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Old 30th October 2010, 08:59   #76
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Blackasta - Thanks for the very informative article ! Your pics are great too, the view from that mountain top is breathtaking !

That Pontiac GTO looks to be beautifully maintained

Did you mean upgraded or downgraded to the New beetle ?!

Have you ever been pulled over by the cops ? PLease do share your experiences !
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Old 30th October 2010, 09:28   #77
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Blackasta:
If a person is capable of doing x kms in India can we take it that same person will be able to x miles in the US.

i.e. if someeone does 800 kms a day in India, can the same person do 800-900 miles a day in the US.

*Under ideal conditions.
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Old 30th October 2010, 12:38   #78
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@bblost. All depends on the way one drives. I've done max 800 mile drives in a day in US. The reason being one needs to hold to their speed limits (as it is being followed more stringently there than in India) due to which 800 miles take a minimum of 12 hours atleast.
Add to it, the extreme smooth roads and cruise control which all are amazing sleep inducers. No one honks, no cows cross the road (there are boards showing animal crossing though and I once saw 6 horses galloping across the interstate when on a driver near Eerie, couple of gopher tortoises crossing near Deland and an Alligator that strayed to the I95 near Ft. Lauderdale).
In India we can do easily 120 - 130 to do 800 kms in a day. In US, we still do 120 - 130 kph and we are talking of distances like 800 miles which is roughly 1300 kms.

Same speeds. 500 extra kms. You can do the math!

By the way, I loved driving convertibles in US. Here's my fav rental convertible which I used to take and drive with the top down

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Old 30th October 2010, 16:42   #79
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hey, super thread BlackAsta and couldn't come at a better time for me. I'll be moving to Hartford, CT in a month or so and will be there for an year or more. So i was scouting around for rental car options and whether to go rental for daily use or buy a car.

This will be my first time in the US and i've never rented a car, so apt thread for me Will be going through each page on this n the updates too. Hope to post some of my experiences on it soon
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Old 30th October 2010, 17:00   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomzi View Post
hey, super thread BlackAsta and couldn't come at a better time for me. I'll be moving to Hartford, CT in a month or so and will be there for an year or more. So i was scouting around for rental car options and whether to go rental for daily use or buy a car.

This will be my first time in the US and i've never rented a car, so apt thread for me Will be going through each page on this n the updates too. Hope to post some of my experiences on it soon
Going by Top Gear's adventures, you should buy a car
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Old 30th October 2010, 21:00   #81
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Has anyone rented a mini cooper in the US or know if we can rent them from the hertz,enterprise,budget or avis? I know we can rent them from exotic car rental companies but they cost a bomb to rent.
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Old 31st October 2010, 07:01   #82
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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
You are allowed to drive in your native country license if you are there on a business visa ror short durations. I have done it quite a few times. Have even been stopped by a cop once. If you are there on a longer visa, you need to get a state license.
CA accepts Indian driving licenses whereas i think in NJ it was not allowed.

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Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I have always wondered.
Can you take a rental car in a city A and return it in a city B?
If yes, is there any limit on the distance between the 2 cities.
For example can someone drive from say the west coast to the east coast.
As said by others need to pay extra charge (drop off charge) if it very far.

A good informative thread started by blackasta which will help first time travellers to US.

I have been to USA for quite sometimes to the both East and West coasts.
I used to tell all if you are a car craze better visit USA once in a life time.
That is the country of the whole world which has advanced systems in place in the area of transport & its infra.
Unfortunately all my trips were in B1/B2 and eventhough Indian DL is allowed in CA, I did not utilise a chance to drive there. The reason my friends and cousins were there that I was not allowed to do that. I had two longer trips from Cincinnati to Niagra & back in the usual Pontiac - New one and NY to Ohio in Ford Explorer with full GPS (in 2004). I was amazed to see that GPS functioning when my friend deliberately missed an exit. It recalculated and gave an entry to take again the famous Pensylvania turnpike.
- Rental companies are subsidiaries of Automobile manufacturing companies
eg- hertz is from Ford etc..
-Desis park their corollas, camry's, accords & civic at home and pick a rental
-Most of the rentals are available near the airport - an real example of unified transport facility.
- Rental companies provide shuttle services to the airport from their parking lots
-Need to have a right credit card (with insurance facilities) to get a right rental pack
-Calculation of rental varies like this - my cousin calculates like this picks one on Monday morning and drops at Friday feels cheaper than one picking one on Friday & dropping on Monday morning (Present tbhpians in US can correct if this is wrong)
-As said by my it is chance of luck that u get a bigger car sometimes due to non availability of smaller onces
-Once waited for 3 hours for a ford or gm, my friend picked a new Jetta. First time I saw the feature that speedo illumination changed from red to green after ignition is switched on - a true german engineering at that time
-My cousins never allowed me to drive - may be they would have had lot of faith in my driving
- Driving laws and speed limits vary state to state but beautifully centralised across US.
-My friends who lives there for more than 30 years uses manual map directories rather than online stuff like google or yahoo. He used to say that when I get lost I enquire the direction in a fuel pump. He understood the basic concept of direction and entry/exits that he was very comfortable with manual stuff. He is a doctor there. I went through the route maps in that big book which looked like big telephone dictionary
-Still could not understand how the rental companies give new cars to drive and also sell if it had done more than 30k miles.
-Self disciplined citizens in that country helps these kind of companies to survive and offer great facilities
-Everything linked to insurance and credit history. So you cannot play anything with rental cars.
Coming to India
- We were taught the basics of direction by standing and stretching our hands to learn direction. What an wonderful concept which we neglected here to teach our kids. All the routes across the world used the concept of direction only.
- In India we need to bring in direction concept in NH's and SH's which are totally missing.
-my local friend who is extremely strong on directions (sitting inside an house of a new town or city can say the direction of the road outside the house) never misses any road even if he drives first time. He used to say he calculates using directions only.He hails from a village
-Metronax - a car hiring company started in India in 90's failed due to poor attitude of indians. People started stealing fuel, spares from the cars. Took the car and started teaching to drive for everyone in the family. lot of misuse led the company to close.
- It is extremely difficult in India to track a lost car where as in the vast US it takes very little time

As said by carboy and others if you are lucky enough to get great deals,then no doubt you can drive all the varieties of new cars. A real great facility which is enjoyed by their citizens and migrants to the country.
NB:Bhpians - Correct if any point is wrong or rephrase it accordingly

Last edited by RGK : 31st October 2010 at 07:05.
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Old 31st October 2010, 08:49   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nirmaljusdoit View Post
Blackasta - Thanks for the very informative article ! Your pics are great too, the view from that mountain top is breathtaking !

That Pontiac GTO looks to be beautifully maintained

Did you mean upgraded or downgraded to the New beetle ?!

Have you ever been pulled over by the cops ? PLease do share your experiences !
Thanks!
Man I was like a child after checking that GTO out.
The VW beetle is classified as an intermediate car by Enterprise, and I paid for only economy / compact - so technically its an 'upgrade'. The rental guys could have given me a chevy HSS, bu they gave me the option to choose (small favors they throw in as I always rent out from them).

I personally had never been pulled over (though I had to call 911 myself when I had that accident) -but have been in the passenger seat 3 times when my friends were pulled over and handed tickets - in NJ, WV and AZ.
I leave that experience to be shared in some other thread - police experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Blackasta:
If a person is capable of doing x kms in India can we take it that same person will be able to x miles in the US.

i.e. if someeone does 800 kms a day in India, can the same person do 800-900 miles a day in the US.

*Under ideal conditions.
The longest I have driven in India is for 6 hours to cover a distance of 360 kms - from my hometown Madhyamgram, WB to Bokaro Steel City, JH.

The longest in US was for 6 hours to cover 330+ miles between Randolph, NJ and Pittsburgh, PA.

So yes - your calculation holds up good. Never thought it this way though!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gomzi View Post
hey, super thread BlackAsta and couldn't come at a better time for me. I'll be moving to Hartford, CT in a month or so and will be there for an year or more. So i was scouting around for rental car options and whether to go rental for daily use or buy a car.

This will be my first time in the US and i've never rented a car, so apt thread for me Will be going through each page on this n the updates too. Hope to post some of my experiences on it soon
Thanks!
If you are sure that you will stop for an year - buy a cheap car between 4000 - 6000 usd quickly . Winters in New England area are long /very harsh & it is impossible to survive without a car. Rent cars if you plan to travel long distance. Use your own old faithful for office commute / groceries / short trips.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RGK View Post
CA accepts Indian driving licenses whereas i think in NJ it was not allowed.

NJ is very India license friendly - rentals rent out cars on Indian license too!


NB:Bhpians - Correct if any point is wrong or rephrase it accordingly

You really got the points in nicely. Couple of additions from my end:

Rental companies get new cars and rent them out as they are very low on maintenance. Companies recoup the cost on a car and make sizable profit before the car begins to age (and simultaneously goes out of warranty). When the car reaches the pre determined value it is supposed to recoup - it is sold.

Very difficult to run rental companies in India - but Europcar, Hertz, Avis all have sizable presence in India. Their catch - chauffeur driven cars. The companies get chauffeurs at low salaries, and that ensures cars remain safe. At the same time, the customer is presented with the chauffeur driven car as a comfortable option of not having to negotiate the traffic. But rates are too high for common people to rent out cars from these big rental companies. Unless anything radical happens - the unorganized rental sector (3-4 Sumo/Qualis in front of a small office - sometimes no office) shall rule.

Just a teaser pic of the bug that we are driving for this weekend:

Rentals and me - driving in US-dsc_5053.jpg

Last edited by blackasta : 31st October 2010 at 09:01.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 05:14   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGK View Post
CA accepts Indian driving licenses whereas i think in NJ it was not allowed.
Yea in CA I have taken from Avis on Indian DL. But the guys at enterprise refused to give since their so called ID verification book did not have the template of Tamil Nadu license
The book had only some 10 states that was recogonised, of which 5-6 were from the Seven Sister of Far east, then Andhra, Mah.

This may be different in other states though

@ Blackasta Great pick on the Beetle, which agency?
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Old 2nd November 2010, 07:59   #85
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@ Blackasta Great pick on the Beetle, which agency?
Enterprise - I always rent from them as they provide pickup/drop service.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 09:14   #86
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Here's some more information about rentals that may be useful-

1)
Try hotwire.com and carrentals.com to get the best deals on rental vehicles.
2)
- If you plan to drive on Interstates , a majority of the rental vehicles come with a pre-fixed IPass/E-Z Pass (Pre-paid Tolls). You might want to use that one (saves you time, as you don't have to pull over at the toll booths to pay toll) - there is a nominal daily use fee plus the discounted toll charge - the total is billed to your credit or debit card after a few days. Of course, using your personal IPass/E-ZPass will always work out cheaper.
3)
While online booking is convenient, shopping around for rental deals can also be fruitful - the Budget guy close to my place offered me an SUV rental at rates even my AAA - Hertz discount couldn't beat.

4) I try and hire SUVs/ Mini Vans for long trips - recently did a Schaumburg - Niagara - Pittsburgh - Schaumburg (1340 miles) 3-day trip in a Saturn VUE XE with wife and kid. The ride was comfortable, though towards the end it did get monotonous.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 09:35   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGK View Post
-Calculation of rental varies like this - my cousin calculates like this picks one on Monday morning and drops at Friday feels cheaper than one picking one on Friday & dropping on Monday morning (Present tbhpians in US can correct if this is wrong)
Well, weekday rentals are any day costly than weekend rentals. The cost of renting an economy car (Chevy Aveo or a Hyundai Accent) from Monday morning 09:00 am to Friday evening 05:00 pm at Enterprise West Higgins Rd location (close to where I stay) is USD 185 (taxes included). The same rental from Friday noon to Monday noon (weekend rental) will cost you USD 54. [/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGK View Post
-My friends who lives there for more than 30 years uses manual map directories rather than online stuff like google or yahoo. He used to say that when I get lost I enquire the direction in a fuel pump. He understood the basic concept of direction and entry/exits that he was very comfortable with manual stuff. He is a doctor there. I went through the route maps in that big book which looked like big telephone dictionary
Couldn't agree more - When I first started driving I thought GPS was a must - but didn't get one. Started out writing down directions on a sheet of paper - initial few months were horrible - wrong directions, missed exits and a frustrated wifey and kid. Every wrong direction and every missed exit made my resolve to understand the road system here more strong. After some time, I became more comfortable with the roads here - and once you understand the Interstates and the State Highways and the US highways and the directions - its a piece of cake.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 13:25   #88
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Here are few pics of the rented cars I have driven in US. This was back in 2007. I was in US for 2 and a half months and made sure I get to drive as many different cars as possible. Also, my driving experience then was only through a driving school in India for 10 days.

Saturn Aura

Rentals and me - driving in US-nashua_25.jpg

Hyundai Sonata - My favorite from driving perspective. This had a V6 engine with amazing pick-up and power.

Rentals and me - driving in US-hyundai-sonata_03.jpg

Mazda 6 sports - My favorite in terms of looks and feel. The handling and steering feedback was fantastic. Only downside was the engine which felt slow in comparison to V6 in Sonta.

Rentals and me - driving in US-mazda6_01.jpg

Chevy Equinox - The only SUV I have driven in US. Nothing special here. It wasn't a 4x4.

Rentals and me - driving in US-img_0165.jpg

Other cars which I didn't click were Ford Focus and Taurus. All the cars were rented from Hertz.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 14:52   #89
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Boy, this thread is really making me miss my driving (and car gawking) days in US. Ripping those V8s like Pontiac G8 GT (my favorite till now), Impala SS & Monte Carlo was such a rush. Once I narrowly escaped being stopped for over speeding (was doing > 120 mph on 90mph limit) cause the cop car signaling me decided to follow the bigger moron who overtook us driving at a lot higher speed.

Also we used to get great deals/discounts at the Budget rentals outlet at Santa Creek cause of the camaraderie we'd developed with the front desk person (who was an Indian). Alas, the V8 excitement waned off after we started analyzing the fuel expenses. Those cars were real guzzlers, giving ~17 mpg. Shifted to Pontiac G6 after that, which was relatively better on mileage; > 20 mpg.

One thing I really missed was getting hands on a M/T car. The rental guy told me that they're very limited in number and also the rent is higher.
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Old 3rd November 2010, 16:03   #90
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Wow! Nice thread, really brings back nice memories when I was there for 3 yrs 2005-08. Indeed rental cars are the way to go. I was fortunate to spend 3 years in the motor city full of cars and with my employer sponsoring rental cars all those 3 years was indeed superb. Lost count of how many cars and suvs I drove, best part is even on vacations within US i have rented cars and my employer still paid for that . And guess what they even pay for the gas.

Few that I drove, Taurus, Corolla, Pontiac cars (Vibe,G6,Grand Prix), Mazda 6, Camry, Mustang, Mercury Milan, PT Cruiser, Grand Caravan, Rav4, Impala, Chey Malibu, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Sonata.

Among these Grand Prix and Milan were the best.
For Long road trips it was only grand prix thou a gas guzzler but really great on freeways. Drove to mackinac island, niagra falls in a grand prix. Longest trip i did was from Troy michigan to Newyork City in 12 horus solo driving in a mitsubishi eclipse. The I90-I80 drive was just amazing in spring time.

I always rent from Avis, and after years of renting from them I became avis first member so its just a breeze to pick up any car from them. Once While in orlando vacationing, i had this incident. I rented a G6 the airport, brand new just some 40 miles on the odo and used it for few days and during my last day there i was about to leave for seaworld theme park, i discovered that the tire caps got stolen and even the nuts removed sometime over night. Immediately called up Avis and then took care of everything, cops came and took a complaint etc. and then even took us to the airport and gave us a new car, lost about 3 hours in the process but atleast could spend our rest of the day as i had already purchased tickets for the theme park.

AVIS service is really good, never had issues with them.
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