I first learned about Silvercar from a tech-savvy friend in New York when the service launched in 2012. He sang the praises of the app-based reservation system and all Audi (silver Audi to be exact) fleet, so when Silvercar launched at San Diego’s International Airport a few weeks ago, I decided to make the Silvercar/Audi experience central to a long weekend along the South Coast.
After downloading the Silvercar app, I followed the simple, step-by-step instructions on their well designed site to set up my account. Once I’d completed that one-time process, renting my first Silvercar was as quick and easy as hailing an Uber. I had the option of choosing the Audi A4 sedan or Q5 SUV - I chose the latter - and, to my delight, discovered that the price point starts at $59/day. Afting picking my optional insurance coverage, I started packing my bags.
Upon my arrival in San Diego I hit the “Find Your Silvercar” button in the app and off I went to the kiosk. Unlike other major car rental services, there were no lines, paperwork or disgruntled masses yearning to breathe free when I arrived. The San Diego Airport location consists of a small office, which I never had to step foot into, a friendly team of Silvercar representatives with keys in hand and a large number of shiny, silver Audis. Silvercar’s unique business model and sterling reputation with savvy travelers lead Audi to acquire the company in 2017. This means that Silvercar staffers are incredibly knowledge about their fleet and state-of-the-art features of the A4s and Q5s. The high level of service I experienced at Silvercar was on-par with their competitor’s loyalty programs with one big difference, I was a first time customer. After a walk around inspection of the vehicle, which was brand new, my rep and I did the initial unlocked of the car with my app, followed by a quick tutorial of my Audi Q5 and off I went.
The standard features that you experience in a Silvercar would be premium at any other car rental company, if they are available at all. My Q5 had on-board Wi-Fi, GPS navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio, so I had an uninterrupted soundtrack as I explored the lush architectural beauty of Balboa Park, Little Italy’s art and cuisine driven hippness, the stunning beaches of La Jolla and Del Mar and the verdant flower fields of Carlsbad. This coupled with my Audi’s excellent driving dynamics and technological prowess, including quattro all-wheel drive and a well designed virtual cockpit equipped with Google Earth and Audi smartphone interface, reinforced the truth of the old adage, it’s as much about the journey as the destination.