Economy Vs. Compact Car Rental Definitions


Avis, Hertz and Enterprise are the three biggest rental car companies in the U.S. While there are countless smaller competitors out there, these three control the lion's share of the car rental business. While the definition of "economy" and "compact" cars is not entirely consistent between them, it is fairly close.

Small vs. Smaller

  • Avis actually doesn't offer an "economy" category. Instead, they use the term "sub-compact." It is basically the same thing, though. Avis defines a subcompact car as providing seating for four to five occupants and offering room for one large bag and one small bag. Fuel economy is estimated at 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. A Hyundai Accent is a typical model offered in this class. Avis defines a compact car as having room for five occupants, one large bag and two small bags. An example model is the Ford Focus. Fuel economy is estimated at 28 to 48 mpg.

    Hertz defines an economy car as seating four to five occupants, having room for two small suitcases and providing fuel economy of 33 mpg or better. A Kia Rio is the example model. They define a compact car as seating four to five occupants, having storage space for one large and one small suitcase and providing fuel economy of at least 38 mpg. A typical compact model is the Ford Focus.

    Finally, Enterprise defines an economy car as simply having two or four doors. A Chevrolet Spark is provided as a typical example of the vehicles offered in this class. An Enterprise compact car has four doors. A typical representative is the Nissan Versa.

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