As I was headed to Malaysia for a trip for 10 days, I needed an option to commute within the country. While renting cabs with drivers was definitely an option, there was no privacy enough, and there was no way to make my own decisions on where I wished to go when. I was not so keen to rent a cab outside of KL city.
We had plans to visit multiple places such as Cameron, Penang, Langkawi so I needed a vehicle which I was willing to drive myself. It was the best option as it would give me the convenience without burning a hole in my pocket. The trip itself was turning out to be expensive and I wanted a good option for inside the country travel.
Things that I was looking for
As any first time car rental customer, I had some concerns, so I needed these
- Easy rental mechanism, including driver sign up and validation of
- Preferably use local Karnataka (state license from india) - without the need for IDP
- App based car handling
- Easy fueling
- Easy breakdown service if needed anywhere within the country
Based on the market services available in Malaysia, two common providers of cars had their apps listed - GoCar and SoCar. The former had tie ups with Renault and had new cars such as Captur and Almera (Sunny) while the latter had tie ups with Perodua and Toyota to a large extent and had more exotic cars if required.
While GoCar did not cover fuel for their rental rate, SoCar did. However the story did not end there. In this review, since I rented SoCar, I will talk about only that service. Maybe the next time I would try out GoCar although I do not expect any major differences in terms of what you basically get for your money.
There is something you need to know during your registration on both the apps. You need mainly three things.
Your passport copy
Your driving license copy
Your own selfie of you holding your driving license
Please bear in mind that item 3 should be taken in such a way that you stand far away with the license in your hand. If you take a photo too close to you, that would be rejected. I faced multiple rejections before I got it quite right. If you face a rejection its only because both you and you holding the license is not clearly visible. Correct it and you should be through.
Some things about the app
The app is well defined. You find the common options that you expect to see. You can choose source and destination options, timings and even use the map to find where you want the car from. There are also some options for home delivery of the car for some extra money which can be a boon at times.
The makers of the software have ensured finer options such as clock entry, drop downs, display of car choices are perfectly available on the screen making the app good enough to use to get the job done.
This is the best part of the app. You can control the car directly from the app. You can unlock or lock the car from the app itself.
Other than lock and unlock there are also buttons for horn, and hazard lights in case you need the support of these means to locate your car. There are also two icons for roadside assistance and support call if you would need those. Personally I would say that this is the most important screen as far as driving the car around is concerned. I undertook a trip spanning Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, Penang, Kuala Perlis and back - which was almost 1500kms and never once did I feel anything in this screen did not work properly.
The profile section of the app provides options to refer and earn, details on your reservations, payment options, promotions, notices from SoCar and help topics. It also provides an option for contacting support where you can “ASK” questions. You must be aware that the replies take typically a few hours to a few days so it is not that straightforward from the app. Better thing to do will be to call SoCar support if need be.
The last screen of the app provides promos as per the season and the occassion. These are either discounts or referral based bonuses as seen below. It is upto you whether or not you wish to use these and sometimes there are good deals in terms of discounts.
The GoCar app is similar to the SoCar one, but GoCar has aligned with the Renault Nissan alliance in Malaysia so they have more Almera (Sunny) cars and Renault Captur besides the usual local brands and others like Toyota. These cars have rates that do not include fuel rates so its only the rental rate per day. But the car choices are good here as well.
The app is a bit basic compared to SoCar, and since I did not hail a car, I am not sure if the car can be remotely controlled from the app for lock/unlock etc. However I did notice that there were options to look for cars and call their support staff, besides options for making and viewing reservations, payment options, and promotions and deals.
In a later post I will talk about a few nuances of driving rental cars, but for this post I will leave you here with these details so you can take your pick of which car rental service you wish to rent while in Malaysia. Let me know your comments.