2017 Car Rental NZ

Posted by Brittany Campbell-Akers March 14th 2018

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Want to compare car rental companies in New Zealand? You can compare with Canstar Blue’s annual customer satisfaction reviews and ratings for brands including Ace Rental Cars, Apex, Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty.

See Our Ratings Methodology

2017 award for hire cars

Most Satisfied Customers | Apex

Apex claims pole position for the fourth year in a row.

Renting a car can be the best way to see New Zealand

As a land of outstanding natural beauty, and our comparatively small size, New Zealand packs a pocket-sized punch when it comes to the great outdoors, and what better way to see it then travelling at your own pace along nearly 100,000km of open road.

Hiring a car will allow you to visit the myriad of amazing spots that are off the beaten track and, more importantly, public transport routes.  Rental offices in all major cities and airports, both North and South Island, also allows for flexibility in pick-up and drop-off locations  and with a large fleet available, most companies can cater to any budget and number of passenger.

While such a rich choice of options can provide opportunities for consumers, it can also be more than a little confusing, and hard to know if you’re getting a good deal. That’s where Canstar Blue can help. We rate hire car companies based on feedback from hundreds of New Zealanders who have hired a car in the last 12 months. We rate providers on value for money, customer service, availability of vehicle booked, availability of accessories ordered, booking process, transparency of costs and fees as well as overall satisfaction, because we know that these are the features that are most important to you.

And the car rental winner is…Apex

For the fourth year in a row, this Christchurch born company, who puts its success down to “doing things the Kiwi way”, has been awarded the Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction Award, 2017.

Our drivers of car rental satisfaction

So what really ‘drives’ customer satisfaction when it comes to hiring a car? We found:

  • Value for money 19%
  • Costs and fees transparency 19%
  • Customer service 17%
  • Booking process 16%
  • Availability of vehicle booked 15%
  • Availability of accessories ordered 14%

Unsurprisingly, cost and fees transparency and value for money rates highly.

For many of us, arranging car hire is something we do remotely, well in advance of our journey.  To make sure you are getting great value and you’re not going to get stung by hidden charges, make sure you read the terms and conditions before you sign up.  Two thirds of those we surveyed did not and for one in twenty people, this resulted in having to pay unexpected charges when they returned their vehicle.

Top car rental companies


Winner of the Canstar Blue Customer Service Satisfaction Award for the fourth year running, Apex operates across New Zealand and Australia. With 14 branches and the promise of no hidden costs, their 24-hour rates also include standard motor insurance and Roadside Assistance cover for mechanical breakdowns.

Ace Rental Cars

To keep costs down, Ace operates a fleet of vehicles aged two years or older.  For an even better deal, you could opt for a ‘Super Saver’, a vehicle aged ten years or older and/or has 180,000km or more on the clock.  All rentals include unlimited mileage, mechanical assistance and complimentary shuttle service from airport locations.  Click here for office locations.


Global car hire company Avis operates in 165 countries and has offices located throughout New Zealand.  They offer a number of special offers and one way deals. Check their website for details.     


With over 40 locations across New Zealand, Budget car rentals include unlimited kilometres, free standard insurance, and 24-hour mechanical breakdown service from AA Roadside Assistance.


Hertz offers a wide range of vehicles from a large number of locations across the country.   Check out their website for the latest promotional offers.


Thrifty has 28 offices across New Zealand and prides itself on offering affordable car hire although passenger vehicles average only nine months old. They offer a range of deals, including multi-island.  Check out their website for further information.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from New Zealand motorists, who have hired a car within New Zealand in the last 12 months – in this case, 461 New Zealanders.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.