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Seeking opinions of ex-rental cars
blaisepascal
One of the local car dealers' websites lists four 2010 Hyundai Elantras (GLS trim, I believe) for well under NADA book value[1], all under 33k miles. They are affordable and look (on screen, at least), like good cars. The Elantra was one of the cars suggested when I asked about cars back in November.

All four cars are former rental cars. At a guess, I would assume that a national chain (with branches in Savanah GA, Boston MA, Virginia Beach VA, and MD) bought a fleet in 2010 and after 2 years sold them to get a new fleet.

What are people's thoughts on buying ex-rentals? My thought is that they are likely meticulously serviced, low mileage, etc, and would be good buys. I've also heard that the drivers don't care about them (hey, it's someone else's car) and get driven harder than usual. All four of these cars have clean AutoCheck(tm) reports, except for the "registered as a rental car" flag.

[1] I care about NADA book value for more than just a way of evaluating if I'm getting a good deal. My CU will finance up to 80% of NADA book value, so my ability to buy the car is more a factor of price v. book value than price alone. If a car A has a sticker price of 11k and a book value of $14k and car B has a sticker price of 10k and a book value of $10k, then I can buy car A, but car B is too expensive, despite the lower book value. For some reason it seems that in this area used Elantras are offered below book value, which is good for me.

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Suspension and brakes will likely go a little faster because they weren't driven as nicely as an owned car, but other than that, I think it's fine.

I think it would be as good of a buy as a regular pre-owned car. Maybe better.

While some people might not treat a rental car as well as one of their own, some (like myself) are the exact opposite and treat the car like gold because they know they have to return it and pay for any damage.

My understanding of them has always been mostly similar to your thoughts, as long as the rental company and the dealership are both trustworthy. The main difference is the "low mileage" piece, but given that I habitually drive under 10,000 miles/year, it's possible that our definitions are just different and it's likely that yours is based upon a better-accepted set of criteria than mine.

My car before this one was an ex-rental. It had served me quite well, and was an excellent deal.

I don't think people drive rentals particularly differently from their own cars, apart from whatever learning-curve issues that may arrive from using a car with a new-to-oneself feel. I don't think it's really "people drive rentals harder", because people who are used to driving hard do, and those who aren't don't.

Given a good report on it, which you seem to have gotten, I would have no problem buying a formal rental car, per se.

I don't know if rusting out is a problem anymore but South Carolina doesn't put much salt on the roads. Neither does Virginia Beach but Virginia Beach floods a lot. Let me know how it goes. I've had fun looking with you.

Clean clothes are in the dryer, and specs and auto history reports are printed out for 10 cars.

I plan on looking at 2 Sonatas, a Corolla, 2 Priuses, and 5 Elantras.

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