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August 6th, 2017 · 6 Comments

I experimented with a new car rental company on our trip to San Francisco last week.

Silvercar rents only Audi A4s, and the only color is (of course!) silver. This is a nicer car than you will usually get at a rental company. You can pay more for a “luxury” car, but you won’t be sure what you will get. With Silvercar you always know what you are getting, though not always which year, a point belabored below.

Audi A4

As we arrived in San Francisco and walked past the conventional car rental desks, there were 20+ people in line at each company, clearly in for an hour wait. We hopped on the shuttle (along with one other person) and got driven right to our car.

Once you are a registered user, you just get off the shuttle and walk up to your car. The phone app reads the barcode in the window and doors unlock and the car is yours. As a first time users, I had to show my credit card and driver’s license. The “concierge” then showed me all around the car, made sure my phone was linked to both Bluetooth and WiFi, and sent us on our way (yes, the car includes free LTE-based WiFi).

Most rental companies charge $8-10/gallon to refill, so unless you are running really late you better find a gas station before you get back. Silvercar charges a nominal $5 refilling fee, and fills at a local station, charging you just the local price. I still refilled before returning, but I didn’t feel like they had a gun to my head!

The car was really nice, drove and handled well and was fun to drive. Though it had 50,000 miles on it, it still felt almost new. My only complaint was that it didn’t have any features I consider should be standard on a luxury car — back-up camera, parking sensors, blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control. I sent a complaint to Silvercar after I returned, and they told me I must have got a 2015 year model, and that as they upgrade their stock the newer cars all have these modern safety and convenience features. But I don’t think there is any way to ensure you will get one of the newer cars when you make a reservation. Driving and parallel parking in San Francisco, I really missed the BU camera and parking sensors. I guess I’m spoiled!

Rental is a little higher than Hertz or Budget Rentals, but as a first time user I got a $50 discount for the 4 days, so the total come in around $69/day. High for Phoenix, but not out of line for San Francisco. Worth it if I could be assured of getting a newer car, maybe not if not.

In the future? If I can be sure to get a newer car and can get a reasonable price, I’ll probably rent one again.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Richard Lafferty // Aug 7, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Sounds nice. When I was working, (and it is still active according to the emails I keep getting) I was a member of the National Car Emerald Club. I made a reservation and never stood in line. Just gave the van driver my name (or at smaller airports just walked out the door to my car with my name on it) and got in. I think that’s the way most business rental car users operate.

    Still, nice to have a luxury car waiting for you at a reasonable price.

  • 2 Dale // Aug 7, 2017 at 7:39 am

    What color will your Tesla be?

  • 3 Courtney Lowell // Aug 7, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed your experience! Good news, we’ll have all 2017 Audi A4s by October and will begin introducing 2018s into the mix at that time as well.

    Happy Travels,
    Courtney @ Silvercar

  • 4 Daryl // Aug 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Richard, it was like that for me when I traveled for Intel, but I don’t rent often enough any more to get that VIP treatment at the big name rental companies.

    Dale, don’t know yet, still have at least 3-5 months so no hurry to decide. Maybe silver or dark silver…?

    Courtney, I see you get alerted to even minor blogs mentioning Silvercar! Looking forward to renting a newer Audi next time.


  • 5 Donna // Aug 10, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Ken has an Audi A3. They are nothing alike, but he loves it! 😊

  • 6 Don // Aug 10, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I was also a member of the National Emerald club while at Hughes/Boeing.

    I remember just walking to the Emerald Isle and picking whatever car I wanted.

    The car I got in Tucson was a really nice Dodge Durango that I got upgraded to. The person at the counter asked me if I wanted to get un upgrade (probably because she knew they didn’t have what I rented). I said no and then when I went out to the cars the guy said he didn’t have it and I could have one of several “better vehicles”.

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