20th July 2016
Car Rental Company: Sixt
Company for Purchase : Expedia
Location: OTP - Henri Coanda Bucharest International Airport
As you arrive at OTP airport, signage to the car hire places is clearly shown. SIXT have their own well branded desk which is very clear once you arrive at area. There was no other hirers that day so the one staffed desk was of no issue but could be if a bunch of people are ahead of you as there is only one staff desk. Once documentation is complete and the rental agreement is signed staff walk you outside to an area where a van picks you up and takes you the 2-3 minute journey to where the actual car’s are.
This is a medium sized car park shared with other car hire companies. You are taken directly to your car. Upon returning the car when by yourself signage for SIXT is poor, only Avis and Budget or Hertz I believe have very clear road signage but I missed the entrance due to SIXT as signage is literally only at entrance to the car park and therefore ended up driving down a motorway for about 3 miles before I could turn around. I noticed it when it was too late.
Staff at desk was really pleasant, spoke English well and seemed very enthusiastic. We even had a long conversation of tourists sights, distances to places like Bran and Transylvania- in which he guided me well. There is some degree of upsell in terms of bringing down the car insurance waiver, which I went for a cover called ‘Super Top Cover” which was about 15 Euro’s per day. I asked about GPS and it seems just like in Greece and Sardinia, that it’s a unusual feature. He simply stated I will see if I can get hold of one for you. Staff that drove van, different guide said he found a GPS, a sort of knock off similar looking to a Tom Tom and wanted 90 Lei for it (£15/€20/$22) as my booking ran over 24 hours so basically the GPS is £7/€10/$11 per day. It’s worth it as though signage is quite good in Romania it helps with speed limits etc. However I never got a receipt for this and it had a feel of an unofficial purchase.
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 Economy 2 or 4 Door-Car. On Expedia it stated Nissan Tilda or similar.
Car Review - Vauxhall / Opel Corsa Hatchback (Manual)
This car was the 2nd one up from the cheapest option- in which I choose because I want things like USB and ability to plug my iphone and listen to music of that.
Manual seating- very basic. Typical hatchback, bar to move forward and back and seat switch to determine angle. I drove over 500km (but did stop a lot) and did not specially find this uncomfortable but none the less it was basic as you can get and an outer armrest door side exists but not inner side. I would say the comfort level is 4/10 or below average for long distances.
The controls were as expected very simple – Steering wheel offers indicator turn switches for cruise control which lights up on speedometer. Basic speedometer and rev counter with dial Air con and volume function. Audio had a button to control such aspects as bass and mids, there is also an auto lock button. There is no computer screen – just a digital basic alarm clock looking dash showing time, outside temperature in Celcius and AUX (if you’re not using radio). There is no USB only a standard car power socket. Though there is a Audio jack input so you can plug your phone into or music device. Fortunately I had a USB adaptor for car power socket so had to stop GPS at times and plug iphone in for a bit. The power socket was also loose especially with GPS- sometimes it showed a light to show it was charging, other times not- so I had to turn it a few times to get the light. Not sure if it was sat nav or car’s power socket that was of issue.
The car was manual and the clutch was not that tight. Gear changes were not that smooth in lower gears and speed- meaning a few stalls occurred.
About as basic as you get in terms of controls and felt very much 1999 etc. I believe looking at paper work it is a 2006 model.
Space and Storage
There is a sufficient size of boot for one large case and this is covered at back so is good for security. The car has 4 seats and space is very much down to the occupants but it is a hatchback so if your sat in back seat don’t expect much leg room.
The Corsa had 67000km on the clock and therefore quite well used (for a hire car).
The clutch and gear box felt its age & had some poor transitions especially going uphill thru the hairpin turns in Transylvania at times in 2nd gear for long period when most cars could handle 4th. It generally had very high revs when in low gears and was poor handling in slow moving traffic with awkward position of gears not coping at 4th and over revving in 3rd. Acceleration was good overall though and it could beat many at the traffic light challenge- so long your quick with your gear change. Over taking at times was risky but could make it in just about enough time. I wouldn’t risk it if I saw a car coming even 500 metres and you gotta overtake a lorry or coach. Swift gear high revs and engine noise makes it sound like you might break the engine.
In 4th & 5th gear it handled much better though smooth ride and cruised very well on highways. Just not that powerful. Perhaps I got it to 130km / 85mph max on the highway straight road but the accelerator did vibrate a lot indicating it was not comfortable at the maximum speeds. However going around wide corners was its special area – accelerating and griping the road at decent speed smoothly and better than other cars I have driven such as Citreon or Chrysler spark etc.
The audio was actually ok- for a car 10 years old, you can adjust mids, bass and treble plus fade. I enjoyed my driving with variation of music tested. Rock was its desired feature. Bass heavy music was disappointing, bass lacked any depth- tinny but say house music with high mids and treble sounded fine.
This really is a hard one to work out as I handed some money at the border at a petrol station Bulgaria and women whom used pump just walked off. I am not entirely sure what I gave her and I said full but she only did 3/4 . She never handed me a receipt so I was probably ripped off but basically 500km was a full tank and quarter. Certainly reflected a car of 10 years old being not efficient for a hatchback compared to the comparison models of the last 5 years.
For the price paid £16.55 (US$24 / 22€) for 24 hours, it was an good value for Europe (though in the US you would get a much better/newer car). Overall good for flat roads say down to Bulgaria but not recommended for hills in Transylvania or that famous road (Transfăgărășan ) when more than one person is in the car as it struggles too much with just me and makes the driving a lot of effort with uphills and hairpin corners. I certainly wouldn’t want to drive straight for more than 3-4 hours as the car is simply not that comfortable ride but age of car audio was ok. Fuel efficiency was poor, but the car reved high on even the smallest incline as it can’t handle 4th gear and sometimes 3rd. Controls though are 10 years old- so no USB but ok on corners and sound system acceptable for age of car. I would upgrade unless you’re on a budget and flat road motorway driving lay ahead.