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Optimum size rental car for Tuscan towns?

Optimum size rental car for Tuscan towns?

Mar 18th, 2001, 03:11 PM
  #1  
Carlos
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Optimum size rental car for Tuscan towns?

I'm getting anywhere from $98 for a subcompact from Hertz to $245 for an Alfa Romeo 146 for 3 days from auto europe . What's the best type of car for this part of our trip. I realize I should get a standard shift--but there is no place to "hide" our luggage. Please advise.
 
Mar 18th, 2001, 04:23 PM
  #2  
Brad
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Carlos,

I'm renting an Alfa Romeo 146 (presumably) with pickup and dropoff at Rome (FCO) in May for 10 days. The car is through AutoEurope but was booked with my flight because it was cheaper than going direct through AutoEurope. My flight is through Alitalia.

I, personally, would never, never leave my luggage in a rental car and wonder off whether I'm in Italy or any other country including the U.S.
 
Mar 18th, 2001, 06:24 PM
  #3  
Paul
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Carlos,

It depends on how many people and how much luggage you have. We are two people with two large rolling cases, and we always get a car in the Alfa 146 class - but we've never actually gotten an Alfa! We usually wind up with an Opel Astra. This was a very comfortable, easy to drive car, and held both suitcases under the back hatch (under a cover). However, I would caution you strongly AGAINST leaving any luggage in the car - most rentals can be easily identified as such - 1) they all seem to have the same series of license plates, and 2) there's usually a sticker on a window. And yes, a standard shift is best for those Tuscan hills. Good luck!!
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 07:31 AM
  #4  
bashful
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There are only two of us going to Tuscany but others in the group may join us for the odd day...would the 146 size still work for the occassional 4 people in it? Or should we go to the 156 type size (mid-size)...
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 10:30 AM
  #5  
Kathleen
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Mid-size is best for 4-5 adults but 4 can fit in a compact for short drives. $ sets of luggag is tough even for a mid-size unless you pack very light.

Driving the Alfa is a kick! However, it is true that very often you get handed anything else but the Alfa at check-in, especially at busy times. Try asking in a very polite way for the Alfa - imply that you admire this car above all others. But the alternative cars are usually just fine.

A Diesel will saver you lots of money on gas. A mini-station wagon type gives you a lot more room for luggage. I always carry a couple of bungee cords in case I can't get the trunk to close on the trip from airport to hotel or villa.

One last important point - make sure you get air-conditioning in the hot, dry summer months. May not be available in smaller cars or cheaper rental rates.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 10:40 AM
  #6  
xxxxxx
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Thanks Kathleen for great info..would the gas consumption be a lot more expensive moving from a compact (say a 146) to the medium class (a 156)???
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 01:15 PM
  #7  
Paul
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I agree with Kathleen. We could have easily taken two more people in our Astra. It had a full back seat and 4 doors. We never rode in the back, so I don't know how comfortable it would have been - probably not as good as a 156 class vehicle. And yes, the larger the car, the more gas it uses, just like over here. Only difference is that gas is 4 times more expensive in Italy! If you can survive with a 146-class car, do so.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 03:10 PM
  #8  
wondering
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Many people suggest the smallest car possible, but is it possible that the engine in the smallest car is too puny to manage steep hills or merge onto expressways?
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 07:07 PM
  #9  
Judi
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Wondering, I am wondering the same thing. Perhaps someone can give us an answer.
Thanks in advance.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 09:05 PM
  #10  
david
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I've driven through Tuscany twice and the best size car is either the Alfa sedan or the Opel Vectra sedan. Also, if you have access to one, take along a small GPS device for help with mapping along the way. Italians are friendly, but don't like to give travel directions.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 04:44 AM
  #11  
wondering
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David, thanks so much for your reply.

I'm assuming you like the Astra (the compact category) or the Vectra (the midsize category) because of the horsepower? Although power is relative, I guess, to how much load is in the car...an Astra with only two people is bound to have more 'zip' than with four....

This is a long way of asking, why have you found these car types to be the best? (I'm asking because trust me, I don't know!)
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 08:55 AM
  #12  
rand
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My experiences are from England, but the cars should be the same. I had an Astra years ago and this year a Corsa, the smallest size offered by Alamo. The Corsa had a 1400cc 16 valve fuel injected motor and accelerated faster than my old Volvo 242. It also cruised comfortably at 80 mph, so power is not the issue. The footwell was too small for my feet ie 2 feet covered all 3 pedals (my feet are size 10 EEE). The Astra is much roomier than that but still not big enough for 4 6 foot tall 200 pounders, however 4 5'8" 140 pounders would fit. Luggage is the issue. An Astra would hold 4 legal carry-ons but not 4 30" hardsided suitcases.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 10:30 AM
  #13  
wondering
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Rand, thanks for the input. It seems that depending on the country, the Corsa offered might have only a 1.2 liter engine, with maybe only 8 valves. If true, that engine would be quite a bit less peppy than a 1.4 16 valve according to the specifications. This is what I find confusing about European small cars...the sheer range of engine sizes is astonishing.

I have to confess I never even thought about hitting the gas and the brake at the same time! And if luggage space is tight in an Astra, must be minute in a Corsa.
 
Mar 20th, 2001, 11:01 AM
  #14  
rand
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The boot of the Corsa fit 2 legal carry-ons, 2 jackets, and one road atlas. What more could you need? he he.. What I had not expected was the high level of 'specification'. The car had power windows and mirrors, central locking, and a sunroof. I did not look for air conditioning as I was in England. The windshield wipers did a fine job though.
 

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