I have a city car and by that I mean I have a wee car. I like to call it zippy more than wee but it’s most certainly not luxurious. It’s practical and it gets me from A to B in no time and is super economic. It suits my needs.
However, is it a pleasure to drive? I’d say no.
Would I want to spend hours driving around Scotland in it? Also a no.
So when Virtuo Car Hire approached me and asked if I would like to take one of their Mercedes fleet cars for a weekend, I jumped at the chance.
Virtuo is the first 100% mobile car rental service. It launched in London in 2018 and has just expanded into Scotland with a station based in the Q-Park Omni Centre, Edinburgh.
Virtuo was born out of a frustration with car rental companies and renting cars: loads of hidden fees, limited opening hours, offices in hard to reach locations and long queues for pick-ups and returns. Car rental companies have a bad rep for poor customer services and long rap sheets of customer complaints.
Virtuo came up with a mobile app. This service allows you to book, locate, unlock and manage your Mercedes A-Class or GLA vehicle from your phone.
Firstly, you download the app onto you phone and register. You’ll receive a confirmation email that you are now registered. You then choose the dates and collection for your vehicle, the level of insurance, etc.
There is some time to be spent uploading a copy of your drivers licence and credit card which is all done through the app, via your phone camera and uploaded almost instantly. Virtuo will immediately commence with their checks and get back to you within 24 hours.
You also need to run a DVLA check and provide them with a code, maximum of 7 days prior to your rental. Again a very simple and straightforward process. Email confirmations are received after any action from your side so you know you are on the right track. They also have a fabulous customer service team in London that are available on the chat function 24 hours per day.
12 hours before your rental commences, you are allowed to download the ‘key’ which will allow you to lock and unlock your car. You also receive emails and text messages confirming your collection point and address as well as the registration of the car you are renting.
The car is parked in a secure underground parking lot along with several others in the fleet - on this day they maybe had approx 10 Mercedes A-Class and GLA SUV vehicles ready for rental.
I chose the Mercedes GLA 200 SUV at £60 per day (prices vary depending on length of hire)
Holding the phone up to the car, (ensuring you have bluetooth turned on) using your app, you click on unlock and your car opens. You then have to complete a fault check and make sure you report any major damages, scratches, faults etc. Make sure you do this otherwise you will be charged if the damage is there when you return the car.
The car is beautiful. It’s luxurious. Soft leather interior, heated seats if required, bluetooth, navigation and stop start transmission. It’s also automatic with no gear stick. Once I got use to this, this car is an absolute dream to drive.
The Virtuo app constantly keeps you updated on the mileage you have used, how much fuel is in the tank, where to find the nearest petrol station and much more.
On returning the vehicle at the end of your hire, you drop it off in the same parking bay (or as close to it as possible), make a note of this via the app, and end your hire via the app.
It’s simple, fast and efficient.
I spent the weekend enjoying the car without having to worry about the car hire. Some foodie day trips and shopping were called for and what better way to do this than in style.
We travelled around Scotland a wee bit and took in some sights in pretty Perthshire; I took the family out shopping and took it for a spin around Edinburgh visiting some iconic landmarks - Arthurs Seat and Circus Lane.
The car adapts with ease between city centre traffic and open motorways and countryside. If you are from Edinburgh you’ll know the tediousness of driving with constant road works and 20 miles per hour speed limit, so the stop start transmission came in very handy.
Pros to using Virtuo
Simple, easy and fast registration
No queues for collection and returning
Locations are city centre and easy to get to using alternative transport
All information is on your app
No hidden charges
Collection process is super simple, efficient and straightforward - arrive, unlock, check for faults, submit and drive away
Return process is the same - arrive, park car, fault check or anything to report, submit, lock and leave
24 hour online helpline/chat and friendly customer service
Cons to using Virtuo - not cons as such, more some things you need to be aware of
The deposit is quite high and some banks can take up to a week to return your deposit although Virtuo releases the deposit within a couple of hours of you returning the vehicle (depending if there are no issues of course)
Check your insurance
Make sure your phone is always charged and full. The app uses bluetooth which drains your battery quickly and you need your phone to unlock and lock your car
Refuel your car prior to returning it as you will be charged an admin fee
Would I use Virtuo again? Most certainly. They put you in the drivers seat - you are in charge of every aspect of this hire and they remove all the annoying barriers around conventional car rental.
Download Virtuo here and get yourself a luxury car hire in Scotland. First time users can receive £20 off their first hire using this code EDB20
Thank you to Virtuo for the complimentary car hire - insurance and petrol were not included.