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The company has generously providing me with this rental car from Hertz for 60 days.  It is a Mercedes-Benz A180, a rather small car that I have never seen in the states.  Here’s a link to this car on the Swiss MB’s multimedia web site: A-Klasse.  In the US, I think they sell only class C and up, and not classes A and B.

When I picked up the car, it only had about 400 km.  So it is practically new and yes, it has the new car smell.  It is agile, but lacks power, yet feels safe on the autoroute; I drove it back and forth several times between Neuchâtel and Lausanne.  Every morning it reminds me about something by displaying a German message in red (something like “Reifendruck … überprüfun“).  My German colleagues told me that it is telling me to check the tire pressure.  The stereo plays CD with mp3s but sounds boomy, probably a result of using electronics to overcompensate the small size of the speakers.  I had to dial down the bass.

The car is just right for my 10 minute commute.  It also makes parking and navigating narrow hilly streets (i.e., my neighborhood) so much easier.  But it costs almost Sfr40 to fill half a tank of gas.  I think I am being swayed to get a small diesel car for living here.

Notice the rather clunky GPS on the dashboard which I think blocked out nearly 10% of the windscreen in front of the driver.  It has been quite useful though.  This is the NeverLost system that is provided by Hertz, the cost of which is calculated separately on a daily basis.  Since I am renting the car with it for 60 days, I think the total cost of renting the GPS would have paid for the device itself.  Yes, this GPS is multilingual and can speak English, unlike the one we had used in France a few years ago which spoke only French.

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