Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When Renting a Car- Anything but an HHR

Before I tell you how much I dislike the HHR, let me give you a bit of background. I'll freely admit that I am not the world's best driver, but I do my best to be safe and my driving record shows that. I've only had one minor accident in my driving career and that was years ago. As long as I'm being honest about my driving, I will also admit that I am terrible at parallel parking. There are activities that I dispise more, but parallel parking ranks pretty high on the list.

My work takes me to various places around the world, and occasionally I need to rent a car; usually through Hertz. Hertz is a fine company, but they are not without flaws.

Until recently, they insisted on putting two bulky keys on the keychain for each rental car. Since you are unlikely to need both keys as they are both on the same keychain, I never saw the point in this. When asked about this, they said that they didn't have a way of tracking the second key so they kept them together. I could never figure out why two keys together was better than one, but they have thankfully rectified the situation and my latest rentals from Hertz came with just one key.
The only remaining problem that I have with Hertz has to do with their fleet. I started seeing the Chevrolet HHR show up in their lineup not long ago and I was borderline excited to try it out as it had ample space for my suitcase and my toolkit. I soon realized that this vehicle had potentially fatal blind spots when I nearly merged into someone on a freeway.

Not spotting someone prior to a merge rarely happens to me, but it does happen. I wrote this off as a fluke. When this happened again on that same trip I was convinced that it wasn't me, but rather the HHR. On a trip a month later I rented an HHR again. When they assigned it to me, I rolled my eyes and thought I'd give it one more try. I had the same problems.

From that point on I've made a habit of requesting "anything but an HHR" at the Hertz rental counter. When confronted with this request, the Hertz representative mentioned that mine was the third such request that she had heard in the last 10 minutes. I added that my request was because of the blind spots and she confirmed that this is the most common comment that she hears about the HHR when the "anything but…" requests come in.

Unfortunately, she also commented that the rental location had just received a large shipment of HHRs to add to their fleet and she pondered aloud as to why Hertz would buy cars that seemingly no one wants to rent.

That's a good question. Has Hertz struck a great deal to add HHRs to their fleet? I do not know the answer to this question, but it makes one think.

At any rate, if you are renting a car and are assigned a HHR, I would encourage you to sit in it and evaluate the blind spots for yourself before accepting it as your rental. If you aren't comfortable with it, please let your rental agency know and request a different vehicle.

If you have had similar experiences with the HHR, please let me know. I'm sure I'm not alone here, so let me know what you think.

If you've enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the RSS feed.

1 comment:

  1. I've rented HHR's many times. I know what you mean about the blind spots from the rear pillars - but the two mirrors on the HHR totally make up for the blind spots. The mirrors provide a huge rear view. I really enjoy driving an HHR... I found them fun to drive, great mpg, and cargo space galore.