With the summer vacation setting in we had made bookings in Club Mahindra, Madikeri for a week long stay. This was a family trip with two kids in tow. Normally we drive by our car from Pune if we are visiting places in Karnataka. This time around we decided to do something different and fly down to Bangalore (Air India had a killer sale) and then drive to Madikeri.
Booking through Zoomcar
I suggested to my husband why not try the self drive Zoomcar option. They are now operating in three cities across the country Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. I registered in their site and was looking for car options when my husband told let us book a Ford Ecosport. Through a chat with the Zoom Car folks on their website I got to know that they do deliver the car in Bangalore Airport. But when we looked for the cars available at the Airport outlet for the specified date Ford Ecosport wasnt available. We then decided to book the car at their Krishnarajapuram outlet. Booking a car in their website was a breeze with the pick up and drop venue decided, date and time entered you need to pay the charges in advance of which 5000 INR was refundable deposit. A scanned copy of my license was uploaded which was verified by the Zoomcar team and approved.
On the appointed day we went to pick up the car from their outlet at 7 a.m. We reached the landmark that was provided in the email but couldnt locate their outlet. After roaming around the place for 15 to 20 minutes I noticed an open area with cars parked and no signboard. Closer view revealed all cars had the trademark Zoomcar logo on them. The attendant confirmed it indeed was the pickup/ drop point at Krishnarajapuram for Zoom cars. A SMS had already been sent to my mobile twenty minutes before the start of the booking time. All i had to do was send a UNLOCK SMS to their number which would unlock the car.
Barring minor scratches the car seemed good to go. Air in the rear wheel was less and the attendant mentioned that they didnt get enough time to check air and clean the interiors as the car was delivered by the previous customer at 3:30 a.m. The interiors were indeed untidy and the mirrors, glasses in the exterior needed some cleaning. The device in the car was missing which I was told was not returned by the previous customer. On coaxing the Zoomcar folks we got another device that was a need of the hour. As outsiders we found it difficult to get out of Bangalores maddening traffic and navigating through the numerous flyovers.
Zoomcar Ford Ecosport Experience
With 346 liters of boot space Ford Ecosport was sufficient for a family of 4 members (2 adults and 2 kids). Airbags had been provided in the front seats and all four windows were power windows. Leg space in the rear area was spacious and comfortable. Ecosport doesnt have AC vents in the second row but sure does have charging points. We were all set to zoom through the lush vegetation of Madikeri and have a blast.
As we left the city of Bangalore and took the road towards Madikeri the traffic leaned. There was a certain drag whilst driving the Ecosport that I hadnt expected from a car belonging to its class. Having said that we didnt face any issue whilst navigating through rough terrains, going up and downhill through the mountains of Coorg. The 200 mm ground clearance of the vehicle helped us from hitting rough areas. With parking sensors, climate control and reversing camera Ecosport is fun to drive.
On the last day of the trip I received a reminder SMS stating that I was nearing the reservation end time. Well before time we reached their outlet to drop the car. We had filled fuel on the way back to Bangalore, the bill of which I left in the glove box with details of our Zoomcar booking id. After filling the return checklist in the Zoom App the car auto locked in the next five minutes. Honda City, Amaze, Ecosport and Scorpio start at INR 110/hr. In case of late return standard hourly charges are applicable along with an additional Rs. 300 per hour of delay.
Post the drop I was immediately updated by email and SMS that my booking has been completed and they are working on the refund. On the same day the refund was initiated from their end with clear breakup of the fare, payment made and refund details.
I liked the concept of Overspeeding limit introduced by Zoomcar. In case you drive beyond 125 km/hr you immediately get to hear a beep noise and an email is sent to your inbox stating you have crossed the speed limit and this is the first and final warning with a fine of 500 INR levied. On the second offense you would be expelled from Zoomcars services. They also do have policies in place if found smoking, carrying pets or found doing drug or consuming alcohol.
My experience with Zoomcar was pleasant and I quite enjoyed it. With timely updates, clean and transparent approach Zoomcar does make self drive a zooming experience. Would I go for it again, you bet I would. How about experiencing their luxury car segment?