Speaking on behalf of the millennial generation and the constant struggle we’re in to pay a laundry list of bills, owning a car isn’t a pressing need like it used to be for boomers.
Although a 2014 report by Nielsen, a US-based global market research firm, suggested Malaysia bucked the trend of having the highest car ownership data in all of Southeast Asia (up to 90% nationwide), ride-hailing and car-sharing services have also been on the rise for the younger folk who can’t afford automobiles.
In Malaysia alone, Grab is the household name to call a ride on the fly from practically anywhere with a strong internet connection. But what separates booking an oft-convenient ride-hailing service from renting a car is the element of being environmentally conscious. Recent data shows driving has reduced by nearly 20% among car-sharing owners, dramatically reducing CO2 emissions.
Today, Google “car rental service Malaysia” and you’ll stumble upon website after website of companies offering idle cars to loan for any given number of hours, days or weeks.
And of course, app developers have made it a cake-walk for Malaysians to loan a car on your smartphones. Here are one-stop-shop reviews of the best 6 car rental apps we’re sure won’t let you down in no specific order.
Hailed as a pioneer of all-things-car-sharing (note: not the same as the Uber/Grab ride-hailing app), in 2015, an epiphany from an ordinary request changed the game of the sharing economy in the country.
Someone from university asked to lend a car of the now-CEO of Moovby, Nik Muhammad Amin, who simply wanted to attend their graduation ceremony. And thus Moovby was born.
Available for iOs and Android, the company customized the service to make it smartphone-friendly. They collated existing models that are alternatives to astronomically priced services.
After registering your account in the app with Facebook or Google with your driver’s license, photo and official ID, the rentee can begin choosing their preferred car model for varying prices.
A caveat, however, is that some user reviews online took issue with the hassling steps to contact the owner for car availability which may or may not always guarantee if the vehicle is up for grabs or not. Just to save time and money, double-checking on what days the car is loanable is best practice.
In the words of Kwikcar’s promo video targeting car owners, it’s an “Airbnb but with your car”. Akin to Moovby, this app is a peer-to-peer car sharing service all the same with a different mission in mind.
CEO and co-founder, Jared Chan’s launched the service to primarily counter the largely unaffordable cars-for-rent market and drive down prices to even RM8 per hour (yes, we refreshed the lowest price list of renting a car and it’s that cheap).
Unlike the Craigslist-esque interface of Moovby, Kwikcar requires the renter to filter the search before they can peruse pictures, visual description and prices of available cars nearest to them. But the search filter is made foolproof with buttons where you can select your favourite car body type too.
Kayak and Skyscanner
Clubbing together all-in-one solutions apps, Kayak and Skyscanner, is intentional, albeit counting them separately for the purpose of this article. Both offer flight, hotel, car and train bookings - who wouldn’t want to avoid congesting their app roster and buy everything under one roof?
It goes without saying that the internationally-used all-in-one apps give you the best cut-rate deals within a few seconds, with the difference of Kayak showing locating on an interactive map compared to Skyscanner’s commonplace list.
Sure, Kayak and Skyscanner have fantastic sorting options. Yet, it’s worth noting that the multipurpose function doesn’t contain a large amount of cars for hire. The companies pride themselves in being more focused in flights anyway. Plus these apps have a lot of noise and to someone who can’t be bothered about other services, it’s not ideal.
According to GoCar’s boilerplate overture on their website, you can rent cars for as little as RM6.90 per hour. That’s an incredibly attractive point for young rentees who might want to use the car for just a few hours. Oh and it’s available in over 50 locations across Malaysia - including Langkawi!
The best part is that you can get unlimited mileage within that hour of renting and when it comes to using the app, an instructions slider appears well before you can register so you’re fully accustomed to the renting method. You can even rent a car for as low as RM69 per day!
The rest of the app’s model takes after the aforementioned apps with an exception of its 24/7 availability, too good to be true.
Last but definitely not the least is the new kid on the block, SOCAR. Founded in 2011 in South Korea, the highlight of the car-sharing phone app is the keyless mechanism where you all you need to do in order to power up the engine is by hitting the brake pedals.
The app allows you to drive for 20km for a 1-hour booking and will reportedly introduce a “door-to-door” service to find and pick up the car.
To add to the new hands-free features being added to the app, you can unlock a rented car sans internet connection by resorting to Bluetooth. This solution combats the ghastly internet service in underground parking lots.
Convenience is taken to levels with the car-sharing movement taking momentum in Malaysia. Besides, this service could be a cure to having to wait for an e-hailing driver or even buying your own car. So it's looking like a win-win thus far.
This article was written by Fatima Qureshi for Stuff Malaysia