Madeira car hire - Our rented car on Madeira

Searching for car hire.

About our rented car, we always used to book it together with our flight using a tour operator.
In 2006 and for some reason -we never got any explanation- the tour operator was suddenly unable to offer car hire for Madeira.
What sounded as a disappointment at first, turned out to be a big money saver.

We googled for "car rental Madeira" and related search phrases such as "rented car Madeira" and "car hire Madeira" and soon we found several car hire companies.
Given that we were making the island tour with 4 adults and a 5 years old child, we prefered a break version with plenty of rooms for the suitcases.
Apparently only a few companies were able to meet these requirements which made our choice.
There are not many cars on Madeira and most tourists hire a smaller car. In 2005 the Renault Clio was the top used car to be beaten by the Opel Corsa starting 2006.
In the end we contacted all big car rental companies.

Our rented car: a Peugeot 307 Break

Our preferred car hire company: Cartrawler !

During our search on Internet we learned about Cartrawler.
The offer many cars at competitive prices. Während unserer Suche im Internet trafen wir auf die Seite von Cartrawler.
Cartrawler is like a broker. They don't own any cars. Instead they contracted car hire companies in 9000 cities and 134 countries worldwide (including Europcar, Alamo, Advantage Rent a Car, and Sixt Rent a Car).

With Cartrawler's strong market position they are able to negotiate cheap car hire deals, allowing them to supply many flight companies and online travel agencies. Nobody can book directly at Cartrawler. You always have to hire the car through one of their partners.

Which is what we did !
Launch the booking module, make a deposit using a credit card, you receive a voucher and that's it.
Due to the success of our Madeira travel guides and the good positions on Google, Yahoo and MSN we decided to become a Cartrawler partner. This allows us to offer the same cheap car hire deals !
The commission we may receive for this does not influence your price and is used to pay the expenses of this free Madeira travel guide.

Europcar car hire.

Our rented car turned out to be reserved with Europcar.
Since 2005 all car hire companies have their own desk at the arrivals of Madeira's airport.
Armed with our voucher we announced at the desk of Europcar where we could choose between a Peugeot 307 Break and a Renault Megane. We opted for the Peugeot which looked more practical for our Madeira Island tour.
Returning the car is as easy as picking him up. Just bring the car back where you took him. Someone from Europcar will inspect the car for damage and sign for receipt.
The elevator brings you from the parking place to the departures of the airport.

Some remarks :
When you pick up the car you have the opportunity to buy a Super CDW ensurance. This is also know as Excess Insurance or Collision Damage Waiver without excess on damage and excess on theft.
Basically this means that whatever happens to the car, you don't have to pay a single penny.
Without this insurance, you remain responsable for the first 1500 Euro of dammage to hired car. (The exact amount depends on the type of car).
This amount will be blocked on your credit card and will be de-blocked when returning the car.
Remind that any amounts blocked on a credit card cannot be used for other purposes.

Our rented car : a Peugeot 307 Break.
The car was as good a new and had only 6000km on it.
When making a full Madeira island tour you will drive about 700km.
The average speed will be about 35km/hour and the 4th gear will only be used on the Via Rapida.
It is advisable to select a powerful car to overcome the steep climbs.
Our Peugeot 307 did well enough but some more power would've been better... those steep climbs eh.

Tips when hiring a car.

  • Check the car carefully upon pickup.
  • The roads on Madeira are in good shape but it never hurts to check the spare tyre.
  • Especially in summer you should hire a car with airco.
  • Hire a car that has enough power. You need it on Madeira !
  • A Super CDW insurance is recommended. Not that Madeira is so very dangerous, but falling rocks are seen on the coast road and scratches or damaged mirrors are not an exception. And hey, it's your holiday ! Allow yourself to relax, don't get bugged by possible dammage to a car.
  • There are usually plenty of cars available, but surely, early bookers have the larger choice.