The Best Rental Cars for your Labor Day Holiday

August 20, 2017

car rental comparisonLabor Day weekend is almost here, which means it is time to start planning your getaway. Half the fun of hitting the road on Labor Day (what little fun there is in driving on one of the highest traffic holidays of the year) is driving a rental car. It’s something new, something different, and usually pretty fun. Don’t let your Labor Day holiday be spoiled by a less-than-stellar rental car. Check out our picks for the best rental cars for your long weekend road trip.

How can you pick the best rental cars?

So what’s your type? Are you a family of five headed for the beach? Maybe you’re a young couple going car camping at the lake for Labor Day weekend. There are an endless number of combinations of weekend activities, family structures, and locations, so it is more than a little difficult to name the best rentals cars for everyone. That’s why we’re going to break our picks out into some of the most common types of rental cars. We know not everyone will fit into these categories, but data suggests that the vast majority of US drivers will.

The standard car rental

Toyota Camry Rental CarsThis is your basic, reliable, affordable option when it comes to rental cars. It’s not especially luxurious, but it’s not bare bones either. It can easily accommodate four passengers and do so comfortably, which is important for longer road trips. Our pick for this category is the Toyota Camry. A generally popular car in the US, the Toyota Camry is one of the best rental cars for road trips because of its great fuel economy and spacious interior. It’s considered a full-size car so it’s more expensive than a compact, but it’s still a standard model at many car rental locations.

Luxury car rentals

Mercedes Benz Sl550 convertibleThis rental car isn’t for everyone, but for vacationers who have a little more to spend the Mercedes SLK550 Convertible is easily one of the best rental cars for travel during the Labor Day holiday. It’s got everything you need for an end-of-summer final hurrah, so to speak. It’s a gorgeous, luxurious convertible sports car. Mercedes-Benz has long be known for producing fine luxury cars and the SLK550 is no exception. It comes with all the luxury appointments you’ve come to expect from a Mercedes. Even better, the Mercedes SLK550 gets some of the best fuel economy in its class. Expect to get 32 MPG or better. What you save on gas can make up for the higher price of the rental.

The best SUV rental

Ford Edge rental carSUVs are an incredibly popular alternative to family sedans and, depending on their size, to minivans as well. There are a lot of SUV rentals out there and they range from standard to luxury. After considering what it is that drivers and passengers need from their rental SUV, our pick for the best rental cars for the SUV category go to the Ford Edge. Fuel economy really matters when you’re on a road trip and the Ford Edge gets the best fuel economy in its class. It’s not loaded with features, but it’s not devoid of them either. The Ford Edge is a smart pick for small families who want a more stylish ride than a minivan affords.

The best minivan rental

Blue Minivan in showroomFor those of us who have large families or just don’t want to caravan on their way to their Labor Day holiday destination, a minivan rental is a great option. With many of the same features and luxuries you might see in SUVs, they offer superior travelling comfort, excellent storage space, and easy access to the kids from the front of the cabin. Just imagine, no stopping to hand kids snacks, change diapers, or manage any other travelling inconveniences.

The down side here is fuel economy. Many minivans get about the same fuel economy as large SUVs. That means you can expect somewhere between 12-20 MPG. Don’t worry though; our winning pick broke the mold for minivans. Our best rental car in the minivan category goes to the 2WD 2013 Toyota Sienna. The 2013 Toyota Sienna is big on space and easy on the gas; it gets a surprising 25 MPG on the highway. If you’re planning on a big family vacation this Labor Day weekend, then give some thought to the Toyota Sienna minivan.

The dream car rental

You only go around once, right? We’d also like to take a minute to share with you our pick for the best fantasy rental car. Over the years, more car rental businesses have cropped up that cater to vacationers with a little more cash to spend. These specialty rental services specialize in exotic, luxury, and classic car rentals. They’ll certainly set you back more than the average rental car, but it’s your vacation. Don’t you deserve to turn a few heads when you cruise down the strip? You certainly will with our pick for the best dream rental car.

Blue Rolls Royce DropheadThis decision was hard-fought because when it comes to the types of cars these car rental shops offer, they are all rides that we would never in a million years have the opportunity to drive. So how do you choose? We wanted a real head turner that was fun to drive — something that felt like a vacation. We managed to resist the urge to go with the Lamborghini or the Ferrari. While they are flashy and exotic, they felt overdone.

Instead, we chose the Rolls-Royce Drophead – a 450HP V-12 powered luxury coupe valued at over $427,000 (We couldn’t find a Rolls-Royce Silver Phantom for rent, so we had to settle). You’ll turn some heads with this beauty. It’s a quietly elegant car that reeks of luxury from the real wood grain dash to the cream leather bucket seats. Despite the high powered engine, don’t expect this car to make much noise. No, the thing that will turn heads will be that instantly recognizable hood ornament and the ear-to-ear grin on your face as you cruise in the most luxurious rental car ever made.

Rental car considerations

Now that you have a better idea of which of these rentals cars will be the best rental car for you, it’s time to think about the cost. While most of our picks are standard to mid-level cars, we did throw in a couple that might cost more than the average. Of course, the exotic dream car rental will set you back what most people make in a week for just a few days’ rental.

Deciding on a rental car is just the first step. Then you need to:

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