We’re in the midst of a road-trip renaissance, especially for domestic vacations. According to a 2017–18 report from travel-marketing firm MMGY Global, 39 percent of U.S.-based leisure travel involves a road trip — a 17 percent increase from 2016. With more people getting behind the wheel to explore destinations both new and familiar, it’s fitting that travelers hold strong opinions about car-rental companies.
A surprise in the 2018 mix: last year’s No. 4 company, Avis, drops off the list, enabling Alamo to swoop into that spot. The shift also made room for the category’s only European company, Sixt, to slide in at No. 5. “Have rented from them several times over the years and never had a bad experience,” noted one reader. “Many times I find they have a luxury car for the same price you would pay their competitors for an average car.”
Beyond vehicle selection, professionalism and hospitality were both key to securing the repeat No. 2 position for Enterprise. “The company goes out of its way to get you the vehicle you need when you need it,” commented one fan. Multiple readers noted that this kind of personal touch goes a long way, especially in the age of ride-sharing services, which, despite their convenience in urban environments such as Los Angeles, haven’t substantially slowed the need for the long-term rental services that traditional companies provide.
Ranked in first place for the fifth year running, National rises above competitors thanks to its clean fleet, quality customer care, and vehicle availability. “The service and value beats all other car-rental companies hands down,” said one reader. Fans also universally praised the Emerald Club loyalty program, which allows members to bypass the check-in counter and choose their own cars from dedicated aisles. “Customer self-selection of cars is key to making National my provider of choice,” enthused one traveler. Another echoed the sentiment, saying “the hardest part is choosing which car you want. Great concept, easy checkout and return.”