My First Time Renting a Car From SIXT Rent a Car
Stop me if you heard this one before: an American customer rents a French car from a German company in the Dominican Republic; and…
…on second thought, I am going to tell this story anyway. Here we go…
My First Time Renting a Car From SIXT Rent a Car
Arriving via airplane at 9:30 in the evening is not the best thing to do, as after I passed through customs at Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic, none of the rental car booths were manned or open…
…so I had to walk all the way from Terminal B past Terminal A to the small and practically deserted rental car complex, where a representative from SIXT Rent a Car was behind the counter.
She was very pleasant to me as we tried to converse — her in broken English and me with my very limited Spanish — and after all of the paperwork was finally completed and I was ready to leave, I asked about currency exchange for the tolls.
Although she assured me that the toll operators would accept United States dollars, I would be charged a premium for the exchange. I asked if I could double back to Terminal B to exchange currency — but she thought that the booths to exchange currency were closed at that point.
That was when a fellow employee at SIXT Rent a Car offered to exchange his own Dominican pesos for $20.00 United States — at almost exactly the current rate of exchange at that time — without charging me interest or a commission. I thought that was rather generous of him to do so. “¡Gracias!” I said to him as he performed the final preparations on the car.
Oh, yes — the car. The car which you have been seeing in these photographs is a Citroën C-Elysée. I had never driven a car manufactured by Citroën before; so this experience was as new to me as renting from SIXT Rent a Car.
That this car sported black paint in a hot and humid climate was punishment enough — but the climate control system worked well; the seats were manufactured with cloth; and the finish on the car was glossy, which helped to reflect back some of the rays of sunlight.
I opened the car door to get in — but, of course, the difference was that I first entered the car at night and not during the day.
This view of the dashboard is from the passenger seat. Some of the controls were a little strange to me.
The rear seat of the car can fit three average sized passengers reasonably comfortably.
Leg room for passengers seated in the rear seat of the car was not exactly the best I have ever seen — but it was not the worst, either; and it can easily be increased by a front seat being moved forward.
This view of the entire dashboard of the car shows all of the controls which are available.
Only when the steering wheel is turned does the driver see the cruise control options on what was initially a hidden stalk — but I especially could not see them at night.
That the buttons to operate the cruise control functionality were behind the hidden stalk was even less intuitive for me — although I would not be surprised if once a driver was used to using this was of activating and operating the cruise control system, it would be especially intuitive.
The buttons to open all four windows electronically are found in the center console — separated by a cup holder. The climate control options were not initially intuitive to me — although I got the knack of them rather quickly.
When activated, the entertainment system first proudly displays the Citroën name…
…before introducing all of the options which are available. Despite enjoying listening to music while I drive, I chose not to use this system.
A French car with an automatic transmission was already bizarre enough to me, as I fully expected a manual transmission…
…and at first in the night, shifting to Drive was not initially intuitive. The snowflake and S buttons were a mystery to me; but I assumed for some reason that I would not need to use them in the Dominican Republic in June.
Although the gauges of the dashboard were rather straightforward and clear, the messages between the gauges were also initially confusing to me…
…but I managed to get used to them as well. Read this article for how to tell what side of the car the door for the fuel tank is located. A clue is located in the above photograph.
Other controls — such as opening the hood of the car — are found off to the left side of the steering wheel below the gauges.
Below the hand brake are a cigarette lighter and an auxiliary area to power up your portable electronic device.
The glove compartment was ample; but not overly generous with space. I did not use it anyway.
Keeping in line with the functionality of the buttons which electronically open the windows, the buttons for the passengers seated in the rear seat of the car are also in the center — along with a small compartment for coins or other items. Seat pockets on the backs of the front seats are available to hold such items as brochures or magazines.
The trunk of the car is rather spacious. Several large pieces of luggage can easily be stored in it — especially if you fold down one of the rear seats for additional storage room.
Because I booked a reservation at the Hilton La Romana, an All-Inclusive Adult Only Resort in the Dominican Republic earlier this month and was going to stay there exclusively for the few days I was in the country, I first sought a shuttle or bus service between Punta Cana International Airport and the resort property. One operator wanted to charge almost $43.00 round trip for me to ride on a bus with a maximum of ten stops; and I would have to abide by its schedule…
…so I quickly looked up my alternatives; and I found that I could rent a car from SIXT Rent a Car for three days for a grand total of $34.21 if I pay for the reservation in advance. Even with the $16.25 in fuel and $6.36 in tolls to drive on La Autopista del Coral, renting a car for a grand total cost of $56.82 was not even a second thought for me.
Despite my perceiving this car as being on the quirky side, it did its job well; and I had no issues or problems with it.
As for SIXT Rent a Car, this was a pleasant experience with no issues whatsoever; and I would consider — as well as recommend — renting from this company again.
All photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.