By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Toronto?

Do you need a car in Toronto > Should you rent a car in Toronto Canada > Toronto ( YYZ )

By North American standards, public transport in Toronto is quite good, as there is a network of suburban trains, metro and bus services. However, unless you are simply planning on doing in eastern Canada city break and perhaps also visiting Montréal, Ottawa and Quebec, then you almost certainly want to get out into the great outdoors.

Do you need a car in Toronto? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

There are more long-haul flights to Toronto then there are to any other city in Canada, so many people Toronto is the gateway to exploring the country by land. It goes without saying that considering the vastness of Canada and the fact that it is extremely sparsely populated outside the major cities, a hire car is an extremely good move.

For those who prefer getting around by train, then it doesn’t get more scenic than the Toronto to Vancouver rail trip, although all the good bits are significantly further west. Trains between Toronto and Quebec city, which also run through Ottawa and Montréal, are reasonably fast and frequent, although they are still some way off European high-speed rail standards.

Why should you rent a car in Toronto?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Toronto?

Toronto Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]



Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]




Free parking score

Total 626 - of which 245 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Despite a reasonable public transport network, Toronto is still a car city.
  • Toronto is a natural starting point for a Canadian road trip (although if you are short of time, it would be better to start further west, for example in Edmonton or Calgary).
  • Toronto’s subway system isn’t that good – it’s aimed more at commuters than tourists.

Why not? Visiting Toronto without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Toronto public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score



Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Toronto. 


  • Various bus (easy) or train (less frequent) options are available for getting to Niagara Falls.
  • The city centre is compact, and connected by the PATH system of walkways.
  • Attractions like the CN Tower are central, and easily reached using transit.

Do you need a car in Toronto? Conclusion — picking up a hire car in Toronto is the best option, unless you either just want to stick to the cities or want to explore the Canadian interior by train.

Verdict — yes


Car rental in - Toronto Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Toronto?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/cycling?

Is it worth hiring a car in Toronto?

  • Based on value for money?

Should you rent a car in Toronto?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Toronto if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

What about for families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Toronto if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Toronto if I prefer not to drive?

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?



What is our final score for Toronto on the Carornocar scale?


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Toronto?

Have you driven in Toronto? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Toronto?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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