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  1. Default Vehicle Rental Choice for Road Trip

    Hi All,

    Our first post so please be patient!

    We are (there are only 2 of us, my wife and I) flying to San Fran in June 09 and plan to drive down to Los Angeles, then on to Las Vegas and back to San Fran.

    We'll be collecting a car from San Fran but are unsure which to go for.

    Cost is not a major factor; the main thing is comfort and fun.

    I'm tempted to go for a Mustang because it’s a classic American car but I'm not sure how comfortable that will be for 4 - 5 hours a day driving! Also I've considered a Cadillac or Chrysler 300 but I don't know a great deal about American cars. I guess the UK equivalent we would choose would be either a BMW or Audi - something fast but luxurious.

    Any help appreciated!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Drive or Ride?

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums.

    Your question is a bit hard to answer. For me anyway. My personal opinion is that there is very little similarity between Cadillac/Chrysler and BMW/Audi if you are comparing handling. Yes, all are nice cars and have luxurious feel to them and lots of options. However, I find the ride of most American cars, especially those in the luxury class to be boring and rather mooshy...for lack of a better term. Mooshy, to me, means so smooth that you can't feel the road. Does that make sense? BMW and Audi cars tend to handle in a way that their American counter-parts just don't match. Again, this is in my opinion. I know there are going to be folks that disagree with me.

    If you're looking for something fun to drive, I think the Mustang is the better choice. While I still think it lacks the "feel the road" factor most Euro cars offer, I think it's far more fun than the other options. I've only ridden in Mustangs for short drives....maybe 3-4 I can't vouch for their comfort. It was very comfortable for the short drive so I can only assume it would be fine after several hours.

    There are folks who don't believe the vehicle matters and that the sights and experiences are the major thing you should be focusing on. While I totally agree that the sights and experience are major, I also know that I enjoy the same roads much more when I'm enjoying the car I'm driving.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the quick response Judy!

    We're definatley leaning towards the Mustang now, with the ex rate to the £ the whole renting will be very cheap for us! Yes, luxury cars often have such a soft drive you are compromising on the basic handling and handling = fun! I agree, of course you have to be interested in the sights, why else fly all that way, you can hire a car anywhere, but every detail is important, and when you consider how much time you are going to spend in the car, its best you're happy with it!

    We were considering an RV but when you consider all the costs inc fuel, the money we'll save by going for a car will pay for the Bellagio in Vegas!

    Thanks again,


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I think you'll have fun!

    Don't expect Euro-style handling in the Mustang but I think you'll find it more fun than the luxury models. If I'm wrong and you hate it, you're welcome to hunt me down and beat me with a wet noodle. :)

    Bellagio? Good choice!

    Anything else we can help you with?

  5. Default

    I love Mustangs -- especially convertibles -- but they can't pass a gas station without a good, stiff drink. With gas hovering around the $4 mark, even though you say cost isn't your priority, don't forget to include this in your cost analysis. Most of the other cars you mentioned, while not too dissimilar in rental cost, would be less expensive to drive.

  6. Default

    If i (another 1st time poster) may hijack this thread..
    My wife and i are currently in the US and loving it. We did a bit of driving in L.A (San Diego to Hollywood 4pm on a fri :/)
    We're in NY now but later on are planning to drive from San Fran to L.A.
    We are car lovers and want a mustang convertible for the 'experience'
    Can anyone suggest rental agencies that can help?
    You know ensure a 'stang, no sebrings etc.
    Also one that doesn't try to hit us with $hundreds for a drop off fee would be nice.

    For anyone who puts keys to keyboard, i thank you in advance!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default pay for it

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    First of all, drop off fees are pretty standard, and paying a couple hundred dollars isn't unusual. However, if you are only going from SF to LA, they should probably be somewhat less expensive because you are going a relatively short distance.

    The best way to guarentee that you'll get a mustang is to contact the actual rental agency locations in SF and see what their fleet entails. They generally won't guarentee a particular model, but you might be able to find out that mustangs are the only kind of convertable they have in their fleet.

    Otherwise, some agencies, like Hertz, do have specialty lines where you can reserve a specific model of car. However, you will pay a fairly significant premium for this service.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Competing Demands

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Typically, the only rental agencies that will guarantee a particular make/model are going to be the high-end specialty locations, and they will usually give you no option but to return the car to the place where you rent it. The major rental car companies will offer you the chance to drop the car off somewhere else (for a considerable fee) but won't guarantee a particular make/model. I'd say your best bet is to book a convertible with an agency the "features Ford Motor Company products" such as Budget and take your chances. Now, if you're looking for a 'classic' Mustang from the 60's, that's going to be pretty much impossible.


  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Otherwise, some agencies, like Hertz, do have specialty lines where you can reserve a specific model of car. However, you will pay a fairly significant premium for this service.
    I just reserved a car with Hertz (not a Pony but a small SUV since there are four of us, but I did drool just a bit over that all-American classic), so I can say with confidence that they DO guarantee specifically that a Mustang'll be waiting for you.

    They aren't cheap, but if you have AAA it brings the cost down significantly. Anyway you cut it, a Mustang isn't going to be cheap, but with AAA it isn't going to be all that much more than a "lesser car".
    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Now, if you're looking for a 'classic' Mustang from the 60's, that's going to be pretty much impossible.
    That is going to be impossible. There are so few of those wonderful cars available, and they belong to people who treat them like babies. I'd love to have one myself, but that's never going to happen! My daughter used to have a great tee-shirt with the Mustang symbol and the words "I want a Pony".

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You mentioned comfort and fun - then mentioned BMW and Audi. A Mustang will be a *LOT* of fun, but it will not even come close to that comfort level. The interior is somewhat cramped, the seats are very low to the floor, and luggage room is quite limited, especially in the convertible. The performance and handling is quite decent, even in typical rental configuration (base 4.0 liter V6 engine and automatic transmission). Gas mileage isn't bad on the highway, figure low to mid 20's, but they are thirsty in city traffic, mid to high teens is all you will see there.

    I'd go for it. Reserve one, but have an alternate available if you sit in the thing and say "no way". Something like the new Ford Fusion or Taurus may be more your cup of tea. The Fusion is a very similar car to your Mondeo in the UK, and the Taurus is like a Volvo S80.

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