QOTD: Found Yourself Pleasantly Surprised?
It’s easy for a car to disappoint — it’s seen all the time in the reviews featured on these pages. A squeaky seat here, loose trim there, or a ride quality as smooth as falling down a flight of stairs.
But what about those times when the opposite happens?
My expectations were so low because of the family lineage which preceded the car that impressed. By now you’re aware we’re talking Chevrolet Cruze; specifically the first generation. I didn’t have a lot of hope for the Cruze after considering its predecessors, the Cobalt and Cavalier. “Neither of those were very good,” I mused at the Avis counter. “GM will make the same mistakes again.”
And yet, no. The well-equipped rental Cruze (2LT I believe) rode pretty nicely. It was quiet at freeway speeds. The suspension handled rough roads and potholes with aplomb, and the seats were generally comfortable. The materials used, while not upscale, were at least competitive for the class. And the whole car felt solid, and like it was screwed together properly by people who weren’t drunk. The Cruze impressed me in lots of ways where I was expecting it to fall flat. I’d still recommend the first-generation Cruze as a used car buy, assuming one could be found that wasn’t used up, or a prior rental (same thing, really).
When did an experience with a vehicle surprise and impress you?
[Images: Mitsubishi, General Motors]
Funky D on Feb 27, 2019
The 2 truly pleasant surprises I've had are both currently in my garage. 2011 Toyota RAV4. I've never been a Toyota (or any Asian brand) fan up until we got the RAV4. While certainly not an enthusiast vehicle by any means, it does the job it was made for as well or better than anything else on the road. The 2.5L 4 is surprisingly torquey and delivers good mileage. It eats up cargo and miles with ease. The other one is the 2012 VW Eos that I bought to succeed the 2006 GTO after GM dried up the parts supply. While not a fire-breathing monster like the Goat, the 2.0L is sufficiently fast, and the DSG grew on me. I like the European driving feel and the hardtop convertible roof makes for any open or closed driving experience you want.
CincyDavid on Feb 27, 2019
I'll chime in not one, but TWO rental Nissans. I would no more buy a Nissan than fly to the moon, but I had positive experiences with a Versa sedan: huge back seat, larger than expected trunk, great little commuter car. And a new-bodystyle Altima. Doors sounded terrible, closed with a metallic "clank" noise, but when I picked it up at TPA, the trunk was open so I couldn't see the badge...I could only see the c-pillar shape and thought I had lucked into a Maxima, in a sea of Kia Optimas. Overall a very competent car and the CVT wasn't obnoxious at all. I don't know if it's dumb luck or what, but I have tended to get REALLY low mileage rentals from Alamo at Tampa Int'l...including a Cadillac XTS with 4 miles on it. The Altima had something like 900 miles on it. Perhaps a higher-mileage car would have been less impressive. I am scheduled to pick up a Ford Expedition (or similar) for a family trip in May, no telling what I'll wind up with...
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