• Car Hire Categories Explained

Car Hire Categories Explained

A guide to rental car class codes

When it comes to hiring a car, you’ll want to make sure you rent the right vehicle for you. To help, car rental companies like ourselves code vehicles in a manner that allows you to understand which category it falls into. 

Here at Rent Direct, you are doing just that - renting, direct - which means there are no middlemen involved! As such, we have our own set of car category codes and in this dedicated article all about car hire classes, we explain what these are so you can choose a vehicle that complements your trip. Read on to find out more… 

Car Hire Categories

Every type of hire car is assigned a category so that the customer knows what size and style of vehicle it is. Each of these categories are represented by a letter in a coded system that can differ between car rental companies. 

Here at Rent Direct, we use a letter and number system to help you identify the ideal vehicle. Here’s how it works:

Category code

Type of vehicle

Model of car


Small Car

Kia Picanto or similar


Compact Car

Ford Fiesta or similar


Intermediate Car

Kia Ceed or similar


Large Car

Kia Sportage or similar


Small Auto

Kia Picanto Auto or similar


Compact Auto

Kia Rio Auto or similar 


Intermediate Auto

Ford Focus Auto or similar


Large Auto

Hyundai Tucson or similar


Large Hybrid Auto

Kia Sportage Auto or similar


Full Size Auto

Kia Sorento Auto or similar


Full Size Hybrid Auto

Kia Sorento Auto or similar


Intermediate Estate

Kia Ceed SW or similar


Intermediate Estate Auto

Kia Ceed SW Auto or similar

What car hire category is the cheapest?

Usually, the cheapest car to hire is a small car. This is because it is the smallest type of car available, which means it’s economical and therefore is the most cost effective vehicle to rent.

Always make sure you pick the right size vehicle for your rental needs. While a small size car like a Kia Picanto can prove to be the cheapest, it won’t accommodate many passengers or much luggage. 

To secure the best possible price for your rental car, check out our vehicle hire special offers page to take advantage of exclusive discounts!  

What does ‘or similar’ mean when hiring a car?

When you go through the process of booking a hire car, you’ll be presented with the options of which type of car to choose. We will let you know which model you can expect to be driving, or one that’s similar.

The phrase ‘or similar’ means that if the model we first offered isn’t available to you, we make sure we offer a like-for-like car instead. We always do our best to ensure you can hire the car we advertise as first choice, but occasionally we need to provide an alternative.  

How to choose a hire car

Before booking a hire car, make sure you think about what it is needed for. Here are the top 10 things to consider when choosing a rental car:

  1. Its purpose (holiday, work trip, airport run, etc)
  2. How many passengers you’ll have with you
  3. How much luggage you’ll be taking on the trip
  4. How many child seats and boosters you need to accommodate for
  5. If you’d prefer manual or automatic transmission
  6. If you’d prefer a petrol, diesel or hybrid model
  7. How many miles you’re planning on driving
  8. What type of roads you’ll be driving on
  9. What features you’d like included (Bluetooth connectivity, air-con, in-car entertainment, etc)
  10. Your budget

Convenient car hire at your fingertips

Customers from East Anglia and beyond can benefit from our convenient car hire service. Whether you need a vehicle on a short term or long time basis, we can help. We have six branches across the region and also offer van and MPV hire too, so we really can provide you with a vehicle no matter what your requirements. 

Renting a car has never been easier thanks to our online booking system which you’ll find on our homepage. If you have any questions at all, we’re always on the other end of the phone and of course you can pop in-branch too! Head over to the contact us page to see our opening hours.