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Old 06-10-2014, 05:52 PM
 
Location: Columbus, OH
500 posts, read 956,380 times
Reputation: 748

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I'm going to be in Tampa for a week in September and will need to rent a car. I thought, what better time to try out the car I want to buy? I can drive it for a week and see what I think. I'm specifically looking at the Mazda3.

Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:22 PM
 
14,258 posts, read 23,979,216 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmjones311 View Post
I'm going to be in Tampa for a week in September and will need to rent a car. I thought, what better time to try out the car I want to buy? I can drive it for a week and see what I think. I'm specifically looking at the Mazda3.
In the "old" days (20 years ago), the large automakers OWNED the car rental agencies. Rent with Avis, you would get mostly GM models; rent with Hertz, you would get Fords and Mazdas; rent with Thrifty/Dollar, you would get Chrysler products.

That situation no longer exists. Talking with most of the local franchisees of the majors in Chicagoland, they are all buying the nest deals that they can find. That could be GMs, Toyotas, Hyundais, etc. You generally cannot even guess what you will get. For example, in the spring, I was getting VW Jetta Sportswagens on nearly every rental from Hertz.

I guess that you could call the station managers for each of the brands serving TPA airport and see who has a Mazda 3. They are NOT unusual. However, are you looking for the best deal or just that one model.

Good luck.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
6,153 posts, read 6,321,355 times
Reputation: 100630
Even if the rental place says they have what you are looking for, it is hit or miss that you will actually get that car. When you make the reservation they will not place a hold on the car you want. All they will do is show a reservation for the car class. Most rental places I have delt with pretty much had a take it or leave attitude. However once in a while you come across someone that will do whatever they can to get you the car you desire. I had one agent actually go over to their partner rental company and take a car off of their lot.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,066 posts, read 18,997,066 times
Reputation: 24167
I think the prior posters said it well.

I'll add that we have close friends who bought a Mazda 3 about 20 months ago. She hates it. He refuses to admit that it was an unfortunate choice, but drives their other vehicle whenever he can. We borrowed it for one day - no thanks.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:03 PM
 
14,258 posts, read 23,979,216 times
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Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
I'll add that we have close friends who bought a Mazda 3 about 20 months ago. She hates it. He refuses to admit that it was an unfortunate choice, but drives their other vehicle whenever he can. We borrowed it for one day - no thanks.

When I was in the market for another vehicle, I looked at the Mazda3. The first rental I likes; the second one was one of the worst vehicles I have driven. The best that I could do on a weekend was 28 mpg. The two weekends I rented Toyota Corollas, I was averaging 33 mpg. That made the decision easy ... when gas was $2.75/ gallon.

Drive as many cars as possible.

By the way, if the OP is looking to test out cars, you can get some great weekend rates at Emterprise and Hertz OFF-AIRPORT and can call ahead to see what models are available. Drive around the lots and see what they have, then make the reservation with the local office.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:28 AM
 
2,591 posts, read 5,286,635 times
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Renting is a good way to try out a car...but it's the luck of the draw whether you get a particular car you are interested in. As noted by several, reservations are by class not model.

When I have a choice (Enterprise, for example, lets you choose within a class) I pick a car I am curious about...often I have learned that I don't want one at all.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Danbury CT covering all of Fairfield County
2,247 posts, read 5,975,726 times
Reputation: 1048
I saw some a Mazda 3 at Alamo when I was in West Palm Beach about a month ago
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:59 PM
 
14,258 posts, read 23,979,216 times
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When I am in the market for a particular car, and want an "extended test drive", I go to the local three rental agencies (Hertz, Avis and Enterprise) and ask the station manager to call me when they have one available for rent. I get a call, rent the car for a couple of days and evaluate the vehicles.

That works for most of the "garden variety cars."
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:04 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 53,968,055 times
Reputation: 10530
I liked to test drive cars via rentals as well. I've certainly found cars I would never buy that way. I'm currently using a Nissan Altima. I have to say, it's a nice riding car, the seats are extremely comfortable and ....averaging about 43 MPG highway. I filled up the tank and the cruising range is 680 miles. I drove 580ish miles and put gas in the tank when it was 1/4 full. I've driven another 340 miles and the needle still hasn't hit 1/2 tank. I put on a lot of miles every year and I'm VERY tempted to buy one of these!

For the Mazda 3, look at the lower end rentals like Avis, Hertz sometimes has Mazdas. I typically go through National so I can pick whatever car I'm in the mood to drive for that trip .
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:09 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,577,614 times
Reputation: 13019
Unless you are renting a luxury car, it's a crapshoot as to what you will get. There are no guarantees, and often you will be "upgraded" anyhow. Even with the "pick you car" schemes, there are no guarantees that there will be anything but a lineup of white Fords in that class.
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