Mid-Size Vs. Full-Size Rental Carsby Dennis Hartman
One of the key decisions to make when planning a vacation or business trip is what type of car to rent. You're likely to spend a lot of time in your rental, so choosing a car that you're comfortable driving and that has enough room for you and your gear can have a real impact on your trip. There are several things to consider when deciding between mid-size and full-size models.
One factor that might rule out one class of rental cars is how many people you need in the car. For a family vacation, a mid-size car might be best for two adults and two small children, but families with older children or more people might need to upgrade to a full-size car. Likewise, if you're on a business trip and need to transport clients or co-workers, full-size might be the way to go.
Cargo space is another key thing to consider. One advantage of a full-size car is its large trunk, which can often hold luggage for up to four people. Mid-size models might have space inside for two adults, but fitting all of their luggage can be a challenge without using the rear seats as well as the trunk. Also, remember that small children, even though they might fit into a small rear seat comfortably with a car seat, might require excess luggage such as a stroller or diaper bag, meaning they have even larger luggage requirements than an adult.
Comfort is another factor that will depend on the the class of vehicle you select. Full-size cars feature more leg and elbow room as well as higher roofs and longer wheelbases. This means they generally provide a smoother ride. For long-distance trips, a mid-size car might eventually become uncomfortable. However, if your rental car is only needed for a few short trips, such as to and from the airport, the full-size might be excessive.
Another important concern is safety. Full-size cars often feature more advanced safety equipment, but this changes on a car-by-car basis. Consult your rental agency's website to see what models it offers and what safety equipment those models feature. One additional factor related to safety is how comfortable you will feel behind the wheel. Drivers used to a compact car might find driving a full-size car awkward and difficult to maneuver and park.
Most rental companies will charge more for full-size models. Besides a higher rental cost, consider that larger, heavier full-size cars are likely to be less fuel efficient than their mid-size counterparts, meaning that your total fuel cost will increase along with the size of the car.
- Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images