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Just saved $250 on a car rental


pow

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OK, I didn't know this, but here's a tip - if you're renting a car, decline CDW (collision damage waver) insurance. Instead, look at your credit card's terms and conditions. It's very likely that rental insurance is included in that.

For an eight-day one-way rental in Spain, my price went from €460 to €280. I assumed my normal auto insurance wouldn't cover me outside the US, but thankfully I happened to glance at the benefits pamphlet of my newly issued card, which normally I would have thrown away. Now it's $50/day; you can't even get that price in the US (as an 18-20 year old).

Reserved a CWMR (C-segment, wagon, manual, air conditioning) diesel from Sixt, and presumably there will be a choice of...

Megane Sport Tourer

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308 SW

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C4 Picasso

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Focus Estate

fordfocusestate2008mode.jpg

Golf Estate

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If you had a choice, which one would you pick?

Edited by pow
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ended up getting a Peugeot 308 SW. Nice car! Interior was roomy and comfy for four people and four large suitcases, driving position and visibility were excellent, and it came loaded with cool features like auto HID lights, panoramic roof, and climate control.

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On both the highway and the city, engine performance was fine, so I was really surprised to learn it had the 1.6 liter 120 PS engine, a BMW-PSA joint venture motor found in the base MINI Cooper. 0-62 mph takes 12 seconds according to Peugeot, and our car probably weighed in at 3700 lbs with people and cargo. Not a good power-to-weight ratio by any standard, but in real life, it was fine. Easily cruised at 75-85 mph all day, and while the revs were high (~4,000), the engine was smooth and I didn't have to downshift much to overtake cars. Averaged 6.6L/100km (36 MPG, US).

It was interesting recalibrating my driving for Spain and a manual transmission car. They have excellent lane discipline there, and the left lane really is only for passing, so the 308's auto three-click turn signals came in handy. Unlike with an automatic car, where full throttle results in a downshift and lots of noise, I frequently drove around with pedal flat to the floor, with gear selection instead dictating the pace of acceleration. Apparently that's also more efficient, because full throttle results in less pumping loss.

The five-speed manual helped hide the fact the car was slow. You really are much more engaged and alert when driving, when you need to plan for passing maneuvers and look ahead at traffic. With other things going on, power simply doesn't mean everything. The 308's gearbox is smooth, though the clutch engagement point is too high; the engine is eager to rev and refined.

Handling was more comfortable than sporty, though it always felt composed, never floaty. Steering feel could be better, as can high-speed stability.

Great space efficiency. The interior space and versatility is better than a full-size Accord that's a foot longer, yet parking is a cinch. The rear seats are three individual buckets, with electronic seat belt monitors, and a folding table from behind the front seats. Lots of storage cubbies in the doors and dash. Interior quality was good, nothing stood out as being cheap, though I wouldn't describe it as luxurious. Better than, say, an Accord.

Overall, I thought it was an interesting alternative to the conventional family sedans we have here. More involving to drive, easier to park, and more fuel efficient, but slower and more expensive.

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They are indeed much better drivers in Europe. The test is very difficult and driving education is much more thorough and costs a fortune, but it shows in how efficiently their traffic moves. No oblivious people sitting in the left hand lane.

How did you maintain a steady speed with the pedal to the floor the entire time? If I did that I would eventually start accelerating, regardless of what gear I was in.

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They are indeed much better drivers in Europe. The test is very difficult and driving education is much more thorough and costs a fortune, but it shows in how efficiently their traffic moves. No oblivious people sitting in the left hand lane.

How did you maintain a steady speed with the pedal to the floor the entire time? If I did that I would eventually start accelerating, regardless of what gear I was in.

Full throttle only on acceleration. But since I'd be in a high gear, the acceleration wouldn't be very brisk..

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