Car Rental Questions -
Rent a Minivan or SUV?

Jason asks:

Hi, I'm planning a visit to Los Angeles and found your website very helpful. I have 2 questions. I will start from Vancouver,BC and travel to Los Angeles and back. 1)Should I rent a Minivan or SUV-- which is better? 2)I heard it is cheaper if I rent in the States. Is it true? Do rental companies offer customer parking on their lot?

My Response:

First let me say that I'm so happy to hear that you found the website helpful!

Re: Your Car Rental Questions

1) The answer to whether or not to rent a mininvan vs SUV answer really depends on what you're looking for with regards to luggage capacity or seating capacity and pricing.

See our Vehicle Guide Midsize SUV and Vehicle Guide Minivan

They both have similar comfort levels and gas mileage (18mpg city/23mpg highway for the minivan vs 15mpg city/22mpg highway for the SUV).

As far as pricing, rental rates are comparable for both vehicles (usually a difference of about $10 per day... sometimes the van will be cheaper, sometimes the SUV.. that largely depends on supply and demand).

2) The base rental rates for these particular types of vehicles in the States tend to be more expensive, plus you have to take into account the exchange rate. BUT also, it's almost impossible to get unlimited mileage on a van or SUV in Canada, while it is more common for a rental in the United States.

The car rental companies do not allow customers to park at their parking lot.. ever! If you wanted to rent at an airport location you could take advantage of airport long term parking; the rates are pretty reasonable. If you wanted to rent at an off-airport location, you would have to find parking services in the area.

I recommend that you check both your options when Comparing Car Rental Rates with your specific cities, dates, times, etc.

If you want to pick up in Vancouver, check mulitple locations, companies and vehicle types to get the best rate. Make sure to take into the account the cost of gas, mileage (if you can't get unlimited mileage -- but do call a reservation line first; during my 8 plus years as a res agent, it was fairly common for us to find unlimted mileage rates--if asked!) Once you have a grand total, then you can compare to renting in the States.

If renting in the States, again, check mulitple cities and locations, companies and vehicle types. Take into account the cost of getting to the states (gas for your own vehicle, meals,etc), the exchange rate (if your quote is in US dollars), mileage restrictions (if you get limited mileage),the cost of parking your vehicle while on your rental,and the cost to get back to Canada (gas, meals, etc).

Hope this answers your car rental questions!

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