Best Car Rental in United Kingdom

Best Car Rental in United Kingdom

Discovering the Best Car Rental in the United Kingdom: An In-Depth Guide

Photo by Simon Tartarotti on Unsplash
WRITTEN BYDarlene Aberin
PUBLISHED ONNovember 27, 2023
Red Audi R8 Dusk Lighting
Source: Photo by Blake Meyer on Unsplash

Sourcing the perfect car rental for driving in the U.K. can quickly turn from a simple task into a puzzle. With numerous companies offering unique deals and conditions for driving in the U.K., choosing the best one can be challenging.

This guide aims to simplify the process, offering an in-depth exploration of the car rental industry in the UK. We’ll delve into understanding different companies, their offerings, user reviews, and conditions of service. Let’s make your car rental journey in the UK not just hassle-free but an enjoyable part of your trip. Read on for a comprehensive guide to car rental options in the UK.

Understanding Car Rentals in the United Kingdom

When renting a vehicle in the UK, it’s important to understand the terms and policies that govern car-hire companies’ operations and your responsibilities as a renter.

  • Rental Agreement: This contract between the car-hire company and the customer outlines terms such as the driver’s age, insurance details, fuel policy, and the condition the car is to be returned.
  • Insurance: Mandatory insurance typically comes with all rental vehicles, covering potential damages, theft, and third-party liability. However, car-hire businesses often offer additional insurance like Super Collision Damage Waiver or extra insurance for theft protection at an additional fee.
  • Deposits: To cover potential damages, additional costs, or fines incurred during the rental period, car-hire companies may request a deposit, usually processed on credit cards.
  • Additional Driver: If planning to include additional drivers, they must all be added to the contract, often for an extra charge; this could be known as the ‘additional driver fee’ or ‘driver surcharge.’

UK driving rules must also be observed:

  • Driving side: Vehicles drive on the left, and the steering wheel is on the right.
  • Speed Limit: Speed limits for roads with street lights apply unless signs say different.
    20 mph in built-up areas in Whales
    30 mph in built-up areas in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland
    60 mph on single-carriageway roads
    70 mph on dual-carriageways and motorways.
  • Documentation: A valid driver’s license recognized in the UK is a must, along with identification and your rental agreement.

Choosing the Best Car Rental Service in the UK

Choosing between big-name rental brands involves considering cost, available vehicle types (from common-or-garden models to electric vehicles like a Kia Picanto), the location of rental desks (including train stations and major airports like Birmingham airport), optional extras, quality of service, and the booking process.

Good car rental services bring numerous benefits:

  • Flexibility: Provides the freedom to travel at your own pace, stop wherever you like, and adjust your itinerary as needed.
  • Comfort: This can provide unmatched comfort, especially for long journeys or family travel.
  • Economic: It might be more cost-effective than taxis or other public transportation, particularly for longer stays.

Top Car Rentals in the UK

The UK offers a variety of renowned and high-quality car rental options to meet the needs and preferences of various clients. Each company provides unique benefits and services, ensuring clients can find the perfect fit for their travel requirements. Below are six notable options to consider for car rentals in the UK.

1. Enterprise

  • Pros: Enterprise holds a strong reputation for their exceptional customer service and high-quality fleet. They offer a wide range of vehicles, including both vans and electric models.
  • Cons: The daily car rental rates at Enterprise may be higher than those of some competitors.

2. Hertz

  • Pros: As a well-known name worldwide, Hertz prides itself on competitive pricing and an extensive selection of vehicles to suit various needs
  • Cons: While their service is generally well-regarded, some customers have reported issues at the rental desk.

3. Avis

  • Pros: Avis specializes in premium and executive saloon rental services, offering the option to rent luxury vehicles for a more upscale experience.
  • Cons: The higher cost of rental services at Avis may not be the best option for those seeking budget-friendly car rentals.

4. Europcar

  • Pros: Europcar, with its numerous locations across the UK, offers a wide range of rental options, from compact cars to trucks.
  • Cons: Prices at Europcar can vary significantly based on factors such as location and time.

5. Sixt

  • Pros: Sixt is known for its modern fleet and competitive prices. They also provide a selection of electric models for an environmentally friendly option.
  • Cons: Be vigilant for any extra charges when renting from Sixt, as some hidden fees may apply.

6. Auto Europe

  • Pros: Auto Europe excels in customer service and offers a quick pick-up and drop-off process. They also provide price comparison services to help you find the best deal.
  • Cons: Auto Europe has no major drawbacks; however, comparing prices and services among various providers is essential to ensure the best fit for your needs.

Safety Tips for Renting a Car

Driving Safely in the United Kingdom: Compliance with local driving regulations is necessary. Vehicles in the UK drive on the left of the road, with the steering wheel on the right. Speed limits are situation-dependent, varying with the type of road and locale. Engage navigation aids without becoming distracted whilst driving, especially if you’re a domestic driver or an additional driver

  • Insurance Mandates: Verify that mandatory insurance is factored into your contract with rental companies. Standard coverage includes damage, theft, and third-party liability. If you’re familiar with the standards of the best car insurance in the United Kingdom, you’ll appreciate these provisions. For extra assurance, add-ons such as additional insurance, excess insurance, or even extra insurance policies may ensure peace of mind.
  • Roadside Assistance and Emergency Information: Confirm if your rental providers offer Roadside Assistance service before setting off. Keep all emergency-related information handy, including contact details for local law enforcement, emergency vehicles, the fire department, and the rental company’s customer service.

Plan Your Budget

Understanding the rental costs and charges such as driver surcharge and extra charges will help you plan:

  • Rental Fees and Other Costs: The tally of rental costs usually includes the price of the vehicle, insurance, and tax. Additional expenses could include fuel, city car rental costs, additional driver fees, extra services (GPS or child safety equipment, for example), and the congestion charge potentially associated with certain city centers or big-name rental brands.
  • Money Saving Tips: To reduce car hire costs, book vehicles in advance, utilize price comparison services, do a thorough read of the terms and conditions during the booking process, and be nitpicky about the fuel policy not to get hit with surprise costs. An insider tip for cheap car rentals is to consider picking up from an extensive car rental location away from major airports or city centers where daily car rental rates are usually cheaper. Cocoon Vehicles, for instance, could be a lucrative bet.

Exploring the UK with Your Rental Car

With your rental car, effortlessly explore some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom. The UK’s diverse attractions range from bustling cities and historic sites to picturesque countryside routes and charming hidden gems, allowing you to create unforgettable memories along the way.

  • Cities: Visit vibrant cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham to enjoy a wide range of experiences: history fused with culture, dining, and shopping.
  • Historic Sites: Time travel is a reality in the UK; see historic treasures like Stonehenge, the Tower of London, or even the entire city of Bath.
  • Scenic Routes: The ‘Romantic Road’ falls in the heart of England, whereas the bracing Causeway Coastal Route is in Northern Ireland.
  • Hidden Gems: Less crowded yet charming places like the villages of the Cotswolds, the white cliffs of Dover, or the town of Oxford are not to be missed.

The crux here is to plan and prepare, whether you’re considering electric vehicles or the common-or-garden models like the compact city car, Kia Picanto. Investigate the terms for additional drivers or charges for drivers aged differently.

Plan your drop-off service and relish the quick drop-off process and quick pick-up process offered by top-notch car-hire businesses. All choices are on the table, from electric models to executive saloon rentals. Prior planning will make your trip a truly delightful experience. Contact Auto Europe or any other travel company for assistance finding the cheapest car rental company.

Comparing Your Options

When considering rental providers, the comparison criteria often fall under the categories of price, accessibility, customer service, and car models available.

  • Price: The big-name rental brands and car-hire companies showcase a wide range of prices. Using price comparison services can assist in determining the cheapest car rental company that fits your needs. Cheap car rentals might be suitable for a straightforward city tour, while, for a more luxurious experience, an executive saloon rental could be chosen. Daily car rental rates can vary; thus, setting up a reasonable budget based on the rental fees, additional charges, and extra services becomes crucial.
  • Accessibility: Accessibility is a prime concern when renting a vehicle. Some rental companies, like Cocoon Vehicles or Auto Europe, boast an extensive car rental location network encompassing major airports and train stations. They could offer a rental desk at convenient venues like city centers, thus ensuring readily available services for potential customers.
  • Customer Service: Excellent service is a keystone for rental businesses. Inspect the quick pick-up and drop-off processes and how adept rental companies are at dealing with issues like extra charges or additional driver fees. An ideal company would simplify these processes, offering a seamless experience from the booking process right through to the final vehicle return.
  • Car Models: Diversification in car models correlates to the versatility of a car rental company. The variety could be wide, from basic, common-or-garden models to automatic or electric vehicles. Whether you’re seeking a small, economical vehicle like a Kia Picanto or considering environmentally friendly electric models, you should be accommodated.

Tips for Using These Rentals

With a range of rental providers, a variety of cars, from electric vehicles to the humble Kia Picanto, and a myriad of policies and additional costs like fuel policy, congestion charges, driver surcharge for additional drivers, and more to consider, making an informed decision can sometimes be overwhelming. However, these tips can help ensure a seamless rental experience, optimal cost management, and peace of mind.

  • Booking Process: Booking a vehicle in advance is a wise move. Price comparison services will help secure a good deal. Reading terms and conditions closely during the booking process shields against any unnecessarily incurred costs.
  • Additional Insurance: A valid driver often sticks to the mandatory insurance typically attached to the rental agreement. However, for those seeking peace of mind, taking extra, additional, or even excess insurance could provide extensive coverage that can be advantageous in an unforeseen eventuality.
  • Fuel Policy: To avoid surprise charges, clearly understand the company’s fuel policy. Filling the tank at petrol stations before returning the car might be a requisite in some scenarios – stay ahead of that information.
  • Additional Drivers: Be mindful of adding additional drivers to your agreement. A driver surcharge often applies when including additional drivers, which could elevate the rental cost.

Remember, maintaining open communication with your car rental provider ensures a smooth rental experience. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification on any uncertainties you might have.


Renting a car in the UK need not be convoluted. The process becomes straightforward and manageable with groundwork on the rental agreement, understanding the service and costs associated with rental companies, and knowledge about things like the International Driving Permit in the United Kingdom. Exploration of the UK’s fascinating locations becomes significantly more enjoyable when done at your own pace and in your comfortable, chosen vehicle!

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