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Rental Car vs. SUV

Southern California
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Rental Car vs. SUV

We like to venture on our own - do we need to rent a SUV to get to certain areas to go hiking, etc? What about the volcanos?

Island of Hawaii...
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1. Re: Rental Car vs. SUV

No, you don't. Even if you rent a 4X4 your rental contract will forbid you to go off road (unless you rent from Harpers.) As a visitor, there are only two places where you would need a 4X4: Waipio Valley and Mauna Kea Summit. Nobody should go to the Waipio Valley except by an organized tour, and you can drive up to the Visitor Center of the Mauna Kea in a regular car. If you want to go to the summit they have tours there too.

Portland, OR
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2. Re: Rental Car vs. SUV

SophJ,

I second TT’s recommendation. There isn’t anywhere on the island you can legally drive your SUV to that you cannot drive a rental car. I usually recommend getting the smallest car your party will comfortably fit in, with luggage. Mostly due to the high cost of fuel in Hawaii. Priceline or Hotwire the car that meets your need and save the $$ for tours or dining out.

Good luck and happy travels!

3. Re: Rental Car vs. SUV

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Island of Hawaii...
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7,943 posts
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4. Re: Rental Car vs. SUV

Well, it's up to you, but remember, should anything happen to your car while you are in violation of your rental contract it's you who is responsible and will have to foot the bill. I think it was HD who posted about a guy who ended up with a $14,000 bill after crashing/damaging his rental car where he was not supposed to drive.

Palm Springs...
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5. Re: Rental Car vs. SUV

dasyodt. what a wonderful , mature and responsible. attitude you have. Visitors to our island who display such caring earn a special place in our hearts .

TT is right there are many roads ... all non paved roads to be exact, Wiapio, Mauna Kea Green sand beach, to name afew.

I drive a special modified 4x4 truck, with skid plates lockers; 23 inches of body clearance oversize tires. and find a lot of places pretty interesting.......You are not going to be able to rent anything like that here...... any yes some of those roads are not as bad as youve been told.... they are ,in most cases ,worse...

Green sand beach road eats the stock 4x4 toys that venture there same with the Kohala coast beaches too .... and yes you will have to buy the SUV, cash or wire transfer, before you leave the island its the law here.

Your tires scored on the lava betray your scorn for the rules and hey whats $1200 added to the bill for tires...chump change and your insurance is not going to bail you out since you were in violation of law and contract........

Only HARPER PERMITS YOU TO DRIVE SOME ROADS.. FOR OVER $100 A DAY . it is a waste of money to get a suv they are all set up for driving on city streets than may get a little slippery... not raw lava roads

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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6. Re: Rental Car vs. SUV

Excellent replies, TT and Hawaiidan! There seem to be some people who have the mistaken idea that they can drive just about anywhere even when it is prohibited by car rental contracts. I guess they are in the market to "buy" a very poorly used SUV while they are on the Big Island.

To the original poster, I work for one of the car rental companies and would suggest that you rent something that is as close to the size and model of vehicle as you normally drive. If you really want to do some adventure tourism, go with one of the organized tour groups. There are several good ones on the Big Island. Or just be prepared to hike a bit farther so as not to void your car rental contract.

7. Re: Rental Car vs. SUV

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