Safety is always a top priority when driving, but the more miles you cover, the more risks on the road you’ll be exposed to. That’s why when you’re renting a car for long-distance traveling — whether for a cross-country road trip, a work meeting commute or anything else that gives you lots of windshield time — car safety really becomes a big deal.
Renting a car for long travels is an easy way to save wear and tear on your daily commuting vehicle and also get a vacation from your everyday car. You’ll have something ultra-reliable and practically new to make every mile of your long-distance drive something special.
Here are some excellent options for safe vehicles that should be readily available at most rental companies. Aside from availability to rent and excellent safety ratings, these vehicles all have other perks you’ll want for long-distance travel, like good gas mileage, comfortable and roomy interiors, and reliability.
This small-sized SUV has received perfect five-star ratings in all safety tests except for the rollover test, where it received a still-impressive four-star rating. With all-wheel drive, a high ground clearance that lets you go over all types of changing terrain in any type of weather and an average of 24 mpg, you’ll be able to handle anything the road throws at you without throwing too much money at the gas tank. Lots of cargo space and a roomy interior will make those long trips more comfortable and practical.
Hybrids are a favorite for long-distance travel, and a Toyota Prius is a favorite amongst hybrids. This mid-sized sedan is deceptively roomy inside and gets a whopping 53 mpg on long highway drives. When it comes to features, the Prius isn’t only good for the environment and your gas budget; it’s also good for keeping you safe. A long list of top-notch safety features includes things like knee and back curtain airbags, a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system and a Vehicle Proximity Notification System. You’ll also get the Toyota Safety Sense that includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and a lane departure alert with steering assistance.
KIAs are common at rental car locations, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one of these high-rated mid-sized SUVs. In 2016, the Sorento was an IIHS Top Safety Pick. With a body reinforced with 53% advanced high-strength steel and electronic stability control, it’s no wonder why. You’ll average 28 mpg on the highway, so your long drive won’t cost too much. With four-wheel drive and all the room inside, you can drive somewhere remote and pretty during your travels, set up some blankets and pillows or even an air mattress in the back to camp, and save the money you’d spend on a hotel.
If you have to take a lot of stuff or a number of people with you on your long drive, you’d do well renting a Suburban. You’ll be able to fit up to nine people plus a ton of cargo! As many as 14 charging ports means that all those iPads and electronics you bring along on a longer drive will stay fully powered and ready for play. You can even get 4G LTE Wi-Fi onboard. Safety features include a strong steel safety cage around the body, seven airbags, lane keep assist, side blind zone assist and an available OnStar Automatic Crash Response System. All this room and your gas mileage will be at an impressive 23 mpg on the highway.
If you’re traveling with your family and want lots of space, great gas mileage and, of course, a safe way to travel with your precious cargo, a Chrysler Pacifica is an excellent rental option. This minivan feels more like an SUV with its stylish design and advanced tech features, like a 360-degree surround view camera, forward collision warning with active braking and tons of airbags. In-floor storage bins underneath the seats are perfect for storing cargo, and there’s even an included vacuum cleaner that helps keep messes from accumulating. You can even tow up to 3,600 pounds if you plan on bringing along a trailer. With an average 28 mpg, you can spend your travel budget on things that are way more fun than gas.