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7 best rental cars for summer vacation

Renting a car for a summer trip
Renting a car for a summer trip © JaySi/Shutterstock.com

Whether you don't want to put a lot of miles on your family car or are flying and need transportation when you arrive, renting a car makes sense. In the spirit of family getaways as a warm-weather tradition, Bankrate assembled the seven best rental cars for summer vacation.

Because daily rental costs vary wildly based on the rental company, location and season of the year, rental rates didn't factor into the picks. Bankrate advises shopping around among rental companies for the best deal. Each pick, though, received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest crash-test score of "good" in crash tests. All are also an IIHS "top safety pick."

Comfort is a key requirement for any vacation vehicle. Each of these picks earned a rating of "good" or better from the testers at Consumer Reports for ride quality and interior noise, as well as front-seat and rear-seat comfort.

Finally, Bankrate considered fuel economy as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency. All provide very good mileage for their size. The EPA-estimated miles per gallon are based on 2013 models with automatic transmissions.

Rental car companies have their own methods for defining compact, midsize or large. Sometimes, this involves making customers think they are getting more car than they are. Bankrate used EPA classifications. Bankrate also included at least one rental company offering each car.

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