Safer and superior SUV rentals for Bozeman, MT .

We have recently been receiving comments that our prices are currently higher than the prices from franchises at the Bozeman Airport. Our response is that it is like comparing apples to oranges, and this is why:

This Chevrolet Captiva LTZ turned up at the office this morning. It is a (misplaced) Avis/ Budget rental car, and what Budget rents as their mid-size SUV (compared to the Subaru Outbacks that Phasmid rents). According to the state trooper, this car was spinning out of control and ran into an obstacle backward, at speed. Perhaps it was bad driving, perhaps it was because it was a Front Wheel Drive, had crappy tires, and there was a massive snow/ ice storm a couple of days ago.

Regardless, the Chevy Captiva, also known as the Daewoo Winstorm, is sold exclusively in the US as a Fleet car for the rental car market. It has all of the things Franchise companies like to tout: navigation, leather, and shiny alloy wheels. It is a front wheel drive vehicle (FWD). It is not safety rated by the IIHS or the NHTSA, probably because it is produced as a Fleet vehicle in the US versus a consumer vehicle. The Captiva is made in South Korea, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Thailand. It has very cheap Korean made tires. It’s rated fuel efficiency is 20/28mpg.

The other vehicles Bozeman Airport car rental agencies are offering in this SUV rental size class are 2wd Ford Escapes, 2wd Ford Explorers, and various Jeep products (Compass, Liberty, and Horizon) which dominate the list of Forbes worst SUVs for 2015. Our off-airport competition offers Jeep products exclusively for their mid-size SUV class.

Phasmid’s mid-size SUV rental option is the Subaru Outback. Subaru does not have a commercial fleet program, which is why few Franchise companies offer them as rentals (they are more expensive to buy). Subaru’s feature Symmetrical All Wheel Drive (AWD) which any local will tell you is superior in Montana to anything else on the market. The Outback is rated as a Top Safety Pick + by the IIHS, and has a 5-star Crash Rating by the NHTSA. The Subaru Outback is made in Lafayette, Indiana. Our Outbacks have top-rated Michelin and Continental tires. Fuel efficiency is rated for 24/31mpg.

Here is Forbes’ list for the best vehicles in the snow. Spoiler alert, Subaru Outback is Number 1.

A lot of the time driving in Montana you are totally fine with a two-wheel drive SUV, and you can spend the $50 you saved on your car rental on a nice bottle of wine. On the other hand, on days like Monday, with a freak snowstorm covering icy Montana roads, you would likely trade all the money in the world to be driving an AWD Subaru Outback with good tires.

Is saving a few dollars really worth the risk?