For car fans, it’s highly unlikely that we have the car we want. The car we really want. Be that a Porsche, or a Lamborghini. Trying to find the car we really want takes time, money and effort and if you do manage to find one in your price range, actually running it costs the same as a small mortgage. Despite the fact that unless we’re very lucky or determined, it’s unlikely that we’ll get the car of our dreams, but the desire to take one out for a drive in the countryside is still there. Luckily car rental companies have spotted this desire and are offering short term rentals on everything from luxury sedans to high end super cars.
Hiring your dream car for a weekend is an affordable way of living the luxury lifestyle. For a rental fee and the cost of a tank of fuel, you can drive through your local town with the windows down, playing your favourite music or heading out into the countryside for a relaxing drive, maybe even with the roof down. As soon as the car becomes too expensive to run, you can hand it back to the rental company and go back to your sensible family hatchback. The whole ‘weekend millionaire’ is a rental car away.
Before car hire companies cottoned on to the idea of renting out high end sports and executive vehicles, you would have to book into an expensive and limiting ‘driving experience’ if you wanted to drive a Porsche of Ferrari. A very protective instructor would guide you around the course, telling you where you can and can’t accelerate before handing you a gimmicky certificate saying that you’ve ‘experienced’ a Porsche. Today, you don’t have to go near a track to get behind the wheel of something exciting. Avis, Europcar and Enterprise, to name a few, all have ‘luxury’ or ‘exclusive’ selections on their websites. Enterprise’s UK website for example offers an astonishing selection, including the Ferrari California, the Bentley Continental GT and the ultra-exclusive Lamborghini Huracan. Dreams can soon be a reality after a quick license check and credit card deposit.
For those that do want to hire a luxury car though: beware. Once your shiny hire car is out on the road, problems can start to creep in. It’s bad enough if you manage to damage a cheap or medium range hire car and the costs can be astronomical when hiring something like a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Getting behind the wheel of a new vehicle can be confusing and judging spatial awareness and the size of the vehicle is hard if you aren’t used to switching between different cars. This problem is exacerbated massively with cars like the Huracan which are surprisingly wide and have tiny or no rear window; they weren’t designed for reversing into narrow spaces at the bowling alley.
It’s easy to get carried away with a performance vehicle as well. Just touching the accelerator in even a moderately sporty car will give you a boost of speed that you might not be expecting. This mixed with slippery roads or lack of experience could end up in a serious crash, but even a minor fender bender can lead to an astronomical fee. A key consideration when hiring a car compared to owning one is that you are tied to using their garage for repairs, which of course comes at an inflated cost, so any scratches or damaged wheels can’t be remedied by your own contacts. At the end of the day, these vehicles cost a lot to buy outright, so if you’re unlucky enough to write off a hired Ferrari California, the bill you receive from the car hire company is likely to make your eyes water.
You will of course be offered insurance as standard from the company you hire from, with higher costs if the car is more expensive. Look closely at the small print, as the premiums may be very high if the car is particularly exclusive, and the excess can be eye watering. It’s possible to cover yourself from car hire excess as well, permitting true peace of mind. You’ll also be covered if you put the wrong fuel in (easily done in a car that isn’t yours), damage the chassis or require towing fees if you’re unlucky enough to break down in a Bentley.
The multiple options offered by rental companies just go to show that hiring a car isn’t something that is limited to holidays or business trips. As well as having some fun with the car of your dreams, rental is also handy if you’re looking to buy a new car yourself. Instead of an overbearing salesman pushing the car onto you as you carefully navigate the streets around the showroom, you can thrash the car for a week or so, really getting used to the feel of it and rooting out any problems. If you really wanted to, you could have a brand new car every week, as long as you’re prepared to refill the tank and give it back a few days later.