Tuesday, August 29, 2023

We Rented a "Camry or Similar." Guess What We Got!

Jerry Seinfeld: "HOLDING the reservation..."
We saw him in 2020 at the Beacon Theater, NYC.

Renting a car is always fun! Depending on the circumstances, you can rent something like you already own so that you're familiar with the controls. You could rent something totally different, then sit there in your rental and start figuring out all the buttons, tech, screens, mirror adjustments, etc. Once we even rented a "SURPRISE" car at a lower price, with NO IDEA what we could get. That one was in Los Angeles, and as it turned out, a huge Ford Crown Victoria came in great for hauling six adults around!

The rental car business I'm sure is tough, trying to anticipate how many of what kind of vehicles will be available on a given day in a certain location, and sometimes they just don't have what you RESERVED. There is an epic Jerry Seinfeld routine that showed up in one of his shows, where he gets frustrated by this, and the concluding line is something like "You know how to TAKE the reservation, but you don't know how to HOLD the reservation...and that's the IMPORTANT part!" I agree!

So, to work around the unknowns of cars available in the future, at least until we develop better time machines and perfect future predicting, most cars you rent these days let you pick a size/price, like a Toyota Camry, but then to hedge their bets and CYA, the language on your rental is "Toyota Camry or Similar." I've blogged about this before, and I STILL can't find what brand of car a "SIMILAR" is, so you're just going to have to put up with one of my attempts at humor. Let's get on to what we received with our rental. 

HINT #1: Rental location was in the USA. 

This hint means you should start guessing vehicles that are very popular in the USA. That kind of rules out diesel 3 cylinders or whatever they're driving in Europe today. 

Grand Rapids Airport: GRR

HINT #2: Specifically, we rented in Grand Rapids Michigan, you know, the home state of Ford, Chevy, and US home base of Chrysler/Dodge/Ram (not counting their French owners.) 

Bonus Trivia: Grand Rapids is the home of former President Gerald R. Ford. Either he was named after the airport, or maybe they named the airport after him, I'm not sure which one it is. Maybe he started the Ford Motor Company? I'm not that old, so who knows!

HINT #3: It was NOT a Camry. 

Bonus Spoiler Alert: That means we got the mysterious "OR SIMILAR." 

Extra Bonus Spoiler Alert: Our rental was NOT a Rolls Royce (see below) either!

We parked our Camry next to this Rolls Royce at the F1 race in Miami this year. Nice neighborhood!

HINT #4: Start thinking big. I mean BIG!   

NMS Ford Maverick


RAM eTorque 1500

To be fair, the rental company asked if I would accept the Ram, and I could have refused and gone for whatever was going to be behind door #3 or the curtain on stage left, but considering we were in Michigan, and would have to drive at least a little on a dirt/gravel road to get to the cabin by the river, hey a truck is about as USA as you can get. Extra bonus, it came at the same rental price as the Camry, so in this case we were happy with the big, gigantic Ram 1500 eTorque. Yeah, we paid more in gas mileage, but with the 3.6-liter mild-hybrid RAM, we averaged about 22mpg, so right in line with the EPA ratings of 19/city and 24/highway. 

This was a new screen to me, you could pull this up and monitor oil temps, transmission temps, coolant temps, and oil pressure! Another screen showed you current battery voltage. Makes you wonder why every manufacturer doesn't do this!

Yes, it was huge, with the largest back seat area I've ever seen. It was easy to drive, handled well, had a pretty big turning radius, and if you need a full-size truck, it will do nicely. For just two of us up front, we folded down (forward) the middle section, because the back of that seat had our cup-holders and a storage space. The rear seats all folded down also, and this beast easily carried our suitcases, drove on gravel, and took a bag of trash to the dumpster! A bit of an effort to climb up into, which made me think I was one pulled muscle from not being able to even get into the truck, but we soldiered on!

We enjoyed the visit to Michigan and saw plenty of deer and turkeys too. We also stumbled into a cool car event, so look for more on that in the near future too!

TURKEYS! No, not the truck, the animals back there in the grass!

V6 motor, 3.6-liter variable valve timing with stop/start

Stay tuned next month when we're renting another "Or Similar" and see what we get. The early Vegas odds on our currently reserved "Ford Edge or Similar" are that we won't get an Edge! Whatever it is, it will need to haul 4 people up to about 9,000 feet elevation.

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