For holiday makers in Northern Portugal, the best way to travel around in the beautiful and rather hilly region is in your own vehicle. Car rental Porto Airport, fortunately, is cheap and easy to book. Remember always to book in advance as prices tend to be much higher for walk-in customers.

Check current car hire rates in Porto Airport

Unless you arrive from nearby Spain by car, frequently, it will be the cheapest option to book your rental car from Porto Airport.

VW Polo rental
The VW Polo amongst best in class – and feels almost like a VW Golf

The choice in the economy rental class is wide and prices are, usually, very competitive.

See more about the vehicles available in Porto Airport.

Below we look at the small family class of rental cars available in Porto Airport. The category of rental cars classed as Economy is one of the most popular and will almost always be a hatchback with 5 doors. Some rental car companies class this type of vehicle as a B-segment car.

The choice of cars – definition of economy class

The B-segment/economy class is the most popular choice for car hire customers in sunny Portugal. Most cars available are less than 1 year old and you do not need to worry about reliability. Rental rates are super-low; especially outside peak season. See offer below for a 7 days June rental. In July-August prices are higher, but if booking early, you can save money.

Sample offer  – cheap economy car rental Porto Airport (one week rental in June from U-Drive)

Car rental Porto Airport – economy class offerings

Cheapest Porto Airport rental car is usually a city car class vehicle like the Toyota Aygo or the VW Up/Seat Mii.

It is however, by no means impossible, that you can find an economy class vehicle at the same rate or slightly above the cheapest rate. If so, it makes no sense to go for a city car.

Below are listed some of the most popular economy class rental cars available in Porto Airport – OPO.

VW Polo – choice No 1 in Porto Airport

Latest generation VW Polo is a huge leap forward. Originally, the smallest car in the VW range, the new Polo is now closer in size to the Golf than ever before. The large Polo boot will swallow 351 litres against the luggage capacity of the VW Golf of 380 litres.

VW Polo in Energetic Orange colour

In the cabin, 4 people will travel in comfort. VW Polo engines are good too with nippy around town 3-cylinder gasolines being the choice of many rental companies. The 3-cylinder technology has come a long way and is no longer a problem. Only when travelling on the motorway at speed or with heavy load, the smallest engines (quite often this is what you get in a rental car) with 65 or 75 horsepower seem underpowered.

VW Polo boot size way above average for class

Some car rental companies in Porto Airport will have the TSI version which is turbocharged, but usually only standard engine cars are available. Mechanically, a 6. generation VW Polo is identical with the newest versions of Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia.

Ford Fiesta – on par with the VW Polo

In terms of driving dynamics, the new Ford Fiesta is even better than its predecessor which was considered best in class.

The new Fiesta has grown inside and outside. In some respects the car is actually better than the main competitor VW Polo. Take for instance: driving dynamics, standard safety equipment and cabin materials in base models.

In other areas the Polo wins. The Fiesta, for instance, cannot beat the Polo on luggage space, but still offers 292 litres with all seats in use.

Base gasoline engines, typically used for rental car purposes, come with 70 or 85 horse power, and feel pretty much as quick as the equivalent Polo engines.

Ford Fiesta is very popular for customers and fleet owners alike

You are more likely to get a bit of extra equipment in the Fiesta cars as the Polo options seem to be more expensive.

See more about the excellent new Fiesta at Whatcar.

Nissan Micra new model – runner-up to best in economy class

Previous Nissan Micra was not a particularly modern car. This has totally changed. Nissan has pulled of a virtual revolution with its small economy car. Everything in the Nissan Micra is better than before.

The new Nissan Micra is now up there with the best in the car rental economy class. It sports a very usual design and has lots of modern safety features as standard equipment.

Standing out from the crowd in orange. 
© Foto:

Lane departure warning, lane keep assistance and auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection is standard in the new Micra.

The luggage capacity of 300 litres is a huge improvement on the previous Nissan Micra model. The 1.0 litre entry level engine develops 71 horses, but many cars will be equipped with the 0.9 turbocharged power unit with 90 bhp.

We recommend: Seat Ibiza  –  new model very impressive

In Southern Europe, Seat is a well know brand. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the Seat Ibiza is another popular car for rent in Porto Airport in the economy class.

Engine wise, the Ibiza is pretty much like the Polo, but comes with the 75 bhp gasoline engine as standard even in the cheapest version. Chances are that Seat Ibiza rental cars in Porto Airport frequently will have slightly more power than VW Polo cars in the same class.

Lots of good reviews on the new Seat Ibiza

The materials in the base level Seat Ibiza cars with ‘Reference’ equipment are, however, not as good as in the Fiesta or Polo, but inside, the car is really spacious and everything works well. For a really good car rental Porto Airport, the Ibiza is, sometimes, the best choice due to availability from a number of suppliers.

The new Ibiza is a quality car with a solid feeling to it. As a cheap rental car, it makes a good choice for longer trips with 4/5 people. Luggage capacity is an impressive 355 litres – even better than the VW Polo, and only 25 litres less than in a much larger VW Golf.

Far from being a small car, the Seat looks good and can be mistaken for being the larger Seat Leon (Golf-size) vehicle.

Also recommended for car rental Porto Airport: French alternatives

When looking at new car sales statistics in Portugal, French manufacturers are extremely popular. Renault Clio, Citroen C3 and Peugeot 208 are frequently found in the Porto Airport rent-a-car fleets.

The Renault Clio is the number one top seller and, naturally, is bought in large quantities by  i.e. Avis, Hertz and Drive On Holidays in Porto Airport.

Renault Clio from Avis or Hertz Portugal

Cheap car rental Porto Airport company Cael has the Citroen C3

Budget car rental in Portugal will often offer Peugeot 208 in economy class

Also available Opel Corsa, Hyundai i20, Kia Rio, Skoda Fabia and Toyota Yaris

The Skoda Fabia is less popular in Portugal than in many other European countries, but can still be found as rental car. Under its skin is the same mechanics as in the VW Polo and Seat Ibiza. The Fabia comes with 60 or 75 bhp gasoline engines or sometimes diesel. Boot space is 300 litres and the car is amongst the most reliable there is.

Toyota Yaris and Opel Corsa sell much better and will be offered economy class vehicles by a large number of companies. Both are slightly older models (some 5-6 years old constructions) and soon up for replacement by newer and safety equipment wise more updated versions.

The Yaris and the Opel are by no means bad vehicles, but their age is starting to show. If anything, the Yaris interior displays more quality than the Corsa. All cars available for rent will be only months old in this class, so they will feel new anyway. The Polo, Fiesta and Micra are altogether better cars though.

As for the Kia Rio and Hyundai i20, they are much more modern, recently being new models. What they lack in prestige is made up for in build quality.

The small crossover vehicles – usually not the cheapest car rental Porto Airport

It can happen that a crossover vehicle is offered in the economy class of car rental Porto Airport. Frequently, those slightly taller small cars for hire will be the Peugeot 2008, the Renault Captur or the Nissan Juke.

All 3 are not particularly large inside, but they do benefit from an elevated ride height which gives increased visibility. Do not, however, expect much extra luggage capacity if choosing a small crossover vehicle for your Porto Airport car rental.

The Renault Captur has an ample 377 litres of luggage space, but from its tall stance it looks bigger. The Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke offer 360/354 litres respectively.

Watch out for extra charges if renting a Nissan Juke from Goldcar, Porto Airport

If given a choice at the rental desk, the Peugeot 2008 is the better crossover vehicle. In Portugal, Nissan Juke as a rental car is quite popular; in particular Goldcar/Rhodium offers quite a few of this funky model.

The one to avoid  –  Fiat Punto

The Fiat Punto also known as ‘Grande Punto’ has been around for many years, and despite some updates (most recently presented as the Punto Evo), it comes across as a dated and fairly cheap car.

Add to that the incredibly slow pace from the basic gasoline engine versions and the lack of modern safety equipment (ABS and airbags are standard) and the attractiveness of the Punto starts to fade considerably. To its defence, the Punto Evo with 69 or 77 bhp gasoline engine versions are no more sluggish than the basic VW Polo, Peugeot 208 or Skoda Fabia – it just feels that way.  

With 270 litres of space in the trunk, it can carry as many suitcases and soft bags as the Fiesta (almost), and the Fiat Punto will take you from A to B without fuss.

We recommend to avoid the Punto as this car model is past its sell-by date

The Punto is particularly popular with low cost car renters Drive4You (part of Enterprise-Guerin) and Bravacar in Porto Airport. This automotive anachronism is sold with huge fleet discounts and is basically a construction dating back to the early 2000’s. We recommend avoiding this car. As a car rental Porto Airport choice, the Punto carries no particular problems, but its competitors are so much better.

Rent-A-Star in Porto Airport – trying to put Smart ForFour in Economy class

In Porto Airport, one of the newer rent-a-car outfits is Rent-A-Star, which offers only Mercedes products.

Rent A Star is by no means a bad company, but In the Economy class, you get a rather sub-standard Smart ForFour. Yes, it is a 4-door vehicle and in theory it could qualify for economy class – just. In reality, this type of car, which is the ‘sister’ (same car basically) to the Renault Twingo is small and cheaply built to compete with VW Up, Peugeot 108, Opel Adam/Vauxhall Viva and Fiat 500. It has no place in the economy class whatsoever where its peers are much better built and offer much better comfort. See more about the city cheap rental car class.

Our recommendation: Book a cheap Mercedes A-class from Rent-A-Star instead or chose another vehicle in the economy class from another supplier.

The choice of cars – definition of economy class car rental Porto Airport

With this size of car you get a cheap, but relatively spacious vehicle suitable for 4/5 people. The length of this type of hire car is usually between 3.90 and 4.20 meters making it easy to park compared to larger vehicles. 4 average size adults will find this type of car quite comfortable even on longer trips. If travelling with a total of 5 mid-size to large adults, this size of car, however, will be too small. Also with 5 people or 4 heavy passengers, the economy class vehicle is slightly under-powered over longer distances.

The ACRISS code of the Economy class car (manual gearbox, gasoline, air con) is usually EDMR or similar. Sometimes the car code can be ECMR in case the economy car is classed as a 4-door car. Frequently, even with car code ECMR (signifying 4 doors), you will, frequently, be handed the keys to a 5-door vehicle.

Please note that supplying car rental companies always have the right to hand over keys to a similar vehicle (similar car rental Porto Airport class/size and minimum same equipment). In most cases, customers will receive the vehicle brand and model written on the voucher/email confirmation. Only exception from this rule is when the offer contains a written guarantee for car model.