A new idea popped into my head. I talk about my travels to wine country a lot…why not chronicle things like how I get there, where I stay, tips I’ve learned over my years of having a permanent case of wanderlust, etc.? I will try post my ramblings on Tuesday. Enjoy my first post…a ride report on a recent rental car!
So I’ve written about where I’ve gone, but I’ve never written about *HOW* I got there. Quite often, I use my car, a 2005 Chevrolet Classic. But every so often, the need arises for me to rent a car. As of late, I’m averaging about one rental a month. For some, that average may seem insane being that we’re barely into August and I have at least three more rentals scheduled for the year. For a frequent traveler, though, I’m sure you’re scoffing at me because my average doesn’t hold a candle to yours.
I usually go through Hertz for my rentals. Why? Two reasons. One, I’m in their loyalty program and they have great redemption rates for free rentals. Two, I have a membership with AAA and thus, I get a discount through Hertz. Combined with all the other great benefits that my AAA Premier membership gives me, I’m spoiled. Yes, I’m *that* person…the one who has all the bells and whistles with her AAA membership. I have a reason for having all the bells and whistles, tough. When you get hit with a $500 towing bill, we can chat about those benefits.
This time, though, I chose to go through National. I had just signed up for their loyalty program and wanted to try their Emerald Aisle service. With the Emerald Aisle service, you can rent a midsize (which they deem to be a Toyota Corolla or similar) but drive off the lot in something a bit bigger if necessary, while only paying the midsize rate.
I arrived at Portland International Airport, which is my nearest National location, and made my way from the drop-off area to the rental car center. In the Emerald Aisle, I was provided with the option of two cars, a Volkswagen Jetta or a Chrysler 200. Both of these cars are considered “standard” rentals in National’s classification system. I got in the Jetta and started it up, but it didn’t feel right. It was too cramped for what I knew we would be doing, and putting in the car, the next day. So I went to the next space over. The space which held a beautiful, cherry red Chrysler 200.
I only have one word to describe the exterior of this car. Sexy.
I love a car that is responsive. I do have a bit of a lead foot, but if you’ve ever ridden with me, you know that I’m not a stupid lead foot driver. I keep up with the flow of traffic. This beauty definitely had the responsiveness that I love while satisfying my lead foot…and it’s only a 4 cylinder engine! I usually aim for a full-size car or larger for the reason that I know my chances of getting a car with a V6 under the hood is a very good possibility.
The interior of this car is comfortable and has many amenities that make a road trip that much more likely. The seats are supportive, the sound system is good and it’s surprisingly spacious. This specific model was upgraded from the standard sound system to the UConnect 5.0 with the steering wheel controls. This car also had one of my favorite safety features…a backup camera.
One thing I love about this car was the readout for speed and RPM’s. The combination of digital and analog made me happy. While I enjoy technology and utilize it to my advantage, my inner gearhead goes nuts when I can’t see what the RPM’s are!
My only complaints about this car? The funky way you shift and the lack of active Sirius/XM. I can live without Sirius/XM, though, since I have an iPod with 1500+ songs on it, along with the Pandora and iHeartRadio apps on my phone.
I’m used to an actual shifter. Not a knob that you rotate.
I drove this car up to Woodinville Wine Country and to an event at Portland’s Urban Crush winery. All in all, I highly recommend this car if you find yourself in need of a rental and are offered this vehicle.