Saturday, February 18, 2017

Easy Car Rental and Road Trip to Napa with Drive Maven

During my recent trip to San Francisco, I got the opportunity to try out Drive Maven, a car-sharing service similar to Zipcar. Maven is General Motors' service, and you can rent GM cars by the hour or day from various locations around the country. For cities where parking is notoriously difficult and expensive like San Francisco, services like Maven is really useful when you need a car just for a day trip.
Drive Maven in Napa
Unlike Zipcar, there's no annual membership fee associated with Maven. Just like Zipcar, gas and insurance are included in the hourly/daily rates. In SF, the cars are parked in various garages throughout the city. To book the car, you can search the map for that city and select the most convenient garage for you.

I picked a garage on Taylor St, and they had new red Chevy Volt! I've been curious about this plug-in hybrid, so I booked it.
Drive Maven in Napa
Drive Maven in Napa

The Volt was $8 per hour - again it includes gas and insurance. Did I mention this VOLT was wifi-equipped? A lot of their cars are loaded with the latest tech, including Apple CarPlay and free unlimited 4G LTE WiFi. You bet I was instagramming using the car's wifi!

Everything is done with the Maven app. When you go to pick up your car, you can just unlock the car with your app using bluetooth. The car will detect that your phone is inside and you can start the car without a key (only when your phone is inside the car). Everything was seamless and easy (minus the tight spaces in SF's parking garages, but what can you do about that?). After that, I was off to Napa!

It was around lunchtime by the time we got to Napa Valley, so we stopped at Oxbow Public Market for lunch. The Public Market has a variety of food offerings, including Hog Island Oyster and Ritual Coffee.

We went next door for my first Gott's Roadside burger (I got the kimchi burger!)
We stopped for some port tasting at Prager Winery & Port Works.
Prager is a small, fun winery that provides an intimate tasting. It's perfect for port fans.
I did fill up gas once on this trip. There's a credit card provided by Maven in the car that you can use to fill up gas (only gas). I didn't have any issue with using the card either. Didn't use it, but I had to take a look at the charging port of this hybrid.
Drive Maven in Napa

I made another stop at HALL Winery to take a photo of this Bunny Foo-Foo.
Drive Maven in Napa
Before heading back into the city, we stopped for dinner at Redd, which was great. Yountville of course has many great restaurant options, and Redd is one of the ones I would recommend.
Drive Maven in Napa

All in all, I had a seamless experience with Maven and would recommend it if you are traveling to a city where you don't want to have a rental car the entire time. The hourly rate was reasonable, especially if you're going to use more gas. The cars are new and tech-equipped. The 4G LTE from the car was certainly useful when you have spots with bad cell coverage. Unlocking and starting the car is easily done through your phone, and filling up gas was easy!
I had a Zipcar membership for a year or two but since I didn't use it much, I felt that it was a waste. Since Maven doesn't require a membership fee, I can just keep the app and be ready to go whenever I need it!

To try Maven on your next trip, you can sign up here or download the app.

Disclosure: My Chevy Volt rental was complimentary


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