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Rental Car Experiences?



  • jpp5862jpp5862 NCPosts: 323
    About 10 years ago I pulled the same thing when they gave me a Buick Century. The lady offered me an "upgrade" to a Taurus wagon. It was the lesser of two evils for sure. A guy I worked with showed me a trick on the Century (this was the last body style, not the one they made for 37 years), if you started it, then put it in gear and turned the key back to start for about 30 seconds you could turn the "Service Engine Soon" light on, so rather than complain at the time of rental he would go get in the car, do this and then go back and say he didn't feel comfortable driving a car with a light on, and voila he'd get upgraded with apologies.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    Some of the cooler cars are only found at certain locations, too. S60 is a decent score though, not bad. I've heard there are some fairly loaded 300s in that fleet, too.

    When I rent on my own dime for any period of time, I tend to reserve premium or higher, just to improve my odds of not being stuck in a crapbox.

    I'm in Germany right now, and have a 10 day rental starting Friday. I'm a little geeked about it already. I need to find where their parking garage is, so I can stalk it out. Or maybe just wait, kind of like Christmas :shades:
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    My cousin flew lives in Los Angeles but she had to attend a sorority sister's wedding in Cincinnati this past weekend. While she was on this side of the country, she flew on down to ATL yesterday to hang out with me and our other favorite cousin for the week (the Black Sheep Cousin Committee, as we refer to ourselves)!

    Anyway, I was planning to pick her up at the airport and loan her my parent's spare vehicle so she wouldn't have to pay for a rental for the week. But I woke up yesterday morning to pouring rain and a high of 38 degrees and couldn't bring myself to make the 70+ mile slog to airport to fetch her. So I called and arranged for a rental car to be waiting for her when she landed.

    I happen to be an insurance agent and I'll confess, I use that fact and certain tricks that I know to get $60/day cars for $23/day!!! =) I reserved a 'standard' size/level vehicle with Enterprise and asked if they knew what kind of car it would probably be. The guy said it would very likely be a brand new Chrysler 200, which he seemed to think was a nice car based on his inflection. I was trying to avoid laughing and heaving at the same time....and since I wouldn't be driving it, I figured my cousin could live with it.

    When she showed up in my driveway yesterday afternoon, she was driving a 2013 KIA Optima LX with less than 300 miles on the clock. I was very pleasantly surprised and she said she loved driving it- and she has a 2009 Lexus GX470 at home in L.A., so that is high praise for her to think the KIA drives so well!

    I drove it all afternoon and evening yesterday and I was genuinely surprised that it was so nice to drive and how much I genuinely liked this base level Kia Optima LX without a single option. Even at its most basic, it has a good audio system, Bluetooth phone capability with buttons on steering wheel, audio controls on steering wheel, the driver's seat was manually adjustable in fore-aft, up-down and also could be 'rocked forward or back and locked into place manually. Oddly enough, the lumbar adjustment was power. It took a few minutes of moving cranking levels and sliding things around, but once I got it adjusted, it was the most comfortable driver's seat this side of Volvo S60!

    The interior fabric was very high quality, even if it was a 'honey-ish' hue of beige. The center stack (where the audio system & climate controls reside) is canted in toward the driver, kind of like a cockpit. The interior looked and felt like it would be at home in a $30k car.

    The engine has plenty of kick and the 6-speed automatic readily downshifts two or even three gears if you nail it (such as merging onto a fast moving highway). On the road, the car feels rock solid and when you hit your first pot hole, you realize that it actually is rock solid!

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but it has surpassed the Nissan Altima and now shares the spot of "my favorite mid-size sedan" with the Mazda6!!! The Optima LX has a base MSRP of $21,200. The mid-level EX is only $2,300 more and adds dual-zone auto A/C, Homelink remote, 1-touch up/down front windows, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-covered steering wheel and shifter knob, 8-way power driver's seat, leather seats, Keyless access system, 17" alloys (vs. 16" on LX) and rear map lights. That's a lot of content for $2,300.

    Another $2,950 for the EX Premium Package adds a Panoramic Sunroof, Infinity Premium">link title Sound System w/ 8spkrs, UVO Infotainment system with Rear Camera Display, HD Radio, 4-way power passenger seat, Driver seat memory, HEATED & COOLED front seats & HEATED rear seats, heated steering wheel and power folding mirrors.

    So an EX with all those features listed above has a sticker of only $26,450 and TrueCar price of $24,320! Folks, I think I've just found my next car....
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    edited November 2012
    Picked up my rental today. I had requested a special/large car with diesel, and noted that I did not want a SUV. The other day the branch contacted me and said they could get me an X5 - misunderstanding. So I was a little concerned this morning.

    I staked out the rental garage after I picked up my keys. Only other large car was a 750Li xDrive - nice, but when gas is around $7.50 a gallon, no thanks. Others included a couple of 5ers, 5er GT, 3ers and 1ers, and some other assorted brands.

    Here's what I got:





    A8 SWB TDi Quattro, 3.0. Moves along very well but only could get room to take it to 110mph or so due to traffic. It also has snow tires limited to 210kmh.
    Fairly loaded up - I don't know all of what it has yet, but it has adaptive cruise, solar panel on sunroof, rear camera with radar style parking aid, automatic trunk, stop-start (still getting used to that), insanely complex MMI/nav system, comfort seats, extra key fob that I think is for warming up the car - tonight I will study it more to see if I can find anything weird. Lowest MSRP with only the options I list is ~84K Euro. It has around 8K miles on it. Not the cheapest rental, but you only live once.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    Maybe their patrons just have low expectations?

    I've never had a real problem with them, just some cars that were the worse for wear. Their corporate siblings seem a lot better.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    I checked it out. I have the lane warning system and TV tuner (which works), but no night vision. Oh well.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,119
    I wouldn't complain! You could've ended up with this!

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,327
    See? That's what I'm talking about with Enterprise.....

    Not quite but one time they rented me a Malibu (maybe a 2006) that smelled like someone had died in it. Ugh. I said no, this won't do and they replaced it with a Kia Optima which was a perfectly ordinary car. It worked fine but had no personality at all.

    Next time the rented me a Hyundai Accent base. Crank windows, no power lock the whole bit - yet it had a USB port!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    Luckily, the people at Pig in a Poke didn't plan my trip :shades:

    Although sometimes my itinerary seems planned down to the minute.

    I wouldn't expect much personality from a rental, but is nice to have something that isn't beat up, or unpleasantly stripped. A friend of mine opted for a cheapo rental at MIA a year or two ago - got a Rio with no cruise control Fun for those Florida highways.

    The A8 I am in now is like driving a big computer, in a way. ...with a leather chair attached.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,623
    What is the acceleration like in that diesel?

    I don't think you could sell a "flagship" euro sedan in the US with a diesel.. Buyers expect super-car acceleration in a $90K+ car..

    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    I think 0-60 is around 7.6. Not slow, but no supercar. The only diesel luxoboat offered in the US in decades has been the S-class. The current model is offered in diesel in the US, 4Matic only, but I do not think it sells at any volume. Those spending 100K on a car don't care about gas prices, so it only sells to die hards.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    edited November 2012
    Well, my rental sled is now returned, the fun is over. It was a nice car, but I don't know if I found the value to be higher than in a normal mid lux (5er, E, A6), as in the case of the Audi especially, the A8 is in too many ways just a big A6. The cost on my rental wasn't much more (maybe 20%), but I don't know if I got 20% more enjoyment out of it vs something like a 535d.

    My likes on the car were the economy (overall over 30mpg), the 8 speed transmission was actually pretty smooth and logical, the adaptive cruise control was fun, it handled well for such a barge (I would toss it through empty roundabouts for fun)...but it is a boat for European parking garages, and was pretty numb. And I really wish it had head up display, such a great feature for Autobahn driving.
  • jpp5862jpp5862 NCPosts: 323
    Thanks for the review fintail. Glad you got to try the A8, like you said you only live once. I liked your comment about it being a big computer with a leather chair attached. Also if I had the chance to drive one I imagine I'd agree on it just being a big A6, which isn't bad I guess but not worth the price premium. For me adaptive cruise control is one of the best options available.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    I'm glad someone is interested :shades:

    I am back home now, my normal everyday car (older E55 with a big lazy V8) feels very light compared to that Audi cruise ship, maybe that much more so because it predates many of those gadgets.

    Oh, and a forgotten drawback to renting in Europe - no satellite radio.

    When (it better not be "if") the next time I rent in Germany, I will probably just choose the E/5er/A6 class.
  • jpp5862jpp5862 NCPosts: 323
    I always liked the generation you have, the E55, I think you posted a picture a while back. I also like your fintail, if I remember right it's blue? If it's the picture I'm remembering I loved the car and the color was my favorite.

    I need to renew my satellite radio in the G37, I haven't been riding it as much lately though so haven't taken the time to do it.

    I'm off to Denver tomorrow, I got lucky and didn't travel much in November so this will be my first rental since October. I'm hoping National will have a new Fusion, I'd like to try one again. Denver isn't one of their best locations but every once in a while they have something fun. I'm jealous of your international travels, I only travel within the US which makes for less exciting rental opportunities. :)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,501
    Yep I have posted them. I have the old car out today, still running as well as can be expected. I am content with my cars right now and have no plans to replace them. Must be getting old :shades:

    Satellite radio is far from perfect - but in Seattle normal broadcast radio is kind of sketchy, CDs have become cumbersome, ipods are boring, and streaming radio is ahead of the tech in my cars. I like not knowing what the next song will be. Luckily, many rentals have it, as they are within the trial periods. I had an E-class in Florida earlier this year with active Sirius, a must for a long drive.

    National is a good fleet, and I prefer that group as I like to choose the car. What class do you get to choose from? Fusion is in the fleets now I am pretty sure, and National gets some nicer models and brands too.

    When I travel and rent, it is 90% of the time on my own dime, and as I like cars, I'll pay a little more to not get stuck in a penalty box. For me being in Germany, the car is as important as any sights to be seen. Going the cheapest route wouldn't be any fun.">
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,148
    I recently had to rent a car to travel on business, driving from Philly to Norfolk, VA. About 5 hours, mostly through the middle of nowhere.

    I was hoping I was getting the Camry SE they had sitting there, but I ended up getting a Malibu (I asked, and they said the Toyota was not ready to go).

    Turns out to have been a good thing. the Malibu was actually quite comfortable (seats), and it had XM (the Camry did not). Man, without XM on that trip I would have gone nuts!

    Oh, when you rent at a local suburban satellite location (Hertz in this case) you don't have much of a selection. Probably lucky they had anything, being as it was 5 days after Sandy blew through!

    One funny site. In the middle of Maryland, I was next to another rental. This one was a Cobalt (I think, maybe a Cruz) with 5 people packed in. While I was driving my semi-barge Malibu all by myself. Considering the cost differential, if you need to take that many people, spring the extra $5-10!

    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: 33,501
    I just drove by my local Enterprise. Lots of Fords and Hyundais, virtually nothing else. There's a Hertz hotel based satellite a couple blocks from where I live - they usually have lots of Toyotas and Chryslers.

    I just drove in the complete uber-barge A8 all by myself - I have no regrets about the expense. Maybe not totally worth it, but better than being crammed into something like a VW Up! for 10 days.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,148
    on vacation, I agree with getting something you like. Just consider it part of the overall cost.

    but on business, you get what the company says you can have! Though even with my cheap company, they let you have up to a Standard (I think that is what they call it, or intermediate. whatever a malibu sized car qualifies for in Rental company speak.

    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!)

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