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What Size Rental Car Do I Need?

Hire cars come in all shapes and sizes. Choosing the right one can be the difference between a comfortable, relaxing trip and an uncomfortable, cramped nightmare.

Hire Car Size Groups - What They Mean

The hire cars available through are all divided into a number of standard groups. Categories like these are used by most car rental companies around the world, although there are some variations.

To help you get an idea of actual cars for each size, we have listed two example cars for each size - a European model and a USA model:

  • Mini (UK/Europe only) - Ford Ka or Nissan Micra
  • Economy - Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Aveo
  • Compact - Volkswagen Golf or Chevrolet Cobalt
  • Intermediate - Ford Mondeo or Oldsmobile Alero
  • Standard - Volkswagen Passat or Chevrolet Malibu
  • Fullsize - BMW 3 Series or Chevrolet Impala
  • Premium - Audi A6 or Buick Lucerne
  • Luxury - Audi A8 or Ford Lincoln
  • Minivan - Ford Galaxy or Chrysler Voyager

Remember: Most European vehicles have manual transmission (stick shift). If you need an automatic transmission, you will need to specify this when booking your rental car.

You can view automatic models only by checking the Automatic Vehicle box at the top right of the screen when viewing your quote results.

The examples above are only guides. It's important to note the detailed information about each vehicle that's provided when you get a quote on

Passenger & Luggage Capacity

Each size of hire car has a specified passenger and luggage capacity. This is measured by how many passengers (not including the driver) the car can hold and how many pieces of luggage will fit in the trunk or boot of the car.

When you get a car hire quote on, the passenger and luggage capacity of each car will be shown alongside the price. You'll also see how many doors it has. Here's an example:

What size rental car do I need? - Passenger & Luggage Capacity

This Chevrolet Cobalt will fit 5 passengers, 4 pieces of luggage and has 4 doors. It also has air conditioning (the frost symbol) and automatic transmission (the 'A' symbol).

Remember: If you book this car, you won't necessarily get a Chevrolet Cobalt but you will get a car with a similar specification.

Remember, the key pieces of information for each car are:

  • - Number of adult passengers
  • - Number of pieces of luggage that can be carried
  • - Number of doors


Almost all cars will take 5 people, but fitting three passengers in the rear of smaller cars is often quite uncomfortable. If you need to carry five people over more than a short distance, we would recommend at least an Intermediate class car.

Similarly, if you have a lot of luggage, you should choose an Intermediate or larger car, especially if you will have rear-seat passengers as well. If you arrive to collect your rental car and find that it is too small, there is no guarantee that the rental company will have a larger car available for an upgrade at that time. - Save more online! - Cheap online car rental in the UK

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