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Car Rental Company: Turnbull Hire Drive (Economy)
Company for Purchase: Expedia
Location: MEL – Melbourne Tullamarine Airport off site in Tullamarine.
Expedia provide no clear instructions that this company is off site, only state a phone number in which the company (name of company not stated on booking- only economy rental car) simply say they will come and pick up within 10 minutes. You are taken to this work shop where they have a bunch of cars about 5-10 minutes’ drive from airport. It was more of a hassle when returning the car as no-one was at the work shop for nearly 25 minutes and I needed to check in for my flight. One only assume the cheapest result Expedia does have these kind of challenges but will think again.
I was offered a small rubbishy KIA that did not have any working function for connecting a phone such as USB or Bluetooth, therefore after much discussion that was friendly, I upgraded for AUS 20 to a Kia Carnival, which is a 7 seater car as they didn’t have any alternative.
Car Review – KIA Carnival
The car was quite big and felt a bit dated. A people carrier is not what I am used to especially when reversing without a rear view camera (which I have mostly have become accustomed to), it felt like I was driving a van. I lso found the distance in the front to be hard to judge, parallel parking was nightmare. However, for some long distances it was quite comfortable. The arm rests do come down each side both passenger and driver so you can have your hand resting and therefore wouldn’t have any issue with long distance driving. There was some issues with the accelerator perhaps being too sensitive- I kept wheel spinning it when leaving junctions when I did not mean to. Perhaps this was because I am more used to geared cars. Overall it is a fairly dull car but if you need a load of space and have a family with you – then ideal.
Seating is manual but the pull side switches were confusing to use. It either overly reclined the chair very easily or not at all. Its best to do when its stopped. The seat though was quite comfortable as I said the armrests down made the long distance drives easy on the arms and in general the seat is soft rather than hard. I think passenger seating in the back would also be quite comfortable. Certainly passenger in front enjoyed the seating.
The controls were annoying. I drive a Japanese car and the main issue about the controls that was ongoing is the wipers are on opposite side to the indicator- so I kept getting confused with these. More times hitting the wiper than the Indicator. Not sure if this is just a Korean issues as experienced this on another Korean car. I drive a Japanese car at home and very accustomed to that but other cars I have hired had not had that issue.
The automatic function gear box was also quite loose to get it into say reverse. The car gets jumpy when you change gear it moves very slightly when say parking moving to reverse and forward- be careful with this I had to have my foot on break throughout all parking maneuvers.
The car offers nothing automatic – such as lighting or wipers. Its very dated and simple. Again most cars these days well at least in US and Europe do have these with recent cars. I think this car was just dated. I also had many problems with the main reason I changed this car- the power sockets, of which there are two simply did not work properly. These are USB adaptors to go into where the cigarette lighter is so one can charge a phone etc- it didn’t work and I initially thought it was my cable and bought a brand new one and same issue occurred. The dash does have a USB slot and Audio in but the USB simply did not work with the audio system. Therefore to play music I had to go via blue tooth. Of course with nothing powering phone, which I was also using for my own GPS via google maps- died very quickly since nothing can power it. This was my biggest gripe with this car and the reason I had upgraded. However Bluetooth did work ok.
The rest of the controls such as steering wheel, which offers volume control and I presume cruise control made no sense to me how this works. Put this way if you’re not used to a KIA it is not initially an easy to understand product compared with say Japanese cars or Europe ones. The hand break was also annoying it was a switch under the steering wheel making me completely unsure if hand break was on but in some ways felt this might be automatic. AC though was easy to use and so was the music system. Speedometer is also fairly clear with clear warning lights when a door is not properly closed.
The dash board simply shows mileage, temperature and has a gear stick that shows up and down when needed to change gear. However, it is not that clear. Oddly there is no rev counter only a speedometer, one of the first cars I have seen this.
The side sticks for indicator and wipers are strong but offer no auto function. The steering wheel had nice red and black stitching and was quiet ergonomic with what appears to be cruise control buttons of plus and minus, but I played around with them and it never initiated cruise control so perhaps its not that. Behind quite hidden is a side box for audio sources and volume button- I only found this on the latter part of my trip.
Gear change is ok, all very straight forward but have to say the lack of rev counter and engine noise does not clearly indicate if you make a mistake like I did going along highway in 3rd gear when I thought I was in 5th. The clutch is also more jumpy than I am used to but breaks work well.
The highlight however is the HUD display in central console. There you have a touch screen of various options such as multimedia (different sources of audio), car economy mode and details for Sat Nav (did not have this) plus services such as finding nearest petrol station. It looked nice and was touch screen. To connect my phone to blue tooth was straightforward.
There is also a reverse camera which also beeps – always find this very helpful since my own car has this function.
The car offers annoyingly by behind hand break a USB slot and SD card slot- I assume this is for when you use SAT NAV. There is also a standard car power socket. AC is offered- all simple dial functions but is not very well designed with small vents.
Overall very straight forward and simple car but the weakness is not having a rev counter making an easy jump between 3rd and 5th which can seem unnoticeable for some time.
Space and Storage
The strength of the car really – huge amount of space as shown below. The only issue is if you have a suitcase it is hard to hide it say if your park up somewhere while waiting for your hotel to allow check-in. Meaning people can see into the back easily. However I liked the space between the two front seats, good amount of room, flat for a phone, tablet or book. Aslo a side pocket for small items like bottles of water was easily placed.
The car is basically a van, but seemed to have a very sensitive accelerator as mentioned I kept awkwardly and not meaning to wheel spin at traffic lights. Not putting my foot down but I guess the power doesn’t match the weight of the car. Going thru Melbourne with traffic lights made this a bit annoying.
However on the highways and on the great coastal road the car drove fairly well but be very wary around corners even at light speed the car felt like it might fall. I guess I am not used to this size of vehicle and design. It was nice to be a little higher than cars though, that feeling you get when driving a van meaning you can see the road very clearly. Long distance I would say it’s quite an easy car to use down a long highway between cities.
The audio had the following options: audio in, CD, USB, Radio and Bluetooth. USB simply did not work which is most annoying as I like to have my music when I drive and the only way is via Bluetooth whereby you loose some sound this way. The sound though was very poor really – tinny and there was only a base treble and mids options – not where you want the sound to come from. I guess because it was a big car the sound doesn’t travel well inside it. Regardless of music type the quality of sound is very weak and I find this nas important factor to driving, I need to relax and hear my music well. This van was just rubbish basically. Even at high volume it sounded awful- no bass whatsoever.
I drove around 250 km and it cost me 32 GBP / 50 AUD to fill up from ¼ tank- obviously it’s a big non -aerodynamic and older petrol vehicle so efficiency is generally very poor.
The cost was in total 51.73 GBP / 84 AUD.
Overall Economy or Turnbull Hire Drive offered a friendly service but was disappointed with Expedia that this was not mention that this car was offsite etc and required to wait to pick up and get to airport.
I guess it was cheaper than the direct airport places for this reason but I wouldn’t use this company again. I certainly was not impressed that I arrived at the car place returning the car at 830am and had to wait 30 minutes before anyone turned up- to be then told you are early when the guy finally did arrive. It was only 1 hour before end of my 24 hour booking. I did say this day before.
I am surprised they left as the place was all open etc. It was annoying because I was in a hurry to check-in for an international flight and when the guy finally turned up he had to proceed to do paper work with new clients and further 15-20 minute wait then ensued meaning if you use this company and cutting it fine to be at airport – I wouldn’t bother, its too risky. Luckily I was ok.
Saying that the staff are friendly enough to chat to. I explained the problems with the power socket and charging phone and the guy just didn’t seem very sympathetic just oh well it’s a nice drive though- well it wasn’t to be honest.
The price I paid plus the upgrade plus they push very hard the no collision damage which they reduce to 400 AUD instead of 5000 AUD if you crash (doubt the vehicle is worth that much) but went with it for a total extra of 76 AUD for 24 hours was kind of high for how old the vehicle was, lacking in maintenance of functions, and staff service. I must also add they put they stickers on side of car for promotion so think they could offered a better deal overall. Final word- One of the worst cars I have hired for parking and powering a phone.