Rental Car Reports

I thought it might be interesting if we had a thread to give everyone our impressions of cars we’ve rented. If you rent a car, and want to talk about it, search for this thread and add on.

I’ll get it started with a report on the Dodge Charger I rented to drive down to the Indy 500 and back.

This car really grew on me, and I kind of hated to give it back. It was equipped with the V6, and it had plenty of power while getting a regular 32mpg. Not bad for a luxo-barge hauling 4 adults and luggage. Unless you want to use it for drag racing, you really don’t need the Hemi. It felt solid, stable, and handled really well. The driver’s station felt “right” to me, and I’m pretty fussy about that sort of thing. A couple of “U” turns proved that while having a fairly long wheelbase, it had a very tight turning radius. The only thing this particular car lacked was a sattelite radio, which I really missed to be honest. Oddly enough, it didn’t have a compass either, which would have come in handy when I was navigating around Indy. Maybe that comes with an uprated radio.

If I were in the market for a full size car for interstate travel, I’d have to take a long hard look at one of these, albeit with a few more amenities than this one had.

Good job Chrysler! :slight_smile:

I rented a Ford Falcon, somewhere around 1963, and it was absolutely gutless.
Hopefully Ford has improved the Falcon since that time.


My dad owned a 1962 fordor w/ 6 cylinder stick, that while gutless, was rock solid reliable. I learned to drive in that car. He was rearended by a huge Buick Roadmaster that shortened it by about 4 feet. Put my dad in the hospital for about a week, but luckily he recovered with no ill effects.

By the way, you can blame/thank Robert McNamara for that car. It was his idea. An absolutely no-frills, basic transportation car.

We had a 61 Falcon that Dad used on his 50 mile commute. Seems to me at about 60K the engine went on it and they claimed that was about all you could expect from the 6. The replacement engine was a little more powerful but still pretty weak and a 2 speed. I took it on a date and my Dad warned me not to use the radio. Of course I did anyway and had to get a jump start. It was a neat car though and fire engine red.

Most of the cars I rent are the cheapest available so can’t recall any real winners. We did have a full sized red Chrysler something that was just too big. The Impala was the most boring and the HHR was fun for me but the wife thought it looked like a hearse. We rented a little Neon to take from Atlanta to Orlando and I don’t think it was the car but my wife was very very sick for that one but she recovered fast. The latest was a Mazda 3 that seemed like an OK car but the controls were a little screwy. I wanted to try the Ford for once but I lost.

For a while I was renting pickups every other weekend when I didn’t have one and was in the process of moving and cleaning up a property. I had Ford, GMC, Dodge, and a Nissan. The Ford was probably the most stable and predictable, but also the most gutless. I wouldn’t want to tow with it, and this was with the “Triton” V8. As I recall, the hyperactive seat belt warning also annoyed the heck out of me. (and I wear my seatbelt) The GMC had nice amenities, incl. free satellite radio, but something was wrong with this vehicle that had under 5K miles on it–it would bog off the line and surge at constant speed. It also had squishy brakes that didn’t inspire much confidence. It did have the best A/C as I recall. The Dodge was an all-around likeable truck and good performer with the Hemi, though it got what you would expect–about 12 MPG. It was comfortable and I liked it, but I’ve always liked Chrysler products. The Nissan I would say was the best though–it was fully loaded with tons of amenities including a sliding power rear window, and the V8 was the best performer of the bunch, even better than the Hemi. The mileage was a pretty dismal 10 MPG in city driving.

I had a Buick Regal as a rental, and while it was a decent luxury car, the handling was awful. I took a highway entry ramp at around 40, something my current car at the time would have handled without blinking, and it was a tire-squealing festival of understeer and body roll. I had a Toyota Avalon that was quick and comfy, but frightening to drive in the rain–it may have been the tires or bad alignment. Last vehicle I rented was a month or so ago on a business trip. I had a 2013 VW Jetta. It was a nice little car that handled well and had amazing, though touchy brakes. It really grew on me, though it was pretty gutless off the line with the non-torque converter dual-clutch automatic. If you stomped on it it went pretty well though. I kind of bonded with it trying to find my way through the Austin area…

I just rented a Ford Taurus. It drove easily and felt OK, but it was just huge! And pretty tall, too. I have no idea why a car needs to be so big. I wanted a smaller car but got “upgraded”. The car had all sorts of electronic displays and information available, but if you actually ever used any of these features you would most likely run into something. The display gizmos should mostly be disabled when the car is in gear.

In the 90’s, we were flying for spring vacation to McAllen where our daughter was teaching school. We rented a car while we were there. First time was a Corolla. We had owned a 1988 Chevy Nova, but the Corolla was really almost a luxury car by comparison. Really ran and felt nice.

Next time we got a Neon. It handled and felt like a toy car. Tinny.

A few years later, we needed to rent for a trip from McA to Amarillo while our car was overhauled. We got a small Nissan. It ran out well at 70 mph on the Interstates, with good a/c. Not as luxurious as the Corolla, but performed well.

Later, when the overhauled car got wiped out in Austin on I-35 low, we rented a Buick le Sabre for the trip to Iowa. That sucker got well over 30 mpg at 70 mph. Unbelievable! And, rental was very cheap. I assumed they needed cars to go north during a time when a lot of snowbirds were coming south. Like $200 or so, one day drop off, nearly 1000 miles.

I do about 20 business trips a year. I don’t get anything fancy unless there’s a free upgrade (which is rare). Small car’s are fine with me. If I go on vacation with family then I’ll get a bigger vehicle.

For the past 5 business trips I’ve rented a Kia Soul. Nice little vehicle. Very solid…Good size…Had enough power (for me)…Had no problem getting my 6’3 230lb frame inside comfortably.