5 Rental Cars You Need to Avoid


Walking or riding a bike may be a better choice.

Rental cars are not supposed to be anything exciting. They just need to get you from point A to point B and back for a few days at most. But you still want to rent something decent and not a piece of crap. Some still have their share of cloth seat cigarette burns, but rental cars range from outright junk to damn decent. Avoid the former. These five cars are examples of old crap. Luckily, your standard chain rental agency likely doesn't offer them anymore. It's the "Joe's Car Rental" places you gotta look out for.

Not much more needs to be said about the sorry ass excuse for an American car known as the Dodge Stratus. It started life back in 1995 as a decent family sedan, but like the rest of the Chrysler lineup it became an infestation of interior plastics so cheap it made Chinese-produced Playskool toys look quality. As the years wore on, the Stratus only got worse. It became so bad that its name was even changed to Avenger in an effort to rebrand this piece of terrible.


Before the current 3.7-liter V6 base engine, the base level Mustang was powered by Ford's Cologne 4.0-liter V6, which was originally introduced in 1965. Yes, it may have been German-built, but the engine was ancient by the time the fifth-gen Mustang arrived in 2005. And yet Ford still tried to get away with putting it under the hood of the Mustang. Everyone knew this engine sucked, and rental agencies suckered enough people into thinking they were driving something cool. Just to be clear, they weren't.


Everything wrong with the old GM can be seen in the first-gen Chevrolet Aveo. It was way underpowered, handled worse than a moody elephant, and had absolutely zero design passion. True, it was launched by Daewoo, GM's former South Korean brand, and sold decently in Asia. But for America it sucked big time. By the time its much improved replacement came out in 2011, the old Aveo was pretty much at the mercy of rental car fleets.


In case you weren't aware, there are now two Chevrolet Impalas on the market today. The first is the brand-spanking new one that looks incredible. The second is the previous gen model, which remains in production solely for rental car fleets. It's even been re-branded as the Impala Limited. Although it may be a semi-decent large sedan, it's still based on a platform that dates back to 1982. This is the platform that also underpinned the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Century/Regal, Oldsmobile Intrigue and, of course, the Chevy Lumina.


There's a good reason why the Pontiac Aztek was chosen as Walter White's ride in "Breaking Bad." A dorky car for a dorky science teacher (before that whole crystal meth thing got started), the Aztek and its Buick Rendezvous corporate twin were supposed to be minivan alternatives. Call them early crossovers if you like, but GM had a hard time selling them because consumers knew ugly when they saw it. While Pontiac got shut down, the Rendezvous ended its life in rental fleet exile.

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