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Do I really need a 4X4 car for my travel?

Hi,
We are planning a two weeks travel in Iceland in July.
Below is the itinerary.
The price for 4X4 is much higher than on a regular car.
I am not planning on F-Roads, unless if I have to.
Do I really need a 4X4 car?
I wanted to visit Landmannalaugar, but I understand that will have to skip it if I don't have 4X4.
Plan:
Keflavík  Selfoss Kálfafell Höfn Egilsstaðir Mývatn Akureyri Sauðárkrókur Hólmavík  Patreksfjörður Grundarfjorour ​​​​​​​Snæfellsnes  Thanks in advance.

Posted by
2142 posts

I would grr a 4x4. We have rented those on every trip and only once have wee done the F roads. I like these because they have a higher clearance which is really nice to have on anything once you get off of the ring road. Just going from the ring road to a site is often times a rough gravel road, and that extra clearance can be especially nice. One example off the top of my head is getting to Dettifoss on the east side. We had a Land Cruiser and I cannot imagine making that drive in anything less. We are headed back again this summer mainly for the Westfjords and everyone I checked with said a 4x4 hands down for there, FWIW.

Posted by
437 posts

Well, from another perspective, I've been to Iceland twice and both times I rented what was bascially a matchbox on wheels, definitely not a 4x4. Both times I was based in Reykjavik and did lengthy day trips, along the south coast to Vik, and up the west coast out to the tip of the Snaefellsness Peninsula.
The only time I might have needed a 4x4 was when we drove to Kleifarvatn Lake, which is near Reyjavik. There was a stretch that was a gravel road, then it turned to paved along the lake. We just went slowly along the gravel part.
Actually, now that I think about it, the car I rented on my first trip was a Toyota Yaris and there was a sticker on the dash that said it was okay to drive on F roads. I remember being quite suprised. The Yaris is very small.
So unless you are planning to ford rivers, you can probably get away with not having a 4x4.

Posted by
707 posts

We had a Dacia Duster SUV (not 4x4) for our Ring Road trip. It was fine on gravel roads and we even did a bit of an F-road because the first part didn't look too bad. My husband is experienced in driving off road in the Colorado mountains, if that matters.

Someone mentioned the east side of Detifoss. We took the west side and it is paved the whole way.

Posted by
272 posts

I have rented three different cars in Iceland, in September and in December. In September, I rented a non-4x4 vehicle to drive the Ring Road. I don't remember the model, though I believe it was an Opel. I had no issues with traveling the Ring Road with it, but I certainly didn't veer off onto any obscure side roads.

My biggest issue was coming up over a hill and nearly running into sheep in the middle of the road, which happened a few times. The car never gave me any problems.

Posted by
90 posts

Just generally wondering what kind of condition the rental vehicles are in when picking them up. Do most folks get the insurance from the rental agency?

Posted by
2142 posts

We have rented from Blue three times so far, and so far the cars have all been in excellent condition when we picked them up as well as when we dropped them off. We do opt for the full insurance through Blue as I just don't want any surprises and don't want the hassle of suing our cc insurance overseas. There are too many things like sand and ash etc in Iceland for us to not for anything less than full coverage, but that is just our comfort level and yours may be different.

Posted by
707 posts

Jean, we also rent through Blue (nice cars) and we always get their full insurance. The extra protection for sand and ash and whatever may get wind-blown is worth it.

Posted by
1501 posts

My rental car was a Subaru Outback. We traveled the ring road and went through Westfjords. We were on dirt and gravel roads. The car did everything we needed. I wouldn't have wanted to drive a car any larger due to the narrow roads.

Posted by
3392 posts

You don't need a 4x4 since there is no reason you would have to go on F roads. I usually get a Dacia Duster all-wheel drive for some of the gravel highways I end up on in the northwest. A regular rental car is totally fine as most things aren't too far off the highway and, at worst, have a gravel parking lot. It's fine.

Posted by
7566 posts

July makes a huge difference, too. Most of the year, I’d want 4-wheel drive, even for good, paved roads. But in July, not required. I’m glad we had a 4x4 Chevy on our trip in April a few years ago.

Posted by
15 posts

For sure if you visit Landmannalauger, There's clearly posted signage that delineate the "F" roads and the all the laws violated if you are not in a 4X4. There's some pretty good river crossings going in and out if you take the other way out. We rented a 4X4 Dacia Duster diesel and I was up to the top of the hood in water four times on a two week 1,800 mile trip all around Iceland. While driving the "F" roads we encountered about 10-12 river crossings.

Posted by
158 posts

We drove the ring road plus 5 days in the westfjords last summer in a campervan (not 4x4). You do not need a 4x4 unless you really want to get on the F roads. There were long stretches in the westfjords where it wasn't paved but pretty smooth.

The worst roads for us were: drive down to Thakgil campsite (clearance might've helped a bit but a 4x4 wasn't needed), road to Latrabjarg (road was OK but scary because it's super narrow and you're driving next to a cliff) and Melanes campground (similar to Thakgil).