Our review compares hire cars on customer satisfaction, so you can find out what other Aussies think about the compared brands before you go ahead with a purchase. Think of it as like asking hundreds of your closest mates which hire car they think is best!
Canstar Blue surveyed 430 Australians for their feedback on the hire car(s) they’ve hired within Australia in the last 12 months.
The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.
Find more detailed information on our Most Satisfied Customer methodology.
Hertz was rated five stars across all ratings categories, including value for money, customer service, quality of vehicle, transparency of costs & fees, range of vehicles available, availability of vehicle type booked and overall satisfaction.
Founded over 100 years ago, Hertz has expanded to nearly 10,000 locations across the globe and operates in more than 150 countries. In Australia, Hertz has over 200 locations, with a wide variety of vehicles available – including small cars, convertibles, hatchbacks and people movers with wheelchair access.
Hertz offers discounts and partnerships to help save customers while on the road, while also providing reward programs for both individuals and businesses. Hertz’ Gold Plus Rewards plan offers priority service at car hire locations, plus discounts and the opportunity to earn bonus points for future upgrades. Additionally, the Hertz Business Solutions program provides similar incentives for future trips, including lower excess costs, no surcharge for younger drivers, a dedicated billing website and the ability to earn Virgin Velocity points.
Budget was rated five stars for transparency of costs & fees and availability of vehicle type booked, with four stars for range of vehicles available, quality of vehicle, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Budget provides hire car centres across the globe, including more than 200 locations in Australia to help with your next family holiday, business trip, and everything in between. Offering a variety of cars – including luxury models for the adventurous type, people movers for the whole family, as well as small cars and 4WDs for those after something specific – Budget also offers truck hire, which includes utes, vans and small trucks, to help you with whatever you’ve got planned. You can also score some Qantas Points, so be sure to enter your details when booking for maximum rewards.
Budget offers plenty of information through its website, including the terms and conditions for you to peruse beforehand, making the final decision less stressful when it comes to putting pen to paper. Offers are also outlined on Budget’s website, allowing families and businesses to save on their next trip. If you’re in a hurry, you can sign up to Budget Fastbreak for quicker service at check-in and check-out, with long-term car rentals also available for those looking to stay out on the road for a while.
Avis was rated five stars for availability of vehicle type booked, with four stars for all other categories, including value for money, customer service, quality of vehicle, transparency of costs & fees, range of vehicles and overall satisfaction.
Avis has been operating for more than 70 years, with thousands of locations in more than 160 countries. And with over 200 centres in Australia, local consumers have plenty of options for hire cars regardless of where their next trip takes them. Fees and charges are outlined via the Avis website, with FAQs and car rental terms and conditions also available online to help with the planning stage of your next trip. To also assist with that planning, Avis outlines various promotional offers, with users potentially scoring vehicle upgrades and car hire for additional days.
The Avis mobile app will also streamline the rental process, allowing you to skip the queue when you go to pick up your rental car as well as manage or upgrade your booking on the go. Receipts and a record of your trip histories are also available through the app, making it easier for businesses to track expenses. And if you’re a frequent traveller, you can also sign up to the Avis Preferred membership program, which offers priority service, faster bookings, free additional drivers and additional extras.
Europcar was rated four stars for range of vehicles available and availability of vehicle type booked, with three stars for transparency of costs & fees, quality of vehicle, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Originating in France over 70 years ago, Europcar now has locations in 140 countries worldwide, with more than 100 sites in Australia. With a number of vehicle types available to rent, travellers can narrow down their options by transmission type, luggage space, seat numbers and emission levels, helping you to stay comfortable on the road.
Europcar offers 24/7 service in most major airports, with a number of offers and discounts available through its website to help those on a budget. Europcar also has a fleet of vans and trucks available for those looking to move house or to help those likely to pack big for business trips. Europcar also provides a free worldwide loyalty program that includes multiple tiers to suit your rental habits, giving you the opportunity to save on your next rental.
Not all brands in the market qualify for our ratings (based on minimum survey sample size), but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. Here are several more brands to check out before making a purchase decision.
Nothing can put the brakes on your trip like realising you’ll have to add extra travel time to simply pick up your ride. While there are plenty of hire car providers available for you to choose from, location, as well as the ability to drop off your rental at a different location, might be the biggest factor in deciding which operator you book through.
If you’re looking to visit a major city, here are a few guides to help you find the best provider for your journey:
Regardless of whether you’re just traveling for the day, or you’re looking to set off for a few weeks, hire cars can quickly rack up a larger bill than expected. Our survey showed 13% of survey respondents found the actual cost of hiring a car was more than what they had originally been quoted. Here is a list of common costs that you could find on your final invoice:
To avoid forking out more than you need to, there are a number of things you can do to cut your rental costs, including booking in advance, cutting back on any extras, as well as sticking close to the agreed terms to avoid any additional fees.
Insurance is a daunting thing to tackle, particularly if you’re not sure what you should be getting. While you’ll need some form of insurance to get behind the wheel of your own car, insurance isn’t compulsory when you hire a vehicle. However, it is generally recommended to ensure you won’t be left dealing with the costly aftermath if you meet with an accident. The vehicle you take off the lot will be insured against any damage, with providers also outlining what to do if you get in an accident in their terms and conditions. But the excess could still set you back hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, which can cut your holiday short.
Depending on which provider you have insurance with, and what policy you have, you will generally be covered behind the wheel of a hire car. But before you rush out the door, you should note this generally applies in the event where your primary car has been in an accident and you’ve received a hire car as a short-term replacement. So while you can technically be covered under your insurance to drive a rental, you won’t be able to book a trip away and use a hire car under your insurance policy, meaning it’s best to take out insurance with your provider, or check if you’re covered under your travel insurance.
With so much to consider when it comes to getting away for a few days, looking into all of your options before setting off could save you a bit of money, as well as a lot of heartbreak if your trip doesn’t go to plan. While some providers may offer the cheapest price tag, looking into areas such as insurance and provider locations can also play a big part in which provider you go through. After all, you don’t want to be stressed out before your trip.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Site Editor, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.
Here are the past winners from Canstar Blue’s hire car ratings:
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