Car Hire

Hiring a Car Over the Internet

I am looking at hiring a car for the weekend. I am a 35 year old female driver living in London. I will pick the car up from a city location on Friday evening 5pm dropping off on Sunday evening same time. I am looking for a mini economy car.

Rates based on pickup 23Feb07 and drop-off 25Feb07

Car Hire Costs: Disclaimer
 Car Hire CompanyCost (GBP) Car Hire Notes
 Travelsupermarket 77  Vauxhall Corase 1.2 or similar
 Auto-Europe  Renault Clio manual
 HolidayAutos  UNable to offer a car for this duration
 EasyCar 66.62 No car available on dates given
 Avis Car Hire 78.00 Renault Clio manual
 National Car Hire  Unable to offer a 5pm Sunday drop off
 Hertz Car Hire 53.67 Ford Fiesta 1.25
 Expedia 77.30 Vauxhall Corsa or similar

Review of Car Hire Websites

This site is a travel site which searches through all companies to find the best deal. It was quick and easy to use with the search taking only a couple of minutes. A little patience is required whilst it does it's search as it needs to scan numerous companies. I selected pickup from Earls Court and the car that was offered as the cheapest included collision damage waiver, unlimited miles and theft protection. Cancellation insurance and local taxes were not included and a deposit was required. To make the booking you are directed onto ebookers own website.

A step by step site which is easy to use. The search only took a couple of minutes. I selected Victoria as the pickup and drop-off location. The vehicle that was offered was inclusive, however a deposit is still needed. A good feature on this site when selecting pickup and drop-off locations was that it automatically crossed out the ones which were not open at the time you had selected. Options to request infant and child seats and ski racks were also available. I was not able to find out which company the car was rented through as it was pointed out that this would be shown on the voucher once payment had been made.

Holidayautos Car Hire

I chose Victoria as the pickup and this website stated...

"We may be unable to offer you a car due to the duration requested, local office hours indicated or driver age restrictions on certain vehicles. please adjust and re-submit your rental details or call us on 0870 400 4447 (7am - 10pm) for further assistance."

To be honest, I couldn't be bothered to go back and change any details in case it kept coming up with the same message, so I moved onto the next website!

Easycar Car Hire

Another easy and fast website to use. Even though no cars were available from Earls Court for the dates I wanted it still showed all the details of what I could have had if they were. (therefore I am showing them for comparison's sake). A Vauxhall Corsa was the smallest car available. The total cost was not all inclusive but did include unlimited miles. A deposit was needed, and there was also mention of a young drivers surcharge which I thought was handy as a lot of people under 25yrs are interested in hiring cars.

Avis Car Hire

So far this website has taken the longest to get a quote, about 4 minutes. The main page that you enter the details on kept repeating itself as I typed in London, then it wanted more details and then it came back again with all of the London locations before giving a quote - a bit of a faff! The rates which came up gave two options - a "pay now" or "pay later" (which was more expensive). The rate was not fully inclusive, but did cover vehicle damage waiver, vehicle theft cover and tax.

National Car Hire

This site started out looking good. It gave the options of different cars that they had before I had to put the rental details in, which I thought was good as I could see if I was choosing the car which most suited my needs before going onto the next stage. However, when entering my details I discovered that none of the London offices were open at 5pm on Sunday for me to drop the vehicle back... so I did not continue with the quote. I was disappointed as so far all of the other car rental companies were able to accept a drop-off at this time.

Hertz Car Hire

A fast and easy website to use. Additional options such as car seats, satnav systems etc were easy to see and book. The rate quoted was the cheapest by far and included tax, locations service charge, vehicle licensing fee and road tax, collision damage waiver and theft protection. I was a bit dubious about the following statement however...

"Approximate rental charges are based on available information at the time of reservation. Additional fees or surcharges may be applied at time of rental."

If I were to rent this car I would have to make a phone call to Hertz to clarify if I was going to be charged a lot more when I picked up the car.


A very good and easy to use website. As expedia is an agent it searches through all car hire companies. When entering the details of what you need the search engine gives you the opportunity to search within a 10 mile radius of the chosen pickup point to find the best deal. All prices quoted are inclusive. The only downside to this is that to get any fine details about your rental you need to phone expedia at 10p/min. Otherwise a good website to use.

Car Hire Conclusions

As you can see there is approximately a GBP 15.00 difference between the cheapest and dearest company in this range of quotes, which on the whole is not a lot. Personally, if I were to be booking this car hire I would use even though it was not the cheapest. I found the website easy to use and informative, and the quote given was all inclusive. If I were to choose a second option it would be . My reason for not going with Hertz was due to the statement that they made re additional fees and surcharges - my guess is that because the quote was so much cheaper than the others I could be slugged some extra fees to make up the difference on pick-up of the vehicle. However, if money was an issue for me and I really wanted the absolute cheapest I would call Hertz to clarify this before booking with them.

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"Re your recommendation for Auto-Europe they also charge an environmental fee of £4 per day max 6days. This can add more than 10% to your rental wiping our t savings."

Dave Hoyle