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Old Jun 29, 12, 1:49 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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National's compact cars - typical selection and which is best?

I normally love to go for the ES crapshoot and am nearly always happy with my rental. However, on an upcoming trip, I'll be driving a decent amount and will only be by myself for an upcoming 7-8 day rental and have double (actually, triple) booked a 7 day rental for a premium (i.e., check the premium selection and ES/EA too) out of BWI and 2 separate 8-day compact rentals out of DC Union Station or BWI. Of course, eventually I'll need to cancel 2 of those.

I'd definitely prefer the 8-day rentals but can make do (i.e., walk for the one day when I'll be local in the DC area) with a 7-day rental if need be. The rental costs are all about the same (just around $200) with the compact rental rates slightly lower (for argument's sake, say $20 cheaper). At the same time, since it's myself, I really don't need anything fancy and THINK (?) a compact rental out of BWI might be fine for me, and save me some decent gas money.

So, a few questions, particularly since I don't rent compacts almost ever:
-what are typical National compact cars these days?
-which of the typical National compacts do people prefer (I've taken a look at the car reviews but there are only a very small handful of compacts listed there)?
-anyone have specific compact car rental experience out of BWI or DC Union Station?
-anyone have any thoughts on going 7-day premium vs. 8-day compact? (I have a feeling I know the answer I'll get here...) (I've been playing various scenarios online for months now, and hit a sweet spot of cheap rentals in the DC area, but the rates are now back up, so I don't think I'll be able, for example, to get an 8-day premium for a comparable rate as my current 7-day rental...)

Thanks for any advice.
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Old Jun 29, 12, 2:20 pm   #2
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I'm going to challenge your logic. If you're covering enough miles to make the difference in fuel economy significant between Premium and Compact, you want nothing to do with a Compact. National's midsizers are bad enough: Nissan Sentras and Chrysler 200s being far too common.
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Old Jun 29, 12, 5:55 pm   #3
 
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The advantage of renting 8 days is that you'll receive 2 rental credits instead of 1, towards the banked free day credit.

Typical National compact car = Fiat 500, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Sonic , Ford Fiesta or Mazda 2.

I'd personally prefer the Sonic or the Fiesta.
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Old Jun 29, 12, 5:59 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
I'm going to challenge your logic. If you're covering enough miles to make the difference in fuel economy significant between Premium and Compact, you want nothing to do with a Compact. National's midsizers are bad enough: Nissan Sentras and Chrysler 200s being far too common.
A Sentra is a midsize?

The only compact cars I'd be willing to take on a long journey are the Ford Focus and the Mazda3. The Focus to me feels solid on the road like most small cars don't; it feels like a real car. I don't know how common they are at National though (I'm a recent convert from Avis...)

Personally I'd still take a Premium and burn the extra fuel, at least at US prices. Let's see; if you're doing 80mph at 25 mpg rather than 40 mpg you're spending roughly an extra $3.50 an hour for fuel. But you're feeling comfy, looking cool, and you're relaxed and comfortable knowing that you've got enough power underfoot to overtake and merge with no worries. Is that worth an extra $3.50 an hour? How could it not be?

My logic has always been that driving a powerful car makes you live longer. Not because of safety, just because of blood pressure. Anyway, I consider it a worthwhile investment.
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Old Jun 29, 12, 7:02 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorgen View Post
A Sentra is a midsize?

The only compact cars I'd be willing to take on a long journey are the Ford Focus and the Mazda3. The Focus to me feels solid on the road like most small cars don't; it feels like a real car. I don't know how common they are at National though (I'm a recent convert from Avis...)
I've seen plenty of Focus' and some Mazda 3's at National.. they're all midsize.

Ron.
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Old Jun 29, 12, 7:45 pm   #6
 
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I try to never book below a midsize, as there are certain things like cruise control that you will likely not find on the smaller vehicles. I also feel safer with a larger engine. I would personaly just pick from the EA or ES, and find a good comprimise car, has good power and size, but is fuel efficient.
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Old Jun 30, 12, 6:14 pm   #7
 
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Yesterday at DCA I did see a new model red VW Beetle. First one though. Not that I'm a compact person.
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Old Jun 30, 12, 9:23 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tassojunior View Post
Yesterday at DCA I did see a new model red VW Beetle. First one though. Not that I'm a compact person.
Beetles I don't think are classified as Compact - could be MidSize or even Standard - in Rental Alternate Universe.
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Old Jun 30, 12, 10:21 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteropny View Post
Beetles I don't think are classified as Compact - could be MidSize or even Standard - in Rental Alternate Universe.
I believe they're SXARs, or Special Standards. Same as VW Jetta. National was the first to adopt the 2012 Beetle a few months ago.

Last edited by drzoidberg; Jul 1, 12 at 8:03 am..
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