Baffled by rental cars? So are frequent travelers

Discussion in 'Other Car Rental Programs' started by sobore, Jun 11, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2013/06/10/rental-car-frequent-travelers/2409573/

    Frequent traveler Peter Juhren was so flustered by the controls of the Lincoln MKX rental car he picked up in September at the Calgary airport in Canada that he wanted to return the car almost as soon as he got it.

    "By the time I reached the hotel, all I wanted to do was return the vehicle for a standard old run-of-the-mill Chevy Impala that I could at least control," says Juhren of Salem, Ore., who works in the tower crane sales and rental business.

    Juhren is among many savvy travelers who complain about the confusion, frustration and time lost trying to figure out how to operate their rental vehicles.

    Read More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2013/06/10/rental-car-frequent-travelers/2409573/
     
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  2. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    :) usually if I have a issue I grab the manual out of the glove box. Most but not all rentals I've had have the book.
     
  3. jbcarioca
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    Some cars are harder than others but most frequent renters figure it out quickly. I tend to rent BMW or MB, so have controls that are almost always ones I already know. Still I'm sometimes surprised due to different technologies deployed on specific markets. I rarely find solutions in manuals found in the car, but almost always figure the solutions by a simple internet search. Changing volume in MB navigation systems is a good case because that is different between models. The Ford systems, as in the Lincoln case mentioned, receive lots of complaints but I find them very easy so long as one is accustomed to menu-driven simple controls. It would be easier to have old-fashioned volume controls and tuning controls, probably, but in modern life that may be a thing of the past. I have yet to be stumped, even if I must, sigh, put up with the horrible Malibu (mal-e-boo-boo as a friend dubs it).

    In short, anyone who regularly drives a modern vehicle should rarely be stumped for very long. BTW, I never accept the briefings offered on some high end rentals because the briefers invariably know less than do I.
     
  4. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Some cars are more confusing than others. One point I would appreciate is that if giving the customer a hybrid car the company advises of this as the silent motor starting can otherwise lead me to think something is wrong for a couple of minutes until I think "Oh, Hybrid Car...."
     
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  5. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    I had a car last weekend that kept dripping on my foot. Sometimes hot sometimes cold water ....
     
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  6. TRAVELSIG
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    Better than oil I suppose :)
     
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  7. I rent a lot of cars and when its a vehicle I'm not familiar with I simply take 2 minutes in the rental parking lot and figure out the things I need to know. Its not rocket science by any means.
     
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  8. TRAVELSIG
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    I generally agree with you- however a couple of weeks ago at DEN I had a Ford Escape with an electronic touch screen plus a series of controls on the steering wheel plus the console that took more than a few minutes to figure out.

    The European cars seem to be able to accomplish the same functionality with far fewer controls in general- the Audi for example is completely intuitive, the same across almost all models, and works close to perfectly. The FORD and GM controls in particular are not that easy to figure out and seem to have a lot of near duplicate button functionalities.
     
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  9. jbcarioca
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    You're correct, of course. However, BMW has been famous for non-intuitive approaches (you may recall the 750 that had a small manual attached and a dealer briefing prior to engine start because even BMW aficionados could not start it without help from the manual) although they're better now. I own one, and must give instructions to people who will drive my car most of the time. Without doubt the VW group cars have been among the better ones IME, but i now am accustomed to a few others. I absolutely loathe the GM and Ford automated controls. They are truly clueless.

    Still, I do not have a problem with rentals, just mild irritation with superfluous complexity.
     
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  10. TRAVELSIG
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    I do remember the BMW and the "i drive" as it was called which was a nightmare in the beginning.

    VW group in general are great for controls with the exception of the Panamera which for some reason has more controls than a fighter jet however I suspect doesn't end up in the rental pools very often anyway in many countries.

    I agree with you on rentals in general with the exception of the higher end GM and Ford which seem to equate luxury to number of buttons and switches per square meter. And then do you remember that Buick (the 2 seater) which had everything controlled by a touch screen in the centre console (long before touch screens were common)? I cannot recall the name now but it was quite funny at the time. Buick ? ? ?
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    Well do I remember the Reatta. Almost all of them ever produced ended out with National, whose parent at the time was a client of mine. Every time I went to Fort Lauderdale, their headquarters, I had to take one of them to prove my loyalty. Punishment! That ranks along with the Aztec and some others in the pantheon of GM blunders. They built that monstrosity in the Reatta Craft Center in Flint, MI IIRC, so it was very well built but horribly mal-designed.
    The Panamera, I think was actually designed prior to the VW takeover. Still, I find it usable, just intended to be overtly complex, I suppose.
     
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  12. Gargoyle
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    And then there was the loaner Citroen Dyane a friend let me drive around Tuscany long ago. Besides the non syncro with the strange dashboard shift lever that you pull and twist, the ignition key was snapped off in the ignition. As a bypass he had wired a start button on the dash, behind a photo of Diane Ross (Dyane Ross?)- you had to push her nose while stepping on the clutch and gas to start the car.

    I didn't think to look in the glove box for an owners manual.
     
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  13. jbcarioca
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    That brings back ancient memories for me too. My next door neighbour in France had a 2CV pickup that we often used to haul the residue of our annual fruit tree pruning as well as the small olive harvest. It had no key at all, maybe it never had one. There was just a toggle switch and a push button. You refer to an "owners manual". What is that? I assume you mean that the owner must manually do everything, including the occasional crank start. It had a crank supplied. I wonder if anyone ever rented one of those?
     
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  14. Gargoyle
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    Any time you complained to the rental company, they considered it to be a crank call and they hung up on you.

    Oh, that's what the rental companies do now.
     
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  15. emilyjames

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    It is better to check everything before hiring or take some snap before leaving with rented car.
     
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  16. TRAVELSIG
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    Funny you should mention the Reatta in this context- I had another (different) car rental company parent company as my client and also had to drive a Reatta for quite some time for the same reason.

    I also went to a launch party for the Aztec which didn't go very well as when people saw the vehicle they all started laughing- and they were the major dealers worldwide. GM forced them to take the vehicle under a contractual term...

    The Panamera is really a departure for Porsche as usually their vehicles have somewhat simple controls (which are great).

    Regarding Audi- the new RS4 by the way is super stripped down inside- compared to last years model it is a real departure in that Audi eliminated about 80% of the gadgets- way easier to use now- my favorite 450 horsepower station wagon in the world!
     
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  17. jbcarioca
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    Coincidence is amazing, considering how few car rental companies there are and that only two (IIRC) were given the Reatta. I'm looking at new vehicles now but, sadly, vehicles like the RS4 just do not fit in Rio, not least because it costs $220,000 base here.
     
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  18. TRAVELSIG
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    If you check out also the A5- my colleague in São Paulo bought one and is very happy with it- and I am sure it was nothing close to $220 K USD. The A5 even with the base 2.0 TDI is a very nice car.
     
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  19. jbcarioca
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    The A5 is less than half the price, but I am not enamored of it. At the moment I'm thinking about an Evoque, oddly enough. Whatever I choose must fit in my mother-in-laws 1940's era garage door, which does limit my choices more than I'd like.
     
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  20. TRAVELSIG
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    Test drive the A5- it is a very good car for the money- I don't think there is much else on the market at the moment that has this combination of offering. If you want something quite a bit less expensive and also can live with a smaller car the Fiat Idea also offers very good value for just a basic car with the excellent Multijet 1.3 engine.
     
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  21. jbcarioca
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    The Idea is ubiquitous here, but is mostly a taxi. I need small, it is true, but I do like the bells and whistles. I shall stop hijacking this thread with my deliberations now. My final comment, were the size not an issue I'd go for the new Range Rover, price notwithstanding. I'm debating it anyway, and maybe add a Smart or something to visit my mother-in-law.
     
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  22. Gargoyle
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    Whenever I'm renting outside the U.S. I do that, it's easy to take a couple photos.
     
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  23. jbcarioca
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    I do it inside the US too. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" if I recall the phrase correctly. The only problem I ever had was one inside the US with Hertz. It came out OK but took some time taht could have been avoided if I'd taken a photo of the pre-existing damage.
     
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  24. TRAVELSIG
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    I won't highjack this thread anymore either but certainly I think you will be quite happy with the new Range Rover- my colleague got this car and it is very nice both as a passenger and to drive.
     
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  25. TRAVELSIG
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    Good idea.

    There are really only 3 possibilities when I rent a car:
    1) Do not accept any car with damage
    2) Do not worry about it as in certain countries I buy the LDW/CDW (particularly for example Italy....)
    3) Take photos of the car and ensure the damage is well documented on the rental agreement

    The one time I didn't do one of the above was with Sixt in Munich and fortunately the agent remembered that the damage was there when I checked out (chipped windshield on a new S class which would have cost a fortune)- otherwise I would have been S.O.L.
     
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