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Car rental options in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / January 22, 2011

Toronto Rental CarCar rental in Toronto can be a little overwhelming. Options are seemingly endless, but determining when and how you plan on using the car seems to be the best way to determine which company to use. For all of the options available, though, I haven't been able to find a company that makes hybrids consistently available for one- or two-day use. In any case, here are some options for renting a car in Toronto. Keep in mind that rates can vary considerably based on how early you book and which pickup location you choose.

Hertz
A big chain, obviously the advantage is a wide selection of vehicles to choose from and several pickup locations (nine in Toronto). You can get a midsized car for one day from around $50 all in, with unlimited free kilometers. Hertz has a pickup location at Pearson International Airport, though rates are generally more expensive at the airport.

Enterprise
Another big chain, this one advertises two locations that offer hybrid vehicles. I called both, and found out that neither actually has hybrids currently in its fleet. Hm. Enterprise seems to be just slightly cheaper than Hertz, but within a few dollars. There are 21 pickup locations advertised in the GTA (Toronto and surrounding areas), one of which is at Pearson.

Budget
Budget seems to be right on par with the other chains, at about $50 all in for an economy car for one day with unlimited free kilometres. However, depending on which pickup location use choose (10 in Toronto, plus one at Pearson), the price can fluctuate within a few dollars.

Dollar
Dollar has 15 locations in the GTA including pickup at Pearson. A midsized car for one day will cost around $50 with unlimited free kilometres. If you're booking through their website, look out for the "City Special" tab which can get you a discount of about $8.

National
National has just two locations in Toronto; one near Metro Hall and one at Pearson. A midsized car for one day will cost about $47 with unlimited kilometres from Metro Hall, and considerably more (~$77) from Pearson.

Avis
Might be worth considering Avis if you think you'll need a car for an extended period of time. It offers a "mini-lease" program for a minimum of two months. Prices vary considerably depending on when you'll start the lease, how long you plan on having it, and what type of vehicle you want, so best to call to get a quote. Avis has nine pickup locations in Toronto including one at the airport, and daily rates are around $53 with unlimited kilometres included.

GTA Exotics
For all your impress-your-first date needs. You can rent a Ferrari 355 Spyder for $599 a day (more on weekends), plus $75 for insurance, plus a $5,000 security deposit, plus $0.95 per kilometer after 100. But the look on your date's face will surely be priceless...

Zipcar
A more long-term option for car rental. Zipcar offers two membership plans; an occasional driving plan with an annual fee of $65 and an extra value plan with no annual fee but a minimum $50 per month commitment. The advantage is you don't have to worry about paying for gas or insurance as with typical car rentals, and there's less hassle when booking. See also: Autoshare

Kaizen Rent-A-Car
A homegrown option for car rental is Kaizen's. The rental company sprung up in Toronto about a year and a half ago and offers midsize rentals for about $45 a day, with 200 km included.

Wheels 4 Rent
Another local option, this company doesn't advertise specifically which vehicles are in its fleet, but offers slightly lower rates. Daily rentals for cars start at $36 plus tax and 200km included.

Did I miss any good car rental options? Add them to the comments below.

Photo by Jeff Howard on Flickr

Discussion

40 Comments

Tania / January 22, 2011 at 09:50 am
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One thing to add about Zipcar is you have the option to rent by the hour rather than the minimum day or two most companies require. Generally, the cost runs from $8-15, depending on the day/car. Really great for Ikea/grocery store runs.

Autoshare is another company which runs on the same concept as Zipcar as well.
Oni / January 22, 2011 at 09:50 am
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How about AutoShare and Rent-A-Wreck?
cathode / January 22, 2011 at 09:53 am
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Another option with Zipcar is to join as a business. Higher initial cost, but lower hourly rates during the week, no monthly charge, and cheaper to add more drivers to the account instead of having a spouse join solo, for example.
Beep-beep / January 22, 2011 at 09:56 am
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There are tons more options for renting and much better prices out there. I rent every weekend from downtown locations and never pay $50 a day. Articles, if the intent is to provide any insight, should be way better researched. This doesn't tell you anything new or helpful.
TokyoTuds / January 22, 2011 at 10:06 am
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Definite shout-out to Canadian born-and-bred AutoShare.
http://www.autoshare.com/
Teena / January 22, 2011 at 10:57 am
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I have an Enterprise in my 'hood that I use occasionally. They rent to production companies a lot so the prices fluctuate greatly given the demand ($50 one day and $70 the next), which isn't fair to the rest of us.

I've found that you can talk them down. I noticed that Budget's rates online were cheaper than Enterprise's and Enterprise matched them when I called them.
Tuzanor / January 22, 2011 at 11:33 am
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One thing about hertz that's nice is you're allowed to take them to the states.
Rezwan replying to a comment from Beep-beep / January 22, 2011 at 11:58 am
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Care to share which one?
Colin / January 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm
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You seem to have forgotten Discount http://discountcar.com/. Similar rates to the other chains, but the locations might be more convenient for some folks.
Tara / January 22, 2011 at 01:59 pm
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Which rental car companies allow you to take them to the states? Hertz is news to me!! Good news! Thanks Tuzanor for the info.
Derek replying to a comment from Beep-beep / January 22, 2011 at 09:56 pm
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I've modified your comment for sake of accuracy (hope you don't mind):

"There are few other options for renting cars in Toronto with better prices that I can name, but because I have nothing better to do, I'm going to feign that I rent every weekend from downtown locations and never pay $50 a day. Comments, if the intent is to provide any insight, should be way better researched. Apologies, I'm aware that I haven't told you anything new or helpful."
Colin / January 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm
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Living car free right now so looking at alot of these options. My main complaint with Zipcar is the 200km/day limit and alot of the hidden fees, like the cancellation fees and late fees.

Most people without car ( and their own insurance ) need to be aware that third-party insurance coverage is NOT provided by most credit cards. They only include loss insurance on the car you rent, you should be getting a third-party coverage when you rent a car. The best company I've found for breading out third-party per day is Budget at $7/day. Most bundle it with their loss insurance and other $0 deductible insurance for much more per day. The other consideration with insurance is getting your partner added as a 2nd driver. Each rental company has different criteria and costs for this...

I've also tried Rent-A-Wreck and Practicar but I can't really recommend either prices start at $35/day but the cars are quite old. In one case it was former smoking car complete embedded nicotine...
tocheshire / January 23, 2011 at 12:44 am
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Avis and Budget are the same company, so is Dollar and Thrifty. Enterprise bought National and is the biggest rental company in the world. Hertz is huge also.

In terms of rental - best option is Priceline (or other name your price website). Since the rental companies don't manufacture the cars - do you really care where you rent from? As long as the location is convenient, all the companies are more or less the same.

If you are going to be renting ALOT (like more than once a month) then it may become beneficial to stick with one company, as the frequent rental perks add up quickly (esp. if it is a corporate expense).

Two final tips.

1- If you have a "good" gold credit card - you can skip the insurance. By "good" I mean a card that typically requires an annual fee and is issued by a bank (no capital one-esque cards). Insurance is self-underwritten by the rental companies. It is a cash-cow for them. They will hate it, but if your card covers rental - use it (this also helps justify a better credit card with an annual fee)

2- If you are going to use Priceline for a weekend rental, pick a 'midsize' and a pickup time after 6PM if you can.... why? Rental companies (like airlines) will oversell their fleets. So after 6 on a weekend, more than likely all the midsizes will be rented and you will get offered something nicer/substantial. I have picked up several luxury-esque and SUVs for a weekend just because I let all the keeners take their cars first. FYI - never pick economy if you can afford the extra $5/day for a 'midsize'. There are a million 'economy' cars in the fleet - midsize sells out quickly. Best chance for an upgrade.
clippingimages / January 23, 2011 at 01:29 am
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Nice idea.Thank you.
Kristin / January 24, 2011 at 11:32 am
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I’ve been an AutoShare member for last 5 years and really think their services are great. They are upfront about all their prices and you end up paying less with them than other car sharing services in the city (I've compared them with the others).

What I like most is that they are based and staffed in Toronto, which is really cool and makes any type of interaction seamless. I’ve never had an issue accessing vehicles and I can’t say enough good things about their work and community involvement. For those who like to think ‘local’ these guys are really worth looking into.
irina / January 30, 2011 at 02:14 pm
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Good starter post... Many companies are missing. Comments are great. Thanks other Torontonians!

Zipcar is awesome but expensive. Now that I'm 25 I'll greatly inconvenience myself and try some more affordable companies.
depjohny / April 19, 2012 at 11:13 am
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When you come to toronto the options are few according to prices. If you want to hire a car for any corporate work or for any tour there is an option available which is hiring Toronto Limos which are not much costly and you will feel comfort and relax with this experience of limousine. Because this is a luxury car and it will give you the style with your personality
Toronto Limo / April 26, 2012 at 11:02 am
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Royal Toronto Limousine offers quality Toronto Limo rental services in GTA. If you are visiting Toronto for tourism or business purpose, we are available 24/7 days.
WJC / June 16, 2012 at 06:06 pm
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Be wary of Budget Rent A Car - they have many hidden charges. They tried to charge me $129 for fuel even though I returned the car with a full tank and also charged me a $75 "cleaning" fee a month after I returned it. Take pictures of the car on return to protect yourself, or better yet - rent from someone else.
Tourist / August 2, 2012 at 10:14 am
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Be aware of Zoom rent-a-car: they have hidden charges and charged me 530 $ for a 5 cm long scrape on the edge of the bumper (an area not visible but checked very first time).
Adam / September 5, 2012 at 03:56 am
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I’m an intermediate writer, but I am certainly not at your level. I think your content is compelling and interesting with many well made points.
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Greg / December 30, 2012 at 04:47 pm
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Beep Beep, do you know of any rental car companies in Toronto that rent hybrids?
James Thomas / March 12, 2013 at 06:45 am
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Car Leasing Deals
Quinn / April 22, 2013 at 05:58 pm
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DiscountCar / June 4, 2013 at 11:14 am
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There are many options for car rental in Toronto.
Shannon / July 22, 2013 at 08:59 am
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Does anyone know the best options for renting a car for a weekend from Toronto to say Muskoka??!?1
caroljane / September 8, 2013 at 05:38 pm
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Dollar on Danforth Greenwood is excellent. Rented twice, great cars, great friendly professional service, great price.
Nicole Wade / September 11, 2013 at 09:52 am
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Hi there, i am looking for wheels for 3 weeks to travel around the Toronto and Windsor area....I had heard about people renting out their private cars? Any one know more about this? Insurance etc?
Any other ideas greatly appreciated! Needing a car from about Sept 16. 13
Birthday Party Limo Service / September 24, 2013 at 04:13 am
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Awesome post. Thanks you
milan / September 26, 2013 at 11:54 am
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Quick car rental is a independent car rental company dedicated to providing customers with quality vehicles, competitive rates and outstanding customer service. Our special rental cars offers and low everyday rates assist you in keeping your travel plans within your budget.
We offer Car rental services and Shuttle Services
The services includes:-
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Darren / November 13, 2013 at 11:58 am
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I have rented from Bargain Car & Truck Rental numours times now and they have offered amazing service and competitive rates and clean cars. Instead of always being picked up and taken to the car rental company www.bargaincarrental.ca was able to drop the car directly to the house. They were able to even help me install my children’s car seats for me. If anyone is looking for Rental Company www.bargaincarrental.ca is the way to go.
Shaya George / November 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm
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I have tried www.bargaincarrental.ca they only have new cars, I got Hyundai Sonata for the price of economy cars. I believe the offer the cheapest car rental in Toronto to my knowledge.
Timsmith / December 20, 2013 at 07:48 am
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Its a good idea of describing about the services of hiring a limo car
and also giving a description about the discount offers to the whole world through the medium of your website.
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katelouise1085 / December 23, 2013 at 04:31 am
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A very informative blog. It's true that one has to do a bit of research so that he or she could find an affordable car rental service. There are various internet sites that can help you with your research. Also to find an affordable place to live you have to do a bit of research. I know a site where you can get a lot of help. It's http://www.rentinto.ca. They provide with the best condo renting services. Thanks for your post.
Kilimanjaro Holidays / February 5, 2014 at 01:28 pm
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Toledo Aggressive Dog Class / February 15, 2014 at 06:15 am
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Jazz / July 14, 2014 at 01:38 pm
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Is there any company in Toronto who can rent to person below 21!
I'm 19 and i need a car rental for this week!
I own Chrysler 300 back in Edmonton, AB. I i have the insurance for that. If any one knows such company that can help me out, please let me know.
It is urgent and that is why i'm posting my number as well. # 780-710-2686
chris / August 11, 2014 at 02:51 pm
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any idea of companies that have lower withhold on security deposit on credit card?please respond asap
chris / August 11, 2014 at 02:52 pm
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lower than $500?

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