do you need a 4WD/SUV in alaska?

Old Mar 7th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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do you need a 4WD/SUV in alaska?

we have a 2 week trip planned in June and I'm not sure if we'll need a 4WD for our trip - Anchorage to Homer then to Whittier - Valdez ( Thompson's Pass) then Glen Highway to Talkeetna and back to Anchorage. We're not planning any really rugged stuff and not sure if this question is a bit naive but just noticed that all the 4WD were booked.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 03:44 AM
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I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for two years, and if your trip is in June, you should be fine without a 4WD. The only times you would need a 4WD would be in the winter as in areas outside of the Anchorage area a lot of the secondary roads aren't plowed.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 04:01 AM
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You definitely do not need 4WD for the roads you are going to drive on. However, if there are more than four of you with lots of luggage than you may want to rent 4WD for your comfort
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 06:06 AM
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We rented a Durango for 4 adults -- it worked great. Alaska is big and you do spend a lot of time driving in the vehicle so by all means go for comfort and ease of view. You will fit right in -- see most locals driving pickups/SUVs. You should get a full size spare tire -- many of the newer car rentals and minivans come with the mini-tire. We had to use our spare twice and were glad we had a full size tire to drive the nearest tire repair. We did drive on the Denali Hwy and McCarthy Road and had to pay Thrifty (they were very nice by the way) for a new tire which was covered by our insurance. Also, we were pleasantly surprised that the cost of gasoline was less than our Midwest prices.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 06:33 AM
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We had a mid size car last May/June, and it worked great. We didn't drive the Denali Hwy, however. We, too, were surprised that gas was not more expensive . . . it was a little higher than home, but not much. Enjoy your trip! ;-)
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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We did just fine with a borrowed clunker. I think it was a 1987 Buick station wagon. FYI the really rugged stuff requires a modified 4X4 (lift kit, bigger tires and a winch or at least tow points).
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 03:34 AM
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thanks everyone - reassuring to hear that a regular car will do the job - gas is sure to be cheaper than it is here in Australia - currently $1 USD per litre!
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Absolutely not, you don't need a 4WD. Even in the winter, I did fine with a Ford Focus.
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