Rental car to avoid

Hello everyone, I recently rented a Chrysler 200 for the day and found that the throttle response was rather strange. When I tried to accelerate, there was no response. Then, after 1 or 2 seconds, there was a sudden increase in power. This was consistent, and very noticeable. Additionally, the engine was very buzzy, and sounded like it was in the passenger seat next to me. A mechanic friend of mine later said this was probably due to software in the car. What a way to make cars! If I need to rent another car, I’ll tell the agency–in this case Enterprise, that I don’t want this car. Give me a 60s or 70s car any time.

Drive more than one for a true comparison.
My customer’s 200 drove perfectly normal as I drove it from my wife’s work and back for a tire slow leak repair. I forget which year it was but only a couple years old at best.

However, driving rentals is a really great idea when car shopping because you get a more real-world test drive.

Hello Ken, I agree with your comment about driving more than one, but if I were car shopping at the dealer’s and experienced this, that would probably end it. It’s true that since the car I drove was a rental, it probably didn’t get the maintenance it needed. However, it had only 6000 miles on it. I think the car should run right. Also the engine sounding like it was in the seat next to me did not inspire confidence.

And that’s precisely why a test drive is so crucial.
Those opinions reach far and wide even turning some customers to an entirely different brand.

I drove Jeep, GM /Chevy, Ford and Nissan before buying my Ford Explorer in 1992.
Opinions just like that ( noise , power and feel ) steered me to the Explorer.

In my experience it is common to get a rental car that is not in good condition.

The problem with rental cars is that the person returning them would not report the defect because they do not want to be on the hook for any potential blame. So even if it is a simple problem with a simple fix, nobody would know about it.

Cars from the 60’s and 70’s didn’t have hesitation problems? Especially when cold?

There was a problem with the rental car. Its not normal, your mechanic friend is clueless, it sounds like hes stuck in time and doesn’t understand modern cars, its not a software problem, the car has drive by wire, but thats not what was causing the issue.

The buzzy engine? What do you normally drive? Maybe some drunk rented it and went off roading with it and bent the exhaust causing the buzzing.

In my experience it is common to get a rental car that is not in good condition.

I’ve probably rented well over 200 cars …and NEVER EVER had a mechanical problem with any of them…

You would be mistaken if you think a 60s or 70s era car is immune to balking problems. The only difference between then and now is that now may be much more difficult to diagnose and cure.

Keeping in mind that I’m not a Chrysler guy at all, let me throw something out there. The transmission is shown to be a 6 speed automatic. There is a huge ratio difference between 1st and 2nd with the following 3-5 ratios more closely knotted together, and the 6th speed ratio is well under 1. It could be that the transmission is designed to get into those upper ranges as quickly as possible.
Fifth and sixth gear at 35-40 MPH on a perky engine could be a problem.

This means the engine is essentially lugging and this normal for the car symptom could be made worse by the 4 cylinder engine choice if that is what the car was equipped with.

Also keep in mind the above is theory on my part; except for the part about older cars…

I like Mopar vehicles and I was not that impressed with a 200 when I drove one, though the throttle response seemed fine to me. There may have been something wrong with the one you got. I once rented a brand new GMC pickup with only 2,000 miles on it for a weekend. It had something wrong with its engine management system—it had a bad hesitation, surged at constant speed, and was backfiring through the intake if you accelerated too quickly when it was cold. The MIL was not on. I had a Dodge RAM for a rental and the “change oil” warning was illuminated and was 1,000 miles overdue.

On a new vehicle owned by a private owner, a problem like either the one I had or the OP had would be instantly complained about to the dealer, and probably corrected pretty quickly. With a rental company, even if the renter mentions a problem, with the indifference and miscommunication that exists at pretty much any company, the vehicle may be rented to a dozen more people before enough people complain and it gets in for service.

I just returned from a trip to New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. We reserved a rental car through Hertz at the airport in Albany, New York and then drove to Vermont, New Hampshire, and back through mountain roads. The car from Hertz was a 2013 Dodge Avenger which is probably similar to the Chrysler 200. I think the engine was a 4 cylinder (I didn’t open the hood to check). It was noisy on acceleration, bur ran smoothly and was quiet when not accelerating up inclines. The car had about 6300 miles when we picked it up and about 7100 when we returned the car. I didn’t notice any lag in acceleration. The Avenger isn’t a car that I would care to own–the seating position seemed really low–but we are spoiled by our Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Sienna where we sit a lot higher. I was glad to get back in the Sienna when our plane landed back in Indiana and drive the 60 miles back home from the airport.

I just returned from a trip to New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire

Should have come here next month during fall foliage.

@MikeInNH–I wish we could have made the trip later. However, we are involved in too many activities back here at home. I did really enjoy the scenery and one of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the Shaker settlement up near Concord. The Shakers were a really progressive people and it was interesting to view the progress in the community from the 1790s through the 1920s. Last week was a good week for the trip because there were not a lot of tourists.
While in New Hampshire, I did flash the headlights, honk the horn and wave at every 4Runner I saw on the road. I guess I must have missed you.

I did really enjoy the scenery and one of the highlights of the trip was our visit to the Shaker settlement up near Concord.

Was that the one at Canterbury Village?? Never stopped there. But I’ve past it a few times on my way to one of my favorite golf courses Canterbury Woods.

@MikeInNH–Yes that is the one I visited at Canterbury Village. It was interesting to me to view the technical progress made by the Shakers from 1790 to the 1920s. As advancements came along, the Shakers took advantage from a steam engine to power equipment to a generating plant for electrical power. My guess is that the generating plant produced direct current. The woodworking equipment progressed from the hand tools to power driven equipment through belts and pulleys from the steam engine. There was one picture of the Shaker sisters posed by a Model T Ford truck. It is quite a contrast between these Shakers and the Amish here in the Midwest who don’t use power driven equipment. We also visited Calvin Coolidge’s birthplace and grave in Plymouth Vt. That area apparently did not have electrical power even in the 1920s. In my opinion, Coolidge was a remarkable person and not given the credit he deserves as a President.
I did bring home a jug of maple syrup from the area. I’ll be anxious to try it on pancakes that I’ll make for supper one of these evenings.

I did bring home a jug of maple syrup from the area.

REAL Maple Syrup is far far better then the junk made from corn syrup. The first time I used REAL Maple Syrup…I couldn’t believe how good it tasted.

@MikeInNH–I’ll bet the REAL maple syrup compared with the junk made from corn syrup that we get in the stores here is like comparing the jug of real corn squeezings I pick up when I visit my son in Tennessee to what is available on the liquor rack at our local WalMart. If it is, I’ll have to make more trips to New England.

“the jug of real corn squeezings I pick up when I visit my son in Tennessee”

You know, people often make the argument about ethanol being a bad idea because it uses corn to make fuel instead of food or feed. Nobody ever thinks about what it’s going to do to us whiskey drinkers.

Well, to relate jugs of good stuff to rental cars, about five years ago when I was still working, I attended a convention in Columbus, Ohio where I was presenting a paper. My institution had checked out all the vehicles in its fleet, so the institution rents vehicles when the need arises. I was provided a Hyundai Sonata from a local outlet of a national rental company. Before my research partner and I left Columbus, we had a meal at a wonderful German restaurant in the German village part of town. We each bought a jug of wonderful hand crafted beer before we left. As we were driving back, I noticed an alcohol smell in the car and at first thought it was something about the cooling system. As it turned out, the cap on my jug leaked onto the rear floor mat. I did stop at a self-serve carwash and shampooed the floor mat before I returned the car.
Getting back to the Chrysler 200 of the original post, my wife drove one of the Dodge Avengers from our institution’s fleet to Washington, D.C and back. This was a 13 hour trip each way. The other person that made the trip with her trips the scales at over 400 pounds and isn’t comfortable in an airplane. At any rate, my wife didn’t have any complaints about the car. In the Dodge Avenger that we rented for our latest trip, it did have good legroom for me with my long legs. We were talking about the rental car today as we rode along in our 4Runner. We both agreed that if manufacturers quit making both SUVs and minivans, we would buy a full size pickup truck. I don’t like the low sitting position of today’s cars.

I can recall my father renting a Ford Falcon, circa 1963, and it was so gutless (even more gutless than Falcons normally were), that I thought I would lift the hood to see if I could adjust the carburetor and/or check to see if one of the spark plug wires was disconnected… Unfortunately, the hood release was jammed, so I wasn’t able to remedy the lack of power, and that foul little car would not go above 40 mph

So the moral of the story is twofold:

Rental cars are not necessarily in good condition
Try not to rent on a weekend, when they have no replacement cars available