Lax Airport Car Rental: The best companies

by Mark Rebindaine  |  Updated February 28, 2019

Catering for more than 84 million passengers in 2017, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a huge airport, and statistically the world’s fifth busiest. In a city so vast and with so many attractions dotted around the region, renting a car is almost mandatory.

Los Angeles International Airport (Photo: Rennett Stowe via Flickr / CC-BY-2.0)

On exiting the baggage reclaim area, look for the purple ‘Rental Car Shuttles’ signs featuring a car and a key that will lead you to the shuttles on the lower level of the main terminal. From there, it’s only a short ride to all the major car rental companies. It’s worth noting that many rental car companies in Los Angeles require drivers to be a minimum of 25 years old. Some companies place the minimum age lower, at 21, but you can expect to pay significantly higher rates.

To determine which rental car companies offer the best vehicles across our three categories (Most Affordable, Best for Luxury, Best for Minivans), carefully conducted research on prices, availability, policies and customer reviews for each car rental company. Here are our findings:

Most affordable: Thrifty & Dollar

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If you’re accustomed to renting in East Coast cities, you’ll appreciate the number of relatively cheap car rental options at LAX airport. Thrifty consistently has the most economical prices, with a ‘Wild Card’ option costing about $5 cheaper than most other companies. If you’re unhappy with the car selected for you, then, for a few dollars more, you can swap it for a Ford Fiesta or a Ford Focus. But for more variety, we’d recommend Dollar. On our sample bookings, Dollar had excellent weekly rates on compact cars like the Chevrolet Spark and slightly larger 5-seaters like the Nissan Sentra and the Hyundai Accent.

Best for luxury cars: Enterp. & Thrifty

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In a city as congested as Los Angeles, where sitting in dense traffic is part of the daily routine, having a comfortable car is almost essential. If you’re into American-style comfort, Thrifty has sophisticated cars like the Chevrolet Impala and, for sunny days, the convertible Ford Mustang Cabrio. In general, Thrifty has some of the best rental prices in town. With similar rates on full-size, standard and premium cars, plus automatic kiosks to speed up pick-ups and drop-offs, Enterprise is another good option, proving to be especially popular with wealthy Americans.

Best for Minivans: Hertz & Alamo

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A holidaying group of 7, 9, 12? Choosing a minivan to rent anywhere in the world depends a lot on how many you are. For smaller groups, we’d recommend Hertz’s Dodge Grand Caravan that on our sample dates was averaging $55 per day. For larger groups, Alamo has competitive rates on their 8-seater Toyota Sienna and the 12-seater Ford Transit. As is the case in almost all major airports, their trademark self-service rental kiosks help speed up car-pick up. To access these, you’ll need to sign up to their Insider’s program which allows customers to access cars without having to check-in beforehand.