I Gambled On A Rental Car And Won

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Photo: Bradley Brownell

There is perhaps no worse feeling in the world of automobiles than getting stuck with a shitty rental car. I flew in to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport, the largest airport in the world by customer volume, and rented a car not knowing what I’d get. It was a gamble, I knew that going in, but I threw the dice on the table and came out snake eyes. This amazing silver machine was my home for a shuttle out from Atlanta to Dahlonega for an event playing in the mud, and back. It kicks ass.


After waiting in line for over two hours on Monday at the Avis counter where my reservation was held, I was finally rewarded by a surprisingly jovial rental desk attendant. Thanks to his help, I was able to get what I was told was literally the last available car on the lot. While I stood with him I was shuffled through a few options before they were unceremoniously swiped away by the desk worker’s compatriots. “Would you like a truck? Oh, that’s gone. How about a Corolla? Nope, they took that, too!”

When they finally secured me a van, I would have taken literally anything they had. As it turns out, getting a Sienna was absolutely serendipitous. When I entered the garage to pick up the van, I was informed that three other people at the airport were heading to the same destination I was, and there were no rental cars left for them to get where we were going. I obliged and picked up three passengers, editors and writers from other powersports-oriented publications.

Fitting four people and all the gear required for a day of trail riding would have been an absolute shit fit in a Corolla or a Tacoma or whatever. My other recent rental car was a Jeep Gladiator, and that was just an all-around shit experience, but it would have fit our stuff better than a Corolla.

In any case, I had about four or five total hours of driving the Sienna this week totally loaded down with people and stuff, and it was maybe the best rental car I’ve ever had. Not only was it comfortable and quiet, but it was equipped with Apple Car Play and radar cruise, which are an absolute must these days in my eyes. And over just shy of 200 miles round-trip, I burned just a quarter of a tank of gasoline. Amazing.

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