Pros / Thrifty Car Rental has an easy-to-use site with a lot of time-saving features like prepay toll options.

Cons / The company is behind in terms of eco-friendly options.

 Verdict / While Thrifty is lacking fleet options such as commercial trucks, this international car rental service is a great choice for those looking to save money, time and hassle.

Thrifty Rental Car, a part of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, is one of the largest car rental companies in the world, with more than 1,000 locations in 70 countries. It's not surprising that a service this large has a well-maintained car rental services site with a throng of features. This service is so impressive that it landed the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award in our comparison of the best car rental services on the web.

  • Number of States with Locations
  1. Total number of states with car rental branches
    More is Better.
  2. 3  Thrifty
    50.0 Number of
  3. 50.0 Number of
  4. 2  Hertz
    50.0 Number of
  5. Category Average
    45.3 Number of

Services

Though it doesn't offer the most services, the services Thrifty does offer really shine. This is reflected on the company website, which is both helpful and visually appealing, with some unique features that make renting a car easy. One of the unique features of the website is the 360 spin. For certain models, you can look at the car from all angles, inside and out. While this isn't exactly a make-or-break feature, it can help you to choose between two models.

The Wild Card is an exciting feature that can result in a free upgrade. When searching for a car, you enter your location and the date you will be traveling to see what deals are available. This feature, which varies in availability, will randomly choose a car for you. The car is guaranteed to be midsize or larger, and all cars have one rate that is lower than that of a midsize car. The luck of the draw is part of the fun.

Once you have secured the car, you can load it up with extras that will save you time, such as toddler seats, GPS navigation and prepay toll options. Thrifty has one of the best business rental programs, which includes small business rental, frequent traveler rental and multi-month packages. Entertainment and production companies and government branches even have their own rental package options. This is not a focus with most car rental services, which makes Thrifty a great option for businesses in need of car rental services.

One of the few omissions on Thrifty's site is an online check-in option. This option would allow you to check in rentals using a laptop or smartphone and avoid the hassle of the rental counter.

Types of Rentals

While Thrifty has a large selection of vehicles, it doesn't have commercial trucks designed specifically for moving. It does have vans and pickups for smaller moves, however. The company has limited hybrid car availability. Only Toyota Prius and Chrysler biofuel vehicles are available, and these are rarely available because of high demand. It also lacks an environmental program, such as an offset charge for greenhouse gas emissions.

Aside from these weak spots, the overall selection of vehicles at Thrifty is quite good. While hybrid vehicles are hard to come by, fuel-efficient cars are not. The company claims that 75 percent of the cars in its fleet get 26 mpg or better. This means more money in your pocket and less use of natural resources.

You can rent vehicles on a long-term basis if you need to and opt for a one-way rental if you want to pick up at one location and drop off somewhere else. The service has convertibles, luxury cars, SUVs, and all types of midsized and compact cars.

Ease of Use

The Thrifty website is clean and easy to use. Instead of the minimalistic approach of some of the other car rental websites, Thrifty's homepage is packed with information, but somehow everything looks neat and tidy.

You can fill out your details as soon as you get to the homepage with the easy-to-use reservation tool, or you can browse the latest deals by watching the tasteful slideshow. There are no flashing lights and exclamation points here, which is a welcome surprise compared to other car rental services. It also has an easy-to-use locations page.

The one true drawback in this car rental service's website is the lack of a search tool. Even though the site is easy to navigate, every site should have a search tool for when you don't want to click through the site to look for something specific.

Help & Support

Thrifty Car Rental does not have live chat or an airport shuttle service, but it does have a few exceptional support options. Its best-rate guarantee ensures that you get a low rate. If you find a better rental price from a competing service, Thrifty matches the price and takes off an additional 10 percent.

You can also pick up an insurance or roadside assistance package on the site, whereas other companies make you wait until you get to the rental counter. If you have questions, you can contact customer service via email or phone. There is a FAQs section on the website, but it isn't as easy to use as some others.

Summary

Thrifty Car Rental is a well-designed service that takes your needs into consideration. Thanks to its price-match guarantee, it is a cost-effective service. The website is modern and quite easy to use, though it does lack a search tool if you're looking for a specific type of car or service. Its eco-friendly options are also limited. Thrifty has thousands of branches all over the world, so you should never have a problem finding one in your area. All in all, this is one of the best car rental companies.