It’s a whole new upgrade

The last time I rented a car was 2006, between the Bambi incident and the arrival of Gwendolyn. I was not particularly impressed with it, and described it thusly:

As a temporary measure, I am sliding around town in a Dodge Stratus SXT in Frigidaire White. Despite the jumble of letters, this is the bottom-feeder of the line, with a nothing-special four-banger driving the front wheels. It’s an acceptable grocery-getter, but not the least bit amusing to drive, and while the seats are better than average, their adjustment range doesn’t include any position in which I’m comfortable. I am contemplating returning it to the rental yard and asking for something I can actually deal with. Inasmuch as I’m having to pay for it myself, I can’t think of any reason why they’d object.

Obviously I would have welcomed an upgrade, had one been offered. But that was then, and this is now:

There was a time when most rental car customers would have welcomed an upgrade to a midsize or sedan, a minivan or an SUV, but that was before gas was “upgraded” to $4 a gallon or more.

Now some customers say rental car companies increasingly try to pressure them to take the gas-guzzling bigger vehicles, even when they have reserved a compact. Car rental agencies apparently can’t keep enough of the smaller, more fuel-efficient cars on lots to meet demand.

I need hardly remind you that if you bring back the Grand Marquis de Sade with a half-empty tank, they’re going to charge you a lot more than four bucks a gallon for your insolence.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    1 July 2008 · 12:51 pm

    The one time a car rental agency tried to pawn off an “upgrade” on Chris and me, we had flown to Sacramento and expected to be carting my by-then one-legged mother around, with wheelchair, on various jaunts.

    They wanted to give us a Jeep Wrangler.

    Since then we’ve traveled multiple times, sans upgrade offer, where the need to get an elderly or disabled (or both) family member into the back seat wasn’t at issue. Go figure.

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