Early last year, we tried out SilverCar in Las Vegas, a rental that involved a great car (Audi A4) but a frustrating pick-up and drop-off experience. Quite a bit has changed at SilverCar in the interim -- the company has been purchased by Audi and now offers more than just the Audi A4. The company has been on an expansion path and now also offers the Audi Q5 for rental. This may be Audi listening to the experience of previous rental car operators -- excessive reliance by a rental car company on a single vehicle make/model crushes prices on both new and used vehicles when those former rentals come up for resale! Or this may be Audi ignoring basic concepts of supply and demand, as they have been adding new sites (up to 18 today), each of which requires more cars in the rental fleet! In any case, renters in selected locations can guarantee an Audi A4 or choose to book a Q5!
What's the difference between the A4 and the Q5? Primarily size and body style. The A4 is frequently ranked well among the entry-level luxury cars and the Q5 is considered mid-tier in the luxury crossover/SUV market (the pricier SQ5 trim is rated in the top quartile). The Audi Q5 is Audi's best selling vehicle and also better meets the vision of the SilverCar founders, who imagined a cool car with the space to take a foursome golfing. With the Q5, SilverCar promises the same experience for the customer, including WiFi, satellite radio, and actual toll/fuel charges as standard features (rather than pricey add-ons). The customer also knows the price to consistently expect before required taxes/fees -- any day of the year -- unless a discount/promotional code's available. And with SilverCar, there's still no doubt on a few fundamental concepts:
- If you reserve an Audi A4, you will get an Audi A4.
- If you reserve an Audi Q5, you will get an Audi Q5.
- You can have any color Audi you want, as long as it's silver.
- The Q5's not available at all locations (yet) but has a $10-$20 (pre-tax) premium to the A4 (weekday or weekend).
SilverCar can be booked via AutoSlash! Looking for the Q5? It's going to be hidden under "intermediate/mid-size SUVs" (if available). SilverCar also lists the vehicle as a "full-size SUV", which it most assuredly is not (although that mislabelling serves as a helpful reminder that all of the information published about size and capacity comes from the rental car company in question).
You can also sign up directly with Silvercar. If you enter our referral code of RBOQWXCF you'll get $25 off your first rental. Just go to the top right of Silvercar.com and click on "sign-up," and then enter your email address and password. Once your email address has been verified you can log-in and enter the above referral code.And, on top of the $25 off your first rental, for a limited time you can also get 40% off a rental of 5 or more days by entering the promo code WEEKLY when reserving through Silvercar's website.
SilverCar's still a minor player in the rental car industry. The company has 18 locations to-date while Enterprise Holdings (the largest rental company in the world) is about to surpass 10,000 locations worldwide. That said, we're still rooting for SilverCar -- we love competition in the rental industry (that gets reflected in prices) and there's so much that can be done by the major companies to deliver a consistent customer experience!