The 5 best car rental companies in the UK

07 Aug 2023 · 7
It might not be the sunniest place, but the UK is one of the most driveable countries. In fact, you can drive the full length of the UK in under 15 hours—it’s just 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Luckily, the UK is home to some of the best car hire companies in Europe, both in major cities like London and Manchester, and in more far-flung areas. Finding the right car rental company—especially when you’re abroad—can be a real headache. It’s a competitive market, and so much choice can result in a serious case of option paralysis.
To save you time—and headaches—we’ve gone through the top car rental companies in the Netherlands with a fine tooth comb. To best compare the options, we searched each website for a 3-day midweek rental from London Heathrow, for dates two weeks out from the time of writing.
Ready? Buckle up, here we go.

The 5 best car rental companies in the UK

1. TravelPerk: best for business travel

If you’re searching for the
best car rental deals for
business
trips
, travel management company TravelPerk might be your best bet. With multiple types of car available, from Compact to Economy, Intermediate to Mini, you’re free to pick the style that best caters to your specific needs.
TravelPerk offers a vast inventory, including both manual and automatic cars, from which to choose your rental car. If you’re looking for a sustainable option, there’s also a selection of electric cars available. Plus, VAT-friendly invoices are available for a number of car rental companies offered by TravelPerk, saving you a lot of time, hassle, and money.
TravelPerk works with some of the top names on the market, including Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt. The list doesn’t end there—if you have specific needs requiring a specialised service, TravelPerk can get in touch with extra providers to find your ideal vehicle. From pick-up trucks to lorries to group convoys, the options available at TravelPerk are second to none.
TravelPerk’s key features include:
  • Partnerships with leading car rental companies
  • 24/7 customer service
    with a target 15-second response time
  • Intuitive booking tool and all-in-one platform
  • Available in four languages: English, French, Spanish, German
  • Bonus feature
    GreenPerk
    to offset your carbon emissions
  • Paid extra
    FlexiPerk
    , enabling passengers to cancel up to two hours before a journey starts and receive 80% of their money back
  • A vast number of
    software integrations
A three-day family car rental in London for the start of August, booked two weeks in advance, offered various options between £97 - £1155.
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2. Arnold Clark: a high-quality, reliable choice for Brits

When it comes to finding the right UK car rental provider, you can’t get much more British than Arnold Clark. Founded in 1963, Arnold Clark is part of Europe’s largest independent car retailer, with over 200 branches in the UK, from Sheffield to Southampton.
As well as 60 years’ experience in the industry, they offer a vast fleet of over 55,000 vehicles, with options from electric cars to dual control cars for learners. They boast a host of positive reviews on Trustpilot and some of the best prices on the market.
Their attractive features, including a personal dedicated account manager, makes Arnold Clark a top pick for many people seeking a reliable car rental provider. They assist various organisations in the public sector, including the NHS and the police force. If that’s not reassurance enough, they offer specialised services to businesses in the tourism & events industry, and the film & TV sector, among others.
Arnold Clark’s key features include:
  • Hassle-free online booking via an app
  • All-in price, including insurance and VAT, and roadside assistance
  • Local pick-ups from hotels, train stations and airports
  • Unlimited mileage for 4+ days
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Fully comprehensive insurance offered as standard
  • Specialised corporate rental service
  • Competitive rates
During our research, prices for a family car rental from Heathrow Airport at the start of August, booking two weeks’ in advance, gives options from £192 - £455.
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3. Practical: practical by name, and by nature

Founded 40 years ago, Practical Car & Van Rental is the fourth largest vehicle rental firm in the United Kingdom. They’re based in Birmingham, but boast over 150 locations throughout England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. When it comes to their car rental services, they offer a range of manual, automatic, hybrids and electric vehicles.
Practical also offers a vast commercial van rental fleet, extending from small courier vans to refrigerated units and 7.5 ton lorries. They also offer motorhome hire, minibus leases, and specialised corporate services.
Practical’s key features include:
  • Selection of extra vehicles including people carriers, 6/7 seaters and executive cars
  • Services at most international and regional airports around the UK, including Heathrow and Gatwick
  • Easy three-step booking process
  • Meet and Greet and Out of Hours services
  • Deliveries to train stations, hotels, businesses and private addresses
  • Possibility to drive in Europe (requiring additional documentation and insurance)
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Want to explore your options? Check out our list of
the top car rental apps for leisure and business travellers.

4. Firefly Car Rental: ideal for those on a budget

Owned by Hertz, Firefly Car Rental is an international car rental agency designed for leisure and holiday travel, catering to thrifty customers with some of the best prices available. They offer pick-up and drop-off locations across Europe, the US, and Australia.
Firefly’s fleet is primarily made up of small, economy, compact and standard size cars—perfect for getting from A to B, but probably not for you if you’re looking for larger vehicles such as vans or SUVs.
Firefly’s key features include:
  • Third party insurance and theft protection included in the rental fee
  • Optional paid extras including child seats, additional drivers, fuel purchase options, 24-hour road assistance, mobile wifi, insurances (incl collision damage waivers)
  • Option to buy Fast Track for £30 in order to collect your vehicle faster
  • Minimum driver age 22, young driver fee for those age 21-24
  • One-way rentals are not permitted
  • Option to return cars out of working hours
  • In some destinations Firefly operates a Full-Full fuel policy—where a vehicle is provided with a full tank of fuel which customers must return full of fuel. In other locations, there is a Full-Empty policy in place—where a vehicle is provided with a full tank of fuel which customers can return with as little or as much fuel as they wish
A three-day family car rental in London for the start of August, booked two weeks in advance, offered various options between £147 - £690.
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5. Green Motion: low rates and sustainable car rentals

Green Motion is an award-winning vehicle rental provider operating in the UK and over 60 further countries. They offer services to both leisure and business customers at great value.
The stand-out feature at Green Motion is their client loyalty programme, Drive Green, which offers discounts and exclusive offers to customers after just six rentals. They’re also hot on sustainability, having recently won the Green Award at the SME National Business Awards and the Silver Award at the Green Apple Environmental Awards.
Green Motion’s key features include:
  • Over 600 locations in 60 countries worldwide
  • Transparent pricing system
  • Contactless rental service
  • Option to reduce CO2 emissions
  • Sat nav available for a small daily fee
  • Child and booster seats available
  • Comprehensive app to manage bookings and reservations
During our research, prices for a family car rental in London at the start of August, booking two weeks’ in advance, gives options at around £136 - £307.
Greenmotion1 1 1024x522

Find the right vehicle for you, today!

Whether you’re embarking on a road trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats, or simply driving from Glasgow to Edinburgh, these are the best car rental agencies to get you from A to B in time for tea. Now we’ve narrowed down the highest-rated, cheapest car rental options for you, we’d recommend watching out for additional fees, read insurance small print, and understand mileage rates.
In terms of minimising hassle, TravelPerk comes out on top for corporate travellers. Its all-in-one platform means that you can easily visualise your options, get access to the best rates on the market, and avoid lengthy booking processes.
Have a good trip! (And if you’re coming from overseas, don’t forget your umbrella!)
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