Last week I had the pleasure to drive around in an Infiniti Q60. My good fortune is attributed to landing really late at night and there not being any other cars in the Hertz lot and my Presidents Circle status. One of the things that are crazy about Japanese cars is their branding. Lots of letters and numbers in the title so when you talk to someone it sounds like you’re a scientist or something. Even I have a hard time telling people what it is I rented since it doesn’t have a cool name that stands out, just a model number for the most part.
Anyway, this car was really FAST! It had a 3.0 turbo under the hood but since I had to drive on Long Island and the LIE, there was no where to really test out all the muscle under the hood. This car is truly wasted in the NY Metro area since the speed limit is 55mph, there are cops everywhere, and the pot holes in the road just ruin the otherwise very smooth ride. I will say that climbing hills was a lot of fun, just slam on the gas and zip up to the top and leave the little Hyundai tailgating me in the dust! I don’t know how many gears the transmission had but it had a nice manual mode which is also wasted in NY Metro and I appreciated that it wasn’t paddle shifters but the actual floor shifter that is used to move from gear to gear.
As with most sports cars, the interior is cramped but at least the trunk was big enough to hold my backpack and my rollerboard suitcase with ease unlike the Camero SS convertible I had that one time in California. There IS a feature to have a map but since the SD card with the map data isn’t in the car it just showed a blank screen, slightly annoying and there was also no CarPlay. I had my phone mount which made it not so bad but the infotainment needs an update to support CarPlay or Android Auto. I guess overall not a bad car as a rental but I still wouldn’t buy one myself. Surprisingly I still like running around in my Honda Accord or Honda Odyssey than most of the cars that I end up renting. Too bad Hertz doesn’t invest in Honda’s as rental cars, I think a lot of people would like renting those cars compared to some of the ones they offer currently.
I wonder what car I’ll be able to rent this week….. another Chevy Malibu or Impala perhaps? At least those have CarPlay 🙂
I just want to say this first, Virginia I hate you and your place on my shit list right next to New Jersey is well deserved. Anyway on to today’s rant! Last night I decided to drive to Washington DC to take some pictures of the monuments at night since they are really awesome at that time of the day. I got there at about sun down so there was still some light left. I spent a few hours there doing the rounds and snapping pictures. At around 10PM I called it quits and decided to head back to my hotel in Reston VA.
In order to get to my hotel in Reston I have to take a toll road. To me toll roads are such crap, its just a way to get more money out of me every time I travel to pay for a road thats already been built. The thing that annoys me most is that the Dulles Toll Road is the only highway that goes to Reston, at least Florida’s saving grace is that if you don’t want to take a toll road there is an interstate alternative that can be taken even though you have to go out of your way, its not that bad. So last night I pull up to the Full Service window at my exit, normally there’s a little person in there to accept my money, drop a coin in the exact change bucket and I can go on my way. Last night there was no little person and I looked around to see what to do. I didn’t see anything that I could do except give exact change and being a consultant, I try to carry as little extraneous crap as possible, especially loose change! Since I didn’t want to sit there like a dumbass, I decided to just say “ah fuck it” and drove through the toll.
This type of thing has happened to me before and Florida is notorious for it as well, putting up tolls but expecting people to either have a SunPass or EZPass or exact change. I don’t get why the DOT in various states think so backwards that we all have loose change or some sort of transponder in our cars. I rent cars for most of the week that I’m working so I’m not using a transponder and most of the time I’m trying to get points on my credit card so I don’t carry cash. Metal sets off alarms at the airport so I get rid of all my loose change so I don’t have to be patted down or something. A lot of toll roads take pictures of plates these days and the plates are tied to individuals. It would be simple enough to provide a statement to the registered owner of the vehicle to pay the said toll after taking a snap shot of their license plate. Another fun thing would be to use technology in the plate itself and have it be a transponder so I don’t have to buy one, or register for one, or add money to it if it gets low on funds. If I don’t pay my tolls, I just can’t re-register the car. This would eliminate annoying things like toll violation fees and trying to enforce people paying tolls if the state actually used tolls.
I know, these ideas are really far out there and require lots of computing power and intelligence (on the part of the government which is seriously lacking at all levels) but it can be done successfully with the tech we have today. Even if we have people stop so that the system takes a photo of the license plate first, thats better than having to stop, get a ticket or pay the toll and then make sure the dude in the booth hits the button. OK, enough ranting and raving for now. I have two more weeks in DC and then I have to find yet another project in some state I don’t live in so that I can earn my paycheck.
After 3 loyal years with Avis and after achieving Avis First status I’m leaving Avis for Hertz. I first used Hertz a long time ago when I first started consulting but the offers at Avis were just too good (I certainly couldn’t pass up free iTunes songs after every rental). Since then there haven’t been many compelling offers beyond getting free weekend rentals which I never use.
Just try something different I decided to go back to Hertz to see if they will give me better cars, to see if their point system is worth all the hype, and simply because Avis isn’t really offering me anything that I want at the moment. The only bad thing Hertz did that made me switch was that they gave me a Corolla as a rental. Last week kind of did it for me with Avis, my car want clean again (it’s kind of gross web you find an apple in your car) but I do like hat they have a no smoking policy now.
I plan to rent with Hertz for the next 6 weeks. I figure I should be fair before I decide to dump them and go back to Avis. Here’s hoping I don’t get a PT Cruiser because that car will be returned before I leave the lot.