Best Car Rental in Canada

Best Car Rental in Canada

Discover Canada's Premier Car Rental Services: A Comprehensive Guide

Photo by Vlad Kutepov on Unsplash
Lorraine Giron
PUBLISHED ONNovember 23, 2023

Dreaming of the picturesque coastlines of Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada? Perhaps you want to visit the Rockies in Alberta? Most of Canada’s celebrated attractions and popular cities are best explored by road.

But there’s no need to stress about tight bus or train schedules. With a car, you can effortlessly soak in the breathtaking views and even take unplanned detours to find those hidden gems.

Luckily, Canada’s car rental options are just as varied as its landscapes. Renting a car gives you the freedom to experience Canada’s beauty truly.

Understanding Car Rental Agencies in Canada

Whether you’re looking for a small car, a roomy SUV, or a tough pickup truck, Canada’s top rental car companies have just the right ride for your trip.

Renting a car is easy and hassle-free. You can book online and pick up or drop off your vehicle at a convenient location.

To make sure you have a great time in Canada, these companies also offer extra services like GPS navigation, roadside help, and the choice to add winter tires when it gets chilly. These little extras can make your Canadian adventure even better.

Policies on Rental Vehicles in Canada

Driver’s License

Age Restrictions

The minimum car rental age varies by province and rental company, but it’s typically around 21 to 25 years old. If you’re younger, some rental places might charge you extra.

Credit Card and Insurance Coverage

Credit Cards: Most big rental companies in Canada prefer you to use a credit card. They find it safer and more convenient. Remember, not all companies require a credit card. Debit cards might be accepted by some with additional fees or deposits.

Insurance Coverage: Credit cards aren’t just for paying. They can also cover you with insurance. Many credit card companies offer something called a collision damage waiver (CDW) or a loss damage waiver (LDW) to their cardholders.

These waivers can save you money if something goes wrong with the rental car, like an accident or theft. But there are rules and limits, so don’t skip the fine print.

For example, some cards only cover certain types of cars, rental lengths, or places. If your card doesn’t cover what you need, you can look into a separate rental car insurance plan. Additionally, it's essential to understand how to obtain car insurance to ensure you have the coverage you need.

The good news is that many big rental car agencies in Canada offer their own insurance plans when you book. Check out our article comparing prices and coverage for some of the best car insurance providers in Canada.

Different Types of Vehicles Available for Rental in Canada

When it comes to picking the perfect rental car in Canada, think about your needs first. How many people are traveling with you? How much stuff are you carrying? And where are you going? Also, watch out for extra rules, like age restrictions or fees for extra drivers.

1. Compact Car: If you’re traveling solo or with a partner, a compact car is a smart and budget-friendly choice. These cars are great on gas, easy to handle in city traffic, and get you where you need to go without a fuss.

2. Minivan: Got a bigger group or extra luggage? A minivan is your go-to. They’ve got plenty of space for passengers and all your stuff. Some even have cool extras like DVD players or built-in GPS for entertainment.

3. Pickup Truck: Planning an outdoor adventure in Canada? A pickup truck is your trusty companion. Whether camping or tackling tough terrain, these trucks have the necessary power and space. They’re perfect for hauling gear or bags with their roomy beds and towing abilities.

4. Luxury Vehicles: Want to add a touch of class to your trip? Luxury cars bring style, fancy features, high-tech gadgets, and extra comfort to your journey. Whether it’s a special event or just a desire for a more luxurious ride, these cars have you covered.

And if you’re looking for something special, certain places might have unique options. Think convertibles for cruising in cities like Toronto or Vancouver or SUVs and 4x4s for different terrains or winter driving.

Understanding Rental Prices

Rental Prices

When it comes to how much you’ll pay for your rental, a few things come into play: the time you want the car, where you want it, and what kind of car you’re after.

Seasonality and location

Winter Season: In Canada, winter means snow and icy roads from December to March. So if you’re driving during those months, watch the weather. Many rental places offer winter tires to keep you safe on slippery roads.

Location: Canada is huge, with cities, airports, and cool spots all over. It’s smart to pick a company with several rental locations from where to pick up your car. And remember, some places might not have many cars to rent, especially out in the wilds or less-visited spots.

Driving Conditions: Not all roads are created equal in Canada. If you’re planning a snowy trip to the Canadian Rockies or checking out Newfoundland’s beautiful landscapes, look for a rental place with winter tires and cars for rough roads.

Additional drivers: Thinking of sharing the driving with someone else? Make sure the rental company is okay with that, and check if there’s an extra cost. Most rental spots can hook you up with child car seats for a bit extra if you’re traveling with kids. Booking those ahead of time is a good idea to ensure they’re available.

Tips to Save Money on Car Rentals

Travel with a big group: Renting a car can be budget-friendly, especially when you’re with friends, family, or a travel group. You can all chip in for the rental and split the gas costs. It’s often cheaper than buying separate tickets for everyone on public transit.

Look for deals and discounts: Keep an eye out for sweet deals and discounts from car rental companies in Canada. They often offer great bargains, especially if you book ahead or need the car for a while. These deals can help you save cash and stretch your travel budget. That way, you’ll have more to spend on other fun stuff during your trip.

Extra Tips on Car Rentals

Look for customer support

Road trips can throw surprises your way, so having some backup is important. Choose a rental company with 24/7 customer service and reliable roadside assistance. That way, you can relax and enjoy your trip, knowing help is just a call away.

Do your homework

Before you make up your mind, do some digging. Read customer reviews about the rental companies in your travel destinations. Look for reviews on car quality, the rental process, and transparency about base rates and extra costs.

International Car Rental Companies in Canada

Big international players rule Canada’s car rental scene, and it’s no surprise why. These companies have earned their reputation by offering a wide range of vehicles and top-notch customer service.

1. Wide range of vehicles

Major companies have a variety of options to suit your needs. Whether you need a compact car for a solo trip or a spacious SUV for a family vacation. Plus, they often team up with top car makers, so you can count on the latest models loaded with all the cool features you want.

2. Extensive network

These major players typically have rental car locations in all major cities and airports. Whether you’re landing at Terrace Airport or Vancouver International Airport, you’ll have plenty of rental choices. This makes it incredibly convenient to pick up your rental vehicle as soon as you land and explore your destination immediately.

3. Knowing local regulations

Rental car agencies will ensure you follow all necessary regulations. This includes paperwork for crossing provincial borders or needing winter tires in certain months. This ensures a hassle-free rental experience and allows you to focus on enjoying your trip.

4. Additional services

International rental companies often offer add-ons like GPS navigation, child car seats, and even Canadian hotel accommodations. These extra options can make your travel experience more comfortable and convenient.

5. Reliability

Most rental companies have been in the industry for years. They’ve built a solid track record of providing high-quality vehicles and excellent customer service. This means that you can trust their vehicles to be well-maintained and reliable. Additionally, they often have comprehensive insurance options and damage waivers, giving you peace of mind while you’re on the road.

6. Flexibility

Major rental companies usually have more flexible rental terms and options. They often offer short-term or long-term rentals, so you can pick the one that suits your travel plans. You might also be allowed to add additional drivers or include winter tires for Canadian winters.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Founded in 1957, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is proud of its American and military roots. Today, it’s one of the biggest names in transportation, with 8,000 spots, including loads in Canada.

For bookings and inquiries, check out their website here.

Key Features:

  • Extensive locations: Planning to visit Banff National Park or cruise the scenic Route 132 along the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City to the beautiful Gaspe Peninsula Route? With Enterprise’s locations, there’s a car for you to visit these attractions.
  • Wide range of fleet: Enterprise’s rides range from trucks to fancy sedans and SUVs. So whether you’re craving style or planning a family trip, Enterprise has you covered.

National Car Rental

Founded in 1947, National Car Rental is part of Enterprise Holdings and has a solid presence with over 1,500 locations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific.

For bookings and inquiries, check out their website here.

Key Features:

  • Wide range of options: With 108 locations in Canada, you can find the ideal car if you plan to ski in British Columbia or visit the national parks in New Brunswick.
  • Emerald Club: If you’re a frequent traveler, then you might want to take advantage of The Emerald Club. It hooks you up with cool perks like free rental days and access to the fancy Emerald Aisle.

Budget Rent-A-Car

Are you searching for a reliable and affordable car rental company in Canada? Since 1958, Budget Rent-A-Car has made it possible without breaking the bank. With over 3,000 locations worldwide, it aims to deliver the best car rental choices for great value.

For bookings and inquiries, check out their website here.

Key Features:

  • Affordable rates: You can save big on Budget’s car rental promos and deals. For example, if you book ahead and prepay, you can save up to 35%. And they’ve got seasonal, super sales, so keep an eye on their website for updates.
  • Additional Products: Budget offers GPS navigation to help you with routes and traffic and car seats for families traveling.
  • Additional Benefits: At an additional daily charge, you can add on roadside assistance, which covers stuff like lost keys or flat tires. They’ve also got refueling options to help you avoid surprise charges.
  • Protection: Budget offers protection plans, such as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Personal Accidents and Effects (PAE), and even Personal Effects Insurance for cargo trucks.

Alamo Rent A Car

Founded in 1974, Alamo is a pioneer of the real-time internet booking and online check-in system. Taking advantage of technology makes vacationing in the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world hassle-free and fun.

For bookings and inquiries, check out their website here.

Key Features:

  • Rental Deals: Alamo’s got your back with Plan Ahead specials and Last Minute deals at select spots in the United States and Canada. So whether you book in advance or not, you can still save!
  • Maintenance and Safety: Alamo is known for its Complete Clean Pledge, so you are assured of well-maintained vehicles.

Dollar Car Rental Canada

Founded in 1965, Dollar Car Rental has become a globally recognized brand and is now a subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation. It operates in 53 countries, including Canada.

For bookings and inquiries, check out their website here.

Key Features:

  • Convenient Locations: Dollar has service stations in in-terminal airports and neighborhoods across the USA and Canada.
  • Extensive fleet of cars: From compact cars to SUVs and minivans, Dollar’s got something for solo travelers and families alike.
  • Transparency: Dollar promises transparent pricing with no sneaky fees and great value for money.
  • Flexibility: Dollars offers additional benefits such as airbags, child safety seats, ski racks, and rental cars to accommodate physically challenged drivers.

Local Car Rental Companies in Canada

Among the sea of multinational car rental companies, these two stand out as independent Canadian companies:


Founded in 1976, PractiCar is best known as “Rent-A-Wreck.” Both end consumers and operating proprietors benefit from its wide range of auto services, including car rental and dealership.

For bookings and inquiries, check out their website here.

Key Features:

  • Convenient Locations: PractiCar has service locations in major airports in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, among others.
  • Flexibility: PractiCar offers pickup from any location, whether a cruise ship, ferry, off-airport, or neighborhood pickup.
  • Customer Service: With over 40 years of experience, PractiCar is praised for its simple, efficient, and friendly rental process and staff.
  • Protection: PractiCar offers insurance replacement rentals, so you can have a rental vehicle while your own is being repaired.

Routes Car Rental

Based in Toronto, Routes Car Rental has grown from its Canadian roots to become one of the largest independent car rental companies. With its affiliate program, it can expand its operations worldwide.

For bookings and inquiries, check out their website here.

Key Features:

  • Airport Locations: Routes has service locations in major airports such as Toronto Airport and Montreal Airports, so you can start your Canadian adventure immediately.
  • Extensive fleet of cars: From special convertibles to cargo vans, Routes has the ideal car for any passenger size or occasion.
  • Protection: Routes provides a Collision Damage waiver, which protects the renter or authorized driver from any financial responsibility in case of an accident.
  • Inclusion: Cars with specific hand controls are offered at no additional charges to accommodate drivers with disabilities.

Final thoughts

With a wide range of vehicles available for rental in Canada, you can find the perfect vehicle to match your preferences and itinerary. Whether exploring major cities in Western Canada or venturing into the great Canadian outdoors, a rental vehicle is waiting for your next adventure. Wondering about the best time to visit Canada? Plan your trip and make the most of your journey.

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