On rental cars
Crown Vic. Putting my flashlight on the dash in a red plastic cup on strobe mode and gonna make some time.
It has two defining features:
- it is a convertible and a sporty one at that,
- it comes with a subwoofer equipped stereo which defines the target market.
This is definitely not a car targeted at classical music listeners. The stereo with the fosgate “punch” setting cranked up is a base heavy “boom car” experience. It sounds fine, the base is clean and well rendered, but it isn’t the balanced, well staged clarity of the sound system in a Mercedes, for example, but fits a particular demographic well.
The car itself is quite sporty and handles well. Unlike a lot of lower end convertibles, including the Mustang, the body is very stiff and and takes turns and bumps without any tangible body flex. The car corners flat and understeers predictably and with good control (I discovered unintentionally while making a quick u-turn). The car also has more power than one would expect for such a small vehicle, and can spin the back wheels from a stop without resorting to a neutral drop, also an unintentional discovery. Really.
Road noise with the top up is pretty good for a convertible, and better than most at freeway speeds with the top down.
I’d say it is a pretty good choice for a low cost, youth-oriented convertible.
Thanks Hertz. White?
Hertz gave me ANOTHER black Lincoln Navigator (this is different than last week’s) to try to drive through LA’s traumatic rainstorms in (thunder! OMG!). Nothing like the efficiency of driving a car that seats 7 for a commute. Fortunately I don’t have to drive far so the total environmental impact is at least minimized and largely offset by the hilarity value.
The car has power every crazy thing. Even the back seats fold down with a button push, necessary since it has become standard to have a power opening and closing trunk so you don’t strain your dainty little self as you drive around in your ginormous faux-tough SUV.
A funny touch is the in-mirror back up camera. Nice that it is full color, but the screen is small enough that you’d never see a puppy. On the other hand, the back window is so far away and so shrouded in black leather that the little color view is the best you’ve got. Puppies are free.
It is always fun to try to figure out the electronic entertainment systems in one of these things. The test is “can you get it working between LAX and Santa Monica without reading the manual.” Mercedes, yes. Lincoln no.
In the end I did get it reading off a USB stick (and the ipod, though the Microsoft SYNC UI for that is unusable. Odd that M$ is advertising SYNC in magazines as brandable feature for a new car when it sucks so bad: I’d avoid a car with M$ inside myself).
First, in Canada, I got a GMC Acadia, a moderately stupid SUV with seating for 7. It was snowing and so I suppose AWD was useful, but the only really good part about it was the heated seats. The gas expense was not so great…
The Acadia was fine as far as it went, but then my next rental was a Lincoln Navigator. I’ve not run across one of these before (though not much different than the Escalade). It wasn’t horrible as a driving experience, though I was happy enough not to have to take it through any urban areas as I would have needed to upgrade the wheels. I mean stock rims… Seriously.
The heated seats worked fine in that one too, but the backup camera that emerged from behind a half-silvered rear-view mirror was pretty cool. Especially as looking back is pretty useless through a forest of headrests.
In both cases I was the only passenger. This added to the value of the experience.
At least in LA at the end of the week, Hertz gave me a lovely C300. I think the exact same one I had rented earlier. A lovely car that seems far less silly.
Another town car? I very much appreciate the upgrade, but my age is in my profile and although I’m getting old, this sort of thing is still off by at least 3 decades.
My favorite rental cars so far.
Alas, nobody to chauffeur around. But nothing like driving around in a giant land barge to make you think about global warming: ‘scuse my effluents!
Kind of a comfy car in a rolling barcalounger way. Room for 6. The power open and close trunk firmly inserts “lazy” between “quintessential” and “american”
It is quiet and the stereo is pretty good. The dash is a giant slab of plastic, but this isn’t really a driver’s car.
The engine is surprisingly effective given the mass of the vehicle and the queasy squishy suspension.
It’s a pretty nice rental car. Pure white seems to be a bird poop magnet, but the car is fast, comfortable, and quiet.
it ranks as one of the better rentals so far; below Volvo, Audi, and (of course) the Mercedes, but still quite nice.