Not owning a car at the moment meat I had to rent quite a few cars for a couple of days or a week at the time, these are some brief impressions:
Peugeot 208 PureTech 72 - 72hp, 3cyl french eco box - and I liked it. It was not bad even on the Autobahn. I even ended up liking the strange interior layout and tiny steering wheel at the end. All around positive experience.
Renault Clio 1.2 16V - not as much fun to drive as the Peugeot, but still a nice hatchback overall. Hated the navigation unity though and rear visability wasn't to my liking. Nice seats ...
Nissan Micra K14 1.0 - what a nice car ... untill it broke down 2 days into my week of renting with and unfixable fault in the electronics. Before that I liked it - apart from the navigation unit which was prob the worst I have had recently ...
To replace the broken Micra they gave me a Fiat 500. A downgrade, but it was take this or wait a day for another car. So I got a Fiat 500 Diesel. And I loved it. You can say stockholm syndrome all you want - I liked the 500 for what it is. It was my first time even being in one and I can see why these little things sell like bread. For what they are, they are quite perfect. Little funky town runarounds. Stepping into it after the Micra, it was a lot less comfy in the 500 ... but ok. If I was in the market for a city car, this would be hard to ignore.
Vw Touran - so I had 4 people to transport with luggage for a week and needed something bigger. And what I got was a fully loaded Touran with toys like DSC and ACC. I did not check, but I think it was the 1.4 petrol. The ACC is really something I adored and combined with the DSC Gearbox a real joy to drive on the autobahn with. The car did not miss a beat and I really enjoyed driving it despite being (essentially) a smal van.
Citro-*cough* sorry "DS Automobiles" DS3 with some diesel engine:
It's honestly hard to tell how much I like this car due to a number of external factors. It's my first time out of the country. I have no idea what I am doing driving in Europe. And the jaw-dropping mountain roads of Verdon would make a Corolla entertaining.
But I've now done more practical driving on highways and in the city, and I feel I have a better opinion. The diesel motor isn't bad. it's satisfying to downshift into second and feel a surge of power, and it has no trouble accelerating onto the highway and making high speed passes. Definitely "enough" power in a car I thought would feel underpowered to my American senses. There are still a few quirks that take some getting used to. It sounds awful. Like it has a serious rod knock or something. Not great for windows-down cruising. The car launches very hard when the clutch bites, using the throttle is usually overkill. And I am amazed that itdoes not have a clutch switch on the ignition. You can imagine how I discovered this....
The transmission, however, is only a 5 speed, and this seems to hold the engine back a bit. With the diesels limited rev range it really feels like the gap between gears is too large. I feel like second gear is deliberately low, which feels good on the downshift and while accelerating from a standstill, but shifting into third it is way to easy to kill your momentum. In general the engine has a pretty narrow power band and rewards you for staying in it, which would be way easier with another gear. The throw is also quite long but I am most likely just used to driving a sports car.
The ride is balanced very well, avoids being too stiff while still feeling pretty good in quick s-bends. Steering is far too light for my tastes at low speeds, but it stiffens up nicely on the highway. I wish it could be reconfigured in some way, maybe it can and I can't find it.
Overall I can't fault the car as a rental, I like the way it looks, it's small and easy to maneuver, not boring to drive and has enough power to keep up without trying too hard. A sportier trimline of this is the exact type of thing I would want to own if I lived in Europe. Luckily, I don't, so I can keep enjoying my 20 mpg sports car Speaking of which, fuel economy is on another level. I've driven about 350 km, a lot of which was spirited driving on low speed, curvy roads, and am still over half a tank. Unfortunately there's no readout so I will have to report back on exact numbers after I fill up.
March, a certain Mediterranean island: a diesel Cascada
Fairly decent for an Opel, but still feels cheap and Opelish. Was fast enough to keep up with these in the mountains:
...but then they were filming...
Wouldn't buy, but okay for some cheap sunny cruising.
April, US Pacific Ranges and coastline: a Camaro RS
A good step up from the previous model that I drove in 2014, especially for the gearbox. Makes for a nice drivetrain now, though the Sixt app did claim it'd be an SS while I was taking the historic SF streetcar on my way to pick it up but then I wasn't paying for an SS so that's fine. Makes quite a racket beyond 5k
OR/CA border... California didn't bother to plough, and Oregon stopped at the border
Seeking asylum between Canadians
Would consider if I lived in a place with bigger roads.
May, a certain Mediterranean island: yet another 595
...you know what it looks like, otherwise go back to one of the other 595s I've posted here... wasn't me with the black streaks on the front left wheel arch
quite a dirty car after a week but then it already is pretty dirty from the factory, aurally
Had some friends on the island overlapping who rented bikes, much fun was had showing them around as it was their first time in the Tramuntana mountains
Still the same opinion on the 595 - would never daily, but it's buckets of fun for a week of hooning around.
Can definitely recommend the bike rental place if anyone's interested in making the trip and lusting for two wheels.