Auto Europe vs Economy Car Hire vs Holiday Autos

Update August 2016 – Economy Car Hire has been renamed as Zest Car Rental.

Car hire brokers such as Auto EuropeEconomy Car Hire/Zest Car Rental and Holiday Autos, can take the hard work out of finding which of the very many car hire companies gives the best value for money.

Our Seat Ibiza Hire Car in Andalusia
Our Seat Ibiza Hire Car in Andalusia

But which of these leading brokers is best? Or is it better to go directly to one of the low-cost car hire companies such as Cargest in Spain or Alamo in the USA?

Based on my own holiday preferences, I’ve checked the costs of two hire scenarios: a week in Spain in February and two weeks in the USA in October.

I’ve also been checking on whether being a senior over 65 years old can cause problems when hiring a car.

A Week in Spain in February

A week’s hire from Malaga airport in February can be surprisingly inexpensive and I found it to be a good way to tour Andalusia. For this report, I checked on the rates for a Compact/Economy size car, e.g. a Seat Ibiza or Opel Corsa, with a ‘Collect full, Return full’ fuel policy. I always select this fuel option to prevent being ripped off with fuelling charges.

I give the costs for both one driver and an additional driver. As a senior, I prefer to include my wife so as to share the driving on long distances, and just in case something happens making it difficult for me to drive!

CompanyCost 1 driverCost 2 drivers*Extra for Full Cover
Auto Europe
Economy Car Hire
Holiday Autos
Direct with Cargest

Two Weeks in the USA in October

A two week hire from Las Vegas airport gives enough time to see many of the highlights of the American Southwest, including the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park. I checked on the rates for an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) such as a Ford Escape or Hyundai Santa Fe. Again I looked for hires on a ‘Collect Full/Return Full’ fuel basis.

CompanyCost 1 driverCost 2 drivers*Extra for Full Cover
Auto Europe
Economy Car Hire
Holiday Autos
Direct with Alamo
Not given

Best Buys

For both of these scenarios Auto Europe comes out as the Best Buy if you are happy with just one driver. However if, as is my preference, you want to have an additional driver, then Economy Car Hire/Zest Car Rental is the Best Buy, significantly better than the other three.

*Although the costs in each case are quoted by the companies as having ‘Zero Excesses’, this does not normally cover for such items as tyres, glass and underbody. Hence I also include the extra cost for this Full Cover. However, if you expect to hire a car more than once in a year, I recommend taking out separate annual cover with at £37.99 for Europe and £47.99 for the World.

Car Hire for Seniors

Our SUV Hire Car in North America
Our SUV Hire Car in North America

When checking on the car scenarios given above, I gave the drivers age initially as 65, and then as 80. I’m pleased to report that the higher age made no difference to the hire charges, although it sometimes limited the number of car hire companies that were listed as having cars available.

With some hire companies, cars could be hired by anyone between 25 and 99!