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Iceland road classifications and 4x4 vs 2WD

I will be in Iceland in August.
I see F4 roads mentioned a lot and that they are only passable with 4x4.
Aside from good advice, is that a legal requirement or a rental requirement or both?
Is that what F4 means? Is there F1, F2, F3 also and do they have requirements?
Does that mean the 4x4 vehicle should be like a truck or large SUV with substantial extra ground clearance or is a small 4WD like a Subaru Impreza OK?
I am especially interested in getting to the Valley Of Tears.
Thanks in advance.

Posted by
6365 posts

This must be an extreme case, but a New Yorker (has a fact-checking department) article on the Iceland Rescue Service (not an article on tourism, per se) said they have an internal expression, "death by GPS." The reference is to "poor" computer directions leading to unpaved dead ends in brutal, low-visibility storms, not to all road conditions.

Posted by
498 posts

F roads are specifically for 4 wheel drive vehicles. Some have river crossings that can be dangerous.

The TripAdvisor Iceland forum has some very knowledgeable locals who can answer all your questions about F roads.

Posted by
3380 posts

F roads are not passable except with 4x4 vehicles. It's not just dirt roads; it's roads with huge ruts and gulleys as well as river crossings. No Subarus! :) You should also have experience driving these types of vehicles in exposed, difficult conditions. Being rescued in Iceland is not something you want to have happen. That said, many of the "highways" are dirt, especially in the northern and far northeastern part of Norway. You can do those roads with a regular car, but they are best done with an all-wheel drive like a Dacia Duster.

Posted by
1198 posts

You need to check with the rental car company as to what they allow on F roads. A Subaru Impreza would NOT cut it, even though it is a 4WD. I honestly wouldn't take a RAV 4 either, which we have rented on two other trips there. We had a Land Cruiser on one of our trips and that is allowed, by Blue Rental Cars at least. The rental car websites are very clear about which vehicles are allowed, so check there.