Saturday, 6 August 2016

Budget Car Hire

In the next of our season of Camp Bestival tie in reviews, it's car hire. This year, we hired a car from our local Budget Car Hire company. Was it all smooth motoring? 

Hiring a car is pretty simple these days, and there are plenty of websites online- third party or otherwise- offering the latest deals to customers whatever your vehicle needs.

We wanted to hire a larger car for Camp Bestival, or a mid size with roof bars, and found Budget our best bet.

Like most sites, booking in advance can save you cash, but we weren't able to book as much in advance as we wanted as Littlest had a bit of a health scare and we weren't even sure we could make it to the festival until pretty much 12 hours before leaving!

We visited the Budget rental office locally, it was easy to find and the website gave great directions too. The website itself is pretty easy to navigate, and you can get a quote either there or on the telephone before booking.

The lady we spoke to was lovely, we told her what cars we were interested in and found one car- a Diesel Peugeot 2008 was available. We were happy with this as we hired the same model last year and used the roof bars to put our roof box on top.

The paperwork was pretty simple, with Elder's drivers licence being used to complete the set up. 

We were then asked to inspect the vehicle, and made notes of any marks on the bodywork or interior. We were happy to do this as obviously, although Budget offer you insurance as part of the deal, any marks or imperfections will have to be paid for.

One member of staff was a little sullen, and I did feel for the lady we spoke to- she had to ask several times for this male staff member to complete the check in of another customer returning his vehicle and eventually gave up and sorted us and the other customer out instead.

He did, though, on hearing us mentioning wanting to use a roof box that the model we were hiring didn't allow the owner or hirer to use the bars on the roof for that purpose. We told him we had done just that at Peugeots advice the year before, but he rather ominously said a previous hirer had done this and had to pay £1,600 to replace a damaged set of bars to the roof!

All in all, with a returnable deposit, we paid £407 (£200 to be paid back at a later date) and were asked to refuel the car on it's return.

We didn't use our roof box in the end, taking a smaller tent than we'd planned on as to be honest I was concerned we may be billed for using the bars if we did. That did cost extra- £50 for a hastily bought tent which turned out, as per my last review, to be a nightmare.

We set off on Thursday and problems began quite soon after. 
It appeared there was a problem with the engine as it would suddenly lose power trying to climb a hill or if we'd been in stationary traffic. Elder kept having to accelerate to keep the revs up or the car would just stop, and it meant a journey that usually takes an hour and half took 3! It also meant we used up more diesel,  

The car was a concern whilst we were away, usually we go into Wareham to buy supplies to avoid having to pay premium prices for food on site, but we didn't feel comfortable with regards driving it. We were unsure where we stood with regards breakdown cover too, and didn't want to be left stranded in Dorset with no car if the hire car was taken to be fixed, or worse, we didn't want to have to come home and return it and ruin our trip.

In all, the car took 6 hours to get us home as it just kept losing power and Elder had to pull over as a result. It was a cause for concern all the way home as we worried we would break down on a back route or in the middle of a lane of the motorway with no warning.

On returning the car, Elder told the same lady about our issues with the engine, advising that perhaps it needed to be taken in for a full service to find out where the problem was. For a brand new this year car, it really should not have such a major issue so soon, and we knew, from driving the petrol version last year, that the car is usually a great and smooth drive.

She was very kind about it, giving details of who we could contact about the problems, but I would advise Budget that check in on return should also include a check of the engine as not everyone is safe, careful driver and sadly with the car we hired it feels someone may have taken the "not my car, I can drive like a moron" idea too far.

Would I hire with Budget again? Yes, as the lady who dealt with us was incredibly professional and polite, and it was short notice to hire and we still left with a vehicle. Next time though I would ask when the engine was last assessed for peace of mind.

Budget Car Hire can be found online

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