It’s been a while since we featured a rental car review, so we thought it appropriate to write one when presented with this choice at the Enterprise counter at midnight the other night: “We don’t have the compact car you reserved so would you like a Jeep Compass or a Dodge Minivan? Or you could have the Red Camaro in spot #4” The Camaro option changed the equation. The Compass is a dog. A Minivan is a Minivan.
I haven’t been in a Camaro since the mid-eighties so what the heck, why not? It turns out there are some decent reasons why not, like because you have luggage, or you have children with legs, or you enjoy looking to the right through the windshield to see oncoming traffic or pedestrians. But that’s jumping ahead.
First, the Good: Its red. It’s kind of sinister looking in an over-weight hit-man sort of way. The coolest feature has to be the flow-in-the-dark emergency release lever in the trunk. That Could come in hand for when you inevitably get car-jacked and are thrown in the trunk for the long drive out to the woods….
The Bad: Everything else. The sight lines are terrible. The hood bulbous. The interior door handles, mirror adjustments, and front setback release handle are impossible to find in the dark. The fit and finish are marginal. The interior plastics (and there is a lot of plastic) cheap and uninspired.
The gauges look straight out of the 1970’s. The steering wheel appears to be off center and it’s both huge in diameter and skinny in thickness. That’s a bad compilation and it’s made from the same cheap plastic as everything else. Seating was comfortable but not particularly supportive. The ride was smooth but not sporty; acceleration from the V6 was decent but there wasn’t much feedback to the driver from the throttle, brakes, or suspension. It was remarkably flat though for such a hefty vehicle. The trunk is quite large but unfortunately largely useless thanks to the small opening and high lift-over height. Visibility out the front is poor; the sides unsafe; and behind impaired. The roofline is so low that the rearview mirror almost totally obscures the driver’s view to the right. That’s counterbalanced by the ginormous A pillar to the driver’s left which blocks the view from that side leaving the driver free to only worry about what lay ahead. At least whatever lay ahead beyond the view obstructed by the hood. From the backseats — I’ve seen pictures of max security prison cells with larger windows and better views.
The Ugly: Have you seen the car from behind? Do you think my butt is fat, no honestly?…
In the end, I should have taken the Minivan. It would have been a better ride.
Final Grade: D-. It would have gotten an F if it weren’t for that panic release leaver in the trunk.