Hyundai Elantra, my latest Hertz Rental Car – HaliPawz

As my summer with mom draws to a close, it was time for me to head back to Kansas City, Missouri from Port Huron, Michigan. I rented a car from Hertz like I normally do. I wasn’t as happy this time about the rental price, but that is another story. I had picked the group “Toyota Corolla or similar” and ended up with a 2015 Hyundai Elantra.  I have some question about the Elantra and the Corolla being in the same class, but Hertz, like any rental car, is never specific enough to give you an true answer and it wasn’t so far off that I feel like complaining again to them.

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Let’s talk about this car for a minute. The first thing I want to acknowledge is that it is a nice looking car. I’m really more of an SUV/truck person in general, but I do appreciate a decent looking car at a good value. The car has a nice sleek look to it. When I got in to drive away, I was impressed with the amount of legroom when you put the seat all the way back. I’m 5 foot 10, so plenty of legroom, especially for a long drive, is very important.  I still don’t like how low it is to the ground, like I mentioned in a previous rental review, but again, I’m used to being higher up in my mini suv.

Headed to my moms to pick up my luggage I didn’t have a real chance to check the vehicle out, as it is a straight shot on a normal road. The brakes were crazy intense though! I barely tapped them and the car jolted to a stop!

When I start loading the luggage, I was impressed with the amount of trunk space there was. I am not the neatest packer, especially on car road trips. As long as everything can shove in the trunk I am happy! Because of this, I appreciate ample trunk space. I fit my suitcase, a duffle bag, a baby gate (for the dogs), a 30 pound bag of dog food, two tie outs, the dog’s travel bag, my laptop bag, a pair of shoes, some miscellaneous small bags,  and a big Sam’s Club thermal tote with some food in it.

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Hyundai Elantra Trunk filled with stuff

Since it’s a rental, I covered all of the seats in sheets and blankets.  Filled the dogs water cooler and put it in the back, on the floor.  Loaded the dogs up and we were on our way.

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

The backseat must not be too bad, because Bella was not as restless as she was on the trip six weeks ago in the rental car. She only wanted her head out the window for about two minutes and then settled in on the seat and fell asleep. Zipper crashed in his normal place on the floor of the backseat.

When I first hit the expressway, I was a little concerned as the car seemed to want to sway back-and-forth quite a bit. There wasn’t a lot of wind, so I wasn’t really sure what caused it. All I knew was it was going to be a long drive if it continued. After a while, I began to think maybe it was me, because it seemed to get better as we drove along. There is an interesting feature I found on the car, you can choose what mode you want to drive it. The options are normal, Sport, and Comfort. I’m not going to lie, I played with it a few different times on the road, and I honestly couldn’t see that much of a difference. The steering wheel might be a little tighter in sport mode but it was very minimal.

I have to drive from Port Huron, Michigan to Kansas City, Missouri pretty down pat. I usually know where I’m going to have to stop, I know when I’m a third of the way, I know when I’m half way, especially when I’m doing the drive overnight. As I was crossing Michigan, I was on the phone and realized that I had already been on the road about four hours and the gas tank was still at half a tank. I couldn’t believe it!  I made it all the way from My mom’s house, to Kanake, Illinois before I had to stop!  It wasn’t because I needed gas, it’s because my bladder gave out before the gas did. It only took 10 gallons to fill it back up and we were back on the road. I noticed I still had 447 miles to go until I reached my home, and the car was saying I had 417 miles to empty. Had I waited another half an hour, I would’ve only needed to fill the vehicle up once for a 12 hour drive! That is pretty impressive. In looking at the gauges I averaged about 36.8 to 38.4 miles per gallon.  Not too bad.

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Hyundai Elantra Gauge showing 36.8 mpg

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Notice the angle of the edges on the driver’s seat of this Hyundai Elantra

As I have mentioned before, I am not a small woman. The seats were not the most comfortable in my opinion. The edges kind of dug into my outer thighs a little bit so I found myself shifting a lot. Perhaps if I had a vehicle with power seats, it might have been a  little better because I could have raised them up a little, but I doubt it. I found myself sliding down in the seat quite often and then having to shift myself back up. It’s just not comfortable when you’re wearing a pair shorts! Another complaint I had which I have often in cars, is the position of the center armrest and the side armrest; there is no comfortable way for me to rest my arm on it while I’m driving. They were both way too low. I found myself bringing my left leg up and resting my arm on it while I kept my hand on the steering wheel.

For some reason I don’t seem to like the cruise control on this vehicle. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I was constantly tapping my break and shutting it off and then driving with my foot on the gas again. I hit a little bit of rain at one point in the drive, and the vehicle handled it pretty well. I had control of the vehicle at all times.

***A little safety tip… Never ever ever use your cruise control when it is sprinkling, raining, snowing, icy, etc.!  It is not safe.***

Okay, back to the review!

The headlights were weird. I know that sounds strange, but I had difficulty figuring out if my lights were on or not!  I drove at least an hour and a half to two hours with just my parking lights on until it got dark enough for me to realize I didn’t have my actual headlights on. What threw me off was it looked like they came on automatically because the dashboard lit up a little differently when I got dusk but it didn’t look like any lights were on the outside so then I flipped the switch and saw a slight change on my dash and what I thought were lights on the car but then, like I said, it was only my parking lights!  Oops! Oh well I eventually figured it out.

The mirrors on the side are very nice, they are a good size, and the driver side has a little mirror insert in the upper left hand corner so you can see the road from two different perspectives.

The gauge lighting is nice, you have a clear indication of your fuel, you can toggle between your trip Miles, your miles per gallon, how many miles to empty, what your average rate of speed is, and how long you have been on this trip. It was easy to reset each one of them when I  started my trip. As I am a huge fan of the color blue, I was happy to see that most of the lights on the dash were a nice navy blue tone. Accented with white or a lighter shade of blue depending on which one you were looking at.

The steering wheel has a nice assortment of gauges on it including your cruise control your emotions to go between the different styles of driving, your trip information and you can quickly reset it from your steering well. I was surprised to not see any radio controls on the steering wheel, not sure if that is an option that can be added on different models or not.  The one thing I found weird though was that the controls were all on one side, so when you’re driving at night, it just didn’t look symmetrical.  If you have a case of OCD, I’m sure it would annoy you a little!

It has a sunglass holder up near the roof along with nice lights that are easily accessible and easy to turn on for the interior, I know they’re easy to turn on because Bella‘s big head turned them on more than once when she decided to walk around a little bit and try to move to the front seat!  I said try, because she wasn’t successful, but she did hit the light!

You have a 12 V plug along with a USB plug and in auxiliary plug all at your fingertips. The USB plug is a very nice touch. There is a small area to the right of the plug to put a few things. I put my Bolle` sunglass case in it though and it pretty much filled up the area, so it isn’t very big. The center armrest also opens up for additional storage, but I don’t like to put things in there for a rental car because I don’t want to forget them.  There is another 12v plug just off to the right so a passenger could also plug something in.  I forgot to look to see if any were in the back seat or not.

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

All in all, even with being uncomfortable seats, for a rental car on a long trip I would definitely choose it again if given the option because I loved the gas mileage and how little I spent on gas for the trip. I just need to either lose weight, or make sure I’m wearing jeans the next time! LOL

Both Zipper and Bella were able to fit their head out of the same window when we were closer to home!

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Bella and Zipper sticking their head out of the rental car Hyundai Elantra

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Bella and Zipper happy to be home after 15 hours in a car. You can see the water cooler on the floor behind them.

Would I purchase the car?  No, it would be too uncomfortable for me long term, but for one or two people (or skinny people) renting a car, it might be a good choice.

I hope this review helps you! Share your comments and thoughts if you have this car or have driven one?

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

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The love of an animal -HaliPawz

dogs, neapolitan mastiff, laying down
dog, mastiff, lying down

Waiting for Grandma

This is the door leading to my mom’s room. We had just come downstairs ourselves and I sat on the couch to search social media.  I heard the click of the brake on my mom’s walker so I knew she was up and moving around.

Bella, my Neapolitan Mastiff, must have heard the click as well because all of a sudden I heard the thump thump thump of her tail hitting my hardwood floor.  She gets so excited when my mom is around.  When my mom comes out first thing in the morning Bella does a polite excitement.  I love it.  Her whole body will wiggle, she spins a little.  She’ll mouth my mom’s hand (which is on the walker) softly until my mom says “no”.  She never pushes her or jumps on her like she sometimes does to greet others.  It’s as if she knows she cannot handle it.  Once my mom is seated, Bella will be right in front of her, tail wagging.  My mom will pat her on the head, say “I love ya Bella” and then sometimes the whole interaction is over.  Bella goes on her way.  I don’t even think my mom has realized this daily ritual between the two.

It’s not just the mornings.  Bella will greet her with a toy if my mom has gone into her room to use the restroom.  Bella will wait until she’s seated and bring a toy, usually a long stuffed animal or her long rope toy.  My mom will take it and, with her arthritic hands and shoulders, attempt to throw it.  It never goes very far but Bella doesn’t care. She’ll jump like she’s getting ready for a major sprint and pounce on it, grab it, and bring it back.  It only lasts one or two throws and then Bella, content, will walk away with it and lay on the ottoman.  It never ends that quickly when I’m throwing it for her!

So here we are. My mom will be out soon. Bella is waiting patiently for her. She has moved from being over by me to taking the spot in front of the door. She will be the first one to say good morning!

With Bella’s size, she doesn’t get to interact with my mom as much as Zipper does.  Zipper is small, he can jump up next to her. Bella has found her own way to share time with my mom.  She has found her own way to work into her heart. The love of an animal knows no age or disability.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

Pet theme continues; dog food, breeders, and breeds – HaliPawz

Picking the right food for your new fur baby can be daunting.  There are so many things to consider.  Over the last few years of having multiple dogs, multiple breeds in my home, I have learned a lot and wanted to share.  Some of the information I discovered, I wish would have all been in one spot. Since it wasn’t, I’m doing it.  Another thing I discovered is, for every thing I found positive about something, I could also often find something negative.  My best advice, consider the source.

I say consider the source often.  Even as you read this, consider the source (me) as not being an expert.  I do not have a degree in animal nutrition. I’m just someone who likes to investigate things until I am able to draw my best conclusion.

As I mentioned, there are factors that go into picking the best food for your fur babies.  These are in no particular order.

Price. For some, price is a HUGE factor, for others, they want the best no matter what the cost.  I, personally, am more on the latter, I would rather spend more on healthy food for my pets but I also recognized the most expensive does not mean the best for every breed! Do the research before dropping a lot of money.

If price is a factor, then determine how much you can budget before you pick the food.  You may also want to consider the pet you are purchasing.  For example, a Great Dane can go through a 30lb bag of food in two weeks, a Jack Russell may take two months on a 15lb bag.  You may want to scale down and get a medium size dog over a large dog if you are not going to be able to feed them properly.  Remember, dogs are a 7-14+ year commitment and the food bill grows as they grow.  It’s easy to feed a puppy, think about adult size, senior, special diet, etc.

Ingredients.  Look at the ingredients! If the dog food has a lot of dye in it, stay away from it! Yes, I know it makes it look pretty and you feel bad about giving your baby bland dog food, but if you go back and research, almost every recalled dog food has some sort of dye (usually red) listed in the ingredients.  When I saw the most recent recall, Beneful Recall, I was saddened.  First, because I know a lot of people feed it. Second, because it is a Purina brand and, even though I don’t feed their dog food, I do use their horse feed and I believe they are a good company overall for pet food products.  They are a large company manufacturing a variety of pet food products the consumers want.  The last reason I was bothered by it is the red dye in it.  It just solidified my belief about red dye being a problem.

Full disclaimer…I don’t stay away from red dye completely….my dogs do, on occasion, get treats which have red dye in them, such a Beggin Strips, but I am very aware of it and minimize how much; unless Zipper, my JRT, gets into the bag while I’m gone and eats half of it at once! Not saying that happened or anything! (My tweet about it). Of course, I actually try to stay away from red dye in foods myself.  I don’t know why but I remember reading something years ago about it and just stay away. Except red velvet cake. Hey, my dogs get their Beggin Strips, I get my Red Velvet cupcakes.  Moderation!

Continuing with ingredients, as most people know, the first three ingredients are the most prominent items in the dog food.  The more natural the ingredients, the healthier for your pet.  The first three should be a real meat source, not a by-product.  Do not be fooled by the name! There are tricks to confuse you.  If the name clearly states a meat, such as beef, make sure there is no descriptive words with it, such as dinner or meal.  Those are code words for different percentages.  For example, if it says “Beef” and nothing else, then beef has to make up 95% of the main ingredients, if it says “beef dinner or beef meal” then beef only has to make up 25%.  Huge difference! Always look at the ingredients.  It is also important to look at the ingredients because they sometimes use different meats to make up the protein and your pet may be allergic to one and not the other.  I have learned my JRT will eat anything but seems to appreciate red meat more than lamb.  My mastiff has a pickier stomach and was on lamb and did ok, but seems to prefer poultry or red meat as well.

Crude analysis is another important factor.  I used to think the higher protein is always better.  Over time & extensive research, I have learned this is not true.  KNOW YOUR BREED! Understand their needs.  Understand their activity and growth.  I’m going to start with Zipper.  His name says it all.  He flies everywhere.  I’m not sure there is a slow speed on him.  Even walking across the room he does a little prance instead of a slow walk. He is high energy and, at 18lbs, considered a medium size dog.  He goes between Orijen and Acana Ranchland.  Orijen owns Acana, it is just slightly cheaper. His primary food is Acana Ranchlands.  It is 31% protein and 17% crude fat.  The ingredients are a long list of protein rich foods.  He does great on it.

I felt bad not feeding Bella, my mastiff, Acana, but I just couldn’t afford it.  After doing research, I learned Zipper’s food is a little too high in protein for her.  I was feeding her Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast and she did well on it, but I would notice she would be stiff at night after playing at the dog park.  I almost switched her to a different food based on a friend’s suggestion of breeder recommended, which I will discuss in a minute.   I did not switch her brand, just her type.  I switched her to Earthborn Holistic Large Breed and I am happy I did!  It is 26% protein, which is 1% higher than recommended for her breed but she is extremely athletic, so the 1% will not affect her at all and 13% crude fat. Well within the recommended percentage.  In addition, it has Glucosomine & Chondroitin in it!  Within two weeks of the switch, I saw a huge difference in her stiffness! The friend I mentioned earlier? He has switched to it as well. I still give her a supplement of Glucosomine & Chondroitin as well, but she gets the majority from her food.

If you have a giant breed or large breed, there is a lot of information floating around the Internet.  People get passionate about their way being the best way.  This is where I say to use some common sense as well.  In my opinion, when I read WHY Great Dane puppies should not have as much protein because of how fast they grow, it MADE SENSE to me.  At the same time, you have to be aware of when to switch them from puppy food to adult food.  Some Great Danes grow until 3 years, that doesn’t mean they should be on puppy food for 3 years.  Do your research.  Read a few REPUTABLE articles.  Consider the source.  Are they getting a kickback? Do they have a vested interest in a particular product.  Also consider their activity level.  As I mentioned, my mastiff is more active than a typical mastiff.  She will play for hours at the dog park with male dogs half her age.  She will go to the barn and run around.  She is ACTIVE so more protein is good for her.  She even gets a half cup of Zipper’s food mixed in with hers from time to time.  She loves it.

Now I want to talk about breeder recommendations.  Breeders are in a business, especially large breeders.  When their reputation goes up, they become a target.  They will be approached by companies to promote their product, in return, they usually get the product for free or at cost.  Think about it; you’re feeding a lot of dogs for FREE and you are selling the puppies for profit? Of COURSE you’ll consider it.  Most of the time, the product is good, it would be considered upper middle of the road.  Affordable for most people.  It happens in every industry.   I’m not saying the product is bad, but just keep in mind, there is usually some sort of kickback.

***I do want to put my plug-in here for ADOPT over breeders.  You can get purebred dogs / puppies from shelters and rescues.  Unless you need a breed for a specific reason, job, or you plan to show them, please consider adoption from a local rescue or shelter. ***

There are great tools available to help you sort through the details.  One great resource is DogFoodAdvisor.com where it rates the different brands. Please note, they can only rate one or two types per brand, so I would also suggest looking at the company website if your flavor is not reviewed.  It is important to also read the review, not just the visible rating.  You will see key areas of concern or items they were not able to evaluate because the company didn’t make it available.  That could be important.  If the company won’t disclose key nutrient information then you may not want to feed it! There is the flip side as well, sometimes the product may be better than 5 stars, but they only rate on a 5 star tier so all 5 stars are not equal.

So, now for some money-saving tips.

If you decide to feed a premium dog food, most of them participate in a rewards program.  Both Acana and Earthborn do.  For every 12 bags I purchase, I get the 13th free.  All I have to do is save the UPC. Ask your local pet store if they participate.  Three locations in Kansas City sell Bella’s food, K9 Closet, Brookside Barkery & Bath, and Blue Parkway Bait & Pet Supplies.  Blue Parkway does not sell Zipper’s food.  All three locations participate in the 12 bags / 1 free program.  Usually big box pet stores, like PetSmart and Petco do not sell the brands that participate.

Get on an email list for both the food and the  store you end up purchasing from or join their social media page(s).  I receive a $3 coupon off Earthborn every 4-6 weeks.  I know it’s not a lot, but it helps.  If you are at a dog friendly event in town and they have a booth, ask the rep for coupons.  Let them know you currently feed and how much you love it.  You’ll be surprised.  I know this post is about dog food, but I can say I have received coupons for a whole bag of horse feed just by asking! I have also received free small bags of Orijen and Acana just because I asked.  The food is expensive! They know it!  I won’t say it works all the time, but it does sometimes.

If you’re staying in the mid range, visit your wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club or Costco.  Find out which brands they carry, then look them up on Dog Food Advisor.  I know at one time, Sam’s Club had a four star rated food for a great price! Not sure if they still do. Another location to look at for dog food is Tractor Supply.  They have started carrying grain free dog food at a reasonable price and many people do not think about them.

I hope this helps you in determine the right dog food for your baby.  Remember to consider each dog is different, each breed is different, and each need is different.  What’s right for YOU is what is important!

This article was written purely for information.  I received no kickback or request to write it. It all started because I posted something about red dye on the Beneful recall I saw on Facebook.

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