What's The Worst Car You Can Rent Right Now?

Photo: Jason Torchinsky
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

As you may know, our latest set of rotating corporate overlords recently moved us to Times Square. It’s area of New York I had previously worked very hard to avoid, or at least treated like going to war—you only do it when you have to and you expect bad shit to happen when you do. (I was pleasantly surprised to learn, however, that Red Lobster has a better happy hour than anyone’s currently giving it credit for.)

Advertisement

One consequence of being in Times Square is dealing with the preponderance of tourists and out-of-towners. Honestly, I generally don’t mind these folks, provided they can walk fast enough. New York is for everybody, and I want everybody to enjoy it. And as a non-native myself I understand how overwhelming it can be if you’re not used to it.

With the tourists come, inexplicably, the rental cars. I say that because even if hitting all the “hot spots” in Times Square is your thing, you have absolutely no business bringing a car into this part of Manhattan. Driving and parking are as miserable as they get over here; this and the Financial District are maybe the two worst places to operate a vehicle in America. If you’re thinking of bringing a car up this way, just don’t. It isn’t worth it.

So on a walk to get some coffee just now, I caught a glimpse of an especially sad sight: a Ford EcoSport, parked streetside, on Tennessee plates, with obvious rental car stickers. I mostly just felt bad for this person.

Not only were they driving a car in Times Square, they were in the cheapest, most cut-rate, most cynical “crossover” cash grab the Ford Motor Company has come up with in some time. It was a double (or triple?) dose of misery, all of it.

Advertisement

All of this is a long-winded way for me to ask you this: What’s the worst car you can rent right now, in 2019?

Of course, sometimes rental cars can surprise you. I had a loaded Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium on a trip to Detroit for a friend’s wedding this summer (it was stashed in the “compact” row and nobody said anything when I took it) and was really impressed with how nice, quiet and great on gas it was. I even enjoyed driving it, which I didn’t expect.

Advertisement

But that’s seldom the case with the rental car, which is part of why Hertz and Avis and the rest are getting their lunches eaten by Uber and Lyft. So tell me: what cars make you think they have it coming?

Share This Story

About the author

Patrick George

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.