(Short) Life with an SUV as temporary transportation

viewfromsuv.jpgIts no secret that I got whacked earlier this week.  While my car is in the shop my rental car coverage kicks in and I get a vehicle while my beast is being repaired.  Sounds good? 

Not really, Enterprise Rent A Car is the default rental that my insurance arranges and takes direct bills from.  The only one so I become a captive customer.  Still not so bad, I guess.  The problem is they don’t rent any 6 passenger cars and at least once a day I need a CAR with that much room. Enterprise rents almost anything but a car.  Need any size or shape of a minivan, trucklet, suv, crossover-truck-station-wagon-thingy and they got you covered.

By the end of the first day I was fairly disenchanted with the ’07 Dodge Durango.  Every pitch, roll and yaw was amplified with the height of the blasted thing.  Add in nearly a half tank of gas….7.2 gallons for 82 miles.  To say it sucked is putting it mildly. At 11.34MPG I put a nice down payment on an oil dictators summer home in the Alps.  A few observations after 3 days with one of those beasts…

  • You don’t drive them, you aim and hope for the best.
  • Elevated seating contrary to popular justification for owning one does not mean you see further down the road.  You see the black out tinted window of the SUV in front of you, not its bumper.
  • The thing has blind spots bigger than a football field.  Short of sticking your head out the window you never know what is there.  Kinda like driving my Dad’s Class A RV. 
  • Small car drivers are assholes, or are they cutting in front of SUV’s on purpose and slowing down to see what happens?  Really even a mid-size SUV like this weighs 2 1/2 tons and takes some effort to slow down. 
  • super strong quads and a healthy back are needed for climbing into the beast, I can’t imagine what a lift kit would be like for ingress/egress with any sort of dignity.

At least Enterprise listened to my concerns and got me into one of those crossover-truck-station-wagon-thingies, (Mazda CX9) Friday night.  Ride is still rougher than I prefer but at least it should get better mpg.  They have promised me a car on Monday.  I hope they come through. 

9 Replies to “(Short) Life with an SUV as temporary transportation”

  1. Hertz is great. I rent with them through AAA whenever I fly and am in need of transportation.

    I particularly like their Chevy Cobalt.

    Great drive and excellent on gas mileage.

  2. I like them too when I travel, but this isn’t the case and I don’t get a real choice on who I rent from. At least its not out of pocket.

    The problem is I like cars, and with the fam I need seating capacity for 5 all the time, at least 6 several times a week.

  3. Carmakers need to bring back the good ol’ family truckster.

    I remember my brothers and I piling into the green Ford Fairlane…old school style with the hand crank windows, no air-conditioning, vinyl seats and of course, no seatbelts…all heading off on a steamy, sweaty, 500-mile, summer break journey to Wally Disney World.

    Kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it.

  4. When my car was hit and run in a parking lot, I also had to use enterprise for the rental car. The first car they gave me was filthy and they sprayed so much air freshener, it triggered a migraine. The second car they gave me needed an alignment and made a nasty noise when the steering wheel was turned. The third car was a mustang. I think she thought giving me a mustang would make me thrilled, but as a corolla driver, i would have been happier with a regular car. i couldn’t drive my coworkers at lunch because the back seat was so tiny. Aside from a fairly long wait for them to have a replacement car and have it properly cleaned, the customer service was pretty decent.

  5. Make sure they don’t give you the Dodge Caliber — holy cow that is the worst designed car ever. A Yugo would be an improvement.

    Good luck.

  6. How odd. Same thing happened to me last week when I rented through Enterprise for my business excursion from Vegas to L.A. I booked a mid-size car but when I got to the agency all they had available were mini-vans. It worked out well for me, just validatin’ what you said in your post: they have more large vehicles on hand than mid-size.

  7. an old school merc gmarq, got it years ago as it was the only car that could fit 3 car seats or booster seats in the back seat. I detest mini-vans, suv’s as they are rated as truck’s and pollute nearly 10X as much as a car. I chose this car as hit had a ULEV rating and when I last got it smogged it still emits only 10% of what is allowed for a car. I can’t wait for the day I can trade down to something smaller.

  8. someone actually likes the chevy cobalt?

    my roommate got stuck with a rental cobalt and we both decided it was the worst car either of us have ever driven.

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