Which rental car size is right for me?

Whether you are travelling interstate or overseas, on your own or with family and friends, for business or pleasure, there is a rental car which caters to your needs.

With full size and compact cars among the most popular choices, we break it all down to answer the question :: What is a full size rental car?

In previous posts we’ve explained, when you reserve a rental car you select a car type, not a car model.

With this in mind, car types are grouped into categories which tell you of the vehicle’s main features and what you can expect to pick up at the car rental counter.

‘Full size’ refers to the category of large vehicles. For many car rental companies, this means you can expect a 4 door sedan or similar.

There are other car rental categories you can choose from. These are:

Typically a 2 door vehicle with a boot or a 3 door hatch.

2 or 4 door vehicle – referred to as a 3 or 5 door if it’s a hatch.

2 or 4 door vehicle – referred to as a 3 or 5 door if it’s a hatch.  Can also be a 4 door sedan.

Can vary between a hatch and a 4 door sedan.

Typically 4 door sedan.

Full size
Typically 4 door sedan.

Typically a luxury style vehicle or a speciality vehicle such as a Hybrid.


Car rental companies generally adhere to these descriptions however; there is no universal category system, which means cars can fall into different categories depending on the car rental company and the country of hire.

For instance, a Toyota Corolla in South America is considered an intermediate sized car whereas for car rental companies in Europe it is considered a compact sized car.

When choosing a rental car you need to make sure your basic needs are met. Here are a few tips to make sure you do this:


- Filter your car hire search based on passenger and luggage numbers.

- Expect a car that is in the class you’ve reserved, according to the description provided by the car rental company.

- Adjust your expectations of car rentals categories between countries and car rental companies.


- Expect an exact car model – no car rental company offers such a guarantee.

- Reserve a car that doesn’t fit your needs and expect to change your booking at the counter. Cars might not be available for your last minute change.

Happy hiring and driving!

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