How to choose the right size hire car

Choose the right hire vehicle during the online booking process and save yourself the hassle and additional cost of upgrading on the day. It’s easy to work out your vehicle size requirements with this handy guide from Gatwick Car & Van Rental.

car hire sizing

The golden rule is: hire a car that fits your passengers and their luggage

If you travel with minimal luggage or forgo it entirely, hiring is easy. Pick a car or van with the right number of seats and away you go.

What is more likely is that you are travelling with passengers and luggage. In which case, read on for a breakdown of each class of car and their realistic passenger and luggage capacities.


Superminis such as the Fiat 500 are great, economical solutions for transporting 1-2 passengers and their luggage. Without luggage, expect to fit 4 adults in relative comfort for short trips about town. An added benefit of superminis is that they are easy to park and fit into the tightest of spaces.

  • 4 passengers maximum, or
  • 2 passengers + 2 full size suitcases

Small compact cars

Small compacts like the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Volkswagen Golf offer more passenger comfort than a supermini, so for jaunts around the local area and longer journeys they are more than capable. However, the additional boot space does not match the additional passenger legroom. So, for more boot space and legroom, look at our next class of car.

  • 4 – 5 passengers maximum, or
  • 3 passengers + 3 full size suitcases

Intermediate and standard cars

Saloon cars with a noticeable boot that extends from the body are capable of transporting 4-5 passengers with adequate luggage space for larger bags. Estate cars are also a great option for guaranteed boot space and interior comfort. Vauxhall Insignia, Insignia Estate and the Ford Focus Estate are great examples of this class. SUVs, though physically larger than saloon and estate cars, do not necessarily provide more cabin or boot space. They are the best option if you appreciate a higher riding position while driving, but they’re not the solution for carrying many adults and their luggage.

  • 5 passengers maximum, or
  • 4 passengers + 4 full size suitcases
intermediate size cars


The Mercedes-Benz Vito can be driven by anyone with a standard driving license and can seat 9 passengers including the driver. Alternatively, the rear 3 seats can be removed, allowing you to seat 6 in comfort with enough space in the rear compartment for six full size suitcases and hand luggage.

  • 9 passengers maximum, or
  • 6 + full size suitcases + hand luggage

For information about hiring and driving our 15 or 17 seat minibuses, read our post from last month for all you need to know to stay legal while on the road.

Gatwick Car & Van Rental are ideally located for car and van hire around Gatwick Airport and offer free pickup and drop off at your chosen terminal. With a great fleet of vehicles to choose from, and all under 4 years old, you are sure to find the right car hire choice for you. Make your holiday truly yours with the freedom of your own itinerary, made possible by safe, reliable and affordable vehicle hire. Contact our team today to find out more or to book your car or van. Alternatively, request a callback and we will be in touch at a time that suits you.