Going self-driving! Here are a few tips to help you choose the right car

The Asian Age With Agency Inputs

Life, More Features

Self-drive car rental industry has seen huge growth in last 5 years and is expected to continue on its growth trajectory in near future.

Driving enthusiasts must consider a few aspects before choosing a car for themselves. Here is what you need to check before you book. (Photo: Pixabay)

Self-driving has become a popular and fancy concept in India, especially in the metros. More and more people nowadays prefer to rent a car to explore a destination rather than opt for cabs, trains, buses, or flights. The reason for this is quite obviously the additional flexibility and convenience that self-driven rental cars offer is unmatched by any other travel option.

As a result, the self-drive car rental industry is entering an exciting phase. The sector has witnessed remarkable growth in the last five years and is expected to continue on its exponential growth trajectory in the near future; according to Ken Research, the Indian car rental market revenue will grow at a healthy clip to touch INR 800 billion by 2019. This growth can be attributed to the drastic change in the economic scenario of the country, the growth of tourism, improved infrastructure in terms of roads and highways, and rapid technological development in recent years.

Aditya Loomba, Joint Director, Eco Rent a Car and Manheer Singh Sethi, Co-founder, Travkart share their inputs and quick tips to followed while choosing a self-drive car.

With numerous new-age car rental companies already tapping the lucrative opportunity across the length and breadth of India, the options are many and the facilities unparalleled. However, driving enthusiasts must consider a few aspects before choosing a car for themselves. Here is what you need to check before you book:

Get the right price

A self-drive car is normally charged on an hourly basis, but rates tend to soar during the weekends! In fact, rates can differ significantly depending upon whether the car one chooses comes with fuel, or without. The with-fuel option would definitely be more expensive in terms of cost per kilometer, whereas, in the without-fuel plan, the customer will bear the cost of fuel but won’t have to worry about how many kilometers he/she is driving. The best way to decide which one to go for is to know the distance you want to cover. If you have a lot of driving on your mind, it may be best to choose the without-fuel plan. Rental plans that include fuel expenses are better for people who seek the car for travelling within the city.

Which type of car should I pick?

Self-drive companies have been offering a wide range of vehicles such as hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs etc. from different brands. As per the choice, one can also take luxury machines and sports cars categories, for driving enthusiasts willing to experience for the thrill and adventure of driving in big, fast cars. However, for a middle-class consumer, the smarter way to decide is based on the number of travelers, luggage, and the comfort level expected during the trip.

For instance, four adults planning a long journey with minimal luggage should ideally opt for a diesel hatchback with manual transmission to reduce the overall cost of the journey, as a diesel car would give them a good mileage. Meanwhile, for intracity travel, people can opt for automatic cars for convenience during congestion and traffic.

Don’t ignore the ‘Other’ costs

When you are getting yourself a self-drive vehicle, you are not just paying for the rent. The car companies also ask for other charges such as the refundable security deposit, cost of damage, and other penalties. The security deposit usually ranges between INR 999 and INR 5,000, with the damage costs deducted from the deposit. If the damage claim amount goes higher than the deposit, the consumer has to pay it at the time of returning the vehicle. There are many companies that also charge penalty for over-speeding. If the user is a repeated offender, the fine amount increases, as do the chances of getting blacklisted by the firm. Wondering how they would get to know if you’re driving rashly? These new-age companies have smart technologies in place to track instances like over-speeding and sudden braking at high speeds. It is therefore advisable to adhere to the legal speed limits to keep your rental costs to a minimum.

Check the network at your chosen destination

Before opting for a self-drive car to head to a particular destination, make sure to check the network coverage of that area. After all, while you are roaming around in that particular city, you would need to stay constantly online to keep a tab of the nearby places and stay connected in during emergency situations.

Check the parts, toolkit and Stepney before you hire

Many of you might not have a prior experience of renting a self-drive car. Although you can be assured that the car rentals will not make any mistake, it is better to be on a safer side by doing a quick check on various parts of the car yourself and to start with, one must not forget to check if the spare tyre and Stepney jack etc. are in place. Afterward, examine the brakes, engine, and battery of the car, along with its condition so that the drive is comfortable without any hindrance.