Car hire companies can cause travelers plenty of stress. I therefore judge a car hire company on the following criteria:
- Service - when all goes smoothly
- Service - when things go wrong
- Vehicle performance/cleanliness
- Price / Hidden costs
Alana and I have now used Sixt car hire several times across Italy, Croatia, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. I understand that car hire companies can work slightly differently across international boarders and the following is based on our experiences:
Service when all goes smoothly - 5/5
All bar one time with hiring cars from Sixt we had no issues (e.g. I didn't crash the car!). These times the service was good and quick (even in Italy); I can't say anything negative in that respective. All staff spoke very good English, were polite and were very non-fuss with the process.
However, when things don't go wrong you could say this about most companies.
Service when things go wrong - 4/5
In Florence I had a dingle - my first and only mishap while driving overseas so far. Completely my fault. We had to get the car towed so we called the service hot line and a tow-truck picked the car up within 30 minutes. As it was late at night we went back to the hotel and went in to the Florence downtown office the next day. We were on the road again the next morning within 30 minutes after filling out an incident report and talking the issue through with the Sixt staff. New car and no dramas.
Overall, good service from both the road service staff and the office staff. We were charged the excess of the insurance but not to worry we had travel insurance to cover that.
Vehicle Performance / Cleanliness - 5/5
All cars that we have received from Sixt have been relatively new (less than 20,000km's) and very clean. The cars we have had would not be considered luxury cars but neither did we pay for that. If you are after something more luxurious then Sixt owns more Audi and BMW's than any other rental car company in Europe.
We have not had any issues whatsoever with rental cars not working; car performance has been great. 5/5
Price & Hidden costs - 5/5
This is where I would significantly differentiate Sixt from other car companies. Firstly, their prices are very competitive and beat the other major car hire companies more times than not. Secondly, I have found when it comes to extras such as one-way fees they are even better. For example, within Italy and Croatia if you hire a car for more than a few days then there is no extra charges for a one-way rental.
Also many car companies are very pushy about making you take out extra insurance or adding on extra costs. At Sixt, staff have asked everyone time, as expected, whether we would like to take out full insurance but as soon as we have said no (refer to my blog post on car insurance here) they let it be and move on.
Finally, we have never had any unexpected charges appear on our credit card statement after we have returned the car.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Sixt when hiring a car throughout Europe.