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Rental Car Size

Quick questions:

1) Which rental car models will hold two people and two large suitcases? (I assume it will be wise to store the suitcases in the trunk?)

2) How necessary is A/C in the car in Ireland at the end of May?

Thank you in advance!

Posted by
3936 posts

A compact car may not be able to store your luggage away.

All cars have A/C. You are more likely to need the heating than the A/C.

Posted by
759 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
Many years ago, when we still packed huge suitcases, we rented a Nissan Cherry. It was no doubt what would be in the micro or mini class today. One case went in the trunk, the other in the back seat. Today, we some how pack for 30+ days using a single carryon each. In our older age we have realized that as long as we were in developed nations, we could buy what we found out we absolutely needed that we had decided not to bring with us.

Do go for as small as you can as the rural roads are narrow and some of the towns have very narrow passages.

Ireland..bring rain gear and a good umbrella to ensure sunny days.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
275 posts

Another vote for packing as little as possible to get the smaller suitcase and rent the smallest car available. You can always do laundry! On my two 18-day-long trips to the British Isles/Ireland, I had a carry-on suitcase for clothes/toiletries and a standard-sized school backpack for my electronics and book/journal. We did laundry twice on both trips, and it worked out perfectly. I did bring a fold-up tote that was great for my purchases on the way home—that was my carryon, my backpack was my “purse,” and I checked the suitcase.

Posted by
56 posts

We rented a compact car with three adults, three small suitcases and three backpacks. Only two small carry ons fit in the back of our compact car along with two backpacks and the back seat stored a passenger along with one suitcase and backpack. I'm sure with only two people that one suitcase could fit in the backseat and one in the hatch. Most cars didn't have trunks. We were in small cities and never had any worries. (we did lock....but I promise in some of our little towns we could have left the keys on the dash of the car!)
We stayed mostly in Airbnb's but a few hotels...and two were up narrow steps so we were happy to have small suitcases without an elevator! Happy Traveling!!!

Posted by
3904 posts

Most cars didn't have trunks.

All cars have trunks/boots. Smaller cars are likely to be hatchbacks, they still have storage space at the rear and an estate car will have quite substantial space. Instead of a closing lid such as on a saloon car they will have a parcel shelf which is either retractable or lifts when the rear hatch is opened so that access can be gained to the boot.

For two large suitcases I probably wouldn't go smaller than a VW Golf. Now that most cars are equipped with run flat tyres there is no requirement to carry a spare wheel, this has resulted in a significant gain in space which means that two full sized suitcases could probably fit adjacent to one another if placed on their sides.

Posted by
10 posts

My wife and I visited Ireland for 6 nights in late April a couple years ago. We rented a car but planned to be without it for a 2-night stay on the Aran Islands; thus we wanted to pack light since we'd be on foot with our bags part of the time.

We each had a daypack--my wife swears by her Rick Steves Civita daypack; I like my LL Bean Ridge Runner day pack--and we each had a suitcase that we could carry on according to Aer Lingus' specifications. (We stored the daypacks in the suitcases during the flight.) My suitcase was a backpack style from LL Bean, which was much easier to manage during a long walk than was my wife's rolling underseat bag. (She has since switched to a backpack-style suitcase for subsequent trips and has not looked back.) We did laundry once but mostly got by without needing to.

We rented a Toyota Aigo and were glad we did because wayner's advice is spot on: "Do go for as small as you can as the rural roads are narrow and some of the towns have very narrow passages." The size of the Aigo was perfect. We kept our daypacks in the car and our suitcases in the hatchback.

Given how bundled up we were in late April, it's hard to imagine you'll need A/C in the car in late May! Definitely carry rain gear with you though just in case.

Happy travels!

Posted by
32 posts

Thank you all for the tips! My husband and I don't pack light. Every trip, as we lug multiple suitcases on and off trains, we swear we will do better next time, and it never happens. Even worse, we typically buy so many souvenirs that twice we have had to purchase an additional suitcase to bring them all home - despite having brought an extra duffel bag for that purpose! Alas, it is what it is lol.

Posted by
4668 posts

It sounds like you're only going to Ireland, so perhaps size is not as important as it can be in medieval town centers and modern parking garages with very narrow stalls. But any car is a hindrance in a big city like Dublin. You might (depending on itinerary) care about completely concealing the fact that there are bags in the car while you park in a tourist lot to visit some attraction. Many European models are NOT sold in the US, and are configured to be lighter and smaller - often without an opaque trunk hatch.

You may also care whether you have a standard or automatic transmission. I've had trouble getting an automatic even when I pre-reserve with the big rental companies. The usual cautions about some credit card "insurance" excluding Ireland, and care driving on the left apply. Presumably you don't care whether you get a diesel engine or not.

I forget if there are unpaved roads in the Burren, but you might give some thought to contract clauses that prohibit driving on unpaved roads, if you have an ambitious touring plan. I'm annoyed that glass, repair, and tire coverage are often charged for separately these days. Used to be that a "car rental" included a working car! But our infatuation with low quoted prices has done away with all that.

Posted by
1008 posts

If you can fly, which at this time is debatable, rent as small a car as you can use. Roads are narrow and winding and bridges can be one way. Be wary of "L" roads. Very narrow, winding hilly two lane roads that look like one lane to us. If you can drive a stick, then the rental can be cheap. Renting an automatic trans. car can double or triple the rental price per day. You do not tell us where you are going. If Dublin and Belfast, for example, you do not need a car. Use public transportation.

I was driving a 1997 Vauxhall Corsa automatic last summer in Ireland and drove all around Ireland for 35 days, and I fitted an electric scooter (GoGo Traveler Elite) and a suitcase and two backpacks in it. Worked fine for two persons.