Quick Site Search
Toronto Car Rental
A to Z of Cheap Car Rental in Toronto
Looking for that just right type of Toronto car rental that suits your budget and offers freedom and flexibility to go wherever you want, whenever you want?
With scores of car rental companies in Toronto, including big international chains and several local agencies, renting a car in Toronto is swift and simple.
These car rental vendors offer broad range of rental cars making sure that all of your travel requirements are fulfilled.
On this page you will find everything that you must know to make Toronto car rental experience straightforward and hassle-free.
Quick links: Jump to...
- Is Renting a Car in Toronto a Right Choice?
- Rental Car Vendors
- Car Rental Toronto Locations
- Important Guidelines
- Tips to Find Cheap Car Rental in Toronto
- Where to Find Best Car Rental Deals in Toronto
- Parking in Toronto
But before you jump into your quest for Toronto car rental, first you should decide whether...
Do You Really Need a Rental Car in Toronto?
Whether or not you need a car rental in Toronto depends on many factors such as where you want to go, your budget, your comfort level and convenience and so on.
Most of the major Toronto attractions are in downtown Toronto. So if you are staying in the downtown hotel, either you can walk between many of these hotspots or use our outstanding public transit system (Toronto Transit Commission - TTC) featuring a great network of subways, streetcars and buses.
On the other hand, if you wish to visit Toronto Zoo and Canada's Wonderland, which are located far from the city centre, you should consider taking a car. You can still go there by public transit, but it is easier to go there by car and most importantly you can save your valuable time.
Likewise, taking a Toronto car rental is a great way to explore the areas surrounding Toronto and beyond. Renting a car is perfect for day trip to world famous Niagara Falls and great wineries of Niagara region, nearby ski resorts in winter or scenic fall foliage tour north of Toronto.
The other important factor is your travel budget. With high rental rates, increasing fuel prices, insurance cost and exorbitant parking charges - renting a car now-a-days is very expensive anywhere. And Toronto is no exception.
So if you are on a strict or limited wherewithal, you should try to find cheap car rental and use the public transit as much as possible. However, if you are in a group of 4-5 people, Toronto car rental is still viable option.
Car rental in Toronto can save your lots of time which you can spend at many Toronto attractions and events. This is particularly true if you are here for short period of time and want to see as much as you can. Rental car also provides you great freedom and choice of itineraries. You can visit a lot many places at your own will. Also, there are many hidden spots and sights where you cannot go by public transit.
So renting a car in Toronto is not a necessity, but a luxury. Go for it if you can afford it.
Now, the next obvious question is what are the options for car rental in Toronto?
Toronto Car Rental Companies
If you are looking to hire a decent car in Toronto, you will find lots of options here, from well-known international agencies to major local car rental companies.
The big names include Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, National, Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty and Budget. While the other major vendors are Payless Car Rental, U-Save, Economy Rent a Car, Universal Rent a Car, Discount, AutoEurope, Fox Rent-A-Car, Ace Rent-A-Car and Zoom Rent-A-Car. Off course, you will also find number of small rental companies too.
These companies offer a wide range of vehicles. You can pick from variety of car type/class, from 2-seater compact car to 12-seater full size van, depending on your requirements and budget.
When you explore for Toronto car rental, you will notice that by and large, big international vendors charge higher than the other car rental companies. But at the same time, there are several benefits of renting a car from big vendors.
They offer many optional items including navigation systems, satellite radios, child safety seats and so on. Also, they have several locations across the city, providing that crucial flexibility in pick up and drop off. And the big plus point is that they offer quick service and replacement if your vehicle break-down in the middle of road.
This brings us to the yet another question. Which is the ideal location for car rental in Toronto?
Toronto Car Rental Locations
Car rental companies in Toronto are located throughout the city, but most of them are clustered in downtown area and at the Toronto Pearson Airport. And these are the two places from where the majority of visitors to the city rent a car.
If you are arriving by air, you will find major car rental vendors in the parking garage, adjacent to the arrival terminals of the Toronto Airport. Several other car rental companies are located just outside the airport and offer courtesy shuttle service to and from airport terminals.
Car rental at the Toronto Airport is always expensive because of the higher rental rates and premium location surcharge. Hence, renting a car from the airport is recommended only if you are going straight out of city or planning to rent a car for your entire stay.
All most all key car rental vendors have multiple service locations in downtown Toronto. Toronto Union Station is major hub of VIA rail and GO transit, where you will find major car hire agencies.
The best strategy for you is to rent a car only for a day trip or visit to any attraction or event outside the city. This way you can save good amount on rental charges and parking fees. And good news is that you can easily manage a rental car for specific travel need from your downtown hotel.
Almost ready for your car hire in Toronto? Wait, here are few important tips to consider before you book a rental car in Toronto.
Tips for Toronto Car Rental
Here are some of the general tips for Toronto car rental. Be informed that rules and regulations are different for different car rental agencies. So make sure you check them with the specific car rental vendor before making final decision.
The minimum age to rent a car in Toronto is 21. If you are between 21-24 years old, an additional Under Age Surcharge per day will be applied to rental. Also, you can rent a car of only specific size and type if you are between 21-24 years old.
You must hold valid driver's license at the time of rental, and it must remain valid throughout the rental period. A license issued by your country of residence is valid in most cases, however, in certain circumstances you may have to present international driver's license to establish legality.
When it comes to car rental insurance, you should be very careful. As a renter, you are sole responsible for loss or damage to the rented vehicle due to accident, fire, theft, riot and vandalism. However, buying an optional Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) relieves you from any financial liability for damage to the vehicle and gives you peace of mind. I always recommend going for LDW coverage. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Various credit card companies offer LDW provided you use their credit card to pay for car rental. Also, your existing personal auto insurance policy might have coverage for LDW. So before you purchase LDW from rental company, it's worth to check with your personal auto-insurance provider and credit card company.
Check the refuelling options with your car rental company. Most car rental vendors normally provide you car with full tank, so it's your job to return the vehicle with full tank. If you fail to do so, your credit card will be charged for premium fuel and service charge.
Before you drive away with the rented car, you should inspect the vehicle in the presence of one of the rep from the car rental agency. If you find any visible damages or dents, bring them to rep's notice. Check the fuel indicator, if fuel tank is not full, report to the representative.
If you want to rent any extra services or items like child seat or GPS, please do so in advance. If you are not familiar with the roads or reading a map is nightmare for you, take help from GPS. GPS will make your driving in Toronto enjoyable and hassle-free.
Is it possible to get cheap deals for car rental in Toronto? Yes, off course. Here they are...
Best Tips for Getting Cheap Toronto Car Rental
Book in advance: As a general rule of thumb, book your car rental in advance to get cheap car rental. This also helps you to avoid dissatisfaction of not getting your ideal vehicle or paying premium charges on last minute rental. And more importantly, you can book your car rental from the comfort of your home and skip those lines at rental desks.
Shop around: Car rental rates are like air fares. You will not get best car rental deals every time from the same vendor or website. So your best bet is to shop around. Explore various car rental aggregators, consolidators and travel booking sites. Also, search the individual car rental company websites.
Be flexible: If you are open to different travel date and time, you may get better deal. For example, if you book the car rental for Tuesday instead of Wednesday or prefer to travel over the weekend, you may end up saving big amount. Also, try different combinations of pick-up and drop-off locations.
Avoid airport locations: Try to avoid renting at the airport locations if you can. Usually, the rental rates are higher at the airport locations and they also charge premium location surcharge. Instead book your car rental from downtown locations, this will bring down your car rental cost by at least 20-30%.
Look for vacation package: It is good idea to book your car rentals along with flight and hotel accommodation. You will find many all-inclusive vacation package deals at great price, allowing you save big bucks on flight, hotel and car rental. It's worth to explore this cost-effective, time-saving, one-stop shopping option.
And, finally where should you look for best deals for Toronto car rental? Obviously online...
How to Find Best Toronto Car Rental Deals
Thanks to internet, now you can search and compare car rental deals from various vendors with no difficulty. The car rental comparison websites are dime a dozen. So where you should look for the best possible car rental deals?
1). The special car rental aggregator, CarRentals.com offers car rental comparison from major car rental agencies and travel booking sites. Once results are displayed, you can narrow down your search results by applying advanced filters like car types, vendors and number of passengers. Check $17+ A Day Car Rentals from CarRentals.com
In the search widget below, enter pick up and drop off location and time, click on 'Find A Car' button and you will get a list of search results. Pretty simple, right?
2). Next check the leading travel booking engines. The top 2 picks are Expedia.com and Hotwire.com. These booking engines provide cheap car rental deals from their partners.
3). Browse websites of major car rental companies offering car rentals in Toronto. The list includes Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Dollar, Thrifty, Alamo, Nationalcar and Budget. Sometimes you may find exclusive deals available only on car rental vendor sites.
Parking in Toronto
Finding a parking in busy downtown Toronto is quite difficult and expensive too. You will be taken aback by absurdly high parking rates.
You will find numerous public parking lots and garages throughout the city. They offer hourly rates as well as daily flat rates. Toronto Parking Authority also manages several convenient and low-cost Green P parking lots across the city.
Most of the major Toronto hotels offer valet and self parking. But they charge hefty parking fees. Also, many major Toronto attractions offer on-site parking for a flat rate.
Street parking is also an option for you. However, strict parking rules are enforced, especially in downtown area. So read the street parking sign/board carefully before you decide to park on street. Keep some change for street parking.
Plan your Toronto trip
Save your $$$