Avis versus Budget – Chrysler 300c versus Holden Statesman hire car comparison

We recently took two separate two-week trips to the Gold Coast during winter. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to compare two different car hire companies, and luxury family hire cars for you!

Chrysler 300c sedan hire car

Our hire car comparison is based upon two companies – Avis and Budget, and their luxury class hire vehicles on offer that suit a family. Sure, you can hire Porsches, BMW convertibles and low-slung Mercedes sports models at the Gold Coast – and what fun they are! But where are you going to put the kids? Never-mind all the baggage that comes with them!

So, our luxury Gold Coast hire car review is that of two large sedan luxury vehicles – a Holden Statesman Caprice and a Chrysler 300C. These model hire cars are big enough to carry at least two large suitcases, and all the carry-ons, plus fit baby and toddler booster seats too, if you need them. Also, the really good news is that hire cars are relatively cheap in Queensland – so why not splash out and spoil yourself with one of these luxurious vehicles.

The best hire car company – Avis versus Budget

Avis and Budget hire cars at Coolangatta airport are located back-to-back

We used a different Gold Coast airport hire company for each car hire – Avis for the Caprice and Budget for the Chrysler. Whilst essentially these two are sister companies which operate back-to-back, they do differ significantly. Both companies delivered spotlessly clean, well maintained and modern vehicles. There are also shared benefits between these two companies. For example, when returning cars, you may leave your car in either’s car park, and their shared car-park is directly opposite the airport terminal – as close as hire cars get at Coolangatta Airport.

Hire car booking price

I booked both cars online. Both websites were easy to use. Price-wise, Avis was a little more expensive than Budget, particularly as we got closer to the booking period when prices dropped marginally. In the end, Avis’ hire price was about $40 more for the same rental period of two weeks. In addition, Budget had a promotion which saved a further $40, so Budget came in at $80 cheaper than Avis over the two week hire period.

Service & ease of pick-up

Avis – At our pick up point, Coolangatta (Gold Coast) airport, the Avis desk was larger and busier than Budget. Staff were professional and friendly. They had more staff on hand than Budget. Upon enquiry, they offered to help me with the bags to the car.Avis had a digital registration system, making pick up faster.

Budget – The Budget staff were very friendly and facilitating. I was offered the option to change cars for no extra charge if the Chrysler wasn’t suitable (from Chrysler to Caprice), despite the fact the Caprice was a more expensive hire rate. Budget did take longer to get us on the road due to a less streamlined process – paper forms rather than electronic. Budget also do a physical walk around car inspection with you before and after hiring, but Avis don’t. So their pick-up process is a little slower.

Budget proved to be the cheapest and most helpful hire car company

Budget proved to be the cheapest and most helpful hire car company

At the end of the car hire period when it was time to drop both cars back to the airport, Avis dropped the ball and let us park and take the keys back into the arrivals area desk, whereas Budget nabbed us in the carpark so that we could just hand over the keys to them in the carpark and go directly to departures. Budget also voluntarily helped us to carry all of our bags into the airport terminal.

The winner car hire company – Budget

Overall, both companies were friendly and helpful, and their vehicles were in excellent order, however I would choose Budget over Avis next time – simply due to cheaper price and better service.

A comparison of two deluxe premium Gold Coast hire cars

chrysler-300c (25)

Some small communication issues

Both cars which we hired and drove around the Gold Coast for two weeks were top-class luxury vehicles. Both were full-size sedans with leather interiors, keyless start and automatic everything, including sun roofs. Both shared the same hire car “tier” – that is, they both belonged to the same quality-level range.

The only problems we had with the cars for the entire hire periods were keyless entry issues. Whilst both cars had a keyless start system, the Caprice keyless start wasn’t as advanced as the Chrysler’s. Half the time it was necessary to insert the remote unit into the car before it could recognise it. The first time we got into the car it took me a full five minutes just to work out how to keyless start the car (by inserting the remote into the arm rest console – I ended up Google -ing the answer in the airport car park!). We had no issues with the Caprice other than.

Avis hire cars Coolangatta Gold Coast Airport

The Statesman Caprice at Coolangatta Airport

There was also a keyless start issue with the Chrysler. Chrysler 300Cs auto unlock the doors less than a minute after you’ve locked them if you don’t get away from the vehicle’s wireless remote range. Problem is, if you don’t know this, it seems as though the car won’t stay locked! Unfortunately, Budget staff were as clueless about this feature as I was, and assuming it was a fault, they offered us a vehicle swap. I asked them to look into the matter further, and a Budget mechanic was consulted who said – “Oh yeah, this keeps happening!”

The moral to this story – hire car companies should perhaps take five minutes to explain the ins and outs of the basic operations of their vehicles before you drive out of the car park!

Our Avis premium hire car option – The Holden Statesman Caprice

Our Holden Statesman Caprice hire car - Photo source: Letsgomumreviews.com.au

Our Holden Statesman Caprice hire car

The Statesman Caprice was a deluxe hire vehicle, but in a subtle way. You could slip around town in a Caprice without standing out, due to a similar body shape and colour to most late-model Commodores.

Hopping in, the interior was leather, comfortable and elegant. The auto seat moves back for you to get comfy, and resets itself upon ignition start.

It had a space-ship type dashboard with a large computerised information screen – bigger and more optioned than the Chrysler. I found that I only used the most basic of controls. These high-tech computer panels are just too complex for me to learn just for a couple of weeks! I found the kilometres per hour digital windscreen projection a great safety feature.

The car drove beautifully. Large to manoeuver, but that was to be expected given its size. Rather loud inside – the engine size makes it a noisy one.

Other features included front and rear bumper (and rear-view mirror) distance-proximity detection which was more sensitive and had more points of contact than the Chrysler. There were reading lights in the back for the kids, and built-in DVD players behind the front seats too, however my kids had iPads, so these weren’t utilised.

The Caprice has an absolutely palatial-sized boot – far bigger than the Chrysler – you could fit three large suitcases in there easily.

Here are some photos of the Statesman Caprice

Our Budget premium hire car option – The Chrysler 300C

Chrysler 300c Coolangatta luxury hire carFrom first glance at the Chrysler 300C, you know this is a prestige vehicle. From its glossy black paint to it’s bling-bling grill, the Chrysler 300C is what you would call “lairy” – but in a good way! You feel a bit like a star driving around in it, because people look at it – it looks posh!

The interior is a little smaller than the Caprice, or feels that way. Black leather and a bright blue dash light set up give this car a sophisticated look and feel.

The manoeuvrability of the car is not quite as good as the Caprice, being a longer front end to turn.

Quieter to run than the Caprice, this car travels smoothly and the brakes are almost overpoweringly responsive. So much, that when I got off the plane and back to my own car at the end of our trip, for a little while I thought my brakes were a bit soft!

Whilst the parking touch-warning system isn’t as good as the Caprice’s, there is a rear camera to assist with reversing, and this is excellent. Another fun-feature is steering wheel and seat warmers in both the back and front – cosy! Even in Queensland, I enjoyed using these to take the chill off.

The boot was disappointingly small – it seems most of the space was given to the front end, leaving barely enough room for two large suitcases.

Here are some photos of the Chrysler 300c

The luxury-class hire car winner – Statesman Caprice

Whilst the Caprice car doesn’t win on show-off outer aesthetics, it does feel more luxurious on the inside, and was my favourite of the two. The boot size was a major feature of the Caprice, as it meant we could get all of our luggage in the boot and out of the way for both airport journeys, or shopping or whatever. Ultra-convenient. However the Caprice was also a little more expensive per day – around $100 difference over the two weeks.

The kids thought they might have to prise my star-fished body off the Caprice when it was time to go home – and they were almost right about that! This is a great hire car choice if you feel like you deserve to be spoiled – and yes, you do!

That said, I really did enjoy driving the Chrysler – the kids were split on their opinions too – this was a case of two great cars. If you hire either one, you’re going to be a satisfied customer.

Have you used a good hire-car company, or hired a great (or not-so-great) hire car? Tell us in the comments below…

All prices in this article are correct at September 2016



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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!