NZ South Island Rental Car: help me choose!

Sep 24th, 2005, 07:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
NZ South Island Rental Car: help me choose!

Hi all,
DH and I will be in NZ in January.
We need to choose a rental car. What would you choose from the following? Note: DH is very tall and we can't rent a car that is too small...
Toyota Corolla 1.6 or similar: NZ$640
Toyota Corolla 1.8 or similar: NZ$647
Holden Vectra 2.2 or similar: NZ$682
Holden Commodore 3.8 or similar: NZ$777

We will be traveling CHC-Kaikoura-Hanmer Springs-Franz Josef-Queenstown-Fiordland-Dunedin

Which car, in your opinion, will be best driving our given route while not guzzling too much gas? We are leaning toward the 2.2, but need advice on which cars can handle the mountains.
Thank you for your help!

Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 424
Hi Liz,
Would agree with the Vectra for the room for Tim. Gas is quite expensive here at present and doesn't look to be going down any in the next few months - currently 91 octane is $1.519 per litre. My husband's cab is a Ford Fairlane Ghia, and that costs around $80 a day to run - and that is not a full tank every day either. Travelling as you will be would encourage me to consider the Vectra over the Commodore to keep costs down. Mind you, in our travels around the South Island over the last 4 years we have encountered plenty of 1.6 / 1.8L cars at the top of our mountains and hills, all with plenty of oomph to keep going. Sizewise, the Vectra would be a better option. Hope this helps a little.
dotty is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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Another vote for the Vectra. We had a Commodore on a recent trip to OZ, and it was much more car than we needed and a gas guzzler to boot. Corollas are better on gas, but probably won't give your DH the space he needs.
Melnq8 is online now  
Sep 25th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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Posts: 5,546
We had a Commodore for 11 days on SI recently. It was wonderful because we were 4 people who were comfortable inside and our luggage just fit into the trunk. Perhaps it would be too much for just 2 of you.

You could check out the specs for a Vectra at
Jed is offline  
Sep 26th, 2005, 01:44 PM
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The last car I rented was a Toyota ECHO with a manual shift. It had plenty of pep. I would think that even with the automatic, the Corolla 1.8 would be fine. The engine size is not necessarily related to the amount of headroom and legroom. (EG my car at home is a Mazda protege which comfortable seats 4 very large adults.)

If you have never been in a Corolla you could at least test one for size before you leave. I've never been in the Holden so can't help with that.
mlgb is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 09:40 AM
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I just wanted to say a big "Thank You" to all who replied. We are going to go with the Holden Vectra. I'll let you know how it goes!
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 08:16 PM
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Dear TIm and Liz,

Are those rates weekly? and for what time period?

They look like very good rates; I am also traveling to NZ and renting a car with my partner.
tarocake is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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the rate is for 11 days, pick up in Christchurch and drop off in Dunedin. It's from with a Costco (a US warehouse club) savings code.
I could find overall better rates, but not when dropping off in Dunedin.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 05:44 AM
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It's for January.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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I was suprised to hear that tarocake thought these rates were good. I'm not saying they're bad, but we are renting a Corolla from Gorentals for $25NZ/day for 15 days on a one-way rental from Christchurch to Auckland. They even have a no breakdown, money-back guarantee.
mikerj3 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 337
I just looked at go rentals website and it looked like the cheapest rate for the smallest car was $49/day (that was for 11 days picking up Christchurch/dropping off Auckland)
How did you find $25/day??
luv2globetrot is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Although I used the websites as a guide, I found that emailing the companies directly would get sometimes better rates. This is the case with GoRentals. They actually have a few different toll-free numbers too. We are also going to NZ in the middle of November, so that might make a bit of a rate difference too.

mikerj3 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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If it is your big holiday to New Zealand you want to be relaxed as you are driving. Bite the bullet don't worry about a few extra dollars in petrol and go the Commodore. Big car with lots of room and a good amount of power to get you up and down hills and out of trouble.
Thousands of New Zealanders drive that car to work everyday.
Enjoy your trip
Your complete guide to New zealand
GBZ is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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I'm renting a car for NZ$747 (US $518) for 12 days including all taxes so comes out to NZ$62 per day. It's an automatic so it's more than manual.

I'm picking up at Christchurch and then dropping off at Picton. I will continue to see if there is abetter deal.

tarocake is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Renting in Nov is going to make a HUGE difference. Also, beware that some of the local companies require you to prepay and you will be getting a "rent a wreck". Avis and Budget often have very competitive rates if you use some type of membership discount. The cancellation policies are usually liberal, and you will be getting a near-new car. Of course, if you are not expert at driving on the "other side" this is not necessarily a bonus.
mlgb is offline  
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