A few weeks back, we got word that Priceline.com was bringing high-end car rentals to the masses via a new program called FunRides, in partnership with a variety of big name rental companies (Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Sixt among them). With a summer trip to Florida already in the works, we took the program on a test drive.
Searching for a FunRides car is no different than booking any other rental car on Priceline—rather than selecting a compact car or SUV, there’s a FunRides selection that pulls up availability in your given market. The day I booked, my options included a Ford Mustang convertible for $61 a day, a Camaro convertible for $124 a day, and even a Mercedes E350 convertible for $125 per day. (We booked the Mustang.) In subsequent searches, we’ve seen Mercedes C-class and BMW 3 series models for as little as $50 a day.
In a notable first, the model you choose is guaranteed—an important distinction from luxury car rental competitors Expedia and Hertz—but models may not be the latest release (ours was in perfect condition, but lacked the built-in GPS and infotainment systems we’re so used to these days). The only other company that guarantees your make and model, SilverCar, does so by offering just one type of car: the Audi A4, in select markets only.
So far, Name Your Price is not a feature of Fun Rides, though Priceline’s CEO has intonated that it’s likely to happen in the future. It would help, as the prices we spotted—perhaps as a function of having guaranteed models—are a smidge higher than Expedia’s luxury rentals. (It’s worth noting that of the two, Priceline has far better inventory.) Still, we would have never guessed how much more enjoyable a cool car could make a vacation. With the top down and the warm Miami breeze blowing through my hair, we didn’t once mind trading the beach for our wheels—not even a little bit.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.