What does "Or Similar" Mean When Renting a Car in Hawaii?

Why is "Or Similar" shown next to every car rental? Will I get the car model I rented?

"Or Similar" meaning | Car Class, Car Model | Rent this exact model | Wranglers | Convertibles

What does "Or Similar" mean?

Why is the term, "or similar" shown on rental car websites? It’s a good question. Unless you see the term, “Rent This Exact Model”, there is no way to guarantee an exact match with the car you book on any of the major national brand car rental company websites or our website.

Why? In cases where a certain car model or class has sold out, usually on smaller cars such as economy cars or compact cars, the “or similar” statement gives the car companies an alternative way of switching you to a similar interchangeable model of car but by a different manufacturer. They may even upgrade you to a larger or more expensive car class at no additional charge. Sold Out usually only happens during maxed out, high demand, peak seasons such as Christmas or special events such as the Ironman Triathlon on the Big Island.

All the major national brand car rental companies we represent use the "or similar" term on their own retail websites. They also require us to use the “or similar” statement on our website as well. All the car images, along with prices, seating, etc. that you see on our website are sent to us in real time from each of the car rental companies depending on a customer's requested travel itinerary. We have no control over these particulars. The rental car photos you see on our website are usually the same photos you would see on each of the retail websites, but not always. The car rental companies have car image databases of thousands of cars that they pick from for various locations around the world.

During a year change, the car rental companies may have various car models within the same car size class in their fleet from more than one manufacturer. Every year the rental car companies usually take a few months to replace their fleet of cars. During this time there may be an overlap of manufacturers and car models available.

Car Class and Car Model, what's the difference?

Car Class usually refers to the size, cost or body configuration of a vehicle. Examples of car classes are Economy and Subcompact, Compact, Intermediate and MidSize, Full Size, Luxury, etc. Within each car class are a variety of car models, which is usually the name a car manufacturer gives to the cars they manufacture within a particular class. For example, within the Economy Car class are car models such as, Chevy Spark, Toyota Yaris, or Ford Fiesta. Within the Luxury Class are car models such as the Cadillac XTS, Lincoln Continental, Chrysler 300, etc. On our website, the class name is shown above the car photo while the model is listed just below the car photo.

Understanding car classes and models can be confusing. Some companies show a Ford Fiesta as Economy Class while others indicate it a being in the Subcompact Class. These two classes are exactly the same. Some car rental companies may show a certain car model in the Standard Class while others may show it as a more expensive FullSize Class. In our opinion, we wish there would be 100% consistency when the rental car companies classify the cars they rent out. On a lot of cars they do, but many others they do not. The car rental companies usually put SUV's, Vans, Sports Cars, Convertibles, Jeep Wranglers and Trucks in classes of their own but some companies may indicate some of these vehicles in the same name as regular car classes such as Standard, Fullsize, Intermediate. Some may even create their own classes in which they categorize their cars. For example, Avis and Budget have classes called "Avis Select" or "Group XP, XW, XL, XD." It can be very confusing.

“Rent this exact model”

No matter what vehicle you reserve from our website or any of the national brand car hire company retail websites, all the car companies always say, “or similar” on every car. However, for some select cars, Hertz has an option of “Rent this exact model” (for a lot more money). To take advantage of Hertz' “Rent this exact model” option, you will need to visit the Hertz website. Be sure to enter # 2005491 in the Discount Code slot.

Jeep Wranglers

If you reserved a Jeep Wrangler and are wondering if you’ll actually get one or not, all our car rental company reps have assured us that if someone reserves a 2 or 4 door Wrangler, since it’s in a class of its own, the Wrangler will not be replaced with a regular car. But in some cases, during holiday seasons, the 2-door Wrangler may be upgraded to a 4-door Wrangler. *In well over a decade of renting out cars for all the main national brands, only one customer told us they were switched from a 4 door Wrangler to a regular car. We believe this was a very rare anomaly because it happened only once in 16 years so far. We’ve had no other complaints about someone renting a Jeep Wrangler but getting a regular car instead.


If you reserved a particular brand of convertible, a Mustang Convertible for example, and are wondering if you’ll actually get one or not, all our car rental company reps have assured us that if someone reserves a particular brand of convertible, since it’s in a class of its own, that convertible will most likely not be replaced with another brand of convertible or especially a regular car. However, in vary rare cases, when there are model year changes, a company may switch their fleet from Ford to Chevrolet or Chrysler etc. and thus, possible switching a customer from a Ford Mustang convertible to a Chevy Camaro convertible or Chrysler 300 convertible or vice versa during a transition time. Please note that we’ve had no complaints about someone renting a particular convertible, a Mustang Convertible for example, but getting a Camaro Convertible, a Chrysler 300 Convertible, or a regular car instead.

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