Skip the economy car and head straight to the exotics.
For many gearheads a rental car is equivalent to a prison sentence on wheels. That’s because most affordable rental cars are boring, slow and cheap. But then again, when it comes to a rental, “cheap” is usually the primary objective. But what if you decided to throw caution (and your wallet) to the wind? America's biggest rental car chains actually offer some pretty cool rides if you're willing to pay for them. Here are the best cars from four of the country's top rental outfits.
Enterprise actually has a large selection of vehicles in its aptly named “Exotic Car Collection.” This fleet is located across the country, although you’ll need to be in a bigger city to access it. Sorry, the Enterprise at the Boise airport doesn’t carry Aston Martin DB9s. Enterprise has a pretty deep roster of luxury sports cars, convertibles and SUVS. That made this choice tough, but I’ll say the coolest car in the Enterprise fleet is the Bentley Continental GT Convertible. There is an R8 Spyder on offer, and while it's quicker the Audi just can't match the allure and mystique of the Bentley.
Fun fact: The only time I used Alamo was to rent a car in Tijuana. I got a Ford Fiesta (perfect name) and drove it down to Los Cabos and back in 12 days. That car was awesome, but I can’t say the same for Alamo’s upscale offerings. They are pretty pathetic, which is why I’ll crown the BMW 5 Series (or similar) as the best of the bunch. While Alamo doesn’t have any upscale automakers on its roster, there is a wide variety of standard luxury options to choose from. Infiniti, BMW, Lincoln, Buick, Audi—they’re all here and can possibly be rented in Tijuana if you’re brave enough to pilot an A3 through the madness that is a Mexican roundabout.
The Avis Signature Series isn’t as loaded as the Enterprise Exotic Car Collection but it’s in no way as depressing as Alamo’s offerings. How a Lincoln Navigator made the cut I’ll never know, but if it were up to me I would go with the Maserati Quattroporte. Sure, the Maserati may catch fire or be recalled but that’s not your problem as a renter. Should you fear fire then there are a few killer alternatives, including the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Chevrolet Corvette.
Hertz Dream Cars isn’t in the same class as Enterprise’s but is good enough to rival the Avis Signature Series. Here there are no American brands to be found, so this lineup is a cut above Avis in that respect. Actually, there is one car here that’s American and it’s the 50th Anniversary Ford Shelby GT-H. I almost went with the Mercedes-Benz G550 but to be fair you could probably rent that elsewhere. This Mustang sports a 5.0-liter V8 and a performance tune job by Shelby. You may not draw eyeballs like the Maserati or convertible Continental but you can smile from within knowing that you’re in a special edition Mustang GT built specifically for a rental car company. That’s worth celebrating…right?