Rental cars are regular cars that are available for rent from car rental companies.. From Europe to North America down to Africa, there are car rental companies all over the world. And globally, there are differences when renting cars, including customer preferences, prices and policies amongst others.
Nowadays, most cars around the world are either automatic or manual. If you are looking to spend some time in Europe, this article will focus on the transmissions commonly found on rental cars on the continent.
It’ll at some point also focus on select European countries for more accurate conclusions.
Table of Contents
Here’s the Short Answer to Whether Rental Cars in Europe Are Automatic:
Most cars in Europe have a manual transmission, meaning that rental cars in the region are mostly manual. However, there are automatic rental cars in Europe as well, but they are not as common, and they cost a lot more than the predominant manual cars.
What Does It Cost to Upgrade European Rental Cars to Automatic?
As we mentioned earlier, rental cars in Europe are mostly manual, and this reflects a lack of popularity of automatic gears in the European auto market. However, that’s not to say there are no automatic rentals available in Europe at all.
You can always get your hands on an automatic rental car in Europe, especially when you are dealing with a reputable rental company. The truth, however, is that renting an automatic car will cost you up to 50% more than renting a manual car.
So, if you can make do with a manual car and you are on a budget, you may want to just go with the European flow and drive a manual car. If you insist on getting an automatic, be ready to spend even more money.
Can You Expect European Rental Car Companies to Offer Automatic Gear?
While manual cars are predominant in the European rental industry, you can actually get an automatic rental car if you want. The chances of getting one are higher if you book with a major rental company. However, you’d also have to pay more- about 2× to 4× the rental cost for a manual car.
Besides that, you are likely to be slammed with even more charges if you are under 25. That’s because under 25 renters are considered more of a liability.
Why Are Rental Cars With Automatic Gear So Expensive in Europe?
The first and obvious reason automatic rental cars are expensive in Europe is because regular automatic cars are more expensive on the continent. They are also more expensive to insure, which is why most Europeans settle for manual cars.
Another reason automatic rental cars are expensive is because of car rental companies. Rental companies, like every capitalist business, are profit-oriented, and they sometimes capitalize on the rarity of automatics to inflate the cost.
Even now, most Europeans consider automatic vehicles as a luxury that only the fortunate few can afford. The rental companies take advantage of these beliefs and slam what you may call “luxury prices” on automatic cars.
Can You Rent Automatic Cars in Germany?
In all honesty, most rental cars in Germany have the manual stick shift, reflecting the auto preferences of the German population. However, automatic cars are available for rent in Germany, especially if you are dealing with a rental company of repute like Sixt.
However, you should know that automatic rental cars in Germany cost a lot more than the manual counterparts. You are also likely to spend more on fuel with an automatic rental car depending on how recent the model is.
According to AutoSlash, you are more likely to find an automatic rental car in Germany when you book at an airport location.
Also, it would be best if you prepared to drive on the right side because that’s the standard driving position in Germany and other parts of Europe.
Can You Rent Automatic Cars in England?
Most rental cars in England have manual transmissions. The manual transmission is like the standard transmission in the country. However, you can specifically request for an automatic rental car in England.
If you settle for an automatic rental car in England, the rental companies will almost definitely charge you extra. In addition to that, you are going to have to drive on the left.
AutoSlash recommends booking at airport locations to up your chances of getting an automatic rental car.
Can You Rent Automatic Cars in Spain?
Like it is in all of Europe, most rental cars in Spain have manual transmission. Unlike the United States, automatic cars are the exception, not the norm, so you’re going to have to make a special request if you want one.
Renting an automatic car in Spain will likely come with an extra fee. Also, you will have to drive on the right in Spain while also dealing with avoidable toll roads.
Like in most places in Europe, airport locations are the best places to find an automatic rental car in Spain.
Can You Rent Automatic Cars in Italy?
Italy is one of the most desirable counties to visit in Western Europe. However, like most of Europe, car rental companies in Italy mostly offer manual cars for rent.
Finding an automatic car for rent in Italy should not be a problem at all. A great number of rental companies in Italy have automatic cars available for rent. As a matter of fact, Italy is said to be one of the top countries to rent an automatic car for cheap.
So, while you’ll be paying more for an automatic car in Italy, the costs aren’t that far off. It only costs about 10% more, according to a publication by Italy Beyond The Obvious.
Just as the article shows, there is a unique rarity of automatic rental cars across Europe. This has, in no small ways, contributed to the inflated rental costs of automatic cars and the difficulty in booking one.