I recently booked a reservation for a compact car with a local neighborhood facility of Hertz — but when I arrived to pick up the rental vehicle, I was automatically upgraded to what is considered to be a full-size car by the rental car company…
…and it surprisingly turned out to be one of my favorite vehicles to rent in recent years.
Why This Car Was Surprisingly Good to Rent.
The car which I rented was a 2021 Nissan Altima SV.
At first, I thought to myself that that was okay. I have not rented a Nissan Altima in years — that rental was nothing special — but I liked the styling of this particular model.
I opened the door to the car and saw that plenty of room was available for the driver — as well as a lot of technology awaited me.
I do not have many requirements for me to be satisfied with a rental car; but this 2021 Nissan Altima SV was fully equipped with what I wanted and needed — the seat was comfortable for both long drives and short trips — plus a whole lot more.
Adaptive cruise control, adjustable power seats, power windows, and an integrated sound system which can be controlled from the steering wheel — which was adjustable and telescoping — are only some of the technological features which help the motorist concentrate on the road while driving. However, individual climate control for the comfort of the passenger was missing.
Despite not having individual climate control, the passenger in the front seat has plenty of leg room with which to be comfortable — and the adjustable seat can be reclined. The glove compartment contained plenty of room as well.
Music is important to me when I drive, as I have playlists for the highway and for secondary roads. The sound system completely and fully supported both my mobile telephone and my trusty portable music player — which is 13 years old this month — with no issues whatsoever; and several options to connect the devices are offered.
By the way, I am neither Caroline nor Doobie, which is why I stress in this article the importance of ensuring that you do not leave a trail of “virtual breadcrumbs” by either deleting the information which is left by your portable electronic device prior to returning the rental vehicle or using a second portable electronic device which does not have any sensitive information included on it.
The passengers who were seated in the rear seat had a surprising amount of leg room — as well as two types of Universal Serial Bus ports to plug in their portable electronic devices — but what was sorely missing were vents for better climate control in the rear of the vehicle.
When three people are not seated in the rear of the vehicle, the center armrest folds down and contains two cup holders. The seats also fold down as well to increase the amount of storage space in the trunk, which was already ample.
Speaking of the trunk, it was quite spacious for a sedan, as I had no problem with anything which I needed to store in it…
…and underneath was a spare tire — which was not full size. Fortunately, I never needed to use it…
…as the most significant disadvantage to this particular car was that the rear tire on the passenger side of the vehicle had a slow leak. A warning would appear in the dashboard that the air pressure in that tire was low. That was rather inconvenient.
Despite that issue, I was quite amazed with the range of mileage I was able to get out of this car. At one point, I traveled 640 miles before having to stop to refill the tank with fuel. The onboard computer claimed that I got 42 miles to the gallon. With the possible exception of a Toyota Prius which I rented in California years ago, I never experienced that kind of mileage in a rental vehicle — and that was significantly useful with the price of gasoline exceeding $4.00 per gallon in many places, as this car saved me a lot of money on fuel.
Although I did not time it, acceleration was surprisingly quick in this car as well. While this car could never be mistaken for a sports car, it did not disappoint by lagging on the highway when acceleration was necessary. In addition to acceleration, the car was rather responsive in many areas — including braking and turning.
For a brief moment, I actually felt a bit hesitant about returning the car — especially as I paid for a compact car; so I ultimately received a good deal from Hertz. I enjoyed driving it during the time I rented it — and I still did not get arrested as a result of renting a car from Hertz.
Final Boarding Call
In addition to the good deal which I received from Hertz. what surprisingly impressed me about the 2021 Nissan Altima SV is how it successfully combined comfort, technology, responsiveness, style, ample storage, and fuel economy into a vehicle which I would give some consideration to actually purchasing — although it arguably does none of these the best when compared to competitors in its class. I expected the experience to be rather forgettable and nothing special.
Moreover, some features I would have liked to see included in this car were missing — but that was not a deal breaker for me in terms of renting this car.
I am not knowledgeable enough about the reliability record of this model long term — but quality was not the first word which came to my mind whenever I thought about a vehicle manufactured by Nissan.
Sedans have been falling out of style in a world which has become increasingly favored with sport utility vehicles and crossover vehicles — but I certainly wholeheartedly recommend renting the Nissan Altima SV if you have the opportunity to do so.
All photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.