When it comes to your car rental in Iceland, 4x4s are by far the best vehicle to choose. After all, they are like the heavyweight champions of the vehicle world ? bigger, more powerful, and much more agile than meager hatchbacks, coupes, and other 2WDs.
A 4x4 or "four-wheel drive" is a two-axle vehicle that allows the transmission to provide torque to all four wheels which creates greater traction on the road. An invaluable feature to have on our vehicle on an Icelandic road trip where everything from adverse weather conditions to tough terrain can pose challenges on your route.
To help you find your answer, we have created a list of the benefits of a 4WD car rental as opposed to a 2WD car rental in Iceland. Whilst some benefits are fairly obvious, others might surprise you and better still, give you a greater insight into what it's like to go on an adventurous Iceland road trip.
1. 4x4s provide better traction for all weather conditions
4x4s are designed to have better traction on all four wheels allowing the vehicle greater control. This comes particularly useful in a country with drastically changing seasons and unpredictable weather. Iceland is relatively sunny and calm in the height of the summer. Autumn winter, and spring, however, can bring everything from strong winds to heavy rainfall, fog, snow, and ice.
Of course, weather conditions heavily influence driving abilities ? especially on Icelandic roads. Although the quality of the roads is good in Iceland, many of them are highly remote and lack roadside facilities, making them risky to drive on in bad weather.As 4x4s are much more resilient in harsh climates, they provide the extra sense of control you need as a driver navigating unfamiliar roads in poor weather conditions. In heavy rain, 4x4s are much less likely to experience hydroplaning than two-wheel drives. And if you hit a patch of ice, you can be sure they will do a better job at maintaining control and allowing you to pass over it safely.
2. 4x4s are more enjoyable to drive in Iceland
Overall, Iceland's road conditions are excellent, particularly on the main tourist routes like the Golden Circle and Route 1. That said, it is a rugged, mountainous, and largely uninhabited country. This means some roads are narrow, steep, and winding, and there can be 100 miles between towns and villages.
Exploring Iceland in a 2WD is akin to climbing a mountain in flip-flops. Sure, it's doable, but it's going to be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and inefficient. A 4x4 rental in Iceland, on the other hand, is a luxurious hiking boot that will allow you to climb bigger and better mountains than flip-flops ever could. In other words, it's much easier to navigate them in a 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser GX than a Toyota Yaris.
Plus, it's actually illegal to drive in some parts of Iceland without a 4x4. Why you ask?
Well, the reason being that Iceland protects unmarked land by law to salvage and keep Icelandic nature unspoiled. Driving through unmarked path can leave damages that can take decades to heal. We love our country as it is and would love to keep it that way.
3. 4x4s have exclusive access to F-roads
Since much of Iceland's population resides around its coast, central Iceland (the Highlands) is largely uninhabited. As a result, access to the region is limited as roads are few and far between. What's more, they are almost as wild and unkept as the landscape surrounding them. Due to their rugged nature (think muddy patches and unabridged rivers), they have been categorised as F-roads (meaning mountain roads) and come with their own set of road rules. One such rule is: F-roads can only be accessed with 4x4 vehicles. So, not only is it dangerous to drive on F-roads with a 2WD, it's technically illegal.
But why opt to drive on potentially hazardous roads that lead to the middle of nowhere? Well, although driving on F-roads isn't quite the same as off-roading, it has the same appeal. Driving along the loose gravel, up steep hills, and through shallow rivers can be as exciting as it is challenging for those that love to lean into the adventure. As a reward for their commitment to the challenge, brave drivers will get to experience the raw and unfiltered beauty of Iceland that those sticking to its main roads never could.
4. 4x4s prioritize comfort and space
4x4s are generally bigger than two-wheel drives which means they can offer more space and comfort. Wider seats, more legroom, and a generous space for bags or luggage are just some of the perks. Whether you're just planning on driving for a couple of hours from Reykjavik to Thingvellir National Park or all the way along the Atlantic Coast Way, these things are key to an enjoyable journey. They allow you to concentrate on watching the scenery from your window and absorbing the country's majestic atmosphere rather than being preoccupied with fights over who gets the armrest.
Besides, driving around Iceland isn't just a mode of transport for sightseeing, it's an experience in and of itself. It allows you to connect with the country on a more personal real level. However, it's only a rewarding experience if you feel comfortable enough in it to properly explore. This is especially important for families considering car rental in Iceland because 2WDs can feel real cramped real quick if there are three or more people onboard.
5. 4x4s allow you to enjoy elevated views
Elevate your Icelandic road trip experience with elevated views. It sounds like such a simple and insignificant aspect of 2WD vs 4WD driving, but the difference it can make to your trip is huge. As we mentioned, driving isn't just about reaching a destination in Iceland, it's an experience. Each journey promises captivating views of the country's varying landscapes from rugged rolling hills to deep valleys, and vast seas. Hitched up a foot or two in a 4x4, you can enjoy these views at an advantageous angle.
Renting a 2WD in Iceland instead is like buying upper dress circle seats at the theatre; the seats are cheaper, but the experience isn't nearly as impactful as the experience promised by the stalls. And since most of your time on the road will be spent looking out of the window, why not make sure the views are the best you can get?
6. 4x4s have improved fuel consumption
One of the biggest drawbacks 4x4s are often reputed to have is high fuel consumption, which makes them expensive to run. However, this is actually somewhat of a myth! The development of new technologies in recent years, particularly with hybrid engines, has enabled 4x4s to become almost equally as fuel efficient as hatchbacks and other small 2WDs.
Since Iceland4x4Rental's range of 4x4s are mostly 2021 models, we want you to be able to choose to hire one of the most fuel-efficient of its kind on the road today. Even if you do spend a bit more on fuel by choosing a 4x4 over a 2WD, the greater power and performance it provides on Iceland's epic roads makes it more than worthwhile.
7. 4x4s provide an extra sense of safety
While 4x4s have many performance-based benefits like agility and adaptability, their greatest benefit is actually safety. Because of this agility and adaptability they possess, 4x4s are likely to perform better. This is particularly important when it comes to driving safely and avoiding accidents. Whether it's driving through heavy rain and flooded roads or coming to an emergency stop, 4x4s have the ability to react more effectively than a 2WD because each tire has traction.
Example of a 4x4 that is a very popular Iceland Car Rental option is the Land Cruiser, which has received a 5 star safety rating.
Although Iceland isn't known for its heavy accident-prone traffic, its roads do pose a few dangers including adverse weather conditions, tough terrain, sharp bends, and free-roaming wildlife. Hopefully, these dangers won't have any consequences for your road trip, but if they do, it's better to be in the safest car possible. A 4x4 rental Iceland will give you peace of mind when navigating the unknown.
8. Renting a 4x4 in Iceland is more affordable than you think!
It may surprise you to know the price difference between a 2WD and 4WD car rental in Iceland is much smaller than most people initially think, especially considering all the extra benefits the 4WD offers.
This is why we are passionate about providing you with a 4x4 for your epic Icelandic road trip. We provide a full range of 4x4s to suit all needs from the easy-going Toyota Yaris Cross to the mean and mighty Luxury Toyota Land Cruiser.