Car Rental Company: SIXT
Company for Purchase: SIXT
Location: MCT – Muscat International Airport
The check-in desk for SIXT is in the corner of the Car Hire Centre in which is opposite the exit of arrivals. So very easy to find.
Staff are just hanging about and did not seem very enthusiastic. Very basic counter, there is not even a computer. Staff are not in any uniform or have any name tags.
They didn’t have any record of my booking until they went thru a pile of paperwork on the desk and eventually found it. I was asked if I had pre-paid (which I had) but felt it very inefficient service.
Since I driving to the Shangri La resort in Al Bustan area which is quite far from Muscat airport (45 minutes) I asked for GPS. I was simply told if I pay £10 the clerk will give me his ‘personal one’ but it would be outside of the SIXT contract and they can only accept cash (5 OMR). Rather annoying as didn’t want to get out cash with the fee’s etc.
Staff then asked me to sign some form’s but didn’t make any effort to upgrade or explain any detail of the contract such as damage excess waiver.
Overall very unclear check-in service but staff were pleasant enough not rude etc.
I was also a platinum member and offered no upgrade like they have done in the US. When I asked if I would be credited points was simply told head office is closed.
I was then taken to the vehicle which is in the airport car park on the roof, a Nissan Sunny (my booking was for group two Chevrolet Aveo or similar). Old looking and filthy inside stained with 60k km on the clock. I was unimpressed as I paid for the group 2 (one up from worst) and felt they were trying to fob me off with the worst vehicle since nothing else looked as bad.
As I was tired I just took it but lasted 10 minutes with it, I found the engine, though automatic revved very high and sounded odd, felt the engine was not right. Since I was driving outside the city, my fear was that I would breakdown and this is Oman with 40 C heat. Therefore I took it straight back. It was so basic there was no USB slot only a CD player.
After I got back, it took 10minutes for staff to reappear at the counter. I complained about the car and was taken back to car park. This time offered I was suppose to get : The Chevrolet Aveo but again filthy inside with 50k KM on clock, stained seat, carpet covered in mess.
Staff realized I was not impressed especially since I needed a USB slot for my phone to charge which this car did not offer. That and the fact it was filthy.
After much negotiation staff offered me the Nissan Altima, which was a car group up from mine. Staff generally wanted to keep me happy so respect to them for that.
This car still had 64,000km on clock but seemed a lot cleaner & modern than the other cars so went with that.
It does seem that the Sixt car collection at Muscat was the worst of the car hire companies in terms of the choices when looking at the competitor car choices- at least all of them looked clean.
I was offered a Nissan sunny at start then a small Chevrolet both as mentioned above had issues with. Finally was offered a modern Nissan Altima.
Car Review – Nissan Altima 25S
This car seemed quite new in comparison to the other vehicles that were offered but still had 64k km on the clock.
Automatic seating and actually quite comfortable with side controls easy to find- not up down but angle and forward and back. I found it comfortable with headrest and armrest but I only drove an hour each day of my stay for the reason to get to hotel. (car hire is cheaper than one way taxi). However arm rests did offer a good deal of comfort for standard motorway and city driving. Obviously in Oman this is not the car for the long distance drives down to the desert, you need a 4×4.
The controls were easy to understand but quite basic overall. For instance there was no exact cruise control function on the steering wheel, no auto setting for lights and wipers- which most Japanese cars do offer.
However there was a helpful digital display behind steering wheel between the speedometer and rev counter, in which oddly showed a 3D image of the vehicle. If you had music on either radio or audio it would show up as Audio on- but lacked any Bluetooth compatibility. It also showed some helpful information such as how many miles left until tank needs to be filled up, plus outside temperature. Quite a helpful feature in Oman considering it is so hot. The car AC system is quite basic in this day and age, not personalized for each of the front seat but a central dial system. However the car did get cold quite quickly and the windows are tinted.
In terms of power sockets there is two standard car sockets but no USB which seemed very unusual. However were kind enough to give me one of their adaptors, to borrow without charge but I would suggest bringing your own as USB appear to not exist on any of the cars I looked at Sixt.
The car was automatic, very easy to drive though cruise control would have been nice.
Space and Storage
There is a sufficient size of boot for one large case and this is covered at back so is good for security. The car has 5 seats and space is generally good as one expects for a saloon car.
Despite the high mileage on the clock of 64km (though it is Diesel). Driving was very simple and the engine never over revved. It did have some speed on it on some of the straight highways thru Muscat to Al Bustan area that I was driving to. As you enter this area, there are tall mountains. The car cruised up the hills without any difficulty with automatic gear change happening smoothly.
The car whilst not fast at acceleration did have good high end speed on the major motorways.
The audio was fairly simply a CD player or FM radio. There is no USB or function to connect vi Bluetooth. However an audio in is available and staff at Sixt let me borrow their own one again at no charge.
In terms of sound quality, very mid range lacking any enhancements, very basic and volume seemed to be restrictive. It was quite low volume.
Overall very basic lacking bass and simply your standard car radio of the mid 2000’s. For long drives I think I might use headphones.
I picked up the car full and returned it about half full, I had driven around 90km or so. Therefore it was ok. I did not find any petrol station on way back and simply returned half empty. This may explain the unusual charge of £6 on my credit card bill. Obviously this is the Arabian Peninsula where fuel is as cheap as one can get. Therefore it must be £12 to fill up from empty which is very cheap.
Overall SIXT in Muscat was generally a lot of hassle, if your expecting the service that the same brand offers in Europe or the US, its completely different. Staff are very in efficient and as mentioned tried to give me their worst cheapest group cars despite paying for 2nd one up. The cars were filthy inside so clearly they don’t clean them.
In terms of car range, SIXT seemed the weakest brand at Muscat. Even the local non familiar brand had much newer cars and therefore if I was visiting MCT again, I would not advise choosing SIXT.
The staff are slightly incompetent and offering their own GPS for a cash amount, explaining that was only way they could do it, seemed unprofessional for such an international brand. They also do not acknowledge or care whether you are a Platinum member which they should do. I only ended up with Altima after complaining with the filthy Nissan Sunny that had an engine that didn’t sound right. The whole process though to do paper work and then find car go for a 5-20 minute drive then return overall until I got the car that I was satisfied wouldn’t breakdown took well over 1.5 hours which is unacceptable, staff are just lacking efficiency and effort to get things done. Their set up was shockingly basic and surprised SIXT do not even provide them with a computer.
At the same time the cost of the car hire to where I was going, Shangri La in Al Bustan area totaled, with petrol the same price as one way by airport taxi so in hindsight it is good value for money. Be warned though in Oman (& this is with every car hire company) there is a 200km limit to mileage, after this they can charge 1 OMR for every Km over (£2), so if you’re planning on driving deep down south into the desert it can work out very expensive. Saying that staff said if you go over it’s only a few OMR so completely unsure but on website it did say for SIXT states 1 OMR for every 1km over. Overall though I would not use SIXT if I was to return to MCT simply because the area where the cars are, you see many of the other car hire company vehicles and these seem much newer and cleaner.
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