Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What’s wrong with this car?

No no,  we’re not having car trouble. 

The only “car trouble” we’ve ever had was more like,  “Bob trouble”,  and goes back to when we were in the Netherlands,  and I managed to put the wrong fuel in the Audi that we had at the time.  If you wish, clicking on that link will open in a new window,  and you can see the car being pulled onto the tow truck,  and then later all four of us sitting in the tow truck.   The street we conked out on was not only narrow,  but it was a BUS ROUTE!   Such fun.

It was a nice tow truck at least.

It’s a helluva way to get “blog fodder”,  and I’m sure I could have just summarily skipped over it,  but it happened, so I figured I might as well fess up to it.   Got a little ribbing from the boys back home….


Ya ya….I’m an idiot.   Fine.  I’ve been paying really close attention ever since,  OK?


I’ve been sitting on these two pictures I took of the car that we rented when we were home in August.  I’ve also had bits and pieces of a post sitting in my “drafts” folder since about then too.   I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to gripe about this,  but I’ve decided that today is the day.

Besides,  you’ll also notice there was a bit of a gaping hole yesterday? 
I didn’t have anything to say,  and blogging about having nothing to say?  Well,  some folks will do that,  and I wonder, why?


  So, here we go.  It’s not a bad looking car,  right? 


I mean,  personally I’d probably pass it over on the dealer’s lot,  but that’s just me.

Some sort of a Dodge,  or Dog,  or something.  I don’t remember.   Think it impressed me?

I actually checked under the hood to see if it really had an engine.  I mean,  I figured there had to be something in there,  judging by the screams of agony coming from under the hood every time I stepped on the gas.


I didn’t realise a car manufacturer could get so little power from a 2.4! 

Now,  I realise the rental companies are in the business to make money,  and more power to them.   But I had to drive this thing on the highway with four people,  all the way to Ottawa.  Gah!  I wasn’t looking forward to it.   Thankfully it had that option where you could move the shift lever off to one side,  and choose your own gears.  That was the only thing that kept me from going completely bonkers.   Oh right,  I forgot the mention,  the transmission was a piece of crap too.

It was one of only two cars available as “Standard cars”,  what ever the hell that means,  and you’ll notice there’s no plate on the front?  Just to make it even more enticing,  it was from Quebec.    I don’t even remember what the other choice was,  but I must have perceived it to be worse at the time,  and chose this one,  since it looked bigger.   In hindsight,  I should have used the Quebec plate as my “out”,  but that was before I discovered what a piece of junk it was.  

Fooled me!


So fine,  we did the walk around,  loaded up our suitcases and got out of the airport,  but when I wanted to accelerate onto the 427 southbound,  that was the time when my darling wife (T.C.) said,  “What’s wrong with this car?”

See,  it wasn’t me!   I hadn’t uttered a peep up to that point,  even though I was starting to have my suspicions.   I mean,  the car is supposed to actually go,  when you open the throttle,  and I was beginning to wonder.


Anyway,  I realise I’m just a tad spoiled here in Europe,  since they take the quality of their cars much more seriously than the North Americans. At least that’s my perception.

There are no “throw away cars”,  which is what I would consider this thing to be.   For what you pay for a car here,  and the hoops you have to go through to get your licence,  the damned thing had better well perform.  That’s the only way I can make any sense of it.

Besides,  I can think of at least one country where there are no speed limits.  What are you going to do?   For that matter,  with a speed limit of 80 miles per hour in a State such as Utah,  it’s not like they’re just crawling along either.   So maybe it has nothing to do with marketing such a car to one crowd or another,  which brings me right back to my first premise,  which is that it was a piece of cr*p!   No way around it.   Oh,  and don’t rent one in Utah.  The other thing too is,  rental companies make these “special deals”  with car manufacturers?   Maybe this was part of one? 


As a matter of fact,  I’m going to have to start paying better attention,  since now that I think of it,  each and every time I’ve had a rental car that was a Chrysler product,  I’ve not be very happy.  (and I’ve owned a couple Chryslers,  but they were trucks…big difference.)


We even had one of those “300”s   when we were in Vegas a few years back,  and the only thing it had going for it was these nifty DVD players for the backseat passengers.  Lucky to be in the back seat I guess,  since other than that,  the thing handled like a bloody ox cart.   Just a horrid big lump of a thing.


Looks nice,  doesn’t it?   I thought so too.  Just don’t drive it anywhere.


So then Bob,  just what have you ended up with in Europe from the car rental agencies?    (Mr. Smarty Pants)

Well now,  let’s think about this.   We had a Mini when we flew into Düsseldorf.  It wasn’t even a “Standard car”,  it was a compact.


Here it is,  parked outside our hotel in Hengelo.


What a great little car!  Went like a shot!  Handled like a dream.  I was doing 165 on the Autobahn in Germany with nary a problem.  And there was lots “left over”.

This too,  might be a car I’d pass over on a dealers lot.  But if you convinced me to take it for a drive, I probably wouldn’t care about the looks any more.


Then there was the car we had in Bilbao,  which was a One series BMW. 


That’s a picture off the net.  Turns out,  I don’t have a picture of that one.

Same credentials as its cousin above in terms of handling and performance, probably since they’re both made by BMW?   Just a hunch.

There have been others,  but I shouldn’t have to go on.  I think you can see the difference.  These are ordinary cars that you rent when you simply want to get from point A to point B.


I’m not going to talk about the C class Mercedes we had in Hengelo way back in 08.   It was dreamy.



Here it is in front of the Eden Star hotel.  Um ya,  parking was a challenge.  I had to go back into the vault to find that one.  I don’t have enough room on the drive in my laptop here for all the pictures I’ve taken since those early days in 2008.  


Or… the Audi A4 we rented when we went to Barcelona:



Ha!  Just kidding! 

I might have needed some lessons to drive that one.   It is in fact a picture I took in Barcelona,  since there was some sort of car show,  but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the A4.

Here’s one off the net.  And yes it was what we would call a “station wagon”.   And it was black.

Don’t be fooled.  Again,  dreamy. 

audiA4 avant


The A4 and the Merc are not your run of the mill cars that one would normally rent for the A to B program.  We ended up with the Merc due to an upgrade (the car that was reserved for us was a Volvo S80,  which they momentarily didn’t have)  and in either case,  that one was being paid for by the company.  So hey,  bring it on!

However, the A4 in Barcelona was rented for us by one of the Admin Assistants,  with the idea that we’d like “something nice”.  Being as Travelling Companion is always looking out for the finances of the Company that Cannot be Named,  and that we had rented the car for our “own use”,  it was on “our dime”.   *ulp*

I think we paid more for the rental of that car than I did for my flight.     I didn’t quite soil my trousers when I went to pay, but it was close.

And yes,  it was nice.


So,  tell me?  Am I being too harsh? 


I think I know the answer.  I appreciated the rant.  Thanks.



And in keeping with the automotive theme….

Keep it between the ditches.



Thanks for stopping by.




  1. I used to have to drive rentals when I was working but I can guarantee you, they weren't no Mercedes. However, I did put my foot down and made sure I got a GMC product. No Dodge's for me.

  2. rental cars are the pits. We once rented a car in the Netherlands, so we could visit Anneke's parents in Friesland,and it nearly killed us.


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.