By on March 7, 2017

Dodge Charger Seward Highway

“It should not be denied… that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led West.” —Wallace Stegner

Got an unusual question via email the other day. It comes from a young man who will be familiar to you but whom we will not explicitly identify. He was once a writer, once an editor, and now a financier, having achieved escape velocity from this ragged, scuttling business into the security and prestige of grown men’s endeavors. There was a time that he worked for me, and a time that I worked for him. It seems difficult to believe that we met eight full years ago.

Anyway, in the course of our various conversations, this Canadian fellow (we’ll call him “Bo”) happened to mention his upcoming travel plans and his need for some companionship along the way, preferably of the short-term, transaction-oriented variety.

I’m considering a road trip from Buffalo or Detroit to somewhere on the west coast. Will likely rent a car to do it. Any suggestions? Thinking Impala or Charger or some American full size that will be comfortable, good on the highway but won’t be a gas guzzler.

Bo is no longer imprisoned by the surly bonds of financial grounding that entwine most of us, so my first response to this was: “Rent yourself a Benz C63S from Hertz Dream Cars and floss in style from Windsor to Wilshire.” Unfortunately, that particular automobile, and most of the cars in the Hertz collection, have a mileage limit of 100 (or less) per day, with an excess charge of between 50 cents and three bucks per mile. Assuming Bo can drive 500 miles a day with no trouble and 800 miles in a pinch, that could add up to a couple thousand dollars extra. That’s real money for most people, even your Sherman McCoy types.

So I’m afraid I’ll have to make a slightly more prosaic recommendation. What’s required here is something that is absolutely at ease on the American freeway, a car that can cruise at 80 mph while maintaining a quiet interior and keeping fuel consumption to a reasonable trickle. The Impala would be fine for this. The Charger would be a bit noisier but a bit more characterful, even in its five-speed form that’s no longer available today. There’s also something to be said for driving a Charger in the United States nowadays as far as obtaining a slightly elevated level of highway courtesy from residents of certain states.

It’s currently possible to rent an Avalon or its generic-label equivalent, the Azera, from certain agencies. In either case, you get a bit more refinement and interior quality at the cost of slightly inferior over-the-road handling and behavior. I suppose one could also make the case for a Highlander or even a Tahoe, although wind noise goes up and fuel economy goes wayyyyy down in those cases.

When all is said and done, however, I believe the best choice for this all-American road trip is the all-American car straight-outta-Brampton-Ontario: the inimitable Chrysler 300C. It’s a true sweetheart: handsome, solid, quiet on the road, powerful enough to sprint ahead of traffic, comfortable enough to run a thousand miles a day. The stereo is brilliant, the seats are remarkable. It’s one of my favorite automobiles, although my personal preferences for configuration run in the direction of the no-longer-available-in-the-states 300C SRT-8.

Somehow I doubt that most of the B&B feels the same way, so have at it. What would you rent? And, just to vary up the responses a bit: what route would you take from Buffalo to Los Angeles?

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138 Comments on “Ask Jack: A Young Man Traveling Without Commitment?...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well it may get me killed here a FCA minivan is a good long haul trip car, especially if your planning on lugging stuff to LA, for a car I would find a Genesis if possible, maybe go out of the box and see if there is a lincoln or caddy, that eats up highway miles, get on 1-80 and head east to about Iowa and then every other state take a local highway, you can only take so much 6 lane highway. Plan accordingly it is winter still.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      Have actually heard personal accounts of a late model Caravan or Town & Country used to haul people and luggage, such as from Michigan to Florida and back, where over 30 mpg was obtained from the average of the entire trip. That included up and down some mountains. And that it was a comfortable cruiser.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve driven 8-9 hours at a time in the new Pacifica. They’re quite good long distance cars. With that said, I would probably go in an L-platform car, preferrably the 300, if it was just me travelling.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    A Chev SS.

    The ideal touring companion.

    It was designed to travel the vast distances in Australia.

    As a bonus, it handles well, has enough kilowatts to put a grin on your face and it ca carry a sh!tload of kit.

    Other than that a larger AMG or M Series sedan.

    Jack, you see when you concentrate you can write interesting articles. That’s a couple in a few weeks. Keep on trying.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Lol, I wonder how many Chevy SS’s are in regular rental fleets. Probably about as many as Model T’s and Citroen 2CV’s.

      Oh, and such wonderful advice on his writing. Maybe if Jack works really hard, he can write almost as incoherent as you, he just needs to have some biased and unfounded opinions with made-up facts to prove them.

      Like, ummm: “MOST (89.78%) of truck buyers would buy a BMW or an SS instead of an F-250/2500 series 4×4 truck if they were just half as smart as Australia folks, which don’t even buy enough of it’s version of the SS to keep it on the market. That’s a fact because I say it is. And the sky is blue which is MOAR PROOF I’m right and everyone else is wrong.”

      The real answer here is a mid size truck made in Thailand. Nothing else will do.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Where does it stipulate “regular rental fleets” in the article? Another Johnnie’ism?

        Oh, maybe your writing will one day reach my standard.

        First, you need to acquire knowledge. This is your biggest challenge.

        Thanks John for your thoughtful and considered advice. Follow my advice and you can match me and have mature and meaningful discussion.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          Yep, I made it all up.

          “Will likely rent a car to do it. Any suggestions? Thinking Impala or Charger or some American full size that will be comfortable, good on the highway but won’t be a gas guzzler.”

          Except for that part.

          Oh, and this part:

          “most of the cars in the Hertz [dream] collection, have a mileage limit of 100 (or less) per day, with an excess charge…that could add up to a couple thousand dollars extra.”

          It helps to read the article.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            How can you be objective?

            You are a dedicated Ford fan. You are quite nationalistic towards the US.

            Mix these two traits and as has been witnessed your comments tend towards subjectiveness.

            By discounting other brands and nations to the degree you do restricts your want to be accurate.

            You will play on a singular word or phrase completely discounting the context surrounding what is being put forward.

            This is either trolling or you are a dumb fnck. So far I assume it is a mixture of both.

            If you want to debate me then smarten the fnck up and don’t present yourself like a 14 yearold who likes a particular brand ’cause daddy likes it.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            This needs to stop now, both of you.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            “Like, ummm: “MOST (89.78%) of truck buyers would buy a BMW or an SS instead of an F-250/2500 series 4×4 truck if they were just half as smart as Australia folks, which don’t even buy enough of it’s version of the SS to keep it on the market.”

            The irony is that Australian auto production only ever existed because until about 2 decades ago Australia was among the most protectionist countries in the world in terms of trade policy. Then BAFO comes and complains about US protectionism for pickup trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Drekson,
            The argument you put forward is 35 years out of date.

            This is now 2017, not 1982.

            Good attempt at trolling.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Something one can actually rent for reasonable money? I’d be tempted to do a Mustang, much cooler than an Impala/Malibu/Fusion/etc. And still reasonably comfortable.

    And I’d go via Route 66.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      I agree. Pony car, unless he has a bad back.

      Traveling across the states in a car who’s segment was born right here and is as American as apple pie…or as Canadian as Maple syrup depending on your point of view since some are/were built north of the border, eh? Anyway, it would be a great way to make some memories.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      S2K Chris,
      No way I rented one from San Fran to LA and back over two days, the info tech is shit, important when traveling and you can barley see out of the thing, I would have taken almost any thing else except the dodge truck the offered me.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      S2k Chris,
      Great idea. In fact, I liked it so much I did it myself in 2014. The Mustang was a V6 Deluxe with leather and comfort goodies, and I shot a lot of pics. I wrote it up, but was too chicken to actually submit it so I held onto it. Then the 2015 model came out and that was that.

      There were two of us and a baby seat, which made it a bit cramped (tiny trunk), but the car was otherwise brilliant. Stopping at Route 66 museums (they’re all along the way) was a blast in an actual red Mustang. I’d never owned one, but I get the charm a little bit now. One museum used early Mustang seats in it’s tiny theatre. When I was in high school Mustangs were cheap economy cars, unless they had the 5.0 badge, which meant they were cheap economy cars that could humiliate you. But cool? No. I was an F-body guy.

      This version of the car was different. We felt a part of the highway itself rather than just tourists. There were lots of fellow vacationers doing the run in vans, Miatas, Corvettes, and anonymous Camcords. Still, we felt like nothing modern belonged there like the Mustang. Oh, except the Harleys. Those guys really do own the back roads in the way semis own Interstates.

      The downside is that what remains of Route 66 is REALLY, REALLY, SLOW. On the return we wussed out and got onto the interstate to blast quickly in a straight line, negating the charm of the car. Still, if you have unlimited time, it is gorgeous. The V6 even sounded great echoing in the narrow width of the roadbed and old village main streets.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        IL to CA via R66 is on my bucket list, but first I’d have to buy (rent?) an appropriate car. None of my Japanese cars would feel right. Mustang, Corvette, or maybe a big Caddy feels like the only way to do it right.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          This past weekend, I got a free upgrade at Enterprise to a base Camaro with the 3.6. This is the car I would choose. Being long of leg, this car has the best seat for me.Most of my upper legs were actually supported by the seat cushion rather than being cantilevered off into space.

          Also, I was stunned at how big the trunk is. It is both long and deep, if a bit narrow, but the space is an almost perfect rectangular solid, making it exceptionally usable.

          More than anything else, seat comfort is what matters on long drives.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    As a Buffalo soldier myself, I’d aim for a Challenger. Same solid feel, extra sex appeal.

    Hop on “the ninety west” and enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I agree, but because big highway cruising it’s this car’s forte. Plus a big trunk to carry enough luggage.

      But, I’m biased.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Oh, I agree – I own a 300, an LH M Special, but still a large Chrysler highway cruiser – but for a young, single guy on the hunt for adventure, nothing beckons like the open door of a bold coupe.

        To Corey’s comments, I didn’t mind the seats in the Challenger i drove from Rochester to Virginia Beach and back. I *did* mind the infotainment system (this was in 2011, UConnect?)

        But all was forgiven when I walked up to the big Chally on a warm Virginia morning. Not too many on the roads back then and it got several comments at the gas stations.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      The Challenger has such poor visibility that it makes it pretty unnerving in some situations, especially when you’re driving somewhere you haven’t been.

      Seats aren’t great for long distances, either.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        @Corey, everyone’s built differently I guess but I love the seats for long distance driving. I don’t think they have enough sidebolstering for sharper cornering but by far the most comfortable of the 3 for long drives IMHO.

        As far as visibility goes, I guess you get used to it. The Mustang is a little better there and the Camaro a little worse.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          I am 6′ tall, 32″ inseam, and I recall distinctly numb bum and not enough thigh support.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “numb bum”

            A homeless man who can’t feel anything?

            Sterno was good that night.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            See, that’s some genetic Brit in Corey that refuses to die and it mess him up dere.

            Edit: FCUK! Inadvertent baruth support. Godamn Recent Comments bar.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            As far as I know, German and Native American!

          • 0 avatar
            MrIcky

            6’2 here in an RT plus. Like I said, everyone’s different.

            Mustang seats tend to hurt my back after a while (2014 gt).

            Camaro seats were OK (2015 SS) but everything else felt a little claustrophobic. I haven’t tried the newest version.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I think Jack’s suggestions are spot on.

    If he wants to buy something cheaper (say pay cash, sell it at the end of his fun) find a Crown Victoria Sport, Grand Marquis LSE (rare), generic midsize sedan with a V6 (likely practically invisible to the mounties.)

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      That’s what I would do, just not a Panther. Then again, he should really wait until he gets to the west coast before buying something. Because if you show up in a car with New York plates, everyone will scream “RUST!!” and run away. Rightfully so.

      So, rent a big American sedan, go to the west coast in it, buy something very cool, rare, decent and in good mechanical shape with NO rust, drive it back and make your money back for the whole trip when you sell it to some collector back east.

    • 0 avatar
      Panther Platform

      I still have my rare 2003 Grand Marquis LSE and it is a great touring car. My wife and I love the interior space, comfort, and big car ride. I know these days 235 HP is laughable in a V-8, but it is enough for me given how the car is geared. The suspension is tuned more for handling and at least for me the GM LSE is fun to drive.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I guess I’m weird because I prefer to take my personal car on road trips over renting something.

    If I *had* to rent something I’d try to do a Continental if possible. If the Lincoln is unavailable, I’d just go with whatever V6 large car is on the lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You REALLY have to consider the seats and noise level on a cross country freeway trip. I’ve driven coast to coast in both directions about a dozen times, and picking a big car on the lot with a V6 is going to be a case of coulda, woulda, shoulda.

      I’ve used a ’65 Impala, 283, Powerglide, no AC (in 1971,’72,73), a ’68 Mercury Montego, mechanic-installed 351, C3, no AC (in ’74,’75,78), and a 2010 300C, 5.7, 5-speed auto, AC, quality audio (in 2012,’14,’16). Jack hit the nail on the head with the 300C.

      The most underpowered, noisy, thirsty, but cheapest trip was the first in ’71 (average gas price:32 cents). The ’75 trip was much better in all respects, and though gas cost 9-10 times what the first trip cost, the last two trips were the most enjoyable.

      When I was driving in those last two trips, I detected a level of respect for an assumed mature man of means. When I wasn’t sleeping in the back and my son was driving, I noticed he was getting interested female smiles. Bo can’t go wrong with a 300C.

  • avatar
    SteveRenwick

    For a solo trip, I second the Mustang. I recently did a round trip, San Francisco to Harbor Springs, Michigan, in my GT and it fit the bill perfectly, including a certain amount of the respect you mention. A rental unit with the turbo four should get good mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’m curious, what kind of mileage did you get? I reset my trip odometer in northern NJ a few weeks ago, and was getting 29.3 in my GT, with the cruise set at 68. That was over about 90 minutes, until I hit a wall of traffic at the border.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    Spot on, Jack. I rented a 300c on my trip from Pittsburgh to Detroit. Very comfortable, quiet, excellent road manner, and returned avg 28-29 mpg. Impressive for the weight of that vehicle. Ventilated seats are great for longer trips. I could also recommend the Grand Cherokee. I find the seats a little better and still got 26 mpg on my Pitt to Boston trip.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I think Charger is spot on. Easily found in rental fleets without having to pay a “premium” fee or anything like that, surprisingly efficient, and just really nice to drive from a ride/handling/power/comfort standpoint. Bonus: many left lane sitters (short of the truly oblivious ones, which make up many of that crowd) will GTFO when they see a white/grey/black/blue charger coming up on them.

    Big Al where does one find an SS or AMG to rent? I assume we’re focusing on common rental agencies.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Glad to hear this person is doing well.

      Second the Charger/300. Avis and Enterprise have some V8 R/T models, but I’ve gotten outstanding (34 mpg) mileage from the V6/8AT combo in a few rental Chargers and never found them wanting.

      It seems lately I keep getting a ‘free upgrade’ to SUVs, which I despise. I put 1400 miles on a Sante Fe Sport over a long race weekend and just hated that gutless little thing, but they didn’t have anything else to rent me at the time.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        The rental Santa Fe sport has the distinctive downside of having the same 2.4L engine as the Sonata and old Tuscon, but with 300lbs extra to haul (AWD dependent) over the Tuscon in a similar trim or 400 over a Sonata.

        It is really a shame they even offer the Santa Fe Sport with the 2.4, it just doesn’t have enough power to motivate that much mass. We have a Santa Fe with the V6 (only engine option for the big one) and it is actually fairly quick considering how big it is.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Nah. I’ve rented a Santa Fe Sport with the 2.4 for a long drive, and power was more than sufficient. Nice looking, nice driving car, with good MPG given its aero and weight. Presumably they give it shorter ratios for the first couple gears; the base engine works fine.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      “Big Al where does one find an SS or AMG to rent?”

      Right? Last time I rented, I got stuck with a base model Chevy truck. Next time I’ll just complain until they drop an AMG, Shelby, SS or Corvette in my lap instead. I couldn’t believe how many Enterprise kept in stock.

      Couldn’t believe it because they weren’t there.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Since Jack stated “Bo” was Canadian, I found several rental agencies with high end stuff but no mention of AMG. One agency had a Bentley convertible for $999 per day. They also had a ’65 Mustang convertible to rent.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    I’d rent a C300. Excellent cars. I had a 2008 one and a 2012 one. No problems, well made, sat on the road nice, very comfortable.

  • avatar
    jberger

    Without a doubt, the 300 is my first choice. Excellent cruising machine for the highway, quiet and comfortable and gets 31 MPG on the Interstate. An added benefit is doesn’t attract attention to the revenue generating types you pass along the way. The Charger or Challenger attracts a LOT more attention in certain spots.

    If it was Miami to the Keys’ then the Mustang Convertible would be a great choice, but it’s not something you want to drive across the country with the top up.

    The Impala is always my 2nd choice for road trip rentals, but you might want to pick up the extra insurance on the car. A week of driving one will make you want to punch out the infotainment screen when it constantly glitches. I rent them all the time but I wouldn’t want to drive one coast to coast.

    Another good option is the new Pacifica, it’s a great road van. It is like having radar cloaking device on the interstate. You can do 80-90 and no one seems to even bat an eye at you.
    But who wants to remember the time they took a trip across the states in a minivan? It is an excellent choice but I doubt it would make fond driving memories.

    Finally, when in doubt on a long trip, grab a Tahoe or Yukon. The extra mass and height makes for a nice ride and you don’t have to worry about getting crushed in between 2 semi’s along the way. You’ll still hate the infotainment system and it’s random crashes, so don’t forget to add the insurance and pack extra cash for gas.

  • avatar
    mason

    “his need for some companionship along the way, preferably of the short-term, transaction-oriented variety.”

    When I first read this sentence I thought this story was headed in a whole ‘nother direction.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I had briefly considered renting and Aston Martin to drive from London to Edinburgh instead of flying. It seemed like the most appropriately British way to travel the country.
    I looked into it and the cost was… eye watering. Ok, maybe not that much more than a plane ticket, but it was for a 2 day term – shorter than our stay in Scotland so I’d need to get it back somehow or pay for an extended trip. Then add on all the tolls along the way, especially out of London, petrol, and I don’t recall if the price included insurance and it became clear that I was nowhere near rich enough for such a trip.

    I’ve yet to drive a Charger or Impala. But, if faced with the choice I’d opt for the Charger for purely personal preference reasons alone. But who knows what the lot holds. The most memorable rental I had was a Volvo S60. Talk about something unexpected on the lot.
    Another time at the same airport I had my pick of a few Grand Prix GXPs.

    Miss you, DK.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “It’s a true sweetheart: handsome, solid, quiet on the road, powerful enough to sprint ahead of traffic, comfortable enough to run a thousand miles a day. The stereo is brilliant, the seats are remarkable.”

    I have to agree with this. I took a 300C Platinum AWD on a 5-600 mile road trip last week and it was perfect. The upgraded Harmon Kardon branded stereo is fantastic in this car. Otherwise, it’s quiet, comfortable and and gets good fuel economy with the 3.6L V6.

    I wondered what Derek was up to these days.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Bo should do the 300C.

    Bo’s life is now king sh1t of f*ck mountain. The 300C is representative of it.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    My first choice would be a motorcycle.
    2nd choice – a pickup. I’m sure you can find a loaded one somewhere. My brother had to rent one once to tour some corporate bigwigs.
    3rd choice – How about a Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator since SUV’s are the big thing and would carry good will in the heartland.

    If you only want cars then a Chrysler 300C or Cadillac XTS would carry brownie points in the flyover states. If not interested in domestic, I see rentals for BMW’s and Mercedes.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I agree with the poster above who says Continental — if you can find one in a rental fleet.

    If not, the 300C is definitely the best road-tripper from among the usual suspects. Although be prepared for rental-spec tires that have a significant negative effect.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Depends upon the time of year. And the number of travelling companions.

    Remember that rental fleet vehicles generally do not have winter tires.

    So a RWD 300 could be a bit impractical, when clad in all-seasons in the winter.

    And if travelling with more than one companion or copious amounts of luggage, then a large SUV or Caravan might be preferential.

    Therefore cannot make an optimal suggestion without more information.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Arthur Dailey – all of the rental agencies I’ve dealt with in Canada will rent you a vehicle on winter tires if you are willing to pay extra. A few winters back my truck was in the body shop and the replacement F150 came with winters. My insurance covered it since they had to give me something as close as possible to my truck. My truck was on “winter” rated tires.
      In Quebec winter tires are legally mandated so there would be no other option.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Lou, thanks. I rent monthly and also have a Zipcar membership.

        For the past 2 years Zipcar actually advertised some ‘winter ready’ vehicles. Last year they were only Corollas. This year some other models.

        From the rental agencies, I have never been offered a vehicle with winter tires in Ontario. When I have asked they reply “we inspect our vehicles tires for tread wear/life” but always have all seasons.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Twenty years ago I flew to Tampa, to bring my father in laws 93 Crown Vic, back to Ontario. I skipped I 75 and took the mountain route. What a relaxing and beautiful car to drive. These days, a decent Panther body is hard to find up here in rust country.

    For a rental i would go with an Epsilon Impala . Don’t even think about a 4 cyl. I owned one, too much car for the displacement. I had a 2009 W Impala with the 3.9. Nice highway cruiser, but not as responsive as the later model equipped with the 300 HP Camaro V 6.

    As far as the Mustang goes ? These days I use a an Turbo 4 Mustang as my daily driver. Its comfortable, a blast to drive, and has all the power you need for highway cruising. What it doesn’t do, is deliver stellar gas economy at highway speeds. To maintain 75-80 mph its in boost mode, most of the time. I don’t have an issue with that. But its a myth to believe that the Eco Boost Mustang is a fuel sipper….YMMV

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Why does this vehicle have to be a car?

    Why not a Toyota 4Runner or even a diesel crew cab Colorado/Canyon?

    These vehicles will offer enough economy, comfort and flexibility to venture anywhere on a cross country stint.

    They are small enough for inner city driving parking, capable enough to see and traverse some of the Wild West and the many National and State Parks. Cruise at reasonable speeds.

    Is this guy doing a Mach run or wanting to kill time and see the country, rather than race across the country.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      “Why not a Toyota 4Runner or even a diesel crew cab Colorado/Canyon?”

      Neither of those things are in rental fleets in America.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Corey,
        Where I’m staying at in WA there is a person renting a 4Runner, a new one. I don’t know what company it is from.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Hang on now Corey, I’ve had new 4Runners twice now as rentals, Toyota sold a surprising number to fleets. SR5 4wds both times. Really nice trucks, but would not be a top choice for a XC road trip unless I intended to offroad out West (which in my case, I would).

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Fair enough. What company is this? I’ve never seen one at a rental lot here.

          Also, how are these classified per the company? The 4Runner doesn’t really fit into the regular categories they’d use.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Avis both times in my case. Yeah it’s a bit weird. No idea how they’re classified, same category as the CUV Explorers I figure since I’ve had a few of those as well.

          • 0 avatar
            mittencuh

            Avis rents the 4Runner, it’s in the standard SUV class (Same as Edge, Explorer, Sante Fe, etc).

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          gte,
          I’ve been tasked to set up our emergency airfield response team.

          We have a rented diesel 4×4 Colorado Space Cab, this is in Washington State.

          Also, this guy who rented the 4Runner to go snowboarding at Mt Baker and some of my young guys go up with him.

          We have rented and I have driven at least a dozen or so mini vans (Toyota, Nissan, Kia) SUVs (Sequoia, Tahoe, Suburban), cars, (Challenger, Toyota (s), Hyundias and on and on.

          We even have a new aluminium F150 4×4 crew cab, nice to drive, but cheap plasticy inside. And yes heavy on fuel.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            “I’ve been tasked to set up our emergency airfield response team.”

            I’d like to know where this is, so that I can avoid ever finding myself in a place where you’re responsible for emergency response.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            brenschmuck,
            You never need to worry. You wouldn’t cut it.

            Just reading your comment indicates you would present yourself as a hazard with a paper airplane.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            “You wouldn’t cut it.”

            What wouldn’t I cut?

            Does “cutting it” mean surviving even a minor incident at Al’s Bush League Airport?

            Yeah, you’re probably right.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            brenschluss – LOL

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            brenslush,
            You don’t have a clue. Keep to topics you have knowledge of.

            I know you think you sound cute, but why?

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            Hey Al,

            So you’re here in the other WA now! I live over on the Eastside of Seattle. I don’t know how busy you are, but if you want to get together for a beer sometime while you’re here, let’s exchange emails through Derek (TIA Derek). I used to work for both Kenworth and Genie which both sold equipment in your home country.

            JP

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Paul,
            WTF?

            Really?

            The offer has been already been negotiated. What’s the go?

            Email me, then I’ll evaluate my position.

            ACM

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Corey,
        Does the US have companies that rent medium term for industry? I believe in Australia we have vehicle rental/leasing companies that rent like this.

        We are operating out of the US for 6 months. I do know we have some Enterprise vehicles.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Jack….If its the same guy I think it is ??? ..He owes me a lunch. Checking the calendar I believe we are in2017. GM Oshawa is still producing cars.

    If its the same guy, he will remember me ? I have lots of free time these days, anywhere in the GTA with a license will do.

  • avatar
    TCragg

    Forget about what car he’s going to drive. The more interesting story would be how Bo went from automotive journalist to “fellow” at one of the largest private equity firms in Canada. At any rate, glad he is doing well and that a good road trip still fits in his schedule. My vote would also be for an LX. Not hard on gas and very nice to spend time in.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    If ‘Bo’ is really our resident Cadillac fan, DW, may I suggest the CT6? Maybe he can get Melody to ride shotgun with him. They can fight over who gets to pick the radio station along with other topics.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I think a nice Mustang would make for some springtime fun driving across the US.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I just rented a 328i for about $100 a day. I think it had unlimited mileage. That thing is a real boulevardier and highway cruiser.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I hear the new Fusion is a real game changer, might be worth looking into.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I loved the Mustang V6 convertible rental I had down in South Carolina. My wife and I dropped the top while hitting the beaches.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well…assuming limited resources for the hired companionship, I’d suggest something completely different: Toyota Camry. Go cheap on the car and save your dollars.

    #MoreMoneyToSpendOnHookers

  • avatar

    If “Bo” is doing that well financially, I’d say buy a late model used car in Detroit and sell it on the west coast. It’d probably cost less than renting.

    Re: Chrysler 300C SRT-8, Cars.com shows a 2010 in the Detroit area with 99K miles for $17K.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      He should buy a house or two or 10 so he can have an unlimited vacation.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “He should buy a house or two or 10 so he can have an unlimited vacation.”

        Not in GTA (Greater Toronto Area as opposed to Grand Theft Auto).
        The housing market is crazy there and was made much worse when BC placed a tax on foreign buyers in Vancouver.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Ronnie….I had a similar plan. My insurance company in Ontario would not cover me for a vehicle licensed and registered in the USA. I was going to buy a truck from a guy in Indiana.. The plan was to take a little cruise through the USA. I was going to do all the paperwork involved into bringing it home. Then transfer it over to Ontario. I would need to buy short term insurance in the USA.

      The plan had too many “moving parts”. Also at the time I could buy US dollars for about 17% exchange. Today, its about $1.35 Canadian. It can be done, but it can get a little pricey.

  • avatar
    c71

    Spending a lot of time choosing your ideal rental car seems odd to me when the “or similar” caveat is almost universally applied to rental car reservations.
    Heck, a fair percentage of the time when I rent a car (a few times a year), I end up with something I’d consider to be dissimilar to what I booked.
    I guess if you had your heart set on a specific car you could go to a major airport and go from counter to counter in the car rental area, asking after your desired model. Come to think of it, if you want to lock in a specific model you could go with Silvercar – as long as what you want is a silver Audi A4. That certainly wouldn’t be a bad road trip companion though.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    Don’t have a car recommendation but as to the route I’d recommend taking some Blue Highways for at least part of the route:

    https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Highways-Journey-into-America/dp/0316353299/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488915518&sr=1-1&keywords=least+heat+moon+blue+highways

    • 0 avatar

      A good read but he disappointingly picked about the most boring roads he could have driven on in Michigan. It’s been a while but I believe he took the ferry from Wisconsin and then drove across the middle of the mitten.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Of all the cars I have sufficient experience in, I’d recommend the Impala LTZ. Big, cozy, enough power to roast the front tires from a stop if you turn the nannies off.

    That said, you’d be hard pressed to turn down a Charger/Challenger R/T or 300C. All three are excellent choices, and the B&B seem to agree.

    I would as well second the opinion that the Mustang convertible is not a solid choice. Way too much wind noise.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I’m not one for the big, comfy land yachts so my choice, if renting, would be a Shelby GT-H or a Corvette (V8 fun FTW!).

    If you’re ballin’, how about purchasing a car in the mid-west and sell once you hit Cali?

    I’d recommend a 2013, school bus yellow BOSS 302. I get shivers thinking about that engine howling down route 66.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    If driving solo, Mustang for me, 300 for Bo (if I remember right, he really liked the drive in the Charger). With passengers it’s different. If anyone you care about will be in the back seat … there’s a reason the Camry sells so many times a day. Avalon is a nice upgrade if you find it. Some of the nicer roads aren’t as nice roads, so the slightly firmer Fords don’t win out.

  • avatar

    I’d rent a CT6. Or maybe a Genesis.

  • avatar
    Paragon

    I do have a desire to do a Route 66 road trip one day. When time and money allows. About 25 years ago, did a road trip from Ohio to Texas. Then on to California, and back to Ohio. That was in a 6-year old, base-model 1986 Chrysler Laser hatchback with the 2.2L and manual transmission. This was during the winter, and I came back I-70 through Colorado. The radio reported that I-70 was shut down in Denver due to the snow. I detoured around Denver, still had to deal with quite a bit of snow, but managed fine with no problems. Rented a motel room in California and once more on the trip back to Ohio; that would have been in Missouri.

    These days, my rental car of choice would be a Charger with the Pentastar 6. Second choice would be a Chrysler 300. Would also consider an Impala or Lacrosse. Possibly even a Genesis.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      Forgot to say that a current Ford Fusion would also be a consideration. A co-worker bought one about 2 years ago and is quite pleased with it.

      While a Mustang is cool and might be a fun car, I don’t expect the comfort and visibility to be adequate for a road trip, though.

      Even an XTS might be a consideration. A co-worker a bit younger than me bought one several years ago and has seemed to like it.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I’ve taken a few road trips in my Mustang. Comfort is an individual thing, but it’s got plenty of leg room, the seat fits me well, and the lumbar is adjustable. I’d avoid the Recaros for that kind of trip though.

        Visibility is great. The C-pillar on the new Mustangs is really thin compared to the Camaro and Challenger, so there’s no trouble in seeing what’s going on around you.

  • avatar
    ziggy082

    Timely question. Currently in a CTS rented from Calgary for the week. Great great car. Perfect for the highway. Quiet comfortable and good looking. Excellent driver, nice interior. Rented it for the week for less than $150 more than a Camry. Unlimited mileage. I’m on Cadillacs configuration building one now.

    • 0 avatar
      orange260z

      I put a lot of mileage on rental cars every year. My rental of choice has been a Chrysler 300 or a Charger; if they are willing to upgrade me then a Cadillac CTS 3.6 has been my choice since the Gen 3 came out in 2014.

      In 2013, I actually ended up buying a 300S with the 3.6/8 speed combo and have been very pleased with it. After the upgrades to the CTS for 2016 (the new 3.6L, CUE hardware upgrades) I purchased a 2016 CTS 3.6 AWD.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    Pretty easy to find a BMW 528i or MBZ E350 in rental fleets these days, I would consider one of those or a Mustang convertible during the right time of the year.

    Have taken two rental 300’s on road trips before, one had the Hemi/5-spd and the other had the 3.5 V6/5-spd, did not care for either. Twitchy steering off center that was tiring, poor visibility, bad fuel mileage from both engines (I know this is better with the updated engine/transmissions), poor interior quality…didn’t see a lot of upside other than the fact they were RWD and rode halfway decent.

    I also would consider the Fusion, had a Platinum model for a week that was a nice car to drive and quite peppy.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    I would write Hertz and ask them about renting the C63AMG and tell them that it will have 2000+ miles and ask for an offer.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I think y’all are forgetting that in the vast majority of cases, you don’t get to rent the car you want. you reserve a vehicle in a particular “class,” and when you pick up you get what they give you in that class.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Some of the companies do allow a bit of choice – National’s Emerald Aisle is the most common, but Hertz is branching into something similar soon.

      Also, for what it’s worth, the rental company I work for basically runs nothing but 300s in the premium class, and if you book a convertible, a Camaro or Mustang are really safe bets.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    Buy this, then resell it when you’re done cruising.

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=419057085101236&id=327864380887174

  • avatar
    kenwood

    I like the Continental suggestion. Barring that, I’d go with an XTS (and no, not a CT6). Or maybe borrow someone’s 2006-2011 DTS.

  • avatar

    Camaro

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    A white Cadillac convertible with a red interior, the older the better, named “The Shark.”

    And try to be cool like 1971 Hunter S. Thompson while I’m at it.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    From personal experience on a long road trip: Camaro V6. Connection to the road beats all, and 35 mpg on the freeway rocks.

    For the route, go to Pittsburgh, Morgantown, Charleston, Bristol, Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Dallas, El Paso, Tucson, Yuma, San Diego. That has you driving through the broadest variety of American landscapes.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    CHALLENGER all day every day for a long road trip. Comfort, power, presence, space, MPG, and vastly better visibility than a Camaro or Mustang, plus Uconnect works a treat and even the base stereo sounds good.

    Other pony cars? Nope. The ‘Stang has a blind spot the size of Massachusetts, and the Camaro has gun slits instead of windows. Other options from FCA’s menu of tank-like full-sizers? Nah. The 300’s light steering is appalling, and the Charger in a rental-aisle dark color is a) butt-ugly and b) liable to make the car in front of you slam on the brakes, thinking you’re Johnny Law. (I’d totally take a Charger in eye-searing bright frog green with a white perforated leather interior though…that’s a combination you can order, too!)

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