28th July 2016
Car Rental Company: Hertz
Company for Purchase: Expedia
Location: CPT – Cape town International Airport
As you arrive at CPT airport, expect a 10 minute walk after leaving international arrivals. You have to go outside of airport down some tunnels and eventually you arrive at the car hire centre- where all car hire places are. Hertz has its own building in which offers about 4 counters, a dedicated Hertz Gold, Hertz Corporate and 2 normal Hertz check-in.
The cars are a few minutes’ walk away from this centre in an open plan car park.
Hertz also offer free WIFI in which is handy if you’re having to wait.
Staff at desk were training another staff who processed me, so overall very little interaction in terms of words. Just wanted passport, driving license, address where I was staying and credit card. He then went through the process with the staff and I just listened. There was actually no upsell until I asked. For something like 90 ZAR (GBP4/US$6/€5.5) it reduced my excess premium from 8000 rand to 2000 rand if I had actually damaged the car that it was a right off. Basic collision damage was included. The guy didn’t even upsell a GPS when mentioned he said Cape town is easy to drive you won’t need one. Well perhaps to him but people wanting t0 hire a car like myself and go to places like Simons town and on to cape point- get the GPS. It costs only 75ZAR (GBP3.50/US$5/€4.5 ) plus it’s a new tom tom so very handy with things like speed cameras. Staff then simply get you to sign a bunch of stuff. The process look quite a while longer than most places I have been but he was training a new guy.
There was no selection like you find in the US- you are simply given the car you agree to at the desk in which my category was Mini 4 or 5 door car- Chevrolet Spark or Similar.
Car Review - Chevrolet Spark (Manual)
This car was the cheapest option but included USB and AC.
Manual seating- very basic. Typical mini hatchback, bar to move forward and back and seat switch to determine angle. Not a comfortable car, no armrest on any side as its angled down. Very compact and small. Drove 2 hours to cape point & back and found it uncomfortable, certainly would not recommended a drive outside of the city of Cape town. Cape point you can just about get away with before it becomes really uncomfortable.
I would say the comfort level is 2/10.
The controls are mixture of in your face digital display just above steering wheel- shows fuel, reves and then there is normal km speedometer as a dial.
AC is a circular dial that didn’t work very well as vents are oddly placed. But a basic dial design. Audio is very basic again two dials one for volume and one for menu- to say change eq, bass and treble. Gear box - absolutely terrible, about as unsmooth as you can get even though clutch is as expected tight. Revs up noisy and accelerator pedal shakes whatever the speed. There is a car power socket, an additional USB and an audio in jack for your own device.
Lights are circular design on side. Wipers work as standard. This car has no automatic function (lights or wipers) though is quite new. However the USB and standard power socket worked well.
Space and Storage
The boot is small. It won’t fit a huge case but a case that is say the largest you can get away with as hand luggage will get in back with roofed cover. Anything bigger back seat. Back seats have little space. This is a micro hatchback.
The cut a long winded description- it is terrible to drive. There is nothing fun about this car. Changing gears is not smooth, clutch is tight but creates large revs without much acceleration, I actually dreaded changing gear much of the time but being Cape town and its mountains you need to constantly. Uphill at some points you almost need to go to 1st and that’s with one person in the car. There is no acceleration unless your at speed already say on a highway you can get it up to maybe 120-30kmph. However don’t embarrass yourself at the traffic light challenge. Even corners it handles badly. In slow traffic jam the constant gear change with clutch control is not pleasurable. I drove to cape point about 1.5 hours from city where I was staying and I just wanted to get out of the car as soon as possible despite my love of driving.
The audio is also terrible, either Hertz have put a restriction on volume but you can’t get much noise out of the machine. Controls only show bass and treble with EQ as pop, rock, classical and talk. The sound is tinny and when bass is upped it just has no depth but actually sounds like a high pitch drill. It’s not great car to listen to music.
Likely its sole strong point, drove around 200km (to cape point from city and back) not even quarter empty cost me 130 ZAR (GBP6/US$9/€8 )
For the price paid £10.20 (US$15 / €15) for 24 hours, it was an excellent alternative to a taxi including the cheap fuel. But as the saying goes you pay for what you get and this car is a terrible vehicle- worth the price. Not fun to drive, uncomfortable to sit for long periods over an hour and rubbish sound system. However it does have a USB so you can charge our phone and plug it in to listen to music- though I probably recon decent headphones are better. It also cost nothing in terms of fuel. However, I hope I never rent such a car again.