I rented my first Zipcar just over a year ago. It was a red Toyota Matrix. I’ve been hooked ever since. The flexibility of renting when needed is great and at a fraction of the cost of owning. I have to admit that overall it’s a fun experience. What I love most about Zipcars in particular is how well thought out and simplified everything is for you.
You start out by scheduling a pick up for the time, car make and model, (they have a good variety to choose from) and return time of your choice online. You swipe your membership card over a sensor in the front windshield and violah. Open says me.
You automatically have access to a free parking lot as a home base and never have to worry about getting a spot because the reserved spots are meant for Zipcars and Zipcars only.
As if that wasn’t cool enough they even pay for your gas.
The insurance coverage provided is equally good and you even have the flexibility of increasing your deductible in exchange for a smaller outlay of cash in case of a major accident.
They have a great program where you can pick up your car at six o’clock Thursday evening and don’t have to return it until eight thirty Friday morning for only $40.00. Daily rates can be anywhere from $77 on up to $100 or more for high-end vehicles.
Another benefit I like to take advantage of is the variety of selections. I can try out any of the major models I want sometimes for as little as $8 an hour. This works out great because since I’m in the market for a car of my own I can rent freely with almost no effort and its fun. I immediately get a feel for how the vehicle handles in all situations, roominess, power, performance and general feel without the hassle of having to schedule time consuming test drives through dealerships. You can take out everything from a trendy two person Smart Car or Mini Cooper on up to a BMW 328xi. But don’t get too carried away and try to impress anybody because the blatantly obvious green Z logo on the car door usually blows your cover.
“Sounds great but are there any down sides?” you might ask. Well, if you’re looking for a car with all of the bells and whistles a regular car dealership will try to convince you that you can’t live without, don’t expect to find it here. I haven’t been in a car yet that has onboard navigation aids like GPS, fancy spoilers, trendy trim or even car alarms. Although I have to admit the rear view camera display in the panel of the Toyota Prius was a pretty cool and useful gadget.
If you’re looking for a quick getaway or planning a an extended road trip and need wheels but have ever had any reservations about Zipcar or even never heard of them don’t worry. You’ll find the experience enjoyable, the customer service fantastic, and you won’t be disappointed. Just be sure to return your car with at least a quarter tank of gas and they won’t revoke your license. I’m kidding. They wouldn’t really do that.