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Old 10-20-2014, 08:54 AM   #1
thebs19
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Midsize vs. Standard vs. Full size

The price isn't all that different on Dollar, but the cars listed for all 3 appear to basically be in the same class (Dodge Avenger, Galant, Altima...except that Mitsubishi appears to no longer manufacture the Galant so I guess its guaranteed the car will be a few years old)...but just from the experience of those who have rented often before, is whatever the nominal additional charge "worth it" to book the full size? Is there something I'm missing here (i.e., more likely to get a newer/lower mileage car the higher class you book?)? I'm just completely ignorant on the whole process.

This question comes from a car renting novice. We are a group of 5 - myself, wife, MIL, our 7 yr old son and 1 year old daughter. I know that sounds tight in a sedan, but right now, the price difference in sedan vs. SUV is insane, so I'm booking a sedan and will keep checking.

We're only really renting because staying at S/D and decided the cost of the car service to/from the airport plus cost savings in being able to go make a grocery run for breakfast items vs. in park/hotel purchases will likely just wash in the end, and the convenience of driving to some of our resort ADRs, DTD (going in April, so hopefully garage is functioning), AK, water parks, etc is worth it with the young one rather than the Boardwalk area buses.

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Old 10-20-2014, 09:10 AM   #2
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A few things to keep in mind: the cars listed for each class are just representative of what they *might* have, /it is more representative of the size.. Just because they list a Galant, does not mean you are going to find a several years old Galant when you get there. Secondly, the car classes are somewhat misnamed, I think. Mid-size are pretty small cars usually, a Ford Focus, etc. You will not 5 ppl plus luggage. Standard will be slightly bigger, maybe a Passat? A tight squeeze but likely doable. Luggage is usually the problem. Full size will be a Camry, or Ford Fusion. You can fit five, but luggage again may be an issue. Definitely opt for the fullsize.

I don't know how Dollar works, but National and Alamo will let you pick anything off the aisle for your assigned car class. Last time we did full size at Alamo (a few years back), it was an aisle full of Impalas, and one minivan so we got lucky and took the van.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:17 AM   #3
thebs19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappygrrl View Post
A few things to keep in mind: the cars listed for each class are just representative of what they *might* have, /it is more representative of the size.. Just because they list a Galant, does not mean you are going to find a several years old Galant when you get there. Secondly, the car classes are somewhat misnamed, I think. Mid-size are pretty small cars usually, a Ford Focus, etc. You will not 5 ppl plus luggage. Standard will be slightly bigger, maybe a Passat? A tight squeeze but likely doable. Luggage is usually the problem. Full size will be a Camry, or Ford Fusion. You can fit five, but luggage again may be an issue. Definitely opt for the fullsize.

I don't know how Dollar works, but National and Alamo will let you pick anything off the aisle for your assigned car class. Last time we did full size at Alamo (a few years back), it was an aisle full of Impalas, and one minivan so we got lucky and took the van.
Thanks!

Ford Focus is actually the "example" car in the class below midsize - "compact" - and I drive a Focus so yeah, I know that wouldn't work with our group. I figured as they went up in "class" they'd be getting slightly bigger but again, all the example cars listed appear to be relatively similar classes of cars when you're talking retail - I think the Avenger actually has a higher base MSRP than the Altima.

Definitely know its going to be tight with luggage on lap, etc - we actually did it driving back to MCO last year in a Passat that my wife's girlfriend, who relocated down to Florida a few years back and met us for our trip, drove us back to MCO so we had additional time in the park rather than having to go meet our DME, so I know its do-able (if not necessarily comfortable). But yeah, I'm going to book the fullsize for now - I'm checking the Emerald Aisle prices because of the flexibility to go "up" in size on a standard size reservation, but right now Dollar is light year's ahead of everyone else but for Thrifty and Dollar seems to get the better reviews online - I booked my fullsize for $140 all in for a Saturday-Saturday during Spring Break just now, and will keep checking hereon out.

Thanks.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:40 AM   #4
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Also keep in mind the room the carseat your youngest child will need and where it will need to be installed. I don't know if your older child still needs a booster but that might also be an issue. Personally, I would rent the largest sedan possible and hope they have a minivan available when I got there.
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Old 10-20-2014, 03:50 PM   #5
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I've rented many a car in my time ... here's what I'd do

book the mid ... depending on what's available you might be OK. When they 'offer' you a car - if it isn't a 'go pick one' place - if you think it is small, ask what else they have

if you can't make it work when you get a mid car ... you can ALWAYS upgrade .... I've never had a problem with that one!

More frequently, when I've gone to get my car .... OMG they don't have one in the size I requested ... and they upgrade me at no cost ..... this happens more frequently when I've booked the smallest cheapest and I've ended up in Mustang convert's but I've also booked a mid and ended up in a Lincoln Town Car at the mid price one time and another in a Tahoe. It's a dice roll and Orlando seldom has shortages of vehicles, but small and mid are the most popular choices too . . SO when you have selected your company, sign up for the free 'loyalty' program .... that can help . . .
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:29 PM   #6
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Some rental car companies at MCO don't offer standard cars. If you book a standard at Alamo or National, they'll direct you to the full size aisle. If you're going through Dollar, I'd reserve a full size vehicle as I believe Dollar is one of the rental companies which actually does offer a standard aisle.

Sometimes the car rental company's idea of a "mid-size" car is also smaller than you might think. I'd book a standard at Alamo/National or a full-size at Dollar.
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:01 PM   #7
thebs19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyventures View Post
Some rental car companies at MCO don't offer standard cars. If you book a standard at Alamo or National, they'll direct you to the full size aisle. If you're going through Dollar, I'd reserve a full size vehicle as I believe Dollar is one of the rental companies which actually does offer a standard aisle. Sometimes the car rental company's idea of a "mid-size" car is also smaller than you might think. I'd book a standard at Alamo/National or a full-size at Dollar.
Fair enough. That's what I did re: Dollar and it's like $140 all in Sat-Sat. That's only with their "city specials" deal, no coupons. Full size.

Is it common for one company to be SO FAR below the rest ? I'm 6 months out still so should I expect the others to fall at least closer? Base rate for National right now is like $450 all in for standard, not even full size and its not much lower using that famous Air France/KLM code. Alamo is like mid-300's with their 5% insiders off and a coupon I found somewhere for standard. It's really a no brainier right now- I just have no experience here so not sure if this is normal or not.
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by thebs19 View Post
Fair enough. That's what I did re: Dollar and it's like $140 all in Sat-Sat. That's only with their "city specials" deal, no coupons. Full size.

Is it common for one company to be SO FAR below the rest ? I'm 6 months out still so should I expect the others to fall at least closer? Base rate for National right now is like $450 all in for standard, not even full size and its not much lower using that famous Air France/KLM code. Alamo is like mid-300's with their 5% insiders off and a coupon I found somewhere for standard. It's really a no brainier right now- I just have no experience here so not sure if this is normal or not.
I saw fairly disproportionate rates when I first started looking, iirc. Some rental companies were running $200 more than others. I'd continue looking around for some contract IDs/coupon codes (KLM Flying Blue, United MileagePlus, Costco, Sam's Club). We were able to save a lot of money using the contract IDs.

$140 sounds like a decent deal to me and you could probably get it even lower the closer it gets to your travel date.
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:09 AM   #9
Miksma
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I don't see a "city specials" rate on the Dollar website for Orlando. Would you direct me?
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:56 AM   #10
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Just be aware that rental companies do NOT use the EPA fuel classifications when rating the size of their cars. Their classifications invariably bump up one class from what the vehicle is rated by the EPA.

So ... if you drive a compact at home and want the same size car, reserve a mid-size. If you drive a mid-size, reserve a full-size (or "standard" at MCO). And so on, and so on ...
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:18 AM   #11
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"It's all about that gass"
As you ho up, it may be nice to drive the full size, but it will cost more to fill it back up again.
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Old 10-21-2014, 08:37 AM   #12
thebs19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miksma View Post
I don't see a "city specials" rate on the Dollar website for Orlando. Would you direct me?

If you just book on their website, after you type in your search terms, it'll take you to a page where it goes through their prices by class size. Right in the middle of that page, in between the "Lock Low and Go" and "Mid size" options (at least on my screen) there is what looks like a banner ad that says "CHECK FOR CITY SPECIAL" - if you click on the green button, it discounts all the prices by ~10% (or it did for my dates).

Although looking at it now, the prices all went up about $100 from yesterday! Thankfully I booked when I did!
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Old 10-21-2014, 08:44 AM   #13
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I saw fairly disproportionate rates when I first started looking, iirc. Some rental companies were running $200 more than others. I'd continue looking around for some contract IDs/coupon codes (KLM Flying Blue, United MileagePlus, Costco, Sam's Club). We were able to save a lot of money using the contract IDs.

$140 sounds like a decent deal to me and you could probably get it even lower the closer it gets to your travel date.
It actually went up over $100 today from yesterday on Dollar!! Wow, I would've been upset if I didn't book when I did.

But I guess my question is that did you see the BASE rates come down on those companies that were way higher, or was it luck by entering the right coupon codes, etc? Because I definitely have been trying pretty much any code possible - just the base rate difference of (before fees) like $90/week versus $400+/week between Dollar/Thrifty and most of the others seemed absurd and there's no way any codes are going to make up that difference. I'm assuming this is a weird occurence perhaps having to do with being so far out, otherwise other than corporate accounts I don't see how anybody ever would book with Budget, Hertz, etc (I can see why some would pay for the convenience and choice associated with National).
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