Recently here on Talkingaboutcars.net, I detailed my adventure with my exploding Takata Air Bag recall which claimed “shards of metal” would be flying in my face if I continued to drive my “daily driver” 2011 Honda Insight. So, I parked the car for what turned out to be nearly 5 months before the replacement air bag arrived. Honda was great, and rented me a car through Enterprise Rentals that entire time!! I even got to know the “kids” at Enterprise at the El Camino center in Woodland Hills so much, I actually learned their names!
I always thought about how I would rank the rental cars if I had a chance, so, without further ado I bring you, drum roll please!
My…. Randy Kerdoon, Talking About Cars.net….Top 10 car rentals
10. 2016 Chrysler 300 M
a descriptive word no one ever wants to hear out of your rental car. Painful. …to your back. I normally love Chrysler 300’s….in fact I just recently swapped my 2003 Chrysler 300 M to my sister for her aging ’99 Grand Cherokee so I could send that to a charity for a write off. (Meaning I needed to thin my car “herd”). This particular rental 300M was a nice riding, smooth car with one glaring issue. The low back support wasn’t adjusting well enough to support my low back. It was either too much or two little….I call it the “Princess and the Pea” syndrome. Kept the car only a couple of days and swapped it out again….
9. 2016 Dodge Dart
I so wanted this car to be a great driving, spunky set of wheels. Frankly I love the flowing lines….and didn’t expect much from the power plant of a economy rental car. But some of the touches left me kinda cold. I’m a big fan of Miles per gallon (MPG). In every car I drive (‘cept the classics), I like to see what kind of gas mileage the car is getting. Good or bad. For some crazy reason, the Dart’s onboard display didn’t have that option. Sure it showed me my mileage for that very SECOND….but an overall mileage? No. Odd. I hoped I just missed it. Because if I didn’t….well, that just reeks of being cheap. Rental or not. Other than that…it ran well, kind of underpowered, but again, it was a rental Dart.
8. 2016. Chevy Camaro hardtop
I call this the “Claustrophobia mobile”. For some, this iconic car is a sporty way to travel. But the overall “chopped top” look, with not much window to stare through, while dynamic and great on first look….is a bit confining on the inside. Nothing like driving to work at 430 in the morning and thinking about what it would be like to drive a Rose Parade float down Colorado Blvd having to peer thru a small hole in the front and side of the vehicle. That was a bummer
7. 2016 Nissan Altima
A nice car with nice handling, nice comfort and….nice appearance. Nice. And Vanilla. But nice!
6. 2016 Ford Focus Hatchback
the first car I rented, and certainly a nice set of set of wheels. Great Handling…responsive steering…and I enjoyed it and kept it for almost a month when I thought to myself….”Geez am I going to have this car for 5 months? Wait a minute, why couldn’t I trade this in for another car?” And the rest is history
5. 2016 Nissan Maxima
Think upgraded Altima. This car felt like what the 300M was supposed to feel like. Comfortable, agile, solid and the closest thing to a luxury sports car on this list. It even had a dial for “sport” performance. Gotta like that.
4. 2015 Chevy Camaro Convertible
This had everything the Camaro hardtop had, great reactive steering, a good road vehicle around the turns, and the extra joy of, no hardtop, thus, more headroom, thus….no Claustrophobia. And if I even THOUGHT about that word….the convertible top would go down and wallah!! During the time I had the car, a raging heat wave hit Southern California, to the point where on my way to work at 430am…I put the top down. And it was comfortable. And I didn’t have to wear a coat. Nice!! Made me almost forget that the truck lid latch was broken and wouldn’t open. (Yes, Enterprise advised me of it before I rented the car, and I STILL wanted to rent it. I had Triple A…don’t need to stinkin’ access to a spare tire). Altho’ I kept wondering if I had a body back there and I just couldn’t smell it because it had been in there a long time.
3. 2016. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The final rental. One of my most favorite daily drivers ever was my ’94 Grand Cherokee….which was comfortable, great looking, had a nice stereo system and with the “Up Country” 4 wheel drive package could be driven practically anywhere. It’s only problem was the one time I accidentally knocked a coffee mug out of it’s center console holder and it hit the gear lever at 70 mph on the 57 Freeway on the way to an Angels game, and knocked it into reverse. It never had a reverse gear again. As for THIS rental Grand Cherokee it was pretty pedestrian but still nice to drive and just driving a Jeep adds to the amount of testosterone flowing thru your veins by default. Wish it had better gas mileage though.
2. 2016. Dodge Ram 1500 Truck
Step behind the wheel of this truck and you suddenly feel like Tim Allen’s character in the old TV show “Home Improvement”. Ho! Ho! Talk about Testosterone flowing through your veins! and with that ride height it’s easy to think….Wow….I’m on top of the world!! Extra Cab, 5.7 liter Hemi (like my old Dodge Magnum)….that engine rumble sounded great!! I was a little surprised by the truck having a “dial” gear selector instead of the column shift or floor shift, which kinda reminded me of a Prius, but, THIS IS ONE FINE MANLY RIDE!! If I wasn’t 4 months out of having a heart attack, I’d be lifting heavy objects and throwing them in the bed of the truck…just because I could.
And the number 1 ranked Enterprise Rental Car I drove thanks to the Takata Air Bag recall IS…..
1. 2015 Dodge Challenger
short of having a Hellcat, THIS is the car I want in my driveway! It looks great, I look great in it, and being of a certain age, I don’t have to worry about taking my kids to school and cheerleader practices anymore so I don’t need a 4 door car (aka Charger). This is great! Admittedly this was a 305hp, 3.6 liter, 6 cylinder engine, NOT a HEMI, and thus picked up nearly 30 mpg, but it still had some kick to it. Altho’ “punching it” on the freeway reminded me this is nice…but NOT a Hemi. Soon after I traded it in….I started looking at 392 Dodge Challenger R/T’s with a Shaker hood because a Hellcat seemed so….over the top. Let’s face it, do I really need a 707 horsepower, 6.2 liter monster in Challenger trim? Does anybody “NEED” a 707 horsepower, 6.2 liter monster in Challenger trim? Probably not, but….if you have the big enough pocketbook, it sure would have been fun to find out!
POSTSCRIPT : Altho’ Honda has since replaced my driver’s side Takata air bag, it has YET to replace the PASSENGER side airbag….now expected to happen for another 3-4 weeks. For now no one can set in my Insight’s passenger seat, making every trip with someone in the car feel like…