Silvercar is hoping that feature-filled cars, better service and fewer gotchas add up to a better car rental experience.
Imagine a rental car company where every car is fully loaded with the latest amenities. There are no lines or paperwork to deal with. And your ride is never a subcompact.
It's happening right now in cities across the U.S. thanks to a relative newcomer in the car rental business named Silvercar.
"We set out to solve the two biggest problems that have plagued the industry for years: One, never knowing what you’re going to get, and two, what we call the hassle," explained Courtney Lowell, Director Of PR and Communications at Silvercar.
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Silvercar only rents silver cars. But not just any cars - Premium Audis. The A4 Sedan. The Q5 SUV. And just in time for summer, the A5 Cabriolet.
After a quick online sign-up process using their app, you rent your car from the same app. When it's time to pick up your ride, all you have to do is use your phone to scan a special QR code on the car's windshield. That's all - you're ready to go!
Silvercar was purchased by Audi a few years ago, but they still operate like a startup. In fact, there is one edge the big guys have over them: location. Usually, Silvercar rental facilities are offsite at airports.
"When you open up your app, you’re going to be picked up curbside, other [airport locations] you may get into a shuttle or a Lyft. But the easy thing is once you open up that app, we give you all the instructions you need from the time you land to the time you get to your car," said Lowell.
Recently, I drive a Silvercar from Los Angeles to San Francisco to try it out. It was an amazing experience. The car comes fully loaded with a digital dashboard, WiFi, a nice big navigation screen that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as satellite radio and even a sunroof. I can't remember the last time a rental car had a sunroof.
Plus, Silvercar doesn't gouge you for gas or tolls - you'll be surprised to find out that the charges are actually fair.
"We don’t charge you for the things you need, and we give you a premium car seat even for your little ones," said Lowell.
If you're looking for the absolute rock bottom car rental price, Silvercar probably isn't for you. But if you're looking for a satisfying car rental experience at a price that's just a little premium over what you'd normally pay, check them out. Cars start at $50 a day and the service is available in a growing number of cities nationwide including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, Orange County, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco and more.
Read the full review of my road trip in a Silvercar here.
NOW LISTEN: Here's an extended interview with Silvercar's Courtney Lowell about what makes their rental process better. Subscribe to the Rich on Tech podcast for more daily tech tidbits!