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5-6 Passenger rental

We are traveling to France in June with a group of 5. Flying into Paris, grabbing a rental car and then driving to Rouen. We will be spending the first 7 days traveling north and then ending up in Tours where we plan to drop the car off and take a train to Paris to finish out the trip.

For those of you who have traveled with a group of 5-6, what rental car did you get and did you like it? I have been told not to get an SUV because they are to big?

Posted by
2590 posts

There is no car that will hold 5 to 6 people and their luggage. You will want a van and even then, luggage space will be tight.

Do not drive from CDG to Rouen if you are arriving after an all-night transatlantic flight. Take the train upon your arrival and rent a van the following morning.

May I add that yes, I have done this with 6, and additionally, I might be skeptical of anyone advising that an SUV is too big for 6 people and their luggage.

Posted by
12 posts

We are traveling in May with 6…plan to get a 7 person van at Orly…packing very light! Trying to decide whether to get overseas car insurance from our insurer or get it through the rental company…

Posted by
79 posts

My family of five (two teen girls and a preteen boy) fit well in a Renault Scenic. We had the kids all in the 2nd row and dropped the 3rd row to make more room for the bags. We drove from Paris through Normandy to MSM and back without too many complaints from the kids. And the Scenic navigated narrow streets just fine.

Posted by
71 posts

I will check out the Renault Scenic

Everyone will have backpacks or carry on size luggage

Posted by
2390 posts

We are a family of 4 who gave rented several cars in Europe (estate cars and SUVs). The only size that will fit 5 (plus luggage) will be a minivan (7 seater). Remember that you will likely have 5 carryon size bags PLUS 5 personal items/ backpacks. Plus any shopping you do along the way. It all takes up space.

We are traveling with two family members this summer (6 people total) and have rented a 7 seat minivan. We own a Totora Sienna, and could easily fit our luggage in the back. But the cargo area in European minivans is much smaller. I know it’s going to be a tight squeeze to get the luggage in there, so everyone is limited to a carryon bag, plus backpack they’re willing to hold on their lap, if need be. But we are traveling no more than 3 hours between stops.

Parking a minivan will be a challenge - this is probably why you were told an SUV is too big. Parking spots are smaller in Europe, and be very aware of the height of the vehicle if you try to park in a parking garage. Driving on the narrow roads may be interesting - be ready to pull in your side mirrors.

I absolutely agree that you should not plan to drive immediately after a flight. Take the train to Rouen and pick up the car the next day.

Posted by
4600 posts

you need to somehow make sure that you actually specifically get a minivan or SUV, not just something "similar or comparable" from the rental agency. not sure how you make that happen.

Posted by
79 posts

As Phred said, the key is looking for a 7 seater. Whether they call it a van or an MPV. As long as it holds 7 passengers you should be able to drop the 3rd row and get everyone in there.

Posted by
6810 posts

The key is packing light. We had a minivan back in 2012 with only 4 people and luggage storage space was tight. It got tighter each time our travel companions made another purchase. We spent most of our time in Germany and Austria and vehicle size wasn’t an issue.