Ottawa Airport Car Rental: The Best Companies

by Mark Rebindaine  |  Updated March 16, 2023

At 10km from downtown Ottawa, Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW) is the main airport serving Ottawa and the metropolitan area known as the National Capital Region.

Ottawa (Photo: Robbie Palmer via Unsplash)

At YOW, there are seven car rental companies on-site and two off-site which are serviced by the Ottawa Airport shuttle. Those agencies at the airport are located across the street from the terminal on Parkade Level 1. Hours are typically from 6:30am until 1 a.m. the following morning with most companies providing after-hours drop off.

To determine which rental car companies offer the best vehicles across our three categories (Most Affordable, Best for Luxury, Best for Minivans), carefully researched prices, availability, policies and customer reviews of the 9 car rental companies operating out of YOW. Here are our findings:

Most Affordable: Alamo

Alamo dominates the low-price car rentals category at YOW with prices considerably cheaper than its closest competitor, National. This was the case not just for economy cars, such as the Hyundai Accent, but also for standard and full-size options, including the Ford Explorer and BMX3. Alamo was also much more affordable over busy holiday periods, again offering better prices than its competition. But price wasn’t the only factor which encouraged us to pick out Alamo as our favourite option in this category. Renters consistently gave Alamo higher marks for the overall condition of its vehicles and for the speed of pick-up than its competitors.

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Best for Luxury: Alamo

Once again, visitors wanting to tour this part of the world in style should look no further than Alamo. Amongst its impressive fleet, there’s a bit of everything, from mid-size luxury cars like the BMW5 to popular premium family vehicles like the Infiniti Q50. And for those with really fat wallets, they usually have a Porsche Cayenne available for rent. As aforementioned, renters give the company top-notch ratings for overall value, speedy turnaround times and for the condition of its vehicles. Moreover, with the exception of Dollar, prices were slightly lower than other companies on most of the dates we researched.

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Best for Minivans: National

For visitors in large groups, National had lower prices than other companies for minivans and other large vehicles with a fleet that includes the popular American pick-up, Chevrolet Silverado and the 7-seater Dodge Grand Caravan. Infant, child and booster seats are available for rent $12 per day as well a CO2 offset option, – an environmental service that counterbalances harmful fuel emissions generated during a rental. Amongst their other add-ons, they also offer the SiriusXM, the famous satellite radio offering coast-to-coast coverage. A popular rental company, this particular office at YOW even scores very well on Google – no mean feat in this industry.

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