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Rental Car Experiences?

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  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    A few weeks ago, while I was grocery shopping in Whole Foods, my 2008 Volvo S60 was hit in the parking lot. It wasn't just a 'rub' either, but the jerk who hit me didn't stick around to take responsibility. Fortunately, I'm an independent insurance agent and I am insured with a very good company. My Uninsured Motorist coverage paid for the $2900 in repairs (using OEM parts) and covered a rental car while mine was being repaired.

    My office is located in an upscale area of Atlanta and we send the local Enterprise a LOT of business. They typically have a decent selection of SUVs and 'premium' vehicles in addition to the regular mid-size and compact rental fare.

    I called to reserve a rental for four days last week and asked for a Ford Fusion or Nissan Altima, if possible. When I arrived last Tuesday morning to pick it up, they only had a Toyota Yaris, Chrysler 200, and a brand new 2013 Ford Taurus Limited that had never been rented before. They initially tried to give the Chrysler, but I told them no thanks and kindly asked if they had ANYTHING else...

    They had just received a new Taurus the day before and I was the first to rent it. It was the Limited model, Sterling Grey with Black Leather. It was a very sharp looking car (19" wheels and all) and I was even more impressed when I sat down in the driver's seat! The interior was beautiful, definitely in line with the car's $35k sticker price.

    It drove like a dream and the 288hp 3.5L V6 was plenty to haul some serious tail. It handled great, the ride was quiet and smooth...it could easilly have passed for a Lincoln...and a very good one.

    BUT the MyFordTouch and the insanely over-complicated and counter-intuitive instruments and controls were a NIGHTMARE!!! There is reason that something as simple as changing the radio statio or switching from FM to CD or SAT or any other routine audio function should require multiple steps! Even worse, multiple steps using the touch screen which wasn't always responsive and was dangerous to use while driving. I just set it on my favorite radio station and didn't touch it again.

    The climate control was slightly easier to use. It could be controlled through the touch screen OR there were buttons for adjusting temp, selecting A/C or Max A/C or AUTO and a knob for selecting fan speed. But the 'buttons' weren't very user-friendly either. They were sort of like the number pad on a gas pump, where you can't tell if you pressed hard enough or not...sometimes they weren't responsive on the first try.

    The instrument panel had a crap-load of functions also, but you had to scroll thru menus using directional buttons on both sides of the steering wheel.

    It was the WORST experience I have had with technology in a vehicle yet! I thought BMW's iDrive was a pain, but it seemed tolerable in comparison to Ford's cluster-f@%&!!!

    I was SO thankful to get back behind the wheel of my Volvo! Buttons, dials and switches with clear labels are all that I need and want!
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,006
    edited September 2012
    At least one owner around here likes FMT in spite of the annoyances and the kids want to buy tech. Current generations of the software may be a bit much for a rental, especially when you consider that most people don't even bother to adjust their mirrors until they get on the freeway, much less figure out where the wipers are.

    The Truth about Cars says that Mulally was in charge of the design of the first all digital flight deck at Boeing. So it'll continue to be tweaked but I doubt that it's going away. Unless Mulally does. BMW's iDrive is still around, tweaked with 7 keys (aka buttons).

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    edited September 2012
    That's a lucky rental for Enterprise, my experience with them seems mostly to be cars that have too many miles for Alamo or National (I've had an Enterprise rental with over 40K on it). But that could be a local thing. They do have a small fleet of Infiniti and MB C-class here, too.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    The Enterprise location near my home is like that. I rented from them in 2010 when my Mazda3 was almost totaled in 2010. I went through three different POS crappers before I finally came unglued and went elsewhere!

    First, they gave me a 2009 Dodge Avenger with over 30k miles on the odometer. It was bad enough that it had the weak 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, but it had some mechanical issues that made it unbearable. It would hesitate, almost to the point of stalling, if you pressed the gas pedal more than about half-way to the floor. The A/C compressor would also kick on at the worst possible times. Several times, it kicked on while I was trying to accelerate as quickly as possible. Most cars will turn off the A/C compressor under hard acceleration to avoid draining much-needed power. Not this thing!

    I took it back and all they had was a PT Cruiser (no way!) and a Chevy Aveo...I was screwed no matter what! I took the Aveo with the promise that I could exchange it for a Sonata, Optima, Fusion or even a Focus on the following day (which was a Saturday). I drove it home and parked it. They didn't call me with anything better on Saturday and closed at noon, so the Aveo stayed parked until Monday. My parents still had my mom's old '95 Jeep Grand Cherokee (with 220k miles on it) and I drove that instead.

    I returned on that Monday and insisted on something, anything vaguely similar in size and quality to my 2006 Mazda3. I knew that I would be stuck in a rental for at least three weeks (ended up being 33 days) and I wanted something tolerable, nothing more!

    So they came up with a 2010 Toyota Corolla LE that had 28k miles on it and reeked of cigarette smoke. It hadn't been washed or vacuumed, but I took it anyway. I also learned that it had the Check Engine AND Tire Pressure lights were ON, the alignment was out of whack and it was trashed inside (glovebox door broken off, stains and burns on passenger seat and large rip in rear seat fabric...just to hit the high points). I made it about three miles before I spun it around in the middle of the highway and gave it back to them.

    I called the Mazda dealership that I used for service and asked them if I could 'rent' a service loaner for a few weeks. They took pity on me and said they could work something out for me. Then I called State Farm (the at-fault driver's insurer) and told them that I ditched Enterprise and that I expected them to cover the rental from the Mazda dealer even though it would be about $10 more per day.

    When I got to the dealer, they gave me a 2007 Mazda6 that had been sitting unsold on their used lot for over six months. It was a hideous color called Violet Gray (pretty much as ugly as it sounds- gray with a purple hue). But I was glad to get it and gladly drove it for the next month!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    edited September 2012
    The worst I recall was a Kia Spectra that had been abused. I want to say it was under 30K miles, but the interior was trashed and it had some bruises outside, too. Enterprise, of course. At least it was cheap. Contrast that with a ~19K mile Regal I rented from Alamo/National last year, which was nearly flawless. Years ago I remember an Enterprise Malibu that had electrical gremlins - dead stereo, idiot light malfunctions...I forget the mileage though.

    PT Cruiser was probably the most hated rental vehicle of all time. Once the novelty wore off (probably sometime in 2001), they were something you'd always get "stuck with" rather than wanting. My mother had one as a rental once, and even she hated it - and she's not a car enthusiast.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,671
    ... is within walking distance of my house. (less than 2 miles).

    I'd love to be able to use them, but they are only open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM... I work a pretty normal shift.. but, if I had to wait to get a car when they opened, I'd be 90 minutes late for work... and, if I hit any traffic on the way home, I'd never make their 6 PM close time.

    And, it's a suburban location, not an airport... would never trust them by dropping the car off and just getting the credit card charges later... to sleazy and as mentioned, the local cars are total crap..

    What kind of way is that to run a business?

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  • seank2seank2 Brunswick, GeorgiaPosts: 69
    I found myself back at the Albany, NY airport a few weeks ago for another family funeral. Since the Emerald Aisle at National was so accommodating for the last one, I tried them again, especially since their prices were literally half everyone else's. All in, 3 day rental was $60.00.

    I arrived at noon on Friday, and the guy in the booth offers me my choice of (1) Dodge Avenger (2) Dodge Grand Caravan (3) Chrysler 300. After a split second of pondering, I took the black over black 300. It turned out to be a 2012 300 Limited, with the Pentastar and the 8 speed auto, black over black leather, showing 12,000 miles.

    I've never, ever been much of a Chrysler fan, but this car may change my mind. UConnect, with bluetooth that even my Blackberry can use, Sirius, dual auto climate, and one of the best interiors in an American car I've seen in years; it almost gives my Mercedes a run for the money. I was very impressed with the car, which showed some interior signs of abuse, with several scuffs on the back seat, but the overall quality of the car was spectacular. My father and uncle, from whom I got my "car guy" gene, were also very impressed with the vast improvement in quality of the car, and its interior. Even my stepmother who won't be caught dead in anything less than her X5, loved it.

    When I returned the car, 360 miles and 3/4 tank of fuel later, I even said to the return clerk that the 300 was a heck of a car. She agreed and said they've been getting better and better cars, which in a small market like Albany is saying something.

    I've sworn off American cars for a long time, since their quality and general competitiveness have been lacking. This 300 may make me reconsider. Now if they'd put the 8 speed in the 300C or the SRT (both of which are expected for 2013), they may have a buyer.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Saw a rental GLK and rental Infiniti M today - both likely Hertz Prestige vehicles.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,006
    Car-rental companies to support legislation on recalls (Detroit Free Press)

    No word on whether they can still order fleet cars without "standard" safety equipment.

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,170
    have to make a business trip to Va in 2 weeks (from NJ) and driving ends up being the most practical way to do it. So, not using my car. Booked a Hertz "intermediate" through the Hertz counter at the local AAA office. Will be interesting to see what I get, since the description was "Mazda 6 or similar". next size up (standard) was Potiac G6 or similar.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    And the G6 has been out of fleets for some time now. I love how they never update those pages.

    Lots of Mazda6 in fleets though.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    I doubt it. Some overpaid useless corporate bozos didn't think of the potential fallout, but now they know.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Read today that National has a new car class code - UXAH. This would be "premium elite hybrid", and the car wearing the code was an ES hybrid. First Lexus rental I have known of since some slow-selling GS were sent to fleets around 1995. Interesting move.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    Several years ago, I was VERY surprised to find a few dozen Lexus IS250 AWD models at the LAX rental lots! It was in late 2008, if I'm not mistaken. Then in 2009, I flew into Houston and saw another small fleet of them- and only All-Wheel-Drive models, just like LAX.

    On that Houston trip, I had reserved a compact sedan with AVIS. They had several of the AWD IS250's parked up front when I got to their lot. I asked the manager how they ended up with a small fleet of Lexuses, especially since the words 'fleet' and 'Lexus' had never been used in the same sentence until that moment?!? Apparently, Lexus allocated the AWD models no differently than regular, RWD IS-models. Instead of sending more of them to New England, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest (areas where Subarus sell best), they send just as many to bone-dry, hotter-than-hell areas like the Southwest, Southern California, Texas...and dealers couldn't give them away!

    So they dumped them into rental fleets in those markets. He also told me that Volvo had done the same thing, at least in Houston, with the 2008 and 2009 S60 2.5T AWD. He said that it was easier to get an S60 AWD from Hertz than a Ford Focus (and for the same price) for several months!
    It was a very interesting conversation, to say the least. The best part? My new-found friend upgraded me to a brand new Lexus IS250 AWD for the dirt-cheap 'compact' rate on my reservation! I had it for a week and paid less than $200! =)

    It was the best rental car I've had, hands-down. But my best friend had a 2007 IS250 (RWD) that I drove quite a bit. In comparison, the AWD felt like the parking brake engaged AND like it had 400lbs of bricks in the trunk!!! It was a dog, to say the least...but a very comfy dog, at least...
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Interesting! I never saw that out here, didn't know it existed. I know in 94-95, some GS were found in fleets in CA (Hertz I think), and that was it. Lexus is probably the mainstream brand with the least fleet presence. I wonder if any IS will again be fleet dumped when we finally get a new model, and there are old style units left unsold.

    Out here for many years, Hertz had S60 and S80 - they still might. In 2007, I rented a nice sport package A6 from Hertz at LAS, but it wasn't cheap - ended up around $80/day I think.

    Rental car fleets have evolved greatly in the past decade. Now you can get pretty much anything, including prestige brands. Back in the day, it was almost entirely modestly equipped domestic boxes.
  • jpp5862jpp5862 NCPosts: 323
    I'm in Nashville for work for a couple of days and National had a brand new 2013 Fusion SE Ecoboost in the Emerald aisle so I grabbed it. I've been waiting for one of these to show up so I could see how it drove, overall I'm very impressed. It has plenty of power for the class, is relatively quiet and fun to drive. Definitely better than the new Camry I had in CA a few weeks ago, not that the Camry was bad but the Fusion is definitely a better vehicle. Overall a big win for Ford based on first impressions.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Getting to the point where one might not have to rent "premium" or higher to ensure not getting stuck in a junkheap.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    I have read that the Caddy ATS is now in the National fleet, and that it is a very nice ride.
  • js06gvjs06gv Frisco, TXPosts: 178
    Got to CA yesterday and upon arrival at Hertz I pulled my usual "give me anything but an Impala" tirade. What I ended up with instead was a 26k mile '12 Malibu that smells like an ashtray. I would typically prefer a four banger Malibu to an Impala that drives like a spoon in a bowl of mashed potatoes, but in this case I guess the joke was on me; shoulda kept my mouth shut.

    2014 Kia Optima SX Turbo, 2013 Ford F-150 King Ranch, 2011 Ford Mustang GT, 2000 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

  • jpp5862jpp5862 NCPosts: 323
    Indeed, I'd love to have one but they rarely make those cars available in the Emerald Aisle, even in the Executive section you don't get "Premium" cars like that very often. An Avalon or a 300 is about the "nicest" cars I get in that section. I did get a new S60 in Miami a few months ago, so every once in a while you get lucky.
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