Once you have already decided which car hire to go to, the next big question is to determine which type of car you should be renting. There’s a variety of options to choose from but don’t rush the process.
Are you traveling solo or with a group? Do you have kids in tow? Which places do you want to visit? These are only some of the questions you need to answer to identify the most suitable car type for you.
Here are more tips to help you make a smart decision.
1. Prioritize safety.
New Zealand has narrow, hilly, steep, and winding roads. It is also not impossible to pass by unformed roads which are most suitable for large SUVs. These road conditions can present driving difficulties so you need to know the type of roads you will be driving on. If you’re not used to driving on the left side of the road, you might want to orient yourself first before setting off as most accidents and infringements are caused by drivers who are used to right-hand traffic. Also, pick a car that’s equipped with safety features, especially if you’re traveling long distances. You may ask the car rental company about air bags, built-in sensors, anti-lock braking system, tethers and anchors for the child seats.
2. See how much space you need.
If you’re traveling with a group, especially with kids, you’ll want plenty of room for all your stuff. Look for a car with smart interiors. Check if there are cup or bottle holders and comfortable seats. You also need to check if the cars are equipped with additional fittings like roof racks or tow bars which can expand your room requirements. Consider as well a vehicle with a boot space enough to fit your luggage and can be accessible from the inside. This way, you no longer have to stop the car every time you need an item from the trunk.
3. Evaluate vehicle efficiency.
The more fuel-efficient a car is, the easier it is on the pocket, too. Generally, smaller vehicles will require less fuel but you will also find larger vehicles with efficient engines. Don’t forget to check the age of the rental car. Generally, the newer the car, the better the fuel economy too. You can do your own research on the economy rating of the type of car you wish to rent. You may also ask the car rental company about their recommendation in terms of fuel economy of the car models in their fleet.
4. Ask about child safety seats.
This should be at the top of your list if you’re traveling with a child below age 7. In New Zealand, these kids should be using a child seat that is appropriate for their size and age. Make sure you bring your own or book a car seat from the car rental company as the law for car restraints in this part of the world is rigid.
5. Review the terms and conditions.
The fine print can vary from one rental company to another. And the rules you need to comply to can also be a major consideration when deciding which type of vehicle to rent. Determine if the car rental provides various types of coverages. You would also want to know the excess amount of the car that you prefer. There may be age restrictions, too, so make it clear with the rental team if they impose this. Ask if there’s a surcharge fee for young drivers or if you nominate a secondary driver so you don’t get surprised. Lastly, restrictions on driving in certain areas are mentioned in the T&C’s, therefore you need to check if the road or destination is permissible.
6. Check if there’s emergency assistance available.
This one you wouldn’t want to use when vacationing, but it’s good to know if the rental company has a 24-hour roadside service. Whatever happens, you know there is assistance available when your car breaks down to get you safely on your way. If available, you can, hence, drive with your mind at ease.
These points are worth considering which go beyond the vehicle’s features. Customer service and an understanding of the car rental terms and conditions are also crucial. It’s a lot to think about but totally worth it for the peace of mind and stress-free road adventure that you will enjoy in the end.