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Recommendations for driving route

I will be starting from and returning to BUD airport, and will have 5 or 6 days with which to fill out an itinerary before a week in Budapest. I currently plan to roughly go with this itinerary:
BUD -> Bratislava -> Maribor -> Zagreb -> BUD.

viamichelin suggests two relatively similar routes in terms of time- one heading straight down through Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia; the other basically swinging wide back through Hungary before heading over to Croatia.

some quick questions and info:

1) This trip will be in early Nov. Is the route through Austria particularly taxing or worrisome? Nice scenery would be nice and all, but steep declines and switchbacks are not preferred.

2) i know about the vignettes, etc which i will need if i drive in most of these countries. Is one border crossing preferable to another (Slovenia-Croatia vs Hungary-Croatia)?

3) is this one of those itineraries that seems quite manageable on paper but in reality would be brutal? Ive driven a fair amount in Europe. although I usually prefer trains, we got a nice price on a rental, and unfortunately the length of the BTS-ZAG and ZAG-BUD legs leads me to want to drive instead of train. But if this is really stupid, by all means call me on it.

4) Maribor was chosen basically as a stopping point between Bratislava and Zagreb. Not tied to it in any way. Anyone have other suggestions or general itinerary help?

Thanks all.

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