
  • Airport Locations: Yes

Why We Chose It

Budget offers a discount of up to 35 percent if you pay when you make the reservation, as well as a flexible cancellation policy. It also has free upgrades when you pay upfront.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tons of locations across the U.S.

  • Wide selection of safe cars

  • Special promotions

Cons
  • Member benefits aren't as good as other companies

  • Limited availability during peak seasons

Overview

In addition to Budget's 35 percent pre-pay discount, the company also offers rotating limited-time specials, like 10 percent off rentals of five or more days, or SUV rentals for $50 a day. Budget’s wide selection of cars also includes hybrids, like the Toyota Prius; convertibles, like the Chevy Camaro; and pickup trucks, like the Jeep Gladiator. While the pre-pay discount is nice, and the flexible cancellation policy makes it more attractive, do note: Budget will charge $50 for cancellations made outside of 24 hours of your scheduled pick-up, and $150 for cancellations within 24 hours. Additionally, there are no refunds for no-shows or for returning your rental car early.

07 of 07

Best Digital Booking System: Lyft Rentals

Lyft

 Lyft

Key Specs

  • Standard Rates for Economy: $63 to $78 a day
  • Daily Mileage Limit: Unlimited
  • Airport Locations: A few, but it also partners with Hertz and Sixt

Why We Chose It

Renting a vehicle through Lyft is as easy as opening the app, clicking on the key icon located at the bottom right of your screen, and following several prompts to customize your vehicle.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Easy online check-in

  • Good prices

  • Hybrids offered

  • No need to refuel before drop-off

Cons
  • No-frills fleet

  • Cars may not be in the best condition

Overview

Lyft is traditionally known as an on-demand ride-share service, but in 2019, the company launched a car rental program, Lyft Rentals, in partnership with the traditional car rental services Sixt and Hertz, in some locations. You can easily reserve your car via the app and select complimentary add-ons, like ski racks, child car seats, and a phone charger. Renting through the website instead of the app is also possible.

Once you drive off the lot, you get unlimited mileage and only have to pay for the gas and tolls you use (other companies may charge a fee for a toll transponder). Lyft's program also offers a $20 credit you can use to get to and from the rental location ($10 each way.) Additionally, locations fulfilled by Sixt rental cars grant you a $10 Lyft credit to use again anytime. To check in, just bring your phone and have your driver’s license ready.

Final Verdict

With solid customer service, thousands of locations, and great loyalty perks, Enterprise Rent-A-Car wins our pick for the best rental car companies of 2022. The company's four-tier member program earns you first-class service by providing free upgrades, free rental days, members-only check-in services, and a dedicated phone line with expedited service. Above and beyond, Enterprise wins the award for an over-the-top customer service experience.

Compare the Best Car Rental Companies

 Company Economy Rates  Daily Mileage Limit Membership Program Airport Locations
Enterprise Rent-A Car
Best Overall
 $35-$72 Unlimited (U.S. & Canada only) Yes, four-tiered Yes
National Car Rental
Best for Avoiding Fees
 $72-$84 Unlimited Yes Yes
Alamo Rent a Car
Best for Unlimited Mileage
$40-$72 Unlimited Yes Yes
Hertz
Best for Airport Locations
$40-$78 Unlimited Yes Yes
Avis Car Rental
Best Discounts
$60-$75 Unlimited Yes Yes
Budget Car Rental
Best for Paying Upfront
$63-$140 Unlimited Yes Yes
Lyft Rentals
Best Digital Booking System
$63 to $78 Unlimited Yes Only a few

Frequently Asked Questions

What company has the best car rental rates?

On average, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz, Budget, and Dollar offer the lowest rental car rates, according to a 2023 study by Nerdwallet. National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car proved to be the most expensive.

What are the main car rental companies in Canada?

Enterprise, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Discount Car & Truck Rentals, and Hertz are the major rental car players in Canada, with locations scattered throughout the country.

Who is the easiest car rental company?

Enterprise and Hertz offer the easiest and fastest way to rent a car. With exceptional customer service, special pick-up and drop-off lanes for members, as well as dedicated phone lines, the two companies have streamlined the rental process for customers.

Is Turo car rental legit?

Turo is a safe way to rent a car from a host, and receives an "excellent" ranking from consumers on Trustpilot. However, it's important to remember that you're renting a car from an individual, not a company, when booking through Turo. That said, make sure your insurance fully covers you before you drive the car away. If not, the cost of extra insurance offered through Turo may not make it an economical option.

Methodology

We evaluated several different rental companies before compiling our list of the best rental car companies. We considered factors like customer service, membership programs, selection of cars, airport availability, price, and rewards. We narrowed down our list to the most reputable companies that offered ease of use and good value to customers, as well as those suitable for small businesses and frequent travelers, complete with rewards discounts and upgrade options.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Which Rental Car Company Usually Has the Lowest Prices? Nerdwallet.