Enterprise – VW Golf

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Enterprise – VW Golf

Car Rental Company: Alamo/Enterprise

Company for Purchase: Expedia

Location: FRA- Frankfurt International Airport

Straight out of arrivals of Terminal 2, you will find the long line of car hire counters. Alamo which is under the Enterprise brand offered a counter with two desks. Actually the first set you will see once you come out of arrivals.  It was noticeably the largest queue of all the car hire places at around11am with a 30-minute wait.

Staff

Staff was straight forward than welcoming but after my request of a Golf, he did make effort to ensure one would be held for me- so long I pay 5€. I found this slightly ‘corrupt’ since the order from Expedia states VW Golf or Similar.

However a VW golf was awaiting me in the car park. Since I was driving to various countries a cross border fee of 7 € is charged which covers your insurance.

GPS was also added at a cost of 10 €. This was suppose to be the in built VW version but due to some fault, that staff couldn’t explain I was offered a Garmin.

This worked fine at the beginning of my journey thru Luxembourg, Belgium and to Holland but the next day back to Frankfurt I had many issues, it simply flicked out of location when on autobahn past Cologne recognised my position in a field when clearly I was on the main road. Even turning off and on again did not help.

As you enter the car area, staff do a check on car as usual and this was when I was offered an upsell of damage waiver at a cost of €20- which I went with since I was driving the first time on an autobahn.

When returning the car and agreeing to bring it back with a fuel tank -be wary of lack of access to fuel stations near FRA airport, I ended up returning with half a tank full as I couldn’t find a fuel station due to the failures of the Garmin.

With an explanation of this, staff waived any fuel charges due which was fairly decent since half a tank of fuel would have been more than refunding me the GPS fee.  However staff should be checking these things and I it took a further 20 minutes of staff trying to figure out the initial built in GPS before offering me a Garmin when I wanted to leave sooner from the airport, plus they should check the Garmin is up to date.

Car Selection

It seemed Enterprise have a lot of Citroen and French cars weirdly rather than German in the hatchback category. According to staff the reason I had to pay 5 Euros to hold a VW golf is because they have very few.

Car Review – VW Golf R (Manual)

Seating

Electronic seating which was easily applied and comfortable, I drove in total over 24 hours 800km, whilst there were stops, journeys lasting over 300km -I did not experience any issues with comfort. Overall a comfortable hatchback with good ergonomic seat design more racing style with customised controls.

Controls

The controls were fairly good, the Bluetooth connection was easy to set up and worked well and this was displayed on the dash computer screen and between the dials behind the steering wheel. Displaying the music and phone connection service seen clearly.

The actual computer was touch screen plus clear side buttons for radio, media – which is based around either digital radio or USB/Bluetooth connection. Digital Radio is included.

On the screen it also had the front proximity warning system as well as rear view camera. I found both a huge help since I am used to this on my own car.

AC is personalised to each front seat and worked find – dial control with digital centigrade seen on individual displays.

Below is a small closed storage box where the USB and AV sockets are. Easy to store and phone or MP3 player to connect, charge and close the box for storage.

The computer between the rev and speed dials does offers easy to use customizability to change from KM to Miles if you are more used to that, which being from UK I find Miles to be easier.

The gear controls worked fine with smooth gear changes and a strong clutch. The only issues I found here is the reverse, first gear and reverse are too close together and so it wasn’t always going into reverse easily requiring some effort to push it down. The hand brake is a switch button next to the gear stick- which being non-automatic when parked was easy to forget initially but got used to it fairly quickly after a few parking’s.

The main annoyance I found of the controls were essentially my unfamiliarity with the way the steering wheel controls were set up. In reverse order to other cars I have driven, to which the Golf has indicators on left and window wipers on the right it took me a few hours to get used to this and I did keep cocking it up. Other cars I have hired and my own are in opposite order. This was also the case with the cruise control and volume settings. Overall I found the cruise control hard to use when compared to other cars. It seemed more complex than even a range rover Evoke to understand. I therefore did not figure it out but desperately wanted to since I was driving on autobahn and wanted to cruise on these long periods of driving.

The other issue was the built sat nav was not working properly despite being installed, it just kept coming up with some warning in German that I didn’t understand. I paid the additional extra for it so was annoying that I had to return to the car hire podium and they did a check it with staff also not understanding what the warning was, since it was in built and eventually gave me a Garmin- this whole process took 20 minutes and delayed the drive from the airport.

Space and Storage

Boot is your standard hatch back size and Enterprise did offer a cover so it did feel secure. I recon two medium size checked luggage cases could be placed easily in back. Or one large with hand luggage. General standard space for a hatchback.

5 seats are offered and space at the back seemed reasonable.  There was no option of a central arm rest drop down, if say there was 2 passengers seated in back. The front seats did offer spacious side pockets easy for putting ipads etc or books and drinks etc. There is also a cup holder in the front and a storage arm rest.

Driving

The VW Golf R was an excellent drive. It felt powerful for a hatchback with superb acceleration and good breaking. Ramming it at full speed down the autobahn caused no noticeable shaky issues you find when you push other hatchback above say 110mph/180kph- it felt in control with a strong breaking system. On other windy roads the manual gear box was fun to use since the car does meet good acceleration strength in lower gears. Overall one of the most powerful hatchbacks I have driven in terms of power for the engine size. I did really enjoy driving this car, it felt exciting and comfortable for the distance I was travelling. I just found some of the controls hard to get used to quickly- such as the wipers and indicators being opposite side. Overall a hindurance. Perhaps there was but I couldn’t find an auto setting for lights or wipers so when used to that function it was an effort in heavy rain. Despite this I had to drive fairly fast not to miss my flight in some extensive showers with the car occasionally aquaplaning but it managed it well without dangerously bouncing out of direction.

Audio

The audio was fairly good with easily accessible Bluetooth or USB. The car offers 8 speakers and sound was good but not enhanced with directional controls of where you want the sound like I’ve seen on US cars. However the sound was good, standard setting of strong mids level in which was fine for Rock.  Some customisation of levels, done easily when driving on the touch screen – is needed for say Drum N’ Bass & Techno but once tweaked sounded great with decent sound level.

Fuel Efficiency

I drove 850km and filled it up from yellow light to full and when arrived at drop off the tank was half full, meaning I did 1.5 full tanks – again I believe the engine was 1.8 but not entirely sure. Considering the distance, it seemed economical for a non-diesel car.

Verdict

For the price paid £30 GBP for 24 hours via Expedia, then an additional 37€ (damage waiver, border crossings and ‘VW Fee”) – it was more than say prices for the US for the car type but overall it was better value than buying online prior than there and then.

Saying that I enjoyed the golf, driving was fun, it looked cool felt comfortable and handled the roads well. A well-made hatchback that felt a safe car especially for high speed on the German auto bahns. My only criticism were the controls – the cruise control in particular was hard to use as well as the unfamiliar position of the wipers and indicators – but this can be bias because I drive a Japanese car in the UK. However, I haven’t found this on other cars I have hired even in Europe.

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