Rental car satisfaction levels have never been higher.
Renting a car can be a major headache. The process often entails standing seemingly forever in line at the rental counter until the employee finally tells you they have already given away the car you reserved and the only option left is far more expensive or too small for your needs. Or at least, that's how it used to be. According to a survey conducted by JD Power, rental car satisfaction is currently at record high levels. Satisfaction with renting a car reached 830 points on a 1,000 point scale, the highest it has ever been in the survey's 23-year history.
One of the causes for the increased satisfaction is an improvement in the quality of cars without an increase in price. Rental car prices haven't increased much in recent years but the cars are much better. As automotive journalists, we typically receive cars to test when we travel, but the two last rental cars we had - a Nissan Altima and Infiniti Q60 - were both extremely comfortable for rental car standards. Both came with heated seats, Bluetooth, and keyless entry, making them extremely nice to drive around. Some companies even have dream cars you can rent, such as a Corvette Z06 from Hertz or a Jaguar F-Type SVR from Enterprise.
The other cause for the satisfaction increase is how quick the rental car process has become thanks in part to mobile apps. Renters who use them (around 30% of those surveyed) report high levels of satisfaction with the rental process.
Among the large rental car brands, Enterprise ranked first with a score of 862, while Hertz and National followed in the top three. Avid ranked slightly below the industry average of 824 and the budget brands Thrifty, Dollar, and Budget ranked the lowest.