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Car hire question in Cornwall: Automatics

I'm looking to rent a car in Truro for a couple of days for an upcoming trip from the US, and I'm wondering if anyone can answer a question about getting an automatic (which I want and am willing to pay for). In years past, I was told that you might not get an automatic if you are not at a major airport in the UK. I'm wondering if that is sound advice and still holds. I'm not sure if I'll rent from Hertz or from Enterprise (or if it matters in terms of getting an automatic). I've considered getting a more expensive rental class to guarantee an automatic, but won't do that unless I need to. Thanks for any feedback you might be able to share.

Posted by
2770 posts

Personally, I’ve never rented a car at the airport, always in a different location. I have never had trouble getting an automatic. When you book a car you will need to request an automatic, you should book as soon as possible.

Posted by
6204 posts

If you reserve ahead of time and specify an automatic, you’ll get an automatic. If you just show up, there are no guarantees, especially at a smaller facility. Once, at Heathrow, even though an automatic was specified, Avis didn’t have one and had to get one from another company for me.

Posted by
2468 posts

I don’t get this desire to look for the smallest possible car due to the size of the roads. Surely you want the car that best accommodates the number of passengers and luggage in comfort.

Even if roads have only one carriageway they are still big enough for Range Rovers and other 4x4s.

Posted by
7499 posts

We have always rented automatics when driving in Britain. Never had a problem. Rented at Heathrow and another at Harwich.

One thing that is NOT guaranteed is a Navigation System on the vehicle, which is a necessity for me. We don't have GPS that works in the UK or a cell phone either.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I do plan on reserving in advance. It sounds like I will (likely) not have issues getting an automatic.

I will have a data plan while I'm there, so I'm not concerned about GPS maps. FYI for anyone about GPS maps, you can download maps offline on Google Maps to your phone. So long as you can look up all your points of interest, google maps will connect you. I used it a couple years ago for a trip in Ireland and it worked pretty well.

I'm aiming for something that will hold 4 adults comfortably, so choosing a comfortable size is a trade off with maneuverability through narrow roads. I plan to get good insurance (damage waiver), so while I have no intentions of getting in an accident, I also won't stress about it.

Posted by
1436 posts

I have an English friend who prefers to fly into Bristol when flying from the US. Don't know if this would work for you. Bristol Airport has most of the major Auto Rentals including Enterprise. It is just a little over a 2 hour drive to Truro from there.