Leaving the infamous Hertz Mustang to one side for a moment, what’s the perfect car to rent while on holiday? And when I say holiday I don’t mean driving holiday, I mean a bumbling-around-doing-not-much-near-a-beach-but-still-needing-a-set-of-wheels-to-knock-about-in kind of holiday.
For reasons I won’t bore you with I’ve rented no less than three different cars in Spain during the last three weeks, all of which have been very much in the “cheap-as-chips-so-long-as-it’s-got-four-doors-and-air-conditioning” category.
The first was a previous generation Ford Fiesta, the second an Opel Corsa, the third a Skoda Fabia HTP. And BY FAR the best car of the three was the Fabia.
The Ford felt so well used that it had developed a personality all of its own, including a smell that only a five-year-old car that’s been burped and trumped into by all manner of Costa del Layabouts could possess. It actually smelt – and drove – as if it was close to the end of its days. And on the motorway it had an immense vibration which, above about 78mph, was genuinely terrifying to experience.
The Corsa, on the other hand, was virtually a brand spanker but, I’m afraid to say, was my least favourite car of the three. Despite its impressively gadget-laden interior and really quite natty black paint job, it was an utterly horrid little thing to drive. Its throttle pedal was so numb and its steering so rubbery, it was difficult to work out what on earth was going on beneath your backside through corners. And in a straight line the lack of performance was such that, on one occasion, I actually managed to fall asleep at the wheel and woke up the next day to discover I’d only moved forwards by a quarter of an inch.
The Fabia, though, was fantastic. It had more room in it than the others, miles crisper steering, and a decently perky little three-cylinder engine that did more miles to the gallon than either of its impromptu rivals. And although it had no hubcaps and was so anonymous to look at that I kept forgetting where I’d left it in car parks, there was something refreshingly simple about it that I really liked.
It’s the sort of car I’d whole-heartedly recommend to a friend who “wants something reliable, but nothing too fancy.”
And now, if you don’t mind, I’ll get back to my Sangria-and-fries.
(Note; the DAFTA committee is on holiday this week and will return, due to mild appeal, this time next week.)