Was supposed to be an Impala rental report... Camry rental report

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Greetings all,
I have returned in one piece from Arkansas & MissourA ( as its pronounced down thar ).
This was supposed to be a rental car report on an 04 Impala LS. As the
man at Hertz said " We can't guarantee the car will be here when you pick it up".
My second choice was the 04 Grand Prix, the 3rd choice in the size class was the Ford Taurus.
It ended up when I went to Hertz 24 hours to pick the car up, my 1st , 2nd and 3rd choice cars were not there. The 16th and 19th choice cars were there -- a 2004 Mazda 3 or a Toyota Camry LE. I took the Camry, I think its bigger.
Let me just say after driving up from Branson, Mo to Chicago today, OH My Aching Back!
Thanks in part to the narrow, hard, power / lumbar seat that had no comfortable adjustment whatsoever. The buttons to tilt the cushion seemed to raise the entire seat base. The seats were covered with Fly Paper Cloth that any fabric clothing your wearing will stick to and keep your body locked in place.
Had plenty of headroom.
The driver seat had enough rearward travel for long legs and there was a rubber footrest embedded in the carpet for the left foot.. With the power lumbar adjusted all the way off it still felt like the ol' football sticking in the back. The headrests angled forward so it was almost touching your head.
Kudos to Toyota for the Road Atlas size pockets on the back of both front bucket seats, unlike some GM cars that only offer the atlas pocket on the back of the passenger seat.
Kudos for the ceiling assist strap for the Driver !
The Steering Column's locking release lever was very stiff to move to tilt the wheel. The entire column moves the up & down, but not very far. I left it all the way up or the wheel would be resting on my legs. Upon exiting the vehicle my knee would wedge under the wheel, then I'd have to straighten the leg to get out. You also had to get in straight legged too. Very annoying.
All the controls were easy to reach, easy to read & comprehend. The console storage box was topped by a padded armrest that also had a separate storage area for tapes, phone, whatever. The lower storage compartment was deep & big. I had almost 23 CD's in there and there was still room for more stuff.
The console armrest should of been 2 inches higher for more comfort and the piano hinge for the cover should of given about another inch or more rearward angle.
The AM/FM - CD - Cassette worked & sounded great. Easy to figure out controls. The radios, black digital readouts were east to see druing the day or night. At night the radio face lit up a lime green color. The clock & outside temperature were in a panel above the radio that also had a passenger seat airbag indicator light. The light would light when a body sat in the passenger seat.
The Manual AC / Heater system worked good. The blower, temperature range, and mode controls were round style twist dials. The mode dial had the stickman picture with the arrows pointing at him.
Twist the headlight knob on the end of the turn signal stalk to operate the lights or to switch to the DRL OFF position. Hooray, I got to drive lightless !!!! Is somebody at GM reading this?! The car was not equipped with automatic headlights.
The 2.4 litre, 16 valve, 4 cylinder engine ran smooth and so damn quiet at idle you didn't know it was running. Hit the key twice thinking it was off, part of the reason was, the half inch tall numbers for the tach. The needle touches the top of the 0 so you think the engine is off.
The gauge cluster also had a Temp Gauge.
The car got between 31 and 36 MPG on the highway with the air conditioner on 95 % of the trip.
Big trunk capacity.Drak grey trunk trim. The inside of the deck lid was also covered in grey trim. There was a built in bottle holder in the left side of the trunk. At least that's what it looked like. The car had a split fold rear seat. Plenty of legroom in back. The back seat was fitted with adjustable headrests.
Overhead reading light & storage bin featured a sunglasses storage bin. ( and mine actually fit in it ). The reading lights were very bright. A dome light was in the center of the roof.
Map pockets in the doors were long & deep. There was also a another storage bin in front of the shift lever. On the left side of the dash was a pull out tray for coins. The front inside edge was curved so coins could be scooped out.
Dual cup holders built into the console behind the shift lever didn't hold cans or McDonalds cups to good, so I brought my silver wire mesh pencil cup holder I got at Office Depot & use in the Bonneville. It fit in the Camry's consoles cup holder.
The car rode very quite on the highway. I drove through some bad wind and about 12 hours of rain during the trip. Handling was alright.
A few missed turns resulted in some fast U - Turns or cutting through some hotel driveways that then resulted in tires squealing to get back on track. pretty peepy car for 157 HP, 162 Torque. I cranked it up to 102 mph once to try it. this was from a point of doing 80 then flooring it. It seemed to take it quite well, the speedometer goes up to 140.
The dash was appealing and all edges were tightly fit with its mating part. The door panels featured that " Elbow Off" window sill edge, where your elbow keeps falling off the sill ledge. The armrest on the door panels didn't go all the way to the back edge of the door panel. If you moved your arm to far back there was a plastic trim piece running vertical up the door panel that would shoot your arm off the armrest, which was cloth covered, Holding the steering wheel was somewhat cumbersome as you really couldn't rest your arm too comfortably.
Driving through North Little Rock, Arkansas, The " Maintenance Required " light came on and stayed on.. The owners manual indicated the oil needed changing. The car had 5100 miles on it at that point.
Due to the angle of the windshield, the rain didn't really blow off to well. The rear window visibility on a wet rear window was terrible. The water clung to the back glass, and didn't roll off. Turning around to look out the back window, you could not see the trunk lid. The car has a high back shelf.
Outside mirrors were big and had good rear ward vision.
Cruise control operated by one square shaped button on the right side of the wheel.
Wiper functions on the stalk were blocked by the steering wheel hub..
Steering wheel center hub to large and to close to the rim of the wheel. Horn would blare if you wheel the corner using one of the four short spokes. The hub would hit the back of your hand, Beeeeeeep!
Power windows went up & down very fast. The windows on the rear doors went down " all the way down " in the rear doors. Is somebody at GM reading this? The window lock out button also kept the driver from opening the windows too. LOL
Well that's about all I've got to say about this car. I won't be running out to the Toyota dealer to buy a Canry. Perhaps with the leather seat upgrade & bigger V6 it would be a better car. It certainly was big & roomy car.
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE 3800 V6 ( C ), Black/Slate Grey _~_~_~280,596 miles_~_~_
~_~_~_~_U.S.A._~_~_~_~_~_
~~~The Former Fleet ~~~ 89 Cavalier Z 24 convertible 78 Holiday 88 coupe 68 LeSabre convertible 73 Impala sedan
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I rented an '03 Buick Century (3100 V6) last year for a west coast/southwest trip (Grand Canyon, Vegas, San Franciso, etc). Loved the Century -- sofa-like bench seat, solid car, typical Buick. Then a few months later, I went out to CA again for business/family matters this time alone and rented a Mitsubishi Lancer (small 2 door car). Nice car too. I like small cars for their gas mileage but the wife likes bigger cars.
snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Harry Face) wrote in

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(Harry Face) wrote in message news:

This has been true of every Toyota I've ever driven. One would think that a car designed for Americans would accomodate tall people better. My experience has been that your knees are cramped up, but the steering wheel is too far away.

Who was the genius that decided to put the headlight switch on the signal lever in the first place? Gets me every time I drive one...I'm used to the wiper switch being there as it is on most cars. OTOH, why does everyone hate DRLs so much?
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| (Harry Face) wrote in message news: | | | > | > Thanks in part to the narrow, hard, power / lumbar seat that had no | > comfortable adjustment whatsoever. The buttons to tilt the cushion | > seemed to raise the entire seat base. The seats were covered with Fly | > Paper Cloth that any fabric clothing your wearing will stick to and keep | > your body locked in place.Driver ! | > | > The Steering Column's locking release lever was very stiff to move to | > tilt the wheel. The entire column moves the up & down, but not very far. | > I left it all the way up or the wheel would be resting on my legs. Upon | > exiting the vehicle my knee would wedge under the wheel, then I'd have | > to straighten the leg to get out. You also had to get in straight legged | > too. | > Very annoying. | | | This has been true of every Toyota I've ever driven. One would think | that a car designed for Americans would accomodate tall people better. | My experience has been that your knees are cramped up, but the | steering wheel is too far away. | | > | > Twist the headlight knob on the end of the turn signal stalk to operate | > the lights or to switch to the DRL OFF position. Hooray, I got to drive | > lightless !!!! Is somebody at GM reading this?! The car was not equipped | > with automatic headlights. | | | Who was the genius that decided to put the headlight switch on the | signal lever in the first place? Gets me every time I drive one...I'm | used to the wiper switch being there as it is on most cars. OTOH, why | does everyone hate DRLs so much?
600,000,000 gallons of gas used per year unnecessarily in the USA alone to produce the required energy to light them = unnecessary pollutants. For more issues that the general population has raised go to http://dms.dot.gov/ and read through docket 4124.
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What is your source for the wasted gas figure. It seems wildly excessive.
Second, I was not a fan of DRL when I got them on my Yukon four years ago. Still not a big fan, but I do see blithering idiots driving around with no lights on in dusk or near-dark conditions and I sure wished those morons had cars equipped with DRL for their own sake and everybody else. So I am far less against the, than I was.
Places where they are mandatory (Canada) claim that they result in lower collision rates.
--

- GRL

"It's good to want things."
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| What is your source for the wasted gas figure. It seems wildly excessive.
Several places...even GM has given a figure that if you multiply it out to all registered vehicles in the USA comes pretty close. However I'd bet it's even higher or GM would't have petitioned the EPA (and won approval of the exception) to test their vehicles for fuel efficiency ratings with the DRLs turned off (even though no one can actually drive them that way). Sort of deceptive on GM's part, don't you think?
| Second, I was not a fan of DRL when I got them on my Yukon four years ago. | Still not a big fan, but I do see blithering idiots driving around with no | lights on in dusk or near-dark conditions and I sure wished those morons had | cars equipped with DRL for their own sake and everybody else. So I am far | less against the, than I was.
That still doesn't address the side marker and tail lights...in fact there are published studies (Source NHTSA) that show that DRLs actually promote an environment where people turn their lights on later then they normally would (or not at all). Rear end accidents are higher on DRL-equipped vehicles (Source NHTSA and insurance loss data).
| Places where they are mandatory (Canada) claim that they result in lower | collision rates.
Of course they claim that. Sorely you wouldn't think that the people that forced this ridiculous wasteful practice on the populace would say anything different, do you? Ask your insurance company like I did (GEICO) if you can get a rate reduction for having DRL when I had a car with this idiot "feature". Unless you live in New York State (where the state legislature mandated a reduced insurance rate for DRL based on???) they'll probably tell you what they told me..."insurance loss data shows no conclusive reduction in overall loss of DRL equipped vehicles compared to non-DRL equipped vehicles." So, no rate reduction.
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I don't have time to read thru all the comments, but most people seem to be complaining about glare from cars with DRL. I've never noticed a problem. What do these people do at night? If they're complaining about glare during the day, they musn't be able to drive at all at night.
Jay S

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Yeah, what's the deal with this anti-DRL crowd? What is it hurting to have DRL? I don't believe that "glare" stuff. -- markwb 2001 Bonneville SLE

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markwb wrote:

No kidding, if you want to see glare look at one of the overpriced German cars with the HID lights, the blueish glare from those things gives me a headache.
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| > | (Harry Face) wrote in message news: | > | | > | | > | > | > | > Thanks in part to the narrow, hard, power / lumbar seat that had no | > | > comfortable adjustment whatsoever. The buttons to tilt the cushion | > | > seemed to raise the entire seat base. The seats were covered with | Fly | > | > Paper Cloth that any fabric clothing your wearing will stick to and | keep | > | > your body locked in place.Driver ! | > | > | > | > The Steering Column's locking release lever was very stiff to move to | > | > tilt the wheel. The entire column moves the up & down, but not very | far. | > | > I left it all the way up or the wheel would be resting on my legs. | Upon | > | > exiting the vehicle my knee would wedge under the wheel, then I'd have | > | > to straighten the leg to get out. You also had to get in straight | legged | > | > too. | > | > Very annoying. | > | | > | | > | This has been true of every Toyota I've ever driven. One would think | > | that a car designed for Americans would accomodate tall people better. | > | My experience has been that your knees are cramped up, but the | > | steering wheel is too far away. | > | | > | > | > | > Twist the headlight knob on the end of the turn signal stalk to | operate | > | > the lights or to switch to the DRL OFF position. Hooray, I got to | drive | > | > lightless !!!! Is somebody at GM reading this?! The car was not | equipped | > | > with automatic headlights. | > | | > | | > | Who was the genius that decided to put the headlight switch on the | > | signal lever in the first place? Gets me every time I drive one...I'm | > | used to the wiper switch being there as it is on most cars. OTOH, why | > | does everyone hate DRLs so much? | > | > 600,000,000 gallons of gas used per year unnecessarily in the USA alone to | > produce the required energy to light them = unnecessary pollutants. For | more | > issues that the general population has raised go to http://dms.dot.gov / | and | > read through docket 4124. | > | > | | I don't have time to read thru all the comments, but most people seem to be | complaining about glare from cars with DRL. | I've never noticed a problem. | What do these people do at night? | If they're complaining about glare during the day, they musn't be able to | drive at all at night. | | Jay S | |
Some don't drive at night...or avoid it as much as possible. Most of those are likely from the reduced intensity high-beam implementations that actually shine the core focus of the light beam into the mirrors and, therefore, have an apparent brightness that is considerably brighter than full low beams appear. Many people, especially people 50+ range, have problems with glare compared to younger people. The glare problem is often the most acute at dusk just before people turn on their regular lights and the high-beam DRL then goes off. You may not be someone that has a problem with glare...but I assure you it can be quite painful for some people. The sad part is that these high beam implementations never needed to happen. Had it not, it may not have been as much of a issue for people.
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This whole drl glare scenario is insignificant compared to the thousands of drivers who think that just because they have driving or fog lights, they are entitled to have them on at all times that they have their headlights on. What is up with people who think nothing of driving with four lights on when approaching other vehicles at night? And spare me the arguments that the fog lights are supposed to be aimed low, thereby reducing glare. We all know that's not usually the case. Four lights generate much more glare than two low beams by themselves.
WW
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Regarding the headlight thing... My .02 cents:
1. Some people want DRLs and some don't just run them or pull the fuse but please spare us all your rationalizations.
2. If people would use some sensitivity and common sense things would go a lot better. Adjust your d*mn headlights will ya! You don't need to see what's in the trees and having the lights aimed in my eyes will not help you see the road at night. Put the light on the road and maybe you won't need the "fog" lights to see. Oh yeah, take a lesson from motorcycle riders....lights are also good for BEING seen and the parking lights are (maybe) for PARK-ING or marker lights...they are not a substitute for headlights to see or be seen.
Maybe car ownership (and computer ownership) should require passing a basic test i.e. Have you read and do you understand your owner's manual? Do you have a good and clear understanding of basic car (or computer) maintainence?
--

Drum-

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During low light daytime conditions, high beam DRLs (as used by GM, BMW, and Toyota) can be annoying. Also, if someone with such a car forgets to turn on the regular headlamps at night, s/he will be driving with the high beams on at night, annoying other drivers.
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My only experience with DRLs are with my car.(2000 Pontiac Grand Prix) I haven't touched the headlight switch since I got it. When it gets dark enough, my lights come on.
Are you saying that some cars with DRLs don't automatically switch the headlights, tail lights and park lights on when it gets dark enough?
That would be completely annoying. That's probably why once in awhile I see a car driving around with just the headlights on (no tail lights)
Jay S
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| | My only experience with DRLs are with my car.(2000 Pontiac Grand Prix) | I haven't touched the headlight switch since I got it. When it gets dark | enough, my lights come on.
You better check your state vehicle lighting laws. Most states also require all lights (marker and tail lights) be illuminated when it foggy, raining or snowing during the daytime and the typical "auto-light" implementations don't work very reliably for that situation when all lights are required be illuminated by law. The "auto" system is only 99.9% reliable for when it gets dark. Therefore, you could possibly be driving illegally on occasion if you never touch the light switch. You still likely need to turn your lights on manually when it's foggy, raining or snowing. SOME GM cars have a connection to the wipers where having the wipers on will turn the regular lights on...most don't. And that doesn't address fog where the wipers may not be required.
| Are you saying that some cars with DRLs don't automatically switch the | headlights, tail lights and park lights on when it gets dark enough?
Yes, many manufacturers don't have a ambient light sensor that would turn the lights on when it's dark...early GM's didn't either.
| That would be completely annoying. That's probably why once in awhile I see | a car driving around with just the headlights on (no tail lights)
Annoying is a good word...I think I could have used it a few times. In my opinion, GM has made a confusing mess (for the average driver out there) of the overall vehicle lighting control situation...but some don't agree. ;-)
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I have friends who are just like you. Have never touched the light switch. This is dangerous. Many times in rain, fog, snow the light sensor doesn't turn the lights on when they really should be on so that others can see you FROM ALL SIDES, not just the front.
Jay S wrote:

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That's because his GP, if it's like my Bonneville, turns on the low beams when the wipers are turned on.
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| | > I have friends who are just like you. Have never touched the light | > switch. This is dangerous. Many times in rain, fog, snow the light | > sensor doesn't turn the lights on when they really should be on so that | > others can see you FROM ALL SIDES, not just the front. | | That's because his GP, if it's like my Bonneville, turns on the low | beams when the wipers are turned on.
The GP _may_ not do what your Bonneville does...dunno. The "auto" lighting system on some GM vehicles are not set up to activate with the wipers....although that would be better if they all were. However, do you turn your wipers on when it's just foggy? Maybe sometimes. But often wipers aren't needed for pure daytime fog situations...especially once the windshield is warm and the tiny droplets no longer condense on the surface of the windshield. So, therefore, full lights are still NOT necessarily activated by the auto system and they still need to be turned on manually (by the switch...if many GM owners even know where their light switch is since most of them never use it). The switch was put there for a reason. And that reason is that even GM knows that the much touted "auto light control" system really doesn't work correctly all of the time (or they would have eliminated the switch altogether). So, if you aren't using the switch when you need to then you're probably driving illegally in some situations (like daytime foggy conditions). Yes, GM has made lighting control more, shall we say, interesting for the vehicle operator. Just what we need, _more_ confused drivers out there!
The other reason the lights need to be turned on manually is because the full lights may/can cycle on and off several times during a foggy daytime trip to your destination. There isn't a good indication/feedback from the car that this is happening (when it happens), except you _may_ notice the odo/radio/trip computer display go bright and dim and bright and dim a few times during your trip (or you may not notice). The visual queue from the DRL's reflecting back in the fog can give the impression that the headlights are still on when they are not...so that may not help the driver get a clue either. There isn't a "chime" or any other "lighting mode" indicator one could check. SO, the only way you can be assured 100% that the lights will be on and stay on when it's foggy is to turn them on manually.
Auto light control when coupled with DRLs really create confusion for many drivers in these situations in my opinion. I know what is happening (obviously, since I've explained it from personal observation and experience), but observation also tells me that that isn't typically the case out on the roads. Lots more of GM brands compared with other brands on the roads without tail/marker lights on in daytime fog...because GM owners _truly believe_ that they "never have to touch the light switch"! And, my friends, that is patently false.
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| I have friends who are just like you. Have never touched the light | switch. This is dangerous. Many times in rain, fog, snow the light | sensor doesn't turn the lights on when they really should be on so that | others can see you FROM ALL SIDES, not just the front. |
They do it because the GM marketing types have told them that and they mistakenly believe it. I remember reading the marketing hype for the 2003 Mailbu I bought "...your new Malibu features auto headlight control, so you never have to turn on the lights..." What a crock (as I found out after I bought the car!) Of course, I wonder how those same marketing types would explain the reason the light switch even exists if the "auto" system was really as good at what they say it is supposed to be.
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Yes (not necessarily GM cars, though earlier GM cars with DRLs apparently did not have the automatic headlamp feature).
If I were driving a car with annoying DRL (high beam or turn signal), I'd just turn on the headlamps all the time while driving. If I were driving a car with non-annoying DRL (low beam, or separate white lamp in front like the newer GM large pickups), I'd use the headlamp switch like in any non-DRL car (turn on at night, or in rain, fog, etc.).
--
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