Which car should I hire? Deciding which car to hire according to our needs will make or break our experience
When we go on holiday and we think about renting a car, one of the doubts we usually have is: Which car to hire? Or rather, what kind of car?
Both questions have the same answer: It depends.
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What does it depend on?
Well, it basically depends on the needs we have. It is not the same to travel as a couple, to be picked up by a taxi and taken to our accommodation, as it is to travel as a family with two children, to be a large group that is going to spend a few days playing golf or to be a salesman who needs to make long road trips.
If we are one or two people, travelling with little luggage or if we don’t want to drive from the airport, a small model will suffice. If we don’t need it at the airport, we can even consider a two-seater car. Just enough to move around comfortably, park wherever we want relatively easily and, if necessary, take a short road trip to get to know the area where we are.
When we find ourselves in the situation of travelling with a family or with a large amount of luggage, we have to think about larger models. 5-seaters, a more generous boot, or even a 7-8 seater MPV with a large boot capacity.
Even in the latter case, we must take into account the number of people and volume of luggage we are carrying. There are 7-seater models, which are actually 5 + 2 seats. This means that although in practice they have 7 seats, the last two seats are smaller and normally make the boot unusable.
If we are 6-7 people with luggage for a week, golf clubs or bulky items, this type of car is not for us. You will have to opt for a larger model. Normally a minibus type vehicle for 8 (or even 9 passengers).
This type of vehicle is suitable for these cases, all seats are comfortable and have a good load space.
If you are a single person, but you need to drive for miles and miles on the road, you will need a comfortable car, which does not weigh down the kilometres.
Most rental companies follow the same classification (the ACRISS or SIPP code) to distribute their cars by group.
What happens if the company does not have the type of car I have ordered?
In this situation, we can differentiate two cases, depending on the moment in which we are.
Case 1. We contact the car rental company to reserve a car. We need something in between, not too big, but we don’t want an excessively small model either. We ask for something the size of a Seat Ibiza, for example.
When we make the booking, either via web, phone or email, the company will reply to us confirming a car of the selected size. Usually they will never confirm a specific model, but a category of car, as within that category they may have models of different makes. Well, if at the moment of picking up the car, the company does not have the model they have confirmed, they must give you an equivalent or superior one. Obviously, for the amount they have confirmed.
Case 2. Same situation, but the answer they give us is that the requested model is not available and they offer you another type of car, bigger or smaller. At this point it is our decision to opt for one option or the other.
And if I have to change the car
Here again, it will depend on the reasons for the change and the situation.
If we want to change it ourselves because we need to, we must have previously booked it, especially if we need something “special” (7-seater, automatic car…). In this case, it is the same as in case 1 of the previous section, the company will have confirmed or not the car, and if so, they are committed to give it to us.
We want to change it because we don’t like the car. In this case, the company is not really obliged to change the car. They have confirmed a category and have given us that category or a higher one, but not a specific model. If they do change the car, it is out of deference to the customer.
If we need to change it because of a breakdown or an accident. This is the most complex situation of all.
If it is due to car breakage, they must exchange the car, at least temporarily until they fix ours.
If it is due to an accident, and it is not our fault, the same case as for breakage.
If it is our fault, it will depend on the insurance policy we have taken out. If it is comprehensive insurance without excess, and it is not due to our negligence (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, racing…) same situation, the car should be changed without any problems. If we do not have insurance without excess, they must change the car, but they will use the excess to cover the costs of repair and immobilisation of the vehicle.
Many times we may find ourselves in the situation that we need to change the car due to a breakdown or accident and the company does not have vehicles like the one we have booked or larger. At this point we may have to accept that they give us something smaller, at least for the time it takes to repair our car.