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Rental car - Which car?

Hi will be going on a road trip of 13 days in December, which will cover Arizona, New Mexico and some part of Colorado (weather safe). I will be driving at least 2800 miles. I will be taking rental car. I can get few options, which are :-
Full Size Car (For Fusion or equal) in 340$ (without insurance)
Hybrid car (Ford C-Max or Kia Optima or Prius) in 610$ (without insurance).
It seems like, for such a long drive Ford C-Max (because it is small) and Prius(few say that it is not very comfortable for long drives) may not be comfortable.
What are your thoughts on this ? I am checking it from comfort point of view as well as cost effectiveness.

Driving a hybrid for a trip that is surely mostly highway doesn’t make much sense for fuel economy. Hybrids shine in city driving, stop and go traffic, etc. At sustained highway speeds the mpg difference isn’t very noticeable.

I’d rent the full size car simply because they generally ride better and will offer more space for your travels. In fact I would pay more for a larger car, not the other way around.

Comfort is 100% subjective. Spend some weekend time driving a few of the available options and then rent the one you like best.

+1 for mountainbike.

I’d save the money. Rent the non-hybrid

Thanks. I think, I will go with full size car, instead of Hybrid.

I took a long trip across the norther Nevada/Utah desert in a rented HHR and thought it good for that purpose. Goes fast and tracks straight down the road. Easily configurable by folding down the rear seats to hold a lot of cargo too. mpg’s seemed ok.

Rental agencies at my place do not have HHR. Usually they have Altima, Fusion or Camry in full size car

I’d be happy enough with any of those for a two week trip. All of them would do a good job for you I expect.

Thank you

If you’re checking from a comfort and cost effectiveness angle, why would the Ford C-Max, Kia Optima, and Prius even be part of the equation?

You’ll be averaging over 200 miles a day. Comfort will become important.

Take the Fusion.

Also ask you own insurance agent what the policy you carry on your vehicles will cover if you have an accident with your rental. Someone mentioned here that they got dinged for insurance to pay for the possibility that a wreck might cause a rental car to spend several un-rentable days in a body shop. Their policy wouldn’t cover that possibility.

Was it Thrifty?

I will be taking rental car from Avis. Usually when I rent car, I do not buy separate insurance and use my insurance (which I bought for my Camry).

I rented a Dodge Charger for my trip to Indianapolis, and really liked it. Full sized, still got around 32-34 mpg. Get one with a V6, you don’t need the Hemi.

I rented a Fusion in Albuquerque last week and got 31 mpg, driving as fast as a California driver. I really liked it. Comfortable, spacious, quiet, very easy to operate.

Any of the full size cars you mention will take less than 100 gallons of gas, you would be spending more money to rent a less comfortable car with the hybrid. That wouldn’t be sensible unless you were traveling on business for a “green” company.

3000 miles @ 30mpg of $3.50 per gallon fuel will cost $350. 3000 miles @ 40mpg of $3.50 per gallon fuel will cost $265 which will save you approximately $85 with the small hybrid which costs $270 more to rent than the Ford Fusion. If you want to save the planet by driving a hybrid 3000 miles, go for it. If you want to spend about $185 less go with the Ford Fusion. My friends had a Mercury Fusion (Milan) I drove it a few times. It was quite comfortable and easily exceeded 35mpg highway. Hybrid technology is impressive but if your only goal is saving fuel money you will probably be somewhat disappointed. I would go with the Fusion. My full coverage insurance covers rentals even in foreign countries. Be sure to check yours.

I’ve always rented the cheapest car with air. Usually a Hyundai Accent. More often than not you get a better car at no extra cost due to availability. That happened the last time from Enterprise; the Chevy Spark I had ordered turned out to be a Honda Civic at no extra cost.

My credit card covers the insurance deductible.

Avis features GM vehicles. You are more likely to get an Impala than anything else. I would certainly take the Impala over any hybrid for this trip. It wold not surprise me if they give you one equipped with the 2.5L 4cyl engine that gets 31 mpg highway. It could have the 3.6L V6 that gets 28 mpg highway. You might ask if you can choose the engine if you have a preference.

For 2800 miles ? For me it’s a no brainer. The more comfortable car for sure which is the full size Fusion. You save money too !! Now, I would BUY a Prius before a Fusion and learn to live with it because of it’s other qualities. On a single trip with a car you will never see again, just like a one time date, it’s comfort, pleasure and what’s cheaper ?

If you have an American Express card then you should enroll in their Premium Car Rental insurance program. It is free to join, you do not pay unless you rent a car. The cost is a one time flat fee of $17.00 for up to 42 days of car rental. Up to $100,000 in primary theft and damage coverage (liability not included). Quite a deal.