Doc Searls 4th law states that "No matter what car you want to rent, what you’ll get is a Chevy Cavalier."
Ain’t that the truth.
I read recently that Toyota is about to become the world’s largest car manufacturer, surpassing General Motors. Judging from the design and quality of the Chevy Cavalier that is to be my constant companion for the next six weeks, I can only wonder what took them so long.
A few issues after just two days: The front seat armrest, when down, blocks the parking brake. Snow on the rear window falls into the boot if you open it. The boot (or luggage compartment, can never remember what is UK and what is US English) is of decent size, but the door is so small that I had a hard time getting my one large suitcase in. You can’t open the luggage compartment from the inside (well, maybe you can, but I can’t find the button – you can use the remote key, however). My head touches the ceiling since the front seat cannot be lowered – and I am 6′ 3”, which is nothing out of the ordinary. The engine is noisy. The car understeers. Everything is cheap and plasticky. The brake pedal squeaks and the paint flakes off the door armrest, and this on a car with less than 9k miles on it.
At the same time, the people I am staying with are driving a 1988 Toyota Camry that they would like to renew. However, that is hard to do, since the the old clunker just keeps running and what little rust there is is purely cosmetic, according to their mechanic.
I wonder if you can say the same about any 1988 Cavaliers….
UPDATE I: Took another look at the car. It is not a Cavalier, but a Cobalt. Not that anything else has changed…..
UPDATE II: Have now driven this clunker for 5 weeks. Add a gas gauge that will alternately tell you "low on fuel" and "1/4 tank left", increasing engine noise (especially in cold weather) and the most anemic heater I have encountered since driving a VW Beetle many years back. (The Beetle was said to have only to heater settings: Cold and Ice Cold.)
…and an add-on: Interesting discussion over at Marginal Revolution on why most rental cars are US brands. Best hypothesis so far: Volume discounting because of inability to reduce production capacity.