Unless I'm in Europe for a very short time, I always take advantage of a buy back lease. This summer we chose to use the Auto Europe Buyback program.
Thinking we needed a car for two for a month and a half, we looked at the smaller Peugeot cars, and chose the Peugeot 206 HDI. It's listed as "206 Trendy HDI 1.4 (70 HP)" but we were glad the dorky word "trendy" didn't actually appear on the car. Whew!
We picket the car up in Avignon. Actually, the car picked us up, because when we called to tell them we were in town and would be picking up the car in a couple of days--they offered to pick us up at our hotel. Sweet!
The car easily held all our bags in the trunk. It was a diesel with a small, efficient engine, so we didn't have to worry about nose bleeds on accelleration. Still, the car was surprisingly zippy for a 70 horsepower model. On the other hand, you wouldn't use it for a getaway car in a bank hold up either.
Why did we choose diesel? Because diesel fuel is usually significantly cheaper than gasoline in Europe, and with the gas milage, we could actually stomach the 1.19 per liter price of fuel. (And diesel is available everywhere in Europe--no worries there.)
The car had manual transmission, which is pretty standard in Europe (automatics are available on some models). It had an air conditioner that functioned perfectly.
Remember that I thought the car was for two? Well, late in the game we found we'd have company for a week. We worried about the capacity of the car, but it turns out the 206 was a four door model having adaquate rear seat room for two adults--and amazingly, the trunk was big enough to hold some of our carry on bags plus the luggage of two infrequent travellers (meaning they packed at least 2 times more junk than they needed). I was impressed.
The Peugeot worked like a dog for a month and a half. We searched out parking places in cities, we took it on long journeys through windy roads in Italy. We parked it precariously to take pictures. Then we returned it back in Avignon, got our stuff out of it, signed the release papers, and were driven to the train station to start a train trip back to Paris.
No hassles. I like that.
Check out Auto Europe's Peugeot Buy Back Program (Auto Europe also rents cars in Europe and offers frequent specials on rent and buy back lease cars).
For other buy back lease programs, see Leasing and Buy Back Programs.