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Why Rent a Normal Car When You Could Rent a 550-Horsepower Jaguar?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2016

Today, I'm going to provide you with an unbiased, helpful, consumer-friendly comparison test that should help influence your financial decisions in the future. I will be comparing a 550-horsepower Jaguar F-TYPE rental car to a standard rental car, which has fabric seats and a keychain that tells you the average key-replacement cost.

Let me explain why I'm doing this: Last week, I flew out to Monterey, California, for Monterey Car Week, and I decided that instead of renting a boring, normal car, I would rent a car from Turo. Have you heard of Turo? Basically, it's like Airbnb for cars: You put your car on it, and then other people can rent your car, and they can also lick the steering wheel.

When I told people about this, they were absolutely stunned that I would do such a thing. You'd rent a car? From a random person? Through the internet? Some stranger's car? What about insurance? What if he's an axe murderer? Aren't you scared? Don't you like how I accentuate the last word in each question?

And I admit, all of these things went through my mind. But then I watched some videos with the Jaguar F-TYPE's exhaust note, so I did it anyway.

Actually, I wasn't really concerned that I would be renting my particular car from an axe murderer, because I rented from this guy named Kent at the San Francisco airport. Kent has dozens of glowing reviews, all of which are five stars. Some of them are worryingly good: "Kent's car was the cleanest I've ever seen." "Kent's car was more fun than anything I've ever driven before." "Kent jumped into raging floodwaters and saved my drowning hampster."

Kent also has something like six cars on Turo, including a couple of Porsche 911s, a couple of Porsche Boxsters and the Jaguar. Kent is basically running an exotic rental-car business through an Internet app. Except I get the sense that he's not some wealthy businessman eager to grow his exotic rental-car firm and make millions. He's just a guy from Millbrae.

My concern, instead, primarily related to insurance: If I rented a car from a random stranger, would I be insured to drive it? This seems like the kind of thing that ends up with you crashing into a house, destroying the car and the house, and it's some irreplaceable house worth millions where FDR once tripped over a lawn gnome, so it's on the National Register of Historic Places, and your insurance company refuses to pay out due to their very clearly stated clause, on page four, section five, row two, on the third line, which reads, "We do not cover cars rented from random people named Kent."

To address this issue, I called up my insurance company, and I asked them if they cover Turo, and they checked their policies and immediately said, "Yes, absolutely."

So I rented the F-TYPE, and my friend Andrew rented a normal rental car from a normal rental-car place, and then I spent a lot of time driving each one in order to provide you, the reader, with a factual, unbiased conclusion. And my conclusion is: The F-TYPE is better.

Here are a few of the reasons why the F-Type is better: It's cooler. It looks better. It's nicer inside. It's faster. It has 550 horsepower. It's quicker. It has more features. Its exhaust note is better. It has a convertible top. It's rear-wheel-drive. Did I mention that it has 550 horsepower? It has cooled seats. It's more exciting. It's redder. It attracts more attention. It has a better sound system.

There are also a few other benefits you don't normally think about. For instance, the Jaguar has a local license plate so you look like you're from the area, whereas the normal rental car we rented had those bright red Colorado "FLEET" license plates that make it look like you're the kind of person who's going to go to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and take pictures of seagulls with a disposable camera.

Here's proof: When we were in the Jaguar, someone asked us for directions. When we were in the normal rental car, a local in a Toyota pickup truck honked at us for going too slowly on a canyon road.

Of course, I admit that there's one major difference between the F-TYPE and the normal rental car, and that is the cost: The Jaguar was something like $350 a day, while the normal rental car was roughly $89 a day. For some people, this alone will be enough to convince them to skip the F-TYPE and instead rent a normal car from a normal place. However, as I mentioned in my video on this subject, I studied this issue very closely for quite some time, and I reached a conclusion: These people are wrong.

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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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$61,500
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Why Rent a Normal Car When You Could Rent a 550-Horsepower Jaguar? - Autotrader