California

San Francisco Airport Car Rental: The Best Companies

by Michael C. Upton  |  Updated April 16, 2021

Located 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) started as a temporary airport project in 1927. Today, the airport sees hundreds of thousands of visitors and serves as a major hub for United Airlines. The airport is unique in the fact it not only provides visitors with access to the many tourist sights of San Francisco but is also a fine art museum displaying permanent works and temporary exhibitions.

San Francisco Airport (Photo: Shina Suzuki via Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0)

The airport is equipped with a state-of-the-art people-moving system called the AirTrain. Operating 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, the AirTrain connects all terminals with the Rental Car Center via the blue line. (The red line is a continuous loop servicing parking garages and all terminals.) Most major car rental agencies can be found at SFO, and all agencies are open 7-days a week and have variable hours.

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

Most affordable: FOX

The most affordable rental agency in five vehicle categories is Fox. Fox maintains over 100 US and international locations and is known for their wide selection of high-quality vehicles. In San Francisco, Fox offers everything from an economy-sized Toyota Yaris to a Jeep Cherokee. A standard-sized Volkswagen Jetta runs $135 per week at Hertz compared to other agencies charging over $150 more for the weekly rental of the same model. Customers also give Fox high ranks for expediency during rental car return.

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Best for luxury cars: ENTERPRISE

The San Francisco airport Enterprise is one of the company’s exotic and luxury car rental locations. For $1,050 per week drivers can get behind the wheel of a Maserati Ghibli. This Italian sports sedan features hand-seamed leather and silk upholstery, advanced driving assistance systems, and a 345-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine. This location also offers drivers the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Chevy Corvette, Aston Martin Vantage, or a Porsche 911 or Cayman; rates for these vehicles are not available online. A Porsche Cayenne runs $1,350 per week.

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Best for Minivans: ENTERPRISE

Enterprise also gets our recommendation for minivan rental based on its dominance of customer satisfaction. The rental agency scores near perfect ratings in several categories, including helpfulness of counter staff, vehicle cleanliness, and overall condition of rental vehicles. A Dodge Grand Caravan or similar vehicle from Enterprise costs $390 per week while in the premium category the Buick Enclave from Enterprise costs $484 per week. Both vehicles seat seven passengers and have plenty of room for luggage.

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