Small car in Premium brand or intermediate car in regular brand?


Soon, I will be be visiting Germany and Italy and looking for rental cars there. Italy will have some mountain roads and I will driving some long distances over period of more than half month. That is the reason, I am stressing on more comfortable car. Probably, SUV would not be ideal.

I am getting two options from rental agency. Either go smaller model of premium class (BMW 118i, AU A3-SPORTBACK 2.0, MERCEDES-BENZ A-KLASSE, some VW Golf also) or can go with intermediate class (VW Passat, Skoda Octavia, Kia Optima).

By impression, premium class always impresses me. But in this case, should I go with basic cars of premium brand or little upper class in normal brands ?

We are just two people and No problem with luggage too. All I am going with driving comfort and handling. I never drove MB/BMW class. Opinions please ?


I’d go for the intermediate class car.
But, than, I’m cheap. And it’s a good thing, 'cause I’m also poor. :rofl:

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Both classes are almost coming up with same rental price.

More comfort usually equals longer wheel base. Intermediate is my choice

I don’t consider the premium cars you mention to be luxury cars, and not just because of size. The only one I have experience with is the BMW. I had a BMW 118d during a business trip in Austria a few years ago. I liked it a lot, and it was large enough for one or two people. It just isn’t what I consider luxury in the BMW sense of luxury. Still, a good car and I would recommend it.

Having rented cars many times in Europe, I’d say forget premium! For our latest stay in France we rented a Renault 4 door standard size (large compact or intermediate by US standards) which happened to be a diesel. Very comfortable, quiet and easy on fuel.

The VW Passat or Kia Optima would be my choice. Since Kias are relatively new in Europe and VWs have been around forever, the VW might be the better choice if you are going to spend much time in rural areas.

The Skoda is a rather primitive car by comparison, made in the Chech Republic. A friend of ours in England has one and the smelly cheap plastic interior is hard to take.

If you’ll be driving much on 2 lane roads in Italy, I’d strongly recommend smaller. Super narrow, with tour buses coming the other way at high speeds.

Yes, a point to consider if you are not a first class driver.

In England I rent the smallest car with automatic and air. Those country roads with their stone walls instead of shoulders are hard to navigate.

I’d go with the Passat, as I owned one for 12 years. But not the smallest car around.

Really depends on the roads, we spent a week in a Corolla im on those really narrow roads around north Yorkshire, upon arrival in Ireland for a week there we were offered a Ford Mondeo which just sitting in we knew it would feel too big on the back roads, switched to a Nissan Micra which wasn’t at home on the motorway.

The 3 of us plus luggage fit just fine and were comfortable, we had a car about the same size as the Micra for 19yrs so it worked for us.

I think it really doesn’t matter much but probably the VW. There really are no great distances to travel like here. When you get into the cities though, you will want as small a car as possible for the narrow streets and tight parking. Autobahn no problem but I think any of them would be comfortable enough. I just wouldn’t go with a normal sized car.

Could Your friend be related to Hyacinth (keeping up apperances)? :grinning:

Today, a Skoda is right up there with VW and Audi regarding quality and close to be just as expensive, though service and parts are a good bit cheaper. Clutch cable for a VW polo -14 = USD 30, Clutch cable for a Skoda Fabia -14 = USD 14. It’s the exact same cable. And I could go on.

I would go for the Passat, unless I could find a Skoda Superb cheaper. Same car, different skin. That is, if most driving would be on main roads. If a lot of city roads is involved, I’ll go for a Octavia or Fabia (smaller) or simillar sized vehicles.

Best wishes for a fantastic tour of Europe.

My friend has had this Skoda for some time. The quality and finish must have improved over the years. Glad to hear that the Skoda is now a more or less regular VW.

Do a little research on the price of gasoline in the areas you will be driving. That may influence your car selection towards a smaller sedan with better mpg.