By on April 28, 2014

sentra-exterior

Last month, I took two business trips where I had to rent a car: one to Boston and one to Los Angeles. I rolled the Hertz dice and ended up with a Chrysler 200 in Boston and a Nissan Versa SV at LAX. Each was a 24-hour rental, but the prices were remarkably different. The Chrysler: $61.59 for one day. The Nissan? $116.31 for one day. If the street price to buy one of these cars was anything in relation to the difference in rental price, everybody would be buying the Chrysler. Boston Strong!

chrysler200-front

Both cars were as un-optioned as they’re made. Bluetooth? Nope. The Nissan curiously had a third-party Bluetooth system hacked into the car, but it didn’t work. The Nissan also had a bunch of things glued to the windshield, which I presume include a GPS tracking feature as well as an annoying multicolored LED that faces out and blinks random colors as you’re driving down the street. Most likely, this Versa served in an earlier life as part of some ZipCar-esque car sharing service.

Mysterious blinky light on a Nissan Sentra SV rental
Mysterious blinky light on the Nissan Versa SV rental
Inside view of the mysterious blinky on a rental Nissan Sentra SV. Also visible is an aftermarket Bluetooth microphone (non-functional).
Inside view of the mysterious blinky on a rental Nissan Versa SV. Also visible is the aftermarket Bluetooth microphone (non-functional)

Anyway, before we get into the driving impressions, a Chrysler 200 base model seems to cost $21,540 ($495 more if you want Bluetooth). The Versa SV is $15,240 ($760 more if you want Bluetooth, navigation, and other electronic gadgets). The Chrysler has a 2.4 liter engine versus the Versa’s 1.5 liter. The Chrysler has a 4-speed auto, versus the Nissan’s CVT; pricier Chrysler 200′s have a 6-speed auto, but not this one. Overall performance was probably about the same, but neither car inspires you to push it. I will give credit to the Chrysler for being a noticeable step up with interior quality (e.g., having a leather-wrapped steering wheel). Road noise was reasonably muffled, and the car felt generally solid over bumps and other road indignities. The Nissan was just a cheap, unapologetic econobox.

sentra-wheel

chrysler200-center-stack

Before I go on, I must digress. I drove through Cambridge and Boston, on my way out to the ‘burbs and back again to Logan Airport. I even drove right past Fenway Park, a side effect of an epic digression to pick up a pack of America’s only domestically brewed Trappist beer. (Highly recommended!) Not once, not a single time, did somebody honk at me. Nobody cut me off. When I signaled, people let me in. Boston, what’s wrong with you? Where are your passive aggressive moronic idiot nutjob drivers? Have you gone soft on me? (Do Boston drivers feel sorry for you if you’re driving a Chrysler 200?!)

Anyway, back to the cars. The Chrysler is rated for 20 city / 31 highway mpg. I figured out the reset button once I got on the highway, so I managed to get 32 mpg (indicated) on the remarkably traffic-free Saturday morning drive. Once I got caught up in Boston traffic, using Google’s truly impressive routing skills to follow one obscure side street into the next whilst cutting from Quincy to Braintree (kids: don’t try this at home), my indicated mileage dropped, bringing me in at 22 mpg combined. Still, not a bad performance. The Nissan, though, was stunning in the mileage department. LA traffic being what it is, there’s no such thing as freeway driving. It’s all about “combined” driving, and my final tally was 33.8 mpg (indicated), splitting the difference between the 31 city / 40 highway rating. (Overall, I’d say that I put both cars through similar drives, so the mileage difference here is representative of what happens with bigger engines in heavier cars: roughly 1000 pounds different.)

But CVTs! They bore us! There is much mileage to be gained when you can run the engine at arbitrarily chosen speeds. Want to go fast? High RPM. Want to save gas? Low RPM. This is great if you care about efficiency, but it’s a nightmare if you’re used to using engine noise as a proxy for looking at the speedometer. If you put your foot down just a little bit, the car might well be accelerating, but the engine noise is holding constant. You just never know, so your best bet is to set the cruise control and forget trying to enjoy your drive. The Nissan, trying to squeeze all the juice out of its tiny engine, does precisely this. The engine’s noise, and the tachometer’s readout, are nothing other than a direct measure of where your foot happens to be on the gas. Consequently, the Versa is as boring as a lecture about how CVT transmissions can optimize engine power output and improve mileage, but at least it’s honest. What about the Chrysler? Despite having a bit of traditional engine rev and gear changing, it’s every bit as dull. You can option up for a big V6 but then you’re competing in a whole other segment.

chrysler200-rear

Recommendations: if you’re trying to get a cheap car, get the cheaper Nissan Versa with the 6-speed manual. You can at least pretend you’re not driving a cheap econobox, and you won’t care that you’re getting 10% worse gas mileage. On the other hand, the base-model Chrysler 200, for the extra few bucks, and with discounts maybe not that many extra, gives you something resembling a luxury car experience. Sure, the drivetrain is nothing more than a high-achieving econobox, but the rest of the car is a step up. The quiet ride, all by itself, would make the Chrysler 200 a much better car if you spent a lot of time doing your daily soul sucking commute. When the 2nd-generation Fiat-enhanced version comes out next year, with a base price of $21,700, I expect it to be a very competitive car. Not only will it have more gear ratios (9 speeds!) and better mileage (36 mpg freeway!), but it will also be decidedly not ugly. It might even have some excitement. Maybe.

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69 Comments on “Rental Car Review: A Tale of Two Econoboxes...”


  • avatar

    The old Chrysler 200 should have never been built if Chrysler wasn’t ready to give it an all-new roofline and Uconnect. The ride quality could be overlooked, but I had a friend with one who assumed something was wrong because his “pulled to the left” under hard acceleration.

    Immediately I asked: do you have the Pentastar V6?
    He said “yes”.
    I told him: “your problem is Torque steer…and proceeded to explain what torque steer was.

    Though you “auto enthusiasts” deride AWD and ride quality of the smaller imports, I know plenty of people who LOVE their Accents, Elantras, Sonatas, etc with a passion and plan on rebuying them. Most of them have never ridden fire – never been in a RWD sports car with more than 400 BHP. Toyotas and Camry have poisoned their souls.

    The old 200 Convertible is still one of the cheapest convertibles you can rent – and looks great.

    The new Chrysler 200 is awesome for the intro price and the loaded $34,000 with AWD, V6 and Uconnect, but…

    …I must criticize the small interior feel. At the auto show, I got in the 200 and the Sonata 2015 and came away feeling as if the Sonata was the winner on interior design and interior space. The Sonata felt huge. I struggled to get my legs under the 200′s manual-actuated column adjust.

    The exterior looks make the 200 feel more upscale to drive than most of the similarly priced imports – with the exception of the Sonata. Unfortunately, the interior is bland. The materials are mostly dark and have the charm of the inside of a coal bin.

    YES – I’m criticizing Chrysler/Fiat…

    I wish the American cars felt more – and looked more like Hyundai/Kia’s. Only on upscale Chargers, 300′s and Jeep’s can you have white/ sepia/ red / orange leather colors. Meanwhile, the caramel, tans and whites of the Kia’s and Hyundai’s make them feel as upscale as being in a German car – though they are harder to the touch.

    The same goes for GM’s cars (with the exception of Cadillac) and Ford’s (with the exception of Lincoln).

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      You do realize he drove the old 200, which has been assessed as the worst vehicle in the midsize market, by nearly every auto journalist, right?

      Credibility: it’s built or eroded every day.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think the outgoing 200 is fine for what it is…a stopgap product to last until a truly-competitive midsized sedan could be introduced. Maybe that didn’t happen as soon as it should have, but I think Chrysler did the best that it could with the Sebring’s bones. And it sure doesn’t deserve to be compared to the lowly Versa.

    • 0 avatar

      > Most of them have never ridden fire – never been in a RWD sports car with more than 400 BHP. Toyotas and Camry have poisoned their souls.

      I’d bet Baruth can make it around a road coarse faster in a V6 Camry than BTSR can in whatever. In fact, he’d probably flip it in the first corner so make that a Toyota Kei car.

  • avatar

    Oops, they posted it before I added the photos. Stay tuned.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Wait, in this review a model year isn’t specified. Which one did you drive, the Sebring or the new one?

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    If you were in fact reviewing the old 200, it’s worth noting that the out-the-door price is probably not all that far off the Sentra’s. TrueCar shows a base 2014 200 LX going for around $17k even, while the Sentra SV clocks in a little over $16,250.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed. Discounts on the outgoing Chrysler 200 make it very attractive in comparison to the similarly priced Sentra econobox. You’re giving up some gas mileage (and unknown maintenance headaches) in return for a quieter, nicer ride.

  • avatar
    Ltd123

    Ummm… That’s a Versa, not a Sentra.

    Headlights, grille, 4 vs 6 window greenhouse. And judging by the cell phone photo and CA plates, this isn’t a google image mistake, what we’re seeing is an automotive journalist not being able to identify a car he drove for a day… that’s just sad.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosaab

      This. Too bad that this mess of an article was posted on TTAC not another website, would have made a fine target for a Baruthian rant about automotive “journalism”

      • 0 avatar

        We published an early draft of a review by mistake. Our apologies.

        • 0 avatar
          Macca

          Not to pile on (much) but there’s still plenty of editing to do:

          The Versa SV base MSRP is $15,240 and it has a 1.6L I4 engine (not 1.5L). The EPA fuel efficiency is rated at 31/40 (cty/hwy).

          The Versa also does not have an available 6-speed manual as is suggested in the concluding remarks. The base transmission is a 5 speed.

          I do question how you could drive a car for even a brief moment and not know what it is…

          I’m also confused how a subcompact Versa is almost twice as costly to rent versus a 200.

        • 0 avatar
          Macca

          Oh, and you can’t get Nav on an SV Versa, only the SL trim. Interestingly the technology packages for both trims cost $760, but the SV makes do with an upgraded stereo and bluetooth, and a few other random items.

  • avatar
    James2

    The top picture is of a Versa, is it not? And, if I’m a Nissan PR guy, it’s Sen-TRA, Sen-TRA, Sen-TRA…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I sort of understood the Grand Cherokee/Edge comparo that you guys did. But the 200 is significantly above the Versa.

    And I’d be pretty mad if my rental was a Versa (sedan), since I think that it’s the worst subcompact on the market. Unless you were singlehandedly going for the cheapest new car on the market, I don’t see why you’d ever buy a Versa base sedan. And for the SV’s $18K price tag—not that I think they even go out the door at that sum—better can be had, like a Cruze LS/LT or a Focus S/SE. Or Nissan’s own Sentra.

    • 0 avatar

      The Versa looks alien and rides like a buckboard. I see some mediocre SVs going through lanes for cheap relative to book, then I think, “would anyone really buy this car?” and withdraw from bidding.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’ll bet. Even as used cars, they do nothing to entice anyone, and so don’t really have any profit. I could see your prospective budget customer going a model-year or two back so that he/she can afford a nicer car than a Versa. The 200, on the other hand, is financing gold and really doesn’t make a bad pre-owned car, especially with the Pentastar V6.

        • 0 avatar

          If I had a more extensive lot with 75-100 units and focused on OMGZ GUARANTEED FINANCING LOLZ, I’d stock a few Sentras and such as switch cars. But doing wholesale with the retail side consisting of 35-40 cars, I have to have ‘eye candy’ and ‘impulse buys’, especially in the area I am in. And at least a 200 S has visual appeal.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        > The Versa looks alien and rides like a buckboard.

        I completely disagree. I had Versa sedan as a rental and drove it on highways and some pretty good mountain roads. It was a very competent car. I liked it so much better than my 2012 VW Passat. Ride in particular was MUCH better.

        It was very roomy, too. With four tall, burly men (imagine your typical biker types) inside everyone had plenty of room. The trunk swallowed lots of luggage with ease.

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      Well, base Versa MSRP at $12K and Versa SV at $15K, so the price difference is huge. Given that context, I think Versa is nice and honest car with large space and good economy for not much money. For most people it would be a better buy than Mitsubishi Mirage or Chevy Spark in the same price range.

      I will be pretty upset if one cost me $116 a day at the rental counter, though.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, $116 is pretty steep. I saw that number when I was booking the car and checked out all the other LAX rental options, and I was looking at similar prices. It’s still cheaper than I would have paid for cab fare.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes LA and California is that freakin’ expensive.
          Makes Toyota’s decision to move some of its operations from Ca to Texas a little more understandable.
          Currently living in LA and spent the 80′s in Houston.
          As an example of higher LA/Ca prices on a basic level,I left Clearwater Fla for LA.
          I had a 2 bedroom apartment w/built-in washer/dryer for $795/mo in Clearwater and got a studio apartment near where I work in LA for $933 in 2005.

        • 0 avatar
          jim brewer

          For renting cars, LAX SUX.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        What he (Varezhka) said.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      “I don’t see why you’d ever buy a Versa base sedan.” The Versa has a usable back seat, that’s why. That’s not a significant advantage in automotibe blogs and car magazines. Only real life.

  • avatar

    Bought a 2013 Chrysler 200 Touring ‘S’ w/16k miles for $10,385 with fee. Had a clean CarFax and auction-reported ‘structural damage’ from a PDR hole drilled in the C-pillar and a dent on the driver’s inner rocker (who cares?).

    Sold it to a customer coming out of a behind-rough-book ’03 Grand Am I gave her $800 for. Credit union qualified – Drove out with payments of $230/mo for 66mo.

    On a 1 year-old car.

    With balance of full factory warranty.

    You guys see why these cars work? You see why Darts aren’t flying off the lot?

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    “get the cheaper Nissan Senta with the 6-speed manual.”

    This is easier said than done.

    In a 500 mile radius from where I sit, there are 382 Nissan Sentras for sale. Exactly four of those have a manual transmission, and of those only one is at a dealer I would consider ‘local’ (within 50 miles). The same story holds true for most other compact cars now; you can count on one hand the number of manual Imprezas, Civics, and Corollas available in your area. Even Mazda, champion of the manual transmission, is looking to go with a nearly 90/10 mix for the new Mazda 3.

    None of this addresses the other issue with the Sentra and its contemporaries – you can’t have Nice Things if you decide to row your own gears. Want leather in that Sentra, Impreza or Civic? You’re letting a computer shift for you. Any color other than a derivative of white, gray or black? In many cases, you’re out of luck.

    People may say they want manual transmissions, but most aren’t buying them, and the automakers aren’t making it easy or enjoyable for the ones that are.

    (at least the Sentra comes with a temperature gauge. That’s something you can’t get on many of its competitors at any price)

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “at least the Sentra comes with a temperature gauge”

      That’s something I learned to live without on my former 05 xB1. It had a temperature light which was blue when the engine was cold, blank when the engine was at normal operating temperature, and red if it overheated. In 7 years of ownership, it never ran too hot or cold, and I didn’t lose anything by not knowing the precise temperature.

      • 0 avatar
        djsyndrome

        Neither of our cars have it either. I feel it’s good to have if something’s running a little warmer than normal so you can start looking for issues, but with today’s long-life coolants it’s certainly not a regular maintenance item like in older models.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        A temperature gauge is important if you have an aluminum engine, if the red idiot light goes on, it may be too late to save your engine from permanent damage, I have been able to save my Corolla engine twice when the gauge crept up above its normal operating range and I pulled over right away and called for a tow truck, both times the tech told me I would have caused real damage if I had kept driving as it overheated.

        • 0 avatar
          IndianaDriver

          I think the dummy light for a temperature gauge only works up to about 100,000 miles – then you start to see some “surprises” start with your car – even if you followed the recommended maintenance schedule to a tee. Like you, I’ve had the temperature needle go up over the normal mark and acted accordingly to get servicing done before overheating problems occurred.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            The temperature gage is a throw-back to a by-gone era of motoring where your car was prone to boil over like bigtruckseriesreview on anything Union-made. You’d have to drive like an early aeronaut, checking the gages every minute or so IOT avoid a Chernobyl meltdown. The British MGs, Sprites, Austin-Healeys and Triumphs were notorious steam machines and a gage was considered as necessary as proper tonic to the Bombay Sapphire. Today’s cars temp gages are so dampened now that they basically serve little function other than to give the driver a sense of allswell.

    • 0 avatar
      VelocityRed3

      Just to reinforce. After wrecking my (manual) Mazda 3, I bought a 2003 Honda Accord 5-speed. There are approx 6 million people in the Atlanta Metro area & there were 8 (Eight) manual Accords of that vintage.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I had a rental Sentra for 2 weeks while my Corolla was getting body work done and I was impressed by the upscale feel of the car, driving on ECO mode I averaged 38 mpg for the 2 week period, mostly around town and roomy as a midsize, only drawback I felt was that the ride was a little choppy, but I guess that is price you pay for sharper handling.

  • avatar

    Mea culpas:

    1) Yes, it’s a Versa SV 1.6, not a Sentra SV 1.8. I had to go and double-check my Hertz receipt. Honestly, my brain farted out “Sentra” and didn’t notice the difference. (Word to the person who criticized my automotive journalism creds: I do this for fun, not for the money.)

    2) Yes, it’s Sentra, not Senta. I can’t spell and TTAC isn’t into proofreading.

    3) Sorry for those of you who saw the posting prior to its having images. TTAC editors were too quick on the draw with their approval button. This is the last time they’ll ever approve something I write.

    • 0 avatar
      Ltd123

      Word to me, apparently. I’m the person who noticed this was a Versa, not a Sentra. Not to be a total d**che, but I just happen to be an ordinary citizen who loves all things automotive, part time. If I can outwit an “automotive journalist” based on my 3rd grade love of cars, shame on TTAC, not me…

      The very fact that you blame some early publishing snafu is laughable. There are literally thousands of people like me that can name a car from one second of an image of a bulb, and yet you can dare call yourself an automotive journalist when you clearly can’t identify a mainstream car. It makes this whole exchange a joke.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    But regardless you are comparing tangerines to grapefruits, the 200 is 2 size classes above the Versa, right now the only other car that you could compare to the Versa would be either a Mazda 2 or Toyota Yaris, the others in the class are more expensive, thus more “car” than the cheapo Nissan.

  • avatar
    jberger

    BTW: All the “stuff” added on the versa was part of Hertz 24/7. It’s Hertz version of Zipcar.
    I have no idea why you ended up with one as a regular rental but that might be why the rate was so much higher since it’s much more expensive on a per day basis than a regular Hertz rental car.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Skip ‘em both and buy used.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    The 200 has a leather steering wheel, automatic climate control and actual rims judging from the pictures. I’d then wager a guess and say your 200 in fact had the 6 speed auto and not the 4 speed. Unless they’ve spruced up the base model which is a real possibility for the fleet models.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    I’d swear it was just a year ago someone on TTAC was ripping the 200 as the worst of the worst. Oh how times have changed!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I think it was Doug ripping on the Avenger as the worst of the worst. Jack reviewed a similar model 200 to the one in this review and IIRC gave it one thumb up and one thumb down.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The Avenger is the weak sister of the two! I had one for a week from Enterprise while my car was in the body shop. Worst car I’ve ever driven! I don’t rent cars for business like some on here, but I’ve had several cars from the big companies as loaners over the years. All but two have had at least one balance weight missing from the front wheels, just for starters! That car was damn near undrivable at 70+!

        As for that Avenger itself, the weak-kneed 2.4 mated to the ancient four-speed automatic made a lot of noise, but didn’t translate that noise into forward motion! Steering? Worst feel of any car I’ve driven! Same with overall handling feel! And the real kicker was the crap MPGs, thanks to the need to cane that poor four to get it to go anywhere!

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think Nissan does the CVT just right. As much as I totally despise simulated gear changes, it seems Nissan has it programmed to “help” you forget you’re driving a single speed bicycle.

  • avatar
    April

    A Versa was my rental during my visit to San Jose last month. I found it a very adequate basic automobile. Reasonably accurate steering with good acceleration. Considering all the city driving I did the gas mileage was excellent. Also my host and I took a road trip to Sacramento and the CVT responded well, even in the hilly portions of the interstate we took. One more thing, the compact dimensions of the Nissan came in handy while parallel parking.

    I cannot understand all the hate for the Versa.

    P.S. Trying to find a curbside parking spot in the residential area of SJC sucks.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      My problem is with the interior. The last Versa was uncommonly nice inside for the segment. Decent dash plastics. Padded door panels. Big squishy door armrests. That’s all gone now, it is a bad as a Yaris or Fit without any quirky character. Doesn’t matter how much you spend on your Versa, your elbows will be resting on rock hard plastic.

      It has also become rather homely, what with the swollen passenger compartment flanked by a tiny hood and trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I agree. I worked for Nissan when the Versa first came to North America and I remember driving ones out of the company pool. I recall thinking they were fairly nice cars for the money, but certainly not enthusiastic.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ 30-mile fetch – If I’m reading Wikipedia correctly, the current Versa actually is a different model, not just a newer generation of the same model. The Versa of five years ago was the North American version of the Nissan Tiida. The Versas of today are the North American versions of the Latio sedan and the Note hatchback. I think the Tiida is, by design, a bigger and nicer car than either the Latio or the Note.

        A coworker has a previous-gen hatchback (i.e., the Tiida hatchback). It’s the type of car that journalists scoff at but is a great vehicle in the real world. The back seat is fantastic, with head and legroom that would shame many midsizes, not to mention compacts and subcompacts.

  • avatar

    I think the Versa has a place in the current market. My views may be skewed being that I’m in Brazil and all, but it is a car that handles well enough, the 1.6 has good acceleration and the manual (never drove the CVT in it) has nice shifts and a light clutch. It is roomy though a tad narrow and the roofline in the back eats away at headroom. The external and internal design could use some help but I don’t find it bad enough to reject the car for it if all other spots hit it for you.

    I don’t know exactly the market for it in the US, but here cars like it (and there are a bunch) offer for reasonable prices (in our market) a driving experience that, taking away the obvious drawbacks (which seem to have been more or less addressed in the already seen new Versa, especially seems the interior has been improved), is competitive with Fiesta (more roomy), Fit (more comfortable) and those immediately above like Corolla, Civic, Focus (cheaper).

    I don’t think it’s in no way a disposable car and offers quite a lot back for those who value value for money.

  • avatar
    Macca

    There are still some glaring factual errors in this article – this doesn’t seem befitting of a site like TTAC…

    1. The engine in the Versa is a 1.6L, not 1.5L.
    2. Navigation is not available in Versa SV trim. You can get bluetooth, steering wheel controls and an upgraded stereo in a tech package, but you have to opt for the highest SL trim to add nav as an option.
    3. The manual transmission option in a Versa is a 5-speed and is only available in the most basic ‘S’ trim (the one that starts at $11,990 and lacks map lights and a center arm rest – so yes, I would imagine you’d know you’re in the most basic transportation available).
    4. Furthermore, it would seem that the entire premise of this article was to show what kind of feature/drive contrast there was between two similarly priced cars from two distinct classes of car (midsize vs [sub]compact). I mean, that was the point, right?
    The effectiveness of this thesis is diminished once the writer realized he was in a $15k Versa versus a $21k 200. Go for the manual-trans Versa sedan (again, a 5 speed) and you’re in a $12k car versus a $21k car. With $6-$9k separating these two vehicles the differences are more easily explained and understood. It seems as if most of the article was written around the idea that this was an $18k Sentra – take that away and it kind of falls flat.

    I don’t mean to be a jerk about the fact checking, but this is basic stuff that is easy to get right. If an article on the new Stingray had incorrect engine displacement figures or errors regarding options packages, it would likely get a bit more attention from the B&B – I mean, who cares about a tenth of a liter in an econobox?

  • avatar
    daviel

    Did you see a lot of bicycles in Boston?

  • avatar

    you ask “Not once, not a single time, did somebody honk at me. Nobody cut me off. When I signaled, people let me in. Boston, what’s wrong with you? Where are your passive aggressive moronic idiot nutjob drivers? Have you gone soft on me? (Do Boston drivers feel sorry for you if you’re driving a Chrysler 200?!)”

    As a native New Englander and frequent Boston driver let me state that we have just been through an nine month winter with approximately 99 snowstorms. It’s still cold out and it’s nearly May. We are all ground down to the nubs and have so much Season Affective Disorder from this relentless winter that we can’t even get worked up about guys who don’t know how to drive in our city.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “CVTs! They bore us! There is much mileage to be gained when you can run the engine at arbitrarily chosen speeds. Want to go fast? High RPM. Want to save gas? Low RPM. This is great if you care about efficiency, but it’s a nightmare if you’re used to using engine noise as a proxy for looking at the speedometer.”

    Easy fix. Get a manual. Nearly impossible to find on a rental lot, hell, on any lot, but so worth it.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “You can at least pretend you’re not driving a cheap econobox, and you won’t care that you’re getting 10% worse gas mileage.”

    The manual won’t actually get worse gas mileage unless the driver is so incompetent that he shifts as poorly as the EPA test requires for manuals.


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