QOTD: Losing at Rental Car Roulette?

<img data-attachment-id="1688252" data-permalink data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download.jpg" data-orig-size="2100,1386" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="2018 Nissan Frontier" data-image-description="

Nissan

” data-medium-file=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-450×297.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-610×403.jpg” class=”aligncenter wp-image-1688252 size-large” src=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-610×403.jpg” alt width=”610″ height=”403″ srcset=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-610×403.jpg 610w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-75×50.jpg 75w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-450×297.jpg 450w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-768×507.jpg 768w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/download-120×79.jpg 120w” sizes=”(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px”>We’ve all been there at one time or another — standing in line at the counter of the rental car company. Perhaps you made a reservation in advance, perhaps not, but your fate was sealed the same when a class of vehicle was selected. From there, you were left in the hands of the person working the counter at Rental Car Incorporated.

Today we’re going to talk about the times you’ve lost at rental car roulette.

Your author has not rented that many cars in particular, but one in particular was much worse than the rest. The time was late October, 2017, and the place was Florida. The need was transportation around the St. Petersburg area — a short vacation after a work conference. Conference completed, I returned to the airport to pick up my rental, a “We Choose For You” class at Enterprise. It saves money, but the person at the counter picks a car for you.

The three options presented to me were bleak: A basic white Ford F-150 XL, a basic silver Nissan Frontier, or a shiny red Hyundai Accent. I knew I had some extensive driving to do. After a quick internal struggle, the fuel economy of a VQ40 and the size of a quad cab F-150 seemed less desirable than a small sedan. Accent, then.

<img data-attachment-id="1688258" data-permalink data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o.jpg" data-orig-size="2048,1536" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="2017 Hyundai Accent" data-image-description="

Corey Lewis

” data-medium-file=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-450×338.jpg” data-large-file=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-610×458.jpg” class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-1688258″ src=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-610×458.jpg” alt width=”610″ height=”458″ srcset=”https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-610×458.jpg 610w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-75×56.jpg 75w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-450×338.jpg 450w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-768×576.jpg 768w, https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/22713575_772495466365_1875656251673119361_o-120×90.jpg 120w” sizes=”(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px”>The cheery red paint (photo of actual car) was full of orange peel, and the gray interior was unrelenting in its monochromatic attack on the ocular senses. It was equipped with only basic options, and lacked even Bluetooth connectivity on a 2017 model. I was none too impressed with my rental ride; then I exited the parking lot.

The ride around town was compliant enough, although the brakes were a bit mushy and, perhaps as expected, steering was numb. But at freeway speeds the Accent was not a pleasant place to be. The seat was not comfortable for long journeys, and they interior noise level was befitting a car from a different generation. The biggest problems by a mile, though, were the steering and suspension at highway speed. At speeds over 60 mph, the tiny sedan bounced around over undulations in the road and was hard to keep in a straight line. It seemed like the ultra-light steering effort at high speed went a little overboard and eliminated any on-center position. It was very tiring to drive for any distance due to the constant corrections required at the wheel. And since I had to handle it a lot, I noticed the thin steering wheel had a rough edge along its circumference. The cheap rubber was poorly finished.

I was never so glad to turn in a rental car. Unfortunately, I was forced to witness other people returning their Challengers and Sonatas with smiles on their faces and wondered what that sort of happiness might be like.

So tell us about your worst rental car stinker. Could it possibly be worse than a previous-gen Hyundai Accent?

[Images: Nissan, Corey Lewis]

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