Phone icon Mail icon

Orbit's Travel Blog - 12.05.2022.

What Does ‚or similar‘ In Car Rental Mean? - The Definitive Guide For 2023

Unsure of what 'or similar' in car rental means? Our guide will explain everything you need to know about this term and how it impacts your booking.

When you rent a car, you will see many different makes and car models available. But you are not choosing a specific vehicle; you are selecting a car category that matches particular criteria but not an exact model. The car you see displayed while making a booking online is an example of the size, features and style of vehicle you will get. 

Rent a car with Orbit

Rental companies will define their fleet of cars into car categories. It means that you will receive a vehicle of a similar size, with the same transmission, features and luggage capacity as the model advertised when you make a booking. Here you will find an example of vehicles in each car category; 

Mini: Toyota Aygo – Hyundai i10 

Economy: Citroen C3 – Ford Fiesta

Compact: - Ford Focus – Toyota Auris

Intermediate: Honda Accord – Toyota Camry 

Standard: Ford Focus – Peugeot 301

Full-Size: Ford Fusion – Toyota Camry 

Estate: Ford Focus Estate – Hyundai i30 Estate

Minivans: Renault Trafic – Ford Tourneo

Crossover: Toyota C-HR – Hyundai Kona

SUV: Suzuki Vitara – Ford EcoSport

4x4: Dacia Duster – Toyota Land Cruiser 

Convertibles: Ford Mustang – Mercedes CLK

Premium: Mercedes C-Class

Luxury: BMW 5-Series – Audi A5

Cargo Vans: Nissan NV – Ford Transit

Rental cars parked outside an office

I did not receive the car I booked

When you arrive at the pickup location, you notice that you did not get the car you booked. There is a simple reason for that. Since rental car companies are constantly upgrading their fleet, they cannot guarantee a specific model. So when you arrive to pick up your vehicle, they might have received new cars that are not the same model but similar. 

It can also result from the model you booked being repaired or in cleaning. When demand is high for car rentals, they will only be able to make sure that you receive a vehicle of the same size, transmission and features as you had booked. 

How do car rentals choose what cars are in each category?

Car hire companies use an international system called ‚ ACRISS' system. The ACRISS gives each car category four letters and each letter has its meaning. The letters will tell you what type of car it is, if it has an automatic transmission or manual, if it has A/C or not and if it is 4WD or 2WD. 

  • The first letter tells you what type of vehicle it is – what size, power and costs. 
  • The second letter tells you what type of vehicle it is an SUV, Van, or Estate.
  • The third letter tells you the transmission type and if it is 2WD or 4WD 
  • The fourth letter tells you what fuel type it is and if it has A/C. 

Why do car rental companies use ACRISS?

ACRISS has a wide variety of choices to choose from, but a uniform system can simplify selecting a rental car. You can see which car you want. Some may wonder what's wrong with rental companies offering reservations for certain types of vehicles instead of categories. It's all entirely plausible at first glance. However, car rental companies have difficulty tracking the fleet of cars that varies according to location and region. Aside from this, rental cars are sorted and cleaned and inspected periodically.

Rental cars parked in a line

The Specifications of ‚or similar 'in car rental 

The specifications behind the ‚or similar 'in the car rental industry will give you an idea of what type of vehicle you might receive. For example, if you book a mini car, where Toyota Aygo is advertised with three doors, manual transmission, with air conditioning. You can keep in mind that you might receive a Hyundai i10 or Kia Picanto. 

You will know for sure that you will receive a car with three doors, manual transmission, and air conditioning. 

How can I get the specific car model I booked?

As it is impossible to guarantee any specific model in car rental, there are some ways you can almost make sure that you will receive the car model you booked. 

  • Book early 
  • Select a more extensive car rental company. Companies with bigger fleets can have an easier way of guaranteeing a specific model than smaller local companies. 
  • Book a less popular car. If you book the cheapest cars, which are always the most popular, you might reduce your chance of getting the vehicle you want. Booking a higher-class vehicle like a sports car will give you more opportunities to get the specific vehicle you booked. 
  • Rent a car in the offseason. In tourism, there is always a high season and a low season. The demand is higher during the high season, and companies are more likely to be sold out. If you rent during the offseason, they can have a large portion of their fleet sitting, allowing you to choose a specific car.
  • Pay extra. When you come to the rental desk, you might have booked a Nissan Micra, but you are offered a Toyota Yaris. If you would like to have the exact make and model you booked, you might be able to offer to pay extra to receive the Nissan Micra.

You can also look for deals where the car rental companies offer a "Guaranteed model "instead of "or similar ". If the rental company display a guaranteed model, you will 100% receive the specific car you booked. Rental companies do this more for high-end categories like luxury types. 

High-demand rental cars are more likely to be unavailable.

You may have trouble finding this particular car if you've booked one of the most popular car hire classes, like an affordable automatic compact with climate control. However, remember that the exact vehicle can be found within the same category, and remember that large manufacturers also have larger fleets.

How many rental car categories are there?

ACRISS comprises 18 categories. The rental car includes 22 different kinds, six different transmission types, and 18 fuel/air-conditioned categories. ACRISS has eighteen automobile classes.

What does Ford Focus or similar mean?

It will tell you that you are booking a vehicle category where you might receive a Ford Focus or a vehicle that is a similar car like Ford Mondeo. Therefore, you can be guaranteed that you will receive a vehicle with the exact specifications and size as the Focus.

What does Standard mean when renting a car?

A standard rental car is the most common type of rental car. It generally refers to the size of the vehicle that is suitable for all kinds of passengers, including groups and families. Standard rental vehicles offer various models, including sedans, minivans and SUVs. They are also often available in many different colours, so you can choose one that suits your taste or matches your existing vehicle. When renting a standard car, you will have access to all major features and amenities, including air conditioning and power windows. Most importantly, regardless of which type of classic car you rent, these vehicles are always affordable because they are priced to be competitive with other similar-sized cars on the market.

While there are some advantages to renting a standard car, such as affordability and a wide selection of models, there are also some disadvantages. For example, standard rental vehicles may not have the same level of luxury or performance as more expensive rental cars. In addition, they may not be able to accommodate larger groups or families as comfortably as larger vehicles. However, standard rental cars offer an excellent option for those who need an affordable and reliable vehicle for their travels.

Rent a car with Orbit Car Hire

Rent a car with Orbit Car Hire 

At Orbit Car Hire, we compare over 100 companies worldwide, constantly searching for the best deals for you. So by comparing car hire at Orbit, you can be sure to find the best value for your holiday. Feel free to contact us for assistance with your car hire inquiries. You can also find us on social media for travel inspiration. 

Related articles you might like

Orbit's Travel Blog

What you also might like...

+ View All

We use cookies to give you a better experience. If you accept that, just keep browsing. You can find out more or switch it off. Read More About Cookies