Dreams for hire

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When you were last looking for a new car, did you take the test-drive-tour of the main dealers? Strolling in, pointing at the best car in the showroom and asking for a test drive. Assuming that you persuaded them you were worthy of the Sales Executive’s time, how long was your test drive? Ten minutes? Maybe a half hour if you’re a serial car buyer from that dealership. That’s not a great amount of time in which to make up your mind and commit a big wodge of cash to. And, assuming your car dealer is in town somewhere, half of the drive will have been testing how well the car does in stop-start traffic.

Or perhaps you had no intention of buying that flash car, you just wanted to try it on for size - you know, to see if it’d be one to put on the list for ten years’ time when secondhand versions are finally affordable. What if you decided to buy that cool, but impractical sportscar and, after a few weeks of cruising around in it, decide that you should have gone for the sensible estate instead? Perhaps you only wanted that particular car to make an impression at a family wedding - to show Aunt Mabel that you aren’t the wastrel that she thinks you are.

Anyone who’s bought a car and sold it on quickly will tell you that you’ll lose a chunk of change on such a transaction, but sometimes you need that week or so in a new car to work out if it’s for you or not.

And while you can lease cars affordably these days, those are still committing relationships to enter. So why not rent your dream car? Looking around, there are plenty of ‘prestige rental’ type places and, while many of them cater to rich sheikhs jetting in for a weekend at the races, companies like Hertz are realising that many of us can be upsold from a dull, run of the mill saloon to something a bit more… spicy.

A quick glance at the Hertz Dream Collection reveals that you can start on the ladder of appearing to live beyond your means for a mere £125 a day. That will get you a new Audi TT if you rent one for a week. Not a bad start, but as you scroll down, things get far more interesting.

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Always wanted to try a Porsche Panamera S? Or an AMG C63? A Nissan GT-R? They’re all there, for varying amounts of money. While the prices are steep enough to dissuade you from doing it every week, for those special occasions it can make sense. If you’re genuinely interested in buying a prestige car, then an extended test drive, taking in some of your favourite Welsh back roads might be enough to swing you for or against a particular car. And if you don’t get on with it, then you’ve not spent the price of an urban terraced house on one just to find out.

Booked a week’s tour of the Scottish Highlands? You were going to spend that amount of cash on hotels anyway, so why not spend that on your rental car? You’re going to be spending a similar amount of waking time in each, but which will you remember more in years to come? Thrashing a 911 Targa 4S over Rannoch Moor on your way to Fort William, or the tartan-themed hotel you stayed in when you get there?

As a insurer, it would be remiss of me not to mention that for regular rentals you really should get annual motor and car hire excess insurance - it works out much more cheaply than per hire car excess insurance. It may be dull cash counting - but you can spend the difference on driving dreams!

Please note GAP insurance is not an appropriate product for hire cars.

Five Star Car Hire

by James Cartwright at 28 May 2018, 00:00 AM