Living as far as we do from a major international airport, renting vehicles is old hat. I rent multiple times from both Hertz and Enterprise every year, typically earning Enterprise Gold status and Hertz Five Star (SEE: 3 Reasons Why You Want Hertz Five Star Status). Renting vehicles frequently has also given me an appreciation for some cars and a distaste for others. I’m going to save the worst cars for another post, but I thought I’d share my top five rentals, and how I scored them.
Dodge Ram 1500
I think I’ve rented four Dodge Ram 1500 pickups now, every time for work. Generally, this is because I was looking for a 4×4 pickup for work reasons. In these cases, they cost a pretty penny. I think two weeks ran $1,500 in one instance. Waaaay more than I’ve ever paid for a personal rental.
But I also scored one by booking the Thrifty “Manager’s Special”. You can imagine the surprise when I was handed the keys to a pickup, expecting the tiniest, junkiest sardine car compact they had. I also didn’t have to drive more than ~40 miles, so the gas mileage wasn’t a huge factor.
When the rental counter typically says, I have an upgrade for you, I’ve found that I am often doing them a favor. More than once I have been sent on my merry way in a larger vehicle that has a high number of miles on it. As most of my rentals are one-ways, I figure that they just want the old stock off their lot. Maybe that is too cynical a view.
But other times the agents are just being nice. When I rented from our local Enterprise a couple winters ago, the agent asked me if I’d like something “a bit bigger”. I’d reserved a Corolla, so the answer was unequivocally yes. He ended up putting me in a basically new Chevy Tahoe. It was a sweet ride the Bay Area and back. Sure, it guzzled gas, but it also handled great in the rain.
It bums me out that our local Enterprise has changed management. They aren’t anything like the old crew that was there for years.
Chevy Camaro SS
Driving off the lot in a Chevy Camaro was one of my first rental car scores as a Hertz Five Star member. I’d gotten plenty of small SUVs out of the Five Star aisle at SMF airport over the past couple years, but nothing nicer that that was ever parked there. Until I found this one afternoon headed back from a work trip. It was a fun drive home.
The Chevy Camaro is part of Hertz’s “Adrenaline Collection” of cars. I’ve never actually booked one, given the high daily cost (and they are typically impractical). But I’ll happily take it if given the chance as a Five Star/President’s Circle member!
This one might surprise people. I recently rented this vehicle for a trip to the Bay. Typically, I have to make at least one stop to get out and stretch, and most seats become super uncomfortable by the end.
Not the Buick Enclave. I made a stop for gas, but I could have easily gone the distance in the car and been no worse for wear. If we ever decide to get a second vehicle, I might eye one of these.
I’d never driven an Infiniti before this work trip to Virginia. I’d reserved a full size car for my week of work in western VA, but upon checking rates a few days before arrival, I found that there was an Infiniti crossover going for the same price. I decided to jump.
The Infiniti QX30 was perfect for the winding mountain roads of western Virginia. I had a lot of driving to do that trip (~500 miles), and it was a comfy ride.
I’ve rented numerous other vehicles, from tiny matchbox cars to other large pickups and SUVs. But these take the cake as the best.
What about you? Do you rent vehicles frequently? Do you have favorites?
I rent 99% from National and as an elite with them I get to pick what I want from the lot. I’ve had F150 King Ranch 4x4s, lots of Dodge journeys and standard pickups, Mercedes, Tahoe’s, VW atlas, Acadias, etc. The only time I get burned is at SLC because apparently the local franchise is owned by a local GM dealer that likes us to stand in line and end up in old chevys. I also rent from silver car a bit. I never pay more than $50 a day at National.
Nice! You have me beat with a Mercedes! We don’t have a reputable National nearby (and they hardly ever offer one-way deals headed out of town), so I’ve rented from them all of once. But I always hear they are one of the best companies.