Best Cars to Rent for Road Trip in the Philippines: Budget-friendly, Family, Off-Road

Best Cars to Rent for Road Trip in the Philippines: Budget-friendly, Family, Off-Road

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Man resting on car's hoodMade up of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines boasts a wide array of natural and heritage spots that showcase the country's tropical atmosphere and colorful culture. Some of the best attractions you can find here are powdery white sand beaches, vibrant marine ecosystems for diving, and lush mountains for hiking scattered across the best places to visit in the Philippines like Palawan, Boracay, and Davao.

With so many Philippines tourist spots located in different cities and towns in the country, visiting them usually involves taking more than one mode of public transportation. However, getting the hang of commuting in the Philippines, especially in big cities like Manila, can be difficult, especially if you plan on traveling with a big group or children. 

To make your holiday in the Philippines memorable and convenient, it's best to drive your own vehicle or rent a car in the Philippines. In this article, we'll look into the best cars to rent during a vacation in the Philippines to help you decide which one's best for you to tour the Philippines with. 

Why rent a car in the Philippines?

Aerial view of a busy road in Makati CityA busy intersection in Makati City, Metro Manila

While taking Philippine public transportation often offers cheaper ways to get around, they do have their drawbacks as well. For instance, the Philippines' only train network only reaches certain cities within Metro Manila. The bus system can also get complicated as the buses are all owned by private companies that operate on their own schedule and have their own stations. 

So if you want to give yourself more leeway to explore at your own pace, it's best to rent a car in the Philippines. Along with being able to follow your own schedule, driving a car lets you visit hidden tourist spots in the Philippines located in places off the beaten path along with the famous Mindanao tourist spots, Luzon tourist spots, and Visayas tourist spots

Best Budget-Friendly Cars to Rent in the Philippines

Reflection of Mayon Volcano on a lakeMayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol

While choosing to rent a car in Manila and other cities will cost more than taking public transport, many options won't break the bank while you explore the Philippines. Some of the cheapest cars to rent in the Philippines include small models like hatchbacks and sedans. These vehicles usually feature smaller engines and interiors, so they are better suited for solo travelers, couples, and small groups. 

Toyota Vios

Toyota ViosPhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

The Toyota Vios is a sedan that can fit up to five people and carry around 506 liters of luggage, making it one of the best cars for trips in and out of the metro. It also has a multi-information display that can connect to your smartphone and control your navigation app, music, calls, and messages hands-free while you drive. The display is also connected to the back camera to help you get a clearer rear view when moving or parking backward. 

As for safety, the Vios has stability control features that stabilize the car when making a tight turn or an abrupt stop. For out-of-town trips to spots like beaches near Manila, its hill-start assist control is perfect for driving uphill as it allows you to advance from a full stop easily. 

Toyota Wigo

Toyota WigoPhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

The Toyota Wigo is an entry-level hatchback perfect for solo travelers and couples. It is approximately 37 meters long and can fit up to five people. However, it will be a tight fit as the car's interiors are smaller than that of sedans like the Vios model. 

Despite its smaller size, the Wigo is still packed with features like an infotainment system that can connect to your smartphone and sync with your navigation apps, music, and calls. The infotainment system also works with the vehicle's back camera to show you a clear rear view so you can move or park backward safely. 

Honda City

Honda CityPhoto by Photo by Honda Cars Philippines

Another popular sedan is the Honda City, which can fit five people and has a trunk capacity of about 519 liters. This vehicle also has a built-in display that can easily connect to your smartphone, allowing you to navigate while listening to your favorite tunes. If you ever make a wrong turn or need to back up, the Honda City's rear camera shows different views with guidelines to help you back up with no worries. 

Complete with a hill start assist, this model is a great option for long drives that will take you through hillsides or uphill roads. However, remember that it only has a ground clearance of 0.134 meters, so it's best to avoid rugged and flooded roads. 

Toyota Corolla Altis

Toyota Corolla AltisPhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

The Toyota Corolla Altis is a 4.63 meter-long sedan good for a group of five. For the more eco-conscious traveler, this car stands out as one of the best budget-friendly options with a hybrid engine that uses a self-charging electric motor and gasoline to fuel your drive. 

You can also explore various tourist destinations easily thanks to the infotainment system that you can control with buttons built into the steering wheel, allowing you to answer calls, switch songs, and more while keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

The newer models are equipped with the Toyota Safe Sense system that automatically adjusts your vehicle's speed to help you keep a safe distance from the car ahead of you and other features like the lane departure alert to help you avoid any accidents.


Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi Mirage Photo by Mitsubishi Motors

With a seating capacity of five, this Mitsubishi hatchback is one of the top cars for a road trip with small groups. Despite its smaller size, the Mirage's trunk has about 17.1 cubic feet of space for your luggage, and if you're traveling solo or as a pair, you can put the rear seats down to have up to 47 cubic feet of space. 

This car also makes a great companion, rain or shine, as it is equipped with heated side mirrors to ensure you have a clear view of your surroundings to switch lanes when driving safely. It also comes with lane departure warning and auto high beam so you can stay on track even when traveling at night. 

Nissan Sylphy

Nissan Sylphy Photo by Nissan Philippines, Inc.

This five-seater sedan is great for city driving and weekend getaways near Manila, like a day tour in Batangas. With its 510-liter trunk capacity, you can pack all the traveling essentials you'll need so you travel worry-free.

Along with the spacious trunk, most models of the Sylphy have sunroofs so that you can feel the breeze on long road trips. It also has a hands-free kit such as an infotainment display with Bluetooth connectivity so you can start your road trip with an upbeat soundtrack fit for a fun-filled adventure ahead. 

Rest assured that the car is equipped to keep you safe from accidents as it features an auto brake system and power-assisted steering to help you maneuver through city streets or long highways. 

Best Cars to Rent for Family and SUV Off-Road in the Philippines

Tourists riding boats in Burhnam Park, BaguioBurnham Park in Baguio City

Another main advantage of renting a car is the peace of mind it affords you, especially when traveling with the family as you won't have to worry about strangers when in a car together. 

Renting an SUV for road trips is also better for longer family trips as bigger vehicles have more seating and luggage capacity so everyone can enjoy a comfortable ride. The larger cars are also often the best road trip cars as they have more ground clearance, so you can have a smoother drive to even lesser-known attractions across the Philippines.


Toyota Innova

Toyota InnovaPhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

With spacious interiors that can seat up to seven people, the Toyota Innova is among the most popular choices when visiting the best places in the Philippines for family vacations. You can make sure that everyone gets to bring their favorite travel items, thanks to the car's 300-liter trunk. It can expand to 758 liters of space if you fold the rear seats. 

Along with the smartphone-compatible audio system, an Innova car rental's interior also features ambient lighting so you can travel in style with your loved ones. You can also drive without having to worry about your family's safety as the car constantly is equipped with vehicle stability control for sharp turns and sonars to warn you of any objects that may be too close to you while driving or parking. 

Toyota Hiace

Toyota HiacePhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

If you're traveling in a large group of seven or more, you should consider this car rental for a road trip. This spacious van can fit up to 15 people. However, filling the seats up would mean less space for your luggage, so it's best to keep the last row of seats vacant if you plan on traveling with big suitcases. Since the Hiace does not have large ground clearance, it is recommended to stick to paved roads when driving it to avoid any accidents. 

Despite measuring approximately 4.7 meters in length, you won't have to worry about backing up as it comes equipped with a rear window defogger so you can get a clear view of what's behind you when on the road. 

Toyota Grandia

Toyota GrandiaPhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

The Toyota Grandia is a newer and more luxurious variation of the Hiace model that can fit up to 12 people. Similar to the Hiace, placing the rear seats down is recommended if you have a lot of luggage to have more space in the trunk. The interiors also feature easy-to-reach sockets so your loved ones can keep their gadgets charged throughout the road trip, allowing you to play your favorite family tunes to accompany your adventure. 

While the Grandia is still better suited for paved roads and city driving, you can easily bring it out on nearby out-of-town trips as well since it is equipped with hill-start assist, vehicle stability control, clearance, and back sonars to make sure you stay on track while you drive toward you vacation spot. 

Toyota Fortuner

Toyota FortunerPhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

For off-road family trips like mountain hikes near Manila, the Toyota Fortuner is a top choice thanks to its 4x4 switch that easily allows you to change between a two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive whenever you want. Its hill start assist makes it easy to drive up hills even when all seven seats in the car are filled. With its great capability to go on off-road adventures, it also features the Toyota Safe System to help you avoid any accidents no matter what kind of roads you'll have to pass on your getaway. 

In newer models, you can also use the panoramic view monitor that connects to the eight-inch audio display system to find out if any objects are a little too close to the vehicle. The lane departure warning also uses audio and light alerts to ensure you don't accidentally glide off the proper lane, even if you're driving at night.

Hyundai Starex

Hyundai Starex Photo by Hyundai

The Hyundai Starex is another reliable road trip car for family vacations to resorts near Manila as it fits 11 to 12 people depending on the specific model you choose to rent. The 11-seater model's second-row seats can even be swiveled to face backward so they can keep the conversation going with those in the third and fourth row. 

If you're not filling up the seats, turning the second row around allows your loved ones to stretch their feet and lie down for a comfortable nap while on the go. Coupled with its spacious interiors, the trunk can safely carry up to 842 liters of cargo, so you won't have to leave anything behind during your trip. Its rear parking assist system and hill-start assist provide another layer of safety so you can easily move around even when passing through narrow or uphill roads. 

Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento Photo by Kia Philippines

For rougher terrains in Philippine geography, you can go with another popular SUV for rent, the Kia Sorento. This seven-seater boasts 187 liters of cargo space, which can fit about two suitcases easily. With the second-row seats folded, you can store up to 2,056 liters of cargo. 

Along with the generous space for your luggage, the car also has USB chargers built into the front console and second and third-row seats so you can make sure that your gadgets don't run out of juice while on the go. Coupled with the eight-inch touchscreen display, you can keep the fun throughout your road trip with good playlists. 

As for safety, the Sorento uses a blind-spot view monitor so you can safely change lanes and make turns. It also uses high beam assist, which automatically turns the high beam off when it detects headlights of oncoming cars to avoid disrupting the other drivers' vision. 

Honda CRV

Honda CR-V Photo by Honda Cars Philippines

The Honda CRV can seat five people and is great for small groups or families planning to visit highlands and other off-the-beaten-path destinations. It also features electric power steering to help you easily drive through curving roads. When you need to back up or park, the CRV makes use of a multi-view rear camera to ensure you don't accidentally bump into any nearby objects. 

If you want to enjoy the view as you make your way to your destination, you can opt for newer models with panoramic sunroofs so you and your travel buddies can better appreciate the scenery you pass by. For an added layer of security, the latest models also come with a LaneWatch Camera and Blind Spot Display so you can be confident in changing lanes and making turns.

Ford Everest

Ford Everest Photo by Ford Philippines

The Ford Everest is a 7-seater SUV that is ideal for off-road driving thanks to its high ground clearance, Hill Launch Assist, and Roll Over Mitigation, making it easy to maneuver through rough terrain. As it's suited for long, out-of-town trips, it has a cargo capacity of about 249 liters, so you can bring all the things you'll need for your adventure. 

If you need more space, you can fold the second and third-row seats down to increase the capacity to around 1,790 liters. Along with checking your car before a road trip, the car already has a top-notch safety system. The safety system includes cruise control, sensors, and an adjustable speed limiter to keep you in check, even on cross-region drives. 

Best Cars to Rent for City Driving in Style in the Philippines

Sunset at Rizal Park in Manila CityRizal Park in Manila City

If you only plan on driving within Metro Manila, whether on a business trip or a vacation, you can go for luxury car rental in the Philippines and drive top-notch vehicles with quality features. Popular choices for city driving often include sleek sedans that are a perfect size for maneuvering through busy streets. 

Toyota Camry

Toyota CamryPhoto by Toyota Motors Philippines

This sleek car can seat five people and boasts about 371 liters of luggage space, so you and your companions can easily bring around three large suitcases when transferring from city to city. The Toyota Camry also has a large trunk that affords you more space to shop at the top malls in the metro without having to worry about how to bring them back with you to your hotel. 

If you ever end up in traffic, the 9-inch display audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allows you to play your favorite songs through the 9 JBL speakers built into the car to keep your mind off being stuck in traffic. You also won't have to worry about your smartphone running out of battery while on the go, as newer models are outfitted with wireless charging. The car's dynamic cruise control, blind spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert help you navigate the cities easier and safer. 

Lexus ES350

Lexus ES350 Photo by Lexus

As the luxury brand of Toyota, this Japanese-made model offers a comfortable and stylish drive when making your way through the city. It can seat up to 5 people and has a trunk with a luggage capacity of about 393 liters. Inside, you have a 12.3-inch touch display compatible with smartphones running on iOS and Android so that you can listen to your favorite music through the 17-speaker surround sound system. 

Thanks to the built-in wireless charging system, you can also make sure your smartphone is always good to go. Driving also becomes a breeze due to the car's steering wheel equipped with power tilt, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, and blind spot monitor, among other safety features. 

Tips when Renting a Car in the Philippines

Claiming car keys from a car rentalRenting a car in the Philippines is often a smooth process as long as you have all the requirements ready. Aside from weighing the pros and cons of each vehicle to find the best one for you and your vacation needs, here are a few more tips you should consider when driving a car rental in the Philippines: 

  • Before driving away with the rental car, inspect the vehicle and take photos of any damages. If possible, send the photos to the agent you're in contact with so they can note them down in their records, which will ensure that you are not blamed for them upon returning the car. 

  • If the car had a full tank of gas when you claimed it, make sure to fill it up again before giving it back so you can avoid any additional fees an agency may charge for the gas. 

  • When traveling, try to schedule your time on the road outside of rush hours (7-9 AM and 6-8 PM), especially if you're staying in Metro Manila. 

  • Take note of the number coding scheme in Metro Manila. This scheme is based on the last number of a car's plate. Depending on the day, cars with plates ending on certain numbers are not allowed on major roads during select hours. For example, cars with plates that end with a 1 or 2 are not allowed on certain roads on Mondays. 

  • Always have your valid driver's license, the car’s certificate of registration (CR) and official receipt (OR) ready just in case you commit a traffic violation.

  • Read our articles on Philippines car rental guide and Manila car rental guide for more information

Explore the Philippines with the Best Cars for Rent

Road in Manila CityRoxas Boulevard in Manila City

Opting for a car rental for your vacation in the Philippines lets you enjoy full control over your tropical adventure. It also lets you customize your experience and ensure a more convenient trip by letting you choose which car to bring along for the ride. 

Whether traveling solo, with a partner, or in a group, any of the cars on this list are perfect for a road trip to the Philippines' best spots. Aside from renting a car, you can have a hassle-free getaway by checking out transfers to and from Philippine airports and 5-star hotels in the Philippines.

You can also book all-inclusive family vacation packages, vacation packages for couples, and other Philippine tour packages that include flights and transfers via a Philippine travel agency like Guide to the Philippines. Before deciding on a rental car, you can also read up on our travel guide to the Philippines to learn when is the best time to visit the Philippines and the Philippines travel requirements needed to enter the country. 

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