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7 best rental cars for summer vacation

Volkswagen Jetta TDI
Volkswagen Jetta TDI
  • Type: compact
  • Passengers: five
  • Rental companies: Hertz
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 30
    • Highway - 42

Earning big points for the Jetta TDI is its high-mileage, turbocharged, 2-liter, four-cylinder, clean-diesel engine that develops 140 horsepower. A driver-shiftable, six-speed automatic transmission drives the front wheels. Fun to drive, it cruises effortlessly on the freeway yet shines on curvy mountain roads.

Rear-seat passengers will appreciate the Jetta's surprising amount of rear legroom -- nearly 5 inches more than a Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan. Consumer Reports rated rear-seat comfort along with ride quality and front-seat comfort as "very good." If not needed for passengers, sections of the 60/40 split-folding rear seat can be collapsed for additional cargo capacity.

All controls are intuitive and simple to operate from the get-go. The six-speaker audio system has iPod integration.

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