Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The ONE Time Silver Is Top Tier...

"Silver Elite"
This has been a long time coming, but as I just put over 200 miles on this shiny,  new, Audi A4 Quattro, I decided to make time.  The review at hand- "The car rental that doesn't suck." (their words, but mine as well)  This truly eloquent company is Silvercar, and yes, the internet has already sung its praises, but here's my take:

Renting from Silvercar has a certain 'Bond. James Bond.' appeal to it, as much as any reasonably priced car service can.  It's the 'Uber Black' of rentals, if you will.  No, you probably don't 'need' the horsepower or the bling to get to your airport hotel or to see the in-laws, but it sure doesn't hurt.  Plus, it feels good to roll up to 'that meeting,' or to take a client out to dinner with a little panache.

Glamour shot...


So far, I've rented at two of their locations- SFO and ORD.  Adding to the international 'man of mystery' feel, the pick up instructions at each location are different.  Awhile ago, when I rented at SFO, it was a covert-feeling multi-step process involving a non-Silvercar marked van, a location inside an offsite general use airport parking garage, and a guy with an iphone guarding two A4s parked in a corner.  The website generally just directs you to 'text us when you've landed, and we'll give you the details' ie., 'your mission, should you choose to accept it.'  But, when the benefit of finding the place is taking one of these for a weekend in Sonoma, I'll happily accept the challenge.

Never seen a National Ex aisle look like this!

 Thankfully, the staff are uniformly polite, young, and enthusiastic.  Little surprise, given that it's the 'tech startup' of rental cars.  Today I was dropped off personally at ORD in my actual rental car, eliminating any extra stops, or transferring of luggage.  I approve.

The Pros-
 -Guaranteed silver (get it??) current year Audi A4.  Every single time.  No picked over lots, or third-in-a-goddamn-row Malibus that always pull to the right. (I'm looking at you, Hertz 'gold')
-No base models here, they're all quattro all wheel drive.
-Slick rental app.
-Cars come (mostly) fully loaded, including some nice extras like nav, wifi, working bluetooth & sirius radio.
-Car charger to USB adapter included. 
-Concierge-feeling customer service.
-Feeling elite without paying (too bad) of a price.


The Cons:
-Severely limited locations, so it can't be your 'go-to' everywhere.
-On average, cars seem to have a decent amount of miles on them, at least in comparison to some of the very low mileage I can usually find on a well stocked National aisle.
-As they're new, and not a main line car rental, getting to their lot is a different experience at each location, and you need to be aware of the instructions before you go to pick up.
-No real elite program, or accrual of free days.
-If you need a bigger car, you'll have to go elsewhere. 

In short, I happily pick Silvercar where possible, and where they're price-compeditive.  Surprisingly, even with the premium fleet, they can meet this criteria pretty often.  The only hesitation I have is missing out on status and free day credits with National....but it passes about the time I hit 60mph!

Happy driving,


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