QOTD: Winning at Rental Car Roulette?
Last week, we took a moment to recount our worst rental car memories — those times when the desk attendant at Rental Giant Co. was feeling either low on inventory or particularly unkind. Some of you took it upon yourselves to do some extra credit work, offering your winning rental car roulette examples, too.
Well, you can just type them again today, because the best of the best rental experiences is our topic of discussion.
My winning rental car recollection was easy to decide. In May of 2016 I decided to take a little road trip across Ohio to the border of West Virginia. To make it more interesting, I refused highways and took the Ohio River Scenic Byway instead. It would be a decently long journey, undertaken for one specific reason: pizza. There were two McDonalds locations in the nation that still offered the short-lived pizza that McD’s experimented with in the Nineties. I was determined.
I’d reserved a Standard class car. Enterprise picked me up the morning of departure in a grey Camry LE and took me to the office. They were hopeful. “You’ve reserved a Standard car. How about that Camry we picked you up in?”
I probably pulled a face, but asked, “Got anything interesting?”
Turns out they did; the black Challenger SXT seen here. On the long journey to pizza, I was pleased with the power on offer from the 3.6-liter Pentastar, even though the transmission kneecapped the engine a bit by shifting up through the gears too eagerly. The ride was generally comfortable with a big cruiser feel and a lot of old-fashioned road holding weight. My sort of thing.
Less impressive was the interior, with fit and finish coinciding appropriately with the generally just-okay materials. But that was mostly forgivable given it was a large, V6, and rear-drive coupe for $28,000 before any dealing was done. Seats were supportive, with enough bolstering, and the cockpit was generally comfortable. The biggest downside was the horrendous visibility mandated by the styling, and not assisted by the lack of a backup camera on such a base model. It made for some paranoia when reversing after eating an entire pizza (which was very tasty, by the way).
It was a fun trip, made nice by a comfortable, big car. Without any attempt to conserve fuel or drive on an interstate, I achieved something like 25 miles per gallon. Winning. (The pizza was discontinued at both locations shortly after and is now extinct.)
Let’s hear your rental car roulette wins.
[Images: Porsche, Corey Lewis]
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