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Our guide to choosing the right rental vehicle for your needs

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When it comes to short or long-term vehicle rental agreements, there is a lot for the driver to consider, especially when the contract is being taken out on behalf of a business.

From the overall running costs of the vehicle to the category that the vehicle falls into, there is a lot to consider.

In this article, we explore some of the ways that both individuals and fleet managers can approach their vehicle rental, without having to worry about making the wrong decision on the day of collection.

Compare rental vehicle categories

All too often people under or overestimate what kind of vehicle they need during their trip. This can lead to an uncomfortable journey if you have underestimated, and excess fuel costs if you have overestimated. It is vital that you understand the common categories that vehicles fall into before you make your final booking.

For example, common rental vehicle categories include:

  • Mini – 2/4 doors – suitable for city trips for one or two people
  • Compact – 2/4 doors – suitable for city and mid-length trips
  • Intermediate Estate – 4 doors – suitable for mid-length to long trips with extra luggage
  • Standard – 4 doors – suitable for mid-length to long trips with extra comfort
  • Luxury – 4 doors – suitable for travelling in style
  • SUV – 4 doors – suitable for long trips and rural roads

Understand the fuel economy of your chosen vehicle

Whilst it may be tempting to go for the largest engine size or the latest model, it can often lead to unplanned expenses, especially when you are taking longer trips. One way of selecting the correct vehicle is to work out how far you will be travelling, calculate how much fuel will be needed and choose a vehicle accordingly.

If you are taking the vehicle for a longer period of time, for example a month, then it would be worth considering the average length of the journeys you will be taking. For those regularly driving on motorways, then an automatic diesel may be the best choice.

Alternatively, if you will be using the vehicle for shorter urban drives, then the latest plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) or electric vehicle (EV) would be more suitable.

Understand what type of licence you need

When it comes to choosing the right vehicle rental, drivers do need to consider what kind of licence they currently hold.

This needs to be checked beforehand to avoid any miscommunications prior to collection. The most common guidelines are listed below.

If your licence was issued before 31st January 1997:

  • You’re able to drive a vehicle up to 3.5t on a standard Category B licence
  • If you have a Category C licence, you’ll be able to drive a van up to 7.5t
  • With a Category C, you’re also able to tow a trailer up to 750kg

If your driving licence was issued after 31st January 1997:

  • You may have to take an additional test to be able to tow a trailer
  • You may have to take additional tests to be able to drive a van over 3.5t

If you are unsure of which vehicle you are able to drive, or would like to discover more the different categories, you are able to review the guidelines on the Government website here

Consider all contract lengths

Regardless of whether the rental vehicle is for business or personal use, there are a range of contract lengths available, which can hold multiple benefits for the end user.

For example, long-term vehicle rental can benefit a business by increasing the size of their fleet, without the commitment to making an initial investment. This flexibility means that employees who are on a probationary period, for example, are able to fulfil their job role, without the business having to worry about whether they need to organise car pools or alternative transport arrangements.

In contrast, long-term vehicle rental for personal use means that you are able to test the real-world driving conditions of a vehicle, before proceeding to make a purchase. This gives you the insight you need into the fuel economy, comfort levels, and whether the style of vehicle is suitable for your overall needs.

Further reading

In summary, selecting the right rental vehicle based on your specific needs does take preparation, especially if you are going to be using the vehicle for an extended period of time. However, there is help available, and our team has extensive experience advising our clients on which vehicle is going to be most suitable for their needs.

To find out more about the services that we are able to provide, or to rent one of the numerous cars that we have available, please call us on 01844 852000 or email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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