Navigating the bewildering new world of car rentals

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Jan 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.chicagotribune.com/trave...--traveltrctntt-b20120117jan17,0,356300.story

    Alix Davidson says she was "totally excited" when her car rental company recently offered her the keys to a Toyota Prius in Seattle. It was her first time behind the wheel of a hybrid electric vehicle.

    But her enthusiasm quickly turned to frustration when she couldn't figure out how to start the car. "We pushed the button, which looked awfully like a computer 'on' button, waved the little stick in front of it," says Davidson, a researcher for an environmental organization in Washington, and "nothing."

    For those of you wondering how to start a Prius, you insert the key, push down the brake pedal and press the "power" button.

    Davidson is one of a growing number of motorists who are confused by the car rental industry's latest additions to their fleets, which include everything from electric vehicles to microcars.


    Read More: http://www.chicagotribune.com/trave...--traveltrctntt-b20120117jan17,0,356300.story
     
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  2. 7Continents
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    7Continents Silver Member

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    This is funny because once I took the key out of a Nissan hybrid but didn't hit the "off" button. Left the car running in a garage for 3 hours. It didn't use much gas but I was mortified.
     
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  3. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Although I feel like I'm driving in a tin can every time I'm in a Prius, the coolest thing about it is that you never need to take the key out of your pocket. You should be able to start the engine just by pressing the power button as long as the key fob is within a few feet.

    Honestly the brake pedal thing never was an issue for me. I learned to drive in a different car by always putting my foot on the break as I started the engine to make sure it didn't lurch or anything else in case it was in gear. Just basic safety.
     
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  4. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I've had some random rentals in Europe that took me a bit to figure out. ;)
     
  5. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Basically it really comes down to this.. if Americans learned to drive (properly) standard shift cars they (hopefully) would be able figure out most of the so-called problems in this (pretty silly) article.:rolleyes:

    Even automatic European cars like the BMWs start in exactly the same manner as the Prius above.
    She would really be up the creek if she ran into a car with electronic parking brakes:)
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I believe the keyless start feature was optional at least with earlier models. I seem to remember having gotten one of those from Hertz back in 2005, and it really annoyed me because I had so gotten used to just pulling on the door handles to open the doors and pushing the Start button to start up the car.

    And I am amazed that the start button and keyless entry aren't more common yet. I have used it on two Priuses since 2003 and would never buy another car without those features. It's just not.... civilized ;)

    Indeed.
     
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  7. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    unrelated story: a few weeks ago, one of the analysts on my team rented a non-hybrid with the keyless start feature. We left the car at a valet and picked it up later at night. The valet handed my team member the keys (but the car was obviously on) and he left them on the roof of the car while putting some stuff inside the car. We drove off from the parking lot, and didn't realize the keys were on top of the roof and the car kept on running. We only realized that the keys were missing when we reached our destination and couldnt find the keys (after frantically searching). Long story short, we took a cab back to the parking lot, searched the exit area, and then retraced our driving path with our cellphones lighting the way luckily we found the keys about a quarter mile down the road! :D
     
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  8. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Wow. I always thought the keys need to be in range of the car to keep it running, I guess not, only to start the car?
     
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  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I have more than once walked away from my Prius with the key fob in my pocket when my wife dropped me off somewhere. The car starts beeping, she lowers the window and yells at me :)

    I'll try later if it considers the key fob on the roof ofthe car as close enough. In general it's pretty smart and doesn't let you lock the car with the keyless entry system (just push door handle button) when the fob is still inside the car.
     
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  10. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    We were talking about that as well after the incident, quite a major design flaw, we were just glad that we found the keys, imagine if they had fallen off on the highway! :(
     
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  11. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    This wasn't a Prius, it was a ford Taurus :)
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Not sure it's a design flaw.

    Imagine you get out of the car with the car running, and you fumble and drop the keys into a storm drain. Wouldn't you want to be able to drive the car away from the spot where it currently is? (eg, go home to get the spare key)

    Or you get into a car jacking.... the key's in your pocket. Wouldn't you want the bad guy to drive away without you?

    But I think a warning would be good. I forgot to test that on my Prius this morning, but stay tuned :)

    I don't think I have ever put the car key on the roof of my car. Way too concerned about scratching the paint. A coffee mug, yes. Not a good scene :)
     
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