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'The Out' review: weekend luxury car rentals with complimentary bike racks

15 Sep 2020
Verdict:

Even this car-sceptic enjoyed the use of a luxury vehicle for a weekend even one that was completely inappropriate for urban areas

Most cars spend the bulk of their time not in use, often as private property occupying public space by way of on-street parking. All the while, the owner continues to pay insurance and vehicle excise duty ("road tax") regardless of use.

Pre-coronavirus, the thought of owning a car while living in London – or even using one – was preposterous to many people. But now, with public transport's appeal having taken a hit, the world can feel unwelcomingly small – even with a bicycle at your disposal.

Ownership of a motor vehicle is still, for me, wholly incompatible with living in an urban area. But to open up the world as lockdown restrictions eased to allow weekends away, I did have to face up to the potential limit of my bicycle for anything other than a sparsely luggaged solo trip to the near countryside.

 

Expanding horizons

This is where The Out came in, something I'd been made aware of by its PR firm almost a year before. The service offers a range of high end vehicles from Jaguar-Land Rover for pay-by-the-day rentals.

The press model I was offered was a Land Rover Discovery Sport but most of the range would be suitable for transporting a bike to somewhere new for a weekend of riding.

My preference would have been for something a bit less fossil fuel-reliant, though (when available) there are hybrid Range Rovers in the rental fleet.

Booking

Reservations are made online or through The Out's app and the service is available in London's Zones 1-5 as well as Heathrow and Gatwick airports. The vehicle is then delivered to the agreed address – this was done by a driver in a mask and gloves, aiming to make everything as Covid-secure as possible.

The process was simple enough and there are customer service assistants available on live chat for any help. My enquiries to them revolved around the £2,000 deposit that was required before the booking was confirmed (yes, even for a review vehicle).

This is held on your card, rather than actually paid out, for the duration of the reservation and then returned soon after the vehicle is inspected and collected.

 

Take your bike with you

At no extra charge, additional items can be added to the booking request including a bike rack. This operates in a pincer movement to fasten to the tow ball (but does block access to the boot).

This is a good complimentary extra for us cyclists and frees up space inside the vehicle for more passengers and luggage.

 

However, with my trip involving just two people and one bike, I opted to store the bike inside the vehicle.

It meant one less thing to worry about while driving down the motorway and also removed any concern about the potential for unwanted attention from the police if the bike and rack hindered sight of the lights or numberplate.

 

Fuel costs

These are large, urban-inappropriate vehicles so expect to be pumping a few pounds into the tank before the vehicle is collected as per the full-to-full fuel policy.

However, unless you live within rolling distance of a petrol station, expect a slight extra cost too: the collection driver will move the vehicle to a fuelling station and top it back up to full.

How far they go to do so isn't clear, and it crossed my mind that you could be covering part of their homeward journey as well as the distance you covered from the petrol station to the collection address.

Alternatively, you can hand the vehicle back with the fuel gauge well below the full line and the collection driver will complete the full-to-full part of the process – then charge you the entire amount against the card registered to your account.

How much for a few days behind the wheel?

Pricing

Land Rover Discovery Sport: £163 per day* 
Range Rover Evoque: £172 per day* 
Range Rover Velar: £237 per day* 
Land Rover Defender: 237 per day* 
Range Rover Sport: £251 per day* 
Range Rover Sport PHEV: £251 per day* 
Jaguar I-PACE: £251 per day* 
Jaguar F-TYPE: 267 per day*

*based on a three day rental and subject to change

Deposit

For all bookings a deposit is charged to the payment card 24 hours before the rental begins. This money is not debited from the customer's account, but it isn’t available until the car is returned and checked over for any damages. When the vehicle is returned (without any damage) The Out will release the deposit.

Depending on each bank, this will then be available to use again three  to 10 working days later – although it was only a few hours after the review period.

Amount held for deposit (based on each car)

Land Rover Discovery Sport: £2,000 
Range Rover Evoque: £2,000 
Range Rover Velar: £3,000 
Land Rover Defender: £3,000 
Range Rover Sport: £3,000 
Range Rover Sport PHEV: £3,000 
Jaguar I-PACE: £3,000 
Jaguar F-TYPE: £3,000 

Summary

For many, owning a car is either unaffordable or unnecessary for where they live. That doesn't mean, however, that the use of a motor vehicle is never needed nor is it without merit.

I'm keen on safe roads, train journeys, clean air and harsher sentencing for road crime but I will admit that having a vehicle at my disposal for a weekend away was welcome.

The Out fitted the bill just right for this, especially the in-vehicle capacity and the rear rack, that meant I could easily take a bike with me for a couple of rides during the trip.

As much as it did fit the bill, the bill is something worth noting: this isn't a cheap way to rent a car... but then again you're not just renting any car.

Budget for a pricier driving weekend, look after the vehicle to protect your large deposit and this is a simple-to-use rental service that goes a fair way to justify its higher cost.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

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