Daily Podcast: Renting a Car in Europe

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
daily podcast renting a car in europe

I’m going to England tonight. Well, I leave tonight and arrive there on Friday. Hooray! A working vacation is still a vacation, right? Sort of, maybe. Meanwhile, I’m going to need wheels for at least a few days that I’m there (don’t fret though, I’m not maniacal enough to drive in London). While I’m working on a press car for myself, the big question is – if I end up renting something, what could it be? What will it be? It is, for me at least, the closest approximation to a kid in a candy store. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten emails from someone called “Reality.” And he tells me a number of alarming things. The first was “Don’t kill yourself, driving on the left and shifting with the wrong hand.” Well I knew that already, but thanks Mr. R. Second, he said “You know, the European Focus is just better than the American Focus. It’s not something amazing. Especially with a tiny engine.” Yes yes, I know that too. But it’ll still be different. But then Reality dropped the bomb “With your luck, Berkowitz, your rental car is going to be something that’s on sale in America.” Heaven forbid. I’ll keep you updated on this tremendously important story.

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4 of 33 comments
  • Edgett Edgett on Oct 24, 2008

    I just turned in a Ford Focus diesel after spending ten days with it in Italy. It's really an excellent car - a little rumbly at speed (I didn't push it over 180 kph) and has the standard diesel rattle, but it returned 40 mpg in combined city (bumper to bumper) and high speed autostrada driving. Ride is firmer than an American Focus, and it felt like a very large car here in Italy. Other than the choice to rent a BMW (nearly twice the cost for a 3-series), I'd certainly recommmend the Focus. All-in for ten days from Hertz was 691 Euros, which seemed reasonable.

  • Jgh Jgh on Oct 24, 2008

    I was in Spain earlier in the year. I was there to present a demo seminar on test methods for vehicle dynamics. Good ol' Hertz stuck me with a (here's the irony) Chrysler Sebring - which is one of my least favorite cars on the American road today (styled by the geriatric ward of Mayo Clinic). The upshot is it had a diesel and a 6-spd manual gearbox, but the related downside is it took a car with miserable driving dynamics to begin with, and stuffed a heavy motor up front. Understeer galore. Try as I might to negotiate for anything (anything!) else, the Yank showed up in Detroit metal and lost all credibility at first sight.

  • Blankfocus Blankfocus on Oct 24, 2008

    My wife and I were given a four door yaris hatchback in Ireland last summer. not much fun, but it did make me appreciate the little guy as having a boat load of space and it was very comfortable. i'm glad the four door hatches are now coming our way.

  • Krazykarguy Krazykarguy on Oct 24, 2008

    On my Italian honeymoon in 2006, we rented a car from EuropCar. Got a Peugeot 206 4-door. The car wasn't bad, it was all of the Italian drivers who piloted their cars with "reckless abandon" (as it was described in the guidebooks). That and the fact that my navigator steered us through a "Scooter-only" alley (replete with photo camera cops) that got me a $90 charge a year later on my AMEX card courtesy of EuropCar... I won't be renting in Italy again unless it's in the country and a Ferrari.