Since we have already posted a review of the Mustang Convertible we hired a while ago we decided it would be good to also review the Camaro SS we were able to hire. When getting the car in the first instance I had booked the cheapest available vehicle I could find online inclusive of all the taxes and insurance. On this occasion the car was booked with Budget Car Rental and needed to be picked up from the Airport which is just a short bus ride from where we were staying.
As is normally the case when picking up the car they offered me an upgrade to a better model, now I have done this a number of times and know they will always offer you a car that is slightly bigger as that is what most people are most easily sold the benefits of. But let’s be honest a mid-size Nissan drives pretty much the same as a small economy Nissan so that really wasn’t the upgrade I was looking for. I have learnt that particularly at larger airports like Orlando they almost always have something a little more fun available if you just ask. As we had already rented the Mustang which is normally the first car offered for a more exciting drive I went ahead and asked if they had any Camaro’s in, to my joy not only did they have virtually every different type including convertibles they also had the big engined SS version that is incredibly rare in rental fleets.
So with my target in sight next came the obvious question, how much is it going to cost me? ‘Well sir for you I can do it at an extra $119’, hm this was not looking good. Disappointedly I told the girl at the counter I would have to leave it as I was on a tight budget, this was only half a bluff as at that price I would never of taken it. So she comes back at me ‘Well how about if I could do it for $79 more?’ It was going in the right direction but not where I wanted it so I hit back again saying I was really was on a tight budget and couldn’t possibly spend that much.
She asks if I have any loyalty cards or anything to help her get the price down, of which I don’t then comes back with an offer of $50. It’s still not where I want it to be so I just put the figure in my head out there and say I will pay an extra $30 for the Camaro. The girl looks at me as if to say you know that’s nothing for that car and tells me she can probably get me a standard Camaro for that though not an SS but to give her a minute. A minute or two later she returns and says I can have the SS for $30 extra! Woohoo! Win for me.
I just scored a 400hp performance car for £18 more than a terrible little economy car would have cost me.
After reassuring me I just got the deal of the century she gives me the parking spot where I will find the car and sends me on my way. When I reach the car it looks quite the menace, with familiar aggressive lines which only an American made muscle car could have and a huge bulge in the bonnet showing off the size of the large V8 hidden beneath.
Getting in the car the seats are comfy and the interior seems well laid out, on the whole everything seems quite solid although the cheap plastics American made cars are known for are still evident. Upon starting the car you are met by a hearty roar and you know there is ample power to be had at the press of your right foot. A gentle drive around the car park and a final document check then I am free to go. Sitting at the first set of lights I hit waiting for the green, I am not disappointed when a short press of the throttle pushes me back in to my seat, propels me away from the surrounding traffic and has me exceeding the 50mph speed limit in just seconds causing me to jump on the almost equally impressive breaks.
Frankly for all the time we had this car, that trick never got old. The sheer power off the line is addictive. Much like the Mustang straight line racing seems to be where this car feels most at home. When pushed in to corners hard it roles and although firmer than the Mustang, I would still need to swallow a brave pill or two before I really tested its limits, although I am sure I would have had fun doing it in the right environment.
All in all as a pure bred American muscle car the Camaro does not disappoint. You need to be realistic about your expectations, it will not handle like similar powered European cars but then it is not designed to. It definitely outshone the Mustang Convertible we had the previous week, but then the Mustang was running a smaller engine. I think if you were really in the market to buy a car of this type, it largely will boil down to personal preference. They all can be great fun and all can deliver exhilarating levels of performance both from the factory and when after market tuned. If like us however you are just after a fun rental then hopefully our tips above will help you get a great fun car, at a great price!
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