What are the best and worst hire cars you've ever had?
If you're a car guy, nailing your hire car of choice when on holiday is an absolute must. You're often left numb by the thought of vague descriptions such as 'Volkswagen Polo or similar', opening up a spectrum of potential driving fun or wheezing, gutless misery. And it can sometimes come down to how the person on the other side of the desk is feeling that day.
Then again, if you have the cash, you can fork out for something at the top end of the hire company's range – £1,500 gets you Avis' Porsche 911 for the week, or £834 will have you sliding into a Jaguar F-Type.
The potential for a hit or miss can be fairly large then, so I thought it'd be interesting to chat to other folk in the DriveTribe office to hear about their hire experiences. From crappy people carriers to fire-breathing Mustangs, we've had it all.
Tim Rodie – Ford Mustang
"It was one of those dream moments. Hopping off a 9 hour flight to Denver and being led to two apparently identical Mustangs to choose from at the hire car lot. “They’re identical,” said the very smiley employee. Except she hadn’t noticed one had a big fat 5.0 badge on the side of it, whereas the other was a boggo V6. Guess which one I went for?
"A week of hilariously loud line-lock burnouts, car-park drifts and top-down action in some of Colorado’s best scenery followed. I’m convinced there’s no better roadtrip car than a loud V8 droptop ’Stang. Yes, I said ’Stang. Yeeha."
James King – Peugeot Traveller/Fiat Panda
"Driving the Peugeot Traveller around the tight streets of Sorrento was the exact same experience of pulling a large suitcase around a very busy airport.
"By comparison the Panda was an utter joy. I could nimbly navigate through the angry Amalfi streets, but if I had to overtake or go up a hill, I had to do it with the aid of an automatic gearbox/0.9-litre engine combo. Bloody hilarious."
Me – Mercedes-Benz Vito van
Being the athletics captain at university, I was forever shipping a team of athletes around Scotland to competitions. That meant we hired plenty vans/minibuses, opening up to as much of a mixed bag as the car hire game.
This day, we even brought a trophy back to our beloved hired transport
The pick of the bunch was the Merc Vito – a sleek, teardrop-shaped leviathan that was more than happy carrying a whole team of athletes and plenty kit while blasting down any motorway that you pointed it at.
The 2.1-litre engine we had kicked out a spritely 136bhp, all of which could be navigated with the same flappy paddles as an AMG super saloon. If only my local university could've afforded the 190bhp option, essentially the AMG Black Series of the van world. A university club grant well spent, I'd say.
Now that you've heard about our mixed bag of hire vehicles, we want to hear from you guys about your adventures with the hire car lottery. What has been your best ever holiday car? Has a hire car ever come along and surprised you, ending in an automotive holiday romance? Or have you had a long list of shockers over the years?
Also, tell us what kind of car hire person you are through the poll and comments below!