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Clarified: Car Categories

Here at Auto Europe, we get many questions from travelers who want to know what size vehicle they should rent. Here is a short guide that can help you figure out what kind of car rental in Europe is best for you.

Rental Car Categories Explained

Class: Mini
Fuel Efficiency: Excellent
Comparable Models: Mini Cooper
Back Seat Leg Room: Generally None
Luggage Space: Very Limited
Going solo with a carry on bag? Reserved for the smallest cars, this class would work for you. Unfortunately, there is not much on the road in the US that would fit into this category other than the Mini Cooper.

Class: Economy
Fuel Efficiency: Excellent
Comparable Models: Toyota Yaris
Back Seat Leg Room: Very Limited
Luggage Space: Very Limited
This category is popular in Europe, for travelers with little to no luggage. Cars in this category are very fuel efficient. Generally, three people don’t fit comfortably in one of these cars, however it can be done. The appeal is fuel efficiency.

Class: Compact
Fuel Efficiency: Very Good
Comparable Models: Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, VW Golf
Back Seat Leg Room: Limited
Luggage Space: Moderate
Young families of three typically enjoy cars in this class. Compact cars in Europe, are usually what we would consider Economy in the US. This category is generally good for groups that can pack light. Most adults however, will find the back seat a little cramped.

Class: Midsize
Fuel Efficiency: Good
Comparable Models: VW Passat, Audi A4, Toyota Camry,
Back Seat Leg Room: Moderate-Good
Luggage Space: Moderate-Good
This category is popular for light packing groups of four, or heavy packing groups of two or three. Cars are a little larger, and offer speed and power you won’t get in smaller models. This is a very popular category for people who will be doing a decent amount of driving while on vacation in Europe.

Class: Midsize Vans
Vans and Wagons in this category are popular for groups of 4 adults who pack normal. These Vans, known as MPV’s (multi purpose vehicles), may have emergency seats in the back, however since the make or model can’t be guaranteed, it’s best not to book this category if you have more than 5 people.

Class: Full Size
Fuel Efficiency: Moderate
Comparable Models: Mercedes Benz C-Class, BMW 5 Series
Back Seat Leg Room: Excellent
Luggage Space: Good
Cars rented in this category generally offer slightly more leg room for both passengers and the driver. Typically, luggage room is increased in this category, while the over all driving experience is more positive as the cars are better suited for driving on highways like the Autobahn.

Class: Full Size Vans
There are two categories of vans in this category. The smaller of the two is capable of seating 7 without luggage, or generally 5 with luggage, and is good for families or close groups.
These larger of the two groups can seat 9 without luggage, or 6-7 with luggage. True people carriers, full size van rentals are not very fuel efficient, however will get your group where it needs to be together. Groups of adults may opt for two smaller cars in order to save money on their car rental in Europe.

Remember, when in doubt, ask questions! Auto Europe never closes, and has phone agents here to answer your questions 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!

Related:  Auto Europe’s International Packing Checklist

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2 Responses to Clarified: Car Categories

  1. Kat says:

    What a useful guide Hans!

  2. Kat says:

    What a useful guide Hans!

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