A bit of advice re: European car rentals?

Discussion in 'Other Car Rental Programs' started by Ed Chandler, Jun 2, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    I, my wife, and my 6'4" stepson are traveling to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic in a few weeks. We're renting the car in Munich and returning to Berlin. I presently have a SEAT IBEZA ST reserved with Europcar, but am starting to second-guess that choice given my stepson's height.

    So, you're me ... what would you do?

    For what it's worth, I'm Hertz Five-Star, Avis First, Enterprise, and Sixt Platinum.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Since you'll be traveling long distances, get a more comfortable and bigger car. If you can reserve a diesel, definitely choose that -- you'll get much better fuel economy.
     
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  3. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Yep, I drive a stick-shift diesel here at home, so I'm with you on that one.

    I was wondering more about anyone's experience with the sizes of cars and whatnot. I'm pretty familiar with US makes and models, and I can look at the same Youtube reviews as everyone else for foreign models, but was wondering if anyone had any "Don't rent from X" or "X car is definitely too small", advice.
     
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  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    FWIW, I always get around Europe by airplane or train, if possible. The European train system is great on so many levels, if only to demonstrate to us in the US how much we need efficient mass transit.
     
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  5. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    I recently had a Seat Toledo (Hertz C group) and found front-seat legroom quite tolerable. I think I'd aim for at least a midsize.
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Given that you're Sixt Platinum I'd tend to lean toward them. They have a good supply of large vehicles everywhere I've been in Germany and usually pretty good prices too. In the past few years all my Sixt Europe cars have been diesels except for the MB S500 they gave me in Greece. I have had a Citroen C5 which is quite roomy for tall people (I suspect they're all designed to accept the dearly departed Charles deGaulle or equals in height) and quite inexpensive. Something to remember is that most German rentals, including Sixt , tend not to permit German cars to go to most of Eastern Europe, including the Czech republic. From Sixt:
    "Cross Border Rentals are allowed to the following countries - inclusive islands:
    Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatikan City.

    Cross Border Rentals are allowed to the following countries but not with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, VW, Porsche, Aston Martin and all Jeeps/Offroader:
    Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

    It is allowed to enter the last-mentioned countries with all vehicles of car groups IVMR, SVMR and FVMR (including Mercedes-Benz B class, Mercedes-Benz Vito, Mercedes-Benz Viano), vans and trucks.

    In case of offence against Cross Border & Territorial Restrictions all insurances lose their validity."

    I have rented from Sixt in Germany and traveled easily in most of the mentioned countries. I've ended out with the big Citroen, a monster Opel, and a large Ford at various times. On a couple of rentals they've let me have a nice BMW 5 series and changed down to go to the restricted counties then changed back when i returned to Germany. A side benefit is that Sixt explicitly includes liability cover while the contracts from some other companies are more restrictive, Hertz specifically IME.
     
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  7. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    That's excellent advice but I'm a little confused by the two paragraphs where one says Mercedes CANT enter the restricted countries and the next says several models of Mercedes can. Clarify?
     
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  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Yes, that is a trifle unclear. Basically IME Sixt will allow the low-end, A and B class MB, 1 series BMW, etc, to travel in the restricted countries. Higher end cannot. In reality I have never taken those but opted for higher classes. That is what they mean by "..car groups IVMR, SVMR and FVMR ". In practice the upgrades they give will have restrictions apply according to the vehicle driven, not reserved. The solution is pretty simple: Just specify the countries you'll travel in as you fill out the reservation details. They will then supply a vehicle of the category you specify that will permit travel in the countries you'll need. In theory I suppose YMMV on this, but IME it is very, very consistent when renting in Germany. When renting in franchise locations (e.g. Singapore, Greece, South Africa etc) policies do differ and should be clarified prior to going. That obviously does not apply to your trip.
     
  9. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Yep, if I find myself in Singapore, I've got bigger problems. ;-)
     
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  10. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Sixt gave me a MB S400 there, not quite as big an engine as in Greece, but a nicer car. They delivered it to my hotel and were waiting on the curb at SIN for me with a luggage cart, carried my bags to check in and altogether blew me away with excellence of service. OT, I know, but I could not resist. Hertz, where I am Presidents Circle, has never done things like that for me.
     
  11. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Wow, yeah, even their phone agents find that impossible to decipher.
    One interpreted it as though the second part didn't exist (i.e. You can't take a VW regardless of vehicle class.)
    HUCA
    The next interpreted it as though the only allowable exceptions were the specifically listed Mercedes models.

    The second agent was very helpful, though, and suggested that the best thing to do was to reserve a vehicle class that simply didn't have any of the non-permitted makes in the first place ... which is fine, I guess, ... but a trifle more spendy. In the end, I've reserved a "Skoda Suberb or similar" which I'm told also includes a Volvo station wagon. Does that sound right to you, or should I call again?
     
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  12. LauraPDX

    LauraPDX Silver Member

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    HI Ed, My experience is that the car you reserve is a myth, they give you what is in stock in the category you reserved in (or one up if not available). Ask to look at the cars on the lot when you get there. I don't know if it helps to call the rental lot in advance, but at least in Italy we reserved one car make and were given totally different options (only 2, but were in Venice). Fortunately, my brother, who is 6'5", fit in in. The head room is more of an issue than the leg room for him. (and he has to sit up front usually, even when not driving)
     
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  13. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The trick to finding agents who understand the rules seems to be calling the German number. The US agents are all new and mostly do not know much IME.
    When renting through Sixt to a licensee that is certainly true IME.

    From Sixt directly they seem very consistent in Europe in that the car classes are much more consistent is size (inside and out), features and performance than they may be elsewhere. The "Skoda Superb or similar..." SWMR has German vehicles also, as do nearly all classes. If perchance they preassign another vehicle at pickup you can change for one that allows you to travel where you want to. The Skoda Superb is, IMHO, a more spacious, modern and better handling vehicle than is the Volvo. After all a Sloda, depending on model is either a VW or Audi clone with some modest equipment differences as a general rule. In any even you'll have lots of headroom, legroom and space regardless of specific. vehicle.
     
  14. Thomask

    Thomask Silver Member

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    I used to rent a lot from Sixt in Europe but found out that their rates are no longer competitive. There are tons of ad-on's, charges and rates at competitors are often much cheaper. Once in a while one can find a good rate, for Example the weekend rate with Sixt Friday, 12:00 to Monday 9:00 but do shop around and compare rates.
    The one positive thing with Sixt is I almost always get upgrades. (but the cost for an upgrade is too high)
     
  15. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Yes, expensive indeed. Presidents Circle, SIXT Plat etc. Phui. You guys ride the hog for sure. You sound like out-of-touch politicians or Dilbertian BA managers on "fact-finding trips" :p

    I think you need to try this kind of rental for a change, if you can find it in Europe or SIN:

    http://www.carsultd.com/

    Last time I used them, they had not only opulent $25/day almost-new and fully-functional Sentras but $15/day and $20/day specials too. The $15/day deal is the best, with windows that don't wind, cracked windshield, rust holes in the wheel wells, doors dropping on their hinges.... Just the deal for a cross-island ride in the Pacific breeze.... so many pluses, no incentive to steal and a replacement value of ~ 0, no worries... CarsUltd is also walkable down the hill from Agana Field, which is another plus after all-night TPAC flying in UA E-....o wait, that's another experience you all need...

    As for @jbc, his dark confession - of actually renting a car, any car, in SIN - tells us all we need to know....
     
  16. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Wow, I guess it's time I swing back around and tell you guys about my Sixt platinum "experience." In the spirit of "Why does this $#%& only happen to me?", here's my story.

    First, the car wasn't ready on time. Then they decided to read the part of the reservation saying I was going to CZ, and since the car they'd assigned couldn't go there, they forced me to "upgrade" on my dime to a car that had been there the whole time. On return, there was no Sixt office and I guess I was supposed to somehow know that I needed to return the car to a German rail ticket agent at the train station? After figuring that out with the aid of an elderly local, my return was 45 minutes "late" for which they (of course) charged me for an extra day.

    So far, not so bad, right? I called Sixt here in the US and got the extra day removed. Despite returning the car at 12:45 their records showed that I hadn't returned it until after 8 pm.

    But then things got interesting. Five weeks later, Sixt e-mailed me a 10 Euro German parking ticket along with a 25 Euro "administrative fee" for ... letting me know I guess? Interestingly, the parking ticket was issued more than three hours after I returned the car. So, again, I called ... and it seems it's finally all straightened out. (Lucky for me I always take photos of rental cars when I return them, to avoid bogus damage claims, but the timestamps came in handy this time.)

    I'm sure that's not the typical Sixt experience, but I thought it was ironic that they'd courted me with a status match and then ... that happened. If nothing else, enjoy the story and be grateful you're not me. :)
     
  17. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    [QUOTE="...As for @jbc, his dark confession - of actually renting a car, any car, in SIN - tells us all we need to know....[/QUOTE]
    Sure. Next time you try going to the Singapore plant nurseries, freight forwarders, bonded warehouses and disparate locations in cross border close Malaysia. All away from tourists and shopping areas. You wannabe try doing that with no car more power to you. I do it the cheaper and more practical way, rent a car. As a tourist or business visiting banks and dignitaries of course one would be insane to rent a car there.
     
  18. Moonlight86

    Moonlight86 New Member

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    Me with my friends were travelling to Armenia and Georgia.we needed a car. Candidly we didnt know at first where to hire a car. We found by internet a car rental company Naniko which has his branches in many countries. We took Nissan tida for 14 days in Aemenia and dropped in Tbilisi airport. The prices are the best i found and the service was excellent. Thanks to the staff for their support.
     
  19. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I just had the most pleasant experience with Sixt. I rented from them Copenhagen and originally reserved a Volkswagon station wagon, since the wife and I tend to travel with a lot of luggage. I asked for an upgrade as a platinum member and received a beautiful e series four door Mercedes. We rented in the city and returned at the airport and could not have had a more pleasant experience. It was quite interesting that our car had a gasoline tank and also a natural gas tank, so I never worried about running out of gas when it got low.
     
  20. Thomask

    Thomask Silver Member

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    Glad you had a good experience with Sixt. I am also Sixt Platinum and I used to rent from them primarily but since I started to compare rates I often find them super expensive compared to other companies. Now I shop around more.
     
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