Sometimes it’s interesting to get the cheapest deal on a rental car you can. I flew to Kona, HI for a friend’s wedding yesterday, and got the “Manager’s Special” from Hertz for 4 days at the price of $99.

They gave me the choice of an Equinox or a Camaro (convertible of course). After a minute of thinking I decided this is probably the only chance I’ll have to drive the new Camaro, and if any of my friends need a ride then there’s probably someone with a truck. This is the peak of tourist rides for the Island. It absolutely screams “RENTAL!!!! I’M NOT FROM HERE!!!BITCHES!!!”

First impressions:

-Holy Hell! The trunk is non-existent. I’m lucky I didn’t bring a bigger suitcase, and that I owned a medium/small suitcase. With the roller wheels it just fit, but there’s not room for anything else.

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-The backseats are only there for putting your small dog or your backpack.

-Tank drivers must have a better field of view than these slits that are supposedly the windshield and rear window.

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-The Onstar lights are a tad bright in the mirror, and make me think there is a cop behind me at night. I think I’d choose colors other than red and blue for it.

-Who designed the buttons for the windows and the mirrors! It’s hard to tell that the top buttons are for the mirrors at first as the symbols are just rectangles. The only clue is the D-pad, which is a good one, but it also requires figuring out what those buttons right under it are.

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I finally figured out that those buttons are for choosing between the door windows and the tiny rear windows. This is a design choice that I find completely moronic. It had to be done for the cool factor.

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I mean, they got rid of two buttons to actuate the rear windows, and replaced them with two buttons to choose between controlling the front or rear windows. So, why not just keep it simple and keep the rear window buttons.

-Acceleration/Power: I can’t comment too much on the acceleration and power. After all, my comparison point is a Honda Fit from 2009 or a base engine 2006 Legacy. The tires do spin a bit when you stomp on the gas leaving a stop sign (I feel like some of that is due to the pea gravel frequently found on the road edges here).

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Okay, another day past before getting internet, and I had an interesting experience with the acceleration. I was at an intersection waiting to turn left, and there was a gap in traffic I could take before the oncoming car turned right. Well I tromped on the gas for a second, lifted my foot from the go pedal, and the car continued to accelerate for the better part of a second if not more than a second. From about 15mph to 28mph.

I feel like the computer decided on something akin to a launch, and couldn’t change it’s mind. I just needed a quick blip, and got extra. Which led to me lifting a rear tire due to the way the road curved and dropped out immediately after the turn. Just enough lift to induce some good wheel spin as it made contact again.

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-It’s pretty wide. I find myself driving pretty close to the white line whenever I check the passenger mirror. This is mostly a by-product of switching sides of the road, but I tend to drive with the driver’s edge of the car inline with the edge of the vehicle ahead, so it is wider than most of the vehicles in traffic with me.

-Steering feels a bit heavy and it doesn’t corner as well as the Legacy, but I suppose it is good for a convertible. I did find it to get a bit better in sport mode than in touring mode. If you are ever on the Big Island on the Kona side, then I encourage you to drive Hualalai Road. It is a great mix of curves over a couple of miles.

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Google maps makes it look like fewer curves than it is. Every “straight” section is wavy with slight to intermediate s-curves.

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It does do fine over the potholes, and rough pavement that one finds on the Big Island. (THere’s plenty of rough spots on Hualalai rd as well.)

-Does it Convertible Well?

The top goes up and down pretty easily, though I would prefer that the button just be one touch rather than press and hold. It seems like forever when you are just holding a button. But it’s a lot better than doing it all manually like the 450SL (I’ll be seeing this car again next week in Texas when I visit my parents).

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And it passengers a groom saran-wrapped to a surfboard fairly well. (This was done with a lead vehicle and a chase vehicle, and the board secured into the car at low speeds).

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All in all it seems like a decent car for a $20 a day rental (plus tax of course). I don’t think it would be my choice of car if I was in a place where I was trying to purchase this sort of car.

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