Zipcar makes car sharing sexy, not sorry.

Reviews of cars, trucks, and other autos.
Sept. 5 2006 12:14 PM

Key Party

Zipcar makes car sharing sexy, not sorry.

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That's why the pricier your Zipcar, the more low-key its branding. The econoboxes sport jaunty decals on their passenger doors. A 325i has discreet black "zipcar.com" lettering on its trunk lid but nothing on the front or sides. I drove a silver BMW from Boston to Bar Harbor and back over Memorial Day weekend. I caught plenty of guff from Mainers for my Massachusetts license plate, but not one word about the URL.

My only beef with the service is they need to wash the cars more often. A rented 3 Series is cool, a dirty one is not. With a bit more bling, Zipcar could erase the stigma from car sharing once and for all. What they need is a halo car—a tastefully posh Bentley Continental GT garaged at AT&T Park for high-rolling Giants fans. How about $100 an hour? At that price, it shouldn't say Zipcar on it at all. It wouldn't need to. People would know.

Paul Boutin is a writer living in San Francisco.