London Heathrow Airport Car Hire: The Best Companies

by Paul Joseph  |  Published June 26, 2017

One of Europe’s busiest airports is well served by car hire companies catering for the huge numbers of visitors who pass through this major transport hub each year. In total there are eight rental companies here, enabling passengers to pick up their car and be in Central London in less than an hour. And if you’re staying north of the capital, you’ll be able to reach your accommodation even quicker, with Heathrow Airport offering easy access to many towns located in London’s northern reaches.

The exterior of Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport (Photo: Hugh Llewelyn via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Each of Heathrow’s car hire companies are located in the arrivals lounge of each terminal. Your chosen car, however, may be a short distance away, and can usually be reached by free shuttle courtesy of the providers. All of the cars available from the rental companies at Heathrow come with additional extras or adaptions upon request, including child seats, sat navs and disabled hand controls.

Our car rental company search results

When it comes to car rentals, Heathrow Airport caters for most tastes and budgets, and with public transport in London famously pricey, it’s no surprise that so many are looking for a cheap car hire as an alternative. In fact, when you take into consideration all the costs involved of not having your own vehicle, such as taxi fares, train passes and bus tickets, hiring a car for a week or two is likely to be significantly easier on the wallet. To help you make your choice, the team at have researched all eight companies located at Heathrow and divided our findings into three categories – Best value, Best for families and Best for luxury cars – based on rates, customer reviews, car fleets and company policies. You can read our conclusions below.

Best value: Hertz

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They may have a reputation for being expensive, but it was Hertz who emerged with the most favourable results during our searches based on affordability, choice of cars and customer reviews. With budget cars such as the Vauxhall Corse and Fiat Picanto available for less than £140 for a week’s stay, they came out as our top tip. Renting a car with Hertz, you can also add an additional driver for just £13 a day and left or right handed controls are available on request too. However, drivers under the age of 25 should beware, Hertz apply a Young Drivers Surcharge, starting at £33.60 per day from Heathrow.

Best for families: Budget

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Families looking for a hire car tend to want space and comfort and Budget’s choice of larger cars puts them out in front of its competitors among Heathrow rental companies. Among the cars they are offer are the Skoda Octavia Estate and Hyundai i30 Estate, both of which offer plenty of extra room for your little ones and attendant luggage. And for those arriving very late or departing very early, there’ no need to worry about opening hours, as Budget’s desk is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Best for luxury cars: Sixt

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Our search for luxury car hire turned up a highly impressive number of results from Sixt, who offer everything from sports cars and prestigious high-end models such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Convertible and BMW 5-Series through to imposing SUVs like the Jeep Renegade. Sixt also has favourable opening hours, with their Heathrow desk open from 5am through to midnight every day of the week. For disabled drivers, controls can be fitted to vehicles with 48 hours’ notice.