The Best and Worst Car Rental Companies

October 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel News

What is the best car rental company? According to a survey by Condé Nast Traveler: Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis top the list. The results, which take into account rates, reliability, locations, and vehicle options were not overly surprising as these companies are some of the largest car rental companies. In addition, many of the agencies on the list are at the forefront of new developments in the industry. Hertz recently announced one-way rentals that will allow consumers to drop off a car at an airport instead of an original pick-up spot. This is particularly helpful for international and out-of-state travelers. Enterprise and Avis, on the other hand, are pioneering electric car rentals for the upcoming year.
hertz-car-rentals Hertz Car Rental Counter © Dierk Schaefer

It’s not just travelers who are benefiting from the innovations by the leading car rental companies. Newer companies such as Zipcar are attempting to shift urban centers from car owners and renters to car-sharing members. Their hope is that major cities around the globe will embrace their on-demand mobility model. While this is a popular method in European cities, it will be more difficult to push through in the United States where car ownership is ingrained in the culture. That said, an emphasis on being green has taken afoot in certain segments of the population.

For the companies that didn’t perform well in the survey such as Dollar and Thrifty, it would benefit them to re-evaluate their products and services as it will prevent them from being associated with the worst car rental companies.
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gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.

 

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Comments

23 Responses to “The Best and Worst Car Rental Companies”
  1. Tim says:

    I really like the idea of the one-way rentals. Nothing more frustrating than having to drop a car off at an office them pay my way to the airport. Think every company should have an easy model for this.

    I’ve had good experience overall with renting. Only one mediocre experience. Won’t name the company, but it was on the lower end of the list.

  2. Denise L says:

    The car-sharing idea might take off in cities like New York where it’s really expensive and difficult to park. San Fran too where people are green oriented. No chance in Los Angeles.

  3. Gennaro says:

    @Tim – I’m on board with the one-way rentals. It has been around to some degree, but it should be universal and easy.

    @Denise L – NYC is perfect for car-sharing. Or no car at all.

  4. Lanna says:

    For me, it has been less about a specific company and more about the location office or counter. I’ve had good and bad experience within the same companies depending on the person at the counter or who answers the phone. At the end of the day, I usually just go with the cheapest car rental.

  5. Denise L says:

    @Gennaro I didn’t have a car while living there. It would have been nice to have Zipcar or similar for weekends away though. Trains and buses are pretty good for that, but not always convenient.

  6. Gennaro says:

    @Lanna – That makes a lot of sense. A company can have an overall strong customer relations, but a single branch or two can have issues.

    @Denise L – Agreed.

  7. Lisa Powers says:

    I usually go for the cheapest car rental company, but after a few bad experience it might be time to go beyond that to a company with great service.

  8. Aaron Abbott says:

    I find that it’s often the airport that makes a difference. I do a lot of traveling and my auto rental experiences have been influenced by this. My best experiences with car rentals regardless of company were at Chicago (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), and London Heathrow (LHR). The worst were at New York (JFK), Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL), and McCarran International (LAS). Sometimes a lot of it is just common courtesy.

  9. Gennaro says:

    @Lisa Powers – Think most go with the lowest priced option.

    @Aaron Abbot – Very interesting. Didn’t think about the differences based on airports. Will have to check the airport code next time I hear a complaint.

  10. Albert T says:

    Enterprise is the largest car rental company in North America and Hertz is the biggest car rental company in the world. That probably plays a role in their doing so well since part of the criteria requires a lot of car selections and locations.

  11. i prefer Hertz, they are very reliable and convenient whichever part of the world you are in

  12. Gennaro says:

    @Albert T – Absolutely.

    @Zabion Mukuba – This survey agrees.

  13. Ayngelina says:

    One way rentals just make sense, I can’t imagine having to drive it back.

  14. Keith says:

    @Aaron Abbott – I think you would find a difference at ATL with the new rental car center. They now have a train that takes you from the terminal across I-85 to the new car rental center in just a couple of minutes. From there it’s a big parking garage with all of the car rental agencies easily accessible. If you visited ATL a while back it has improved the car rental procedure greatly.

    For what it’s worth I prefer National (Emerald Club treatment is great) but use Alamo as well in areas where they are prominent and lower priced (like Florida usually).

  15. Gennaro says:

    @Ayngelina – Agreed.

    @Keith – Thanks for the update on the new rental counter at the ATL airport.

  16. brian says:

    The fact that Enterprise picks you up makes it #1 for me. I always look for them first wherever I go, especially in New York City.

  17. Gennaro says:

    @Brian – A nice feature.

  18. crasher says:

    Car rental companies should think of lowering the price a bit so much more people ca afford this service

  19. Kelvin says:

    The results, which take into account rates, reliability, locations, and vehicle options were not overly surprising as these companies are some of the largest car rental companies. In addition, many of the agencies on the list are at the forefront of new developments in the industry.

    Kelvin

  20. Reader says:

    Excellent Post…One way rental is a good idea. Hertz recently announced one-way rentals that will allow consumers to drop off a car at an airport instead of an original pick-up spot.

  21. ralliartgreece says:

    I have to say that Hertz is by far the worst car rental company.

    I hired a car for 2 days and had to pay 600 euros for warranty. I had to walk 1km to get to the car. The worst is that i got robbed and even i returned the car with a full tank and provided a receipt i was forced to extra for gasoline.
    Overall the worst car rental company out there with many hidden charges and awful customer support.

  22. France says:

    ralliartgreece – I’m really sorry to hear that because I just signed up with Hertz. I signed with them because a similar thing happened to me with Avis when I was in France a couple of months ago. The guy at the counter asked me if I wanted the refuel “option.” I said no, then he told me to bring it back full. I did that and they still charged me for refuelling. So basically I paid for a full tank twice. I complained to them and they wouldn’t budge. They said that they have the option of charging me for refuelling and that was part of my contract. It was a total scam. I had to get a third party to intervene before they gave me some – not all – of my money back.

  23. Maureen K says:

    I have had 3 really unpleasant experiences with Enterprise in the last 2 years. First here in Miami, they said they would deliver the car to our house. They did deliver but we then had to drive the agent 45 minutes through traffic delaying our trip, back to his agency. The car was really dirty, soiled seats, filthy carpets, smelled of stale cigarette smoke. We did not have time to change cars and the agent seemed to be in a hurry to get rid of us so we just took the car. In St. Maartin, the car was such a rattletrap old dirty car I was surprised they could even rent such things but there were no better choices. In California when I returned a rental car, even though you could see the tank was full, they charged me a $10 fee anyway because I did not have my receipt.. will NOT use enterprise ever again… treatment was brusque and dismissive