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Utah, AZ, NV trip....rent an SUV or convertible??? PLEASE VOTE.

Utah, AZ, NV trip....rent an SUV or convertible??? PLEASE VOTE.

Feb 23rd, 2009, 07:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 55
Utah, AZ, NV trip....rent an SUV or convertible??? PLEASE VOTE.

On another thread I asked about a trip that we are taking in early June from Vegas to Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon and Page, AZ.. I could rent an SUV or a mid-size convertable for the same rate.

My first thought was the SUV, but I'm sure the car rental policy forbids off-road travel (??)anyway so I'm not sure that it would be necessary. On the other hand I thought a convertable would be very cool in Bryce, Utah's route 12, driving down the Strip and once over Hoover Dam.

Any personal experience with a convertable on this itin?? (FYI...we drive a Honda Pilot at home and will be taking 2 boys 8 and 13.)
KenInPA is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 07:50 PM
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I'd vote for a full-size car. SUV is overkill for your trip and a convertible isn't that practical. You won't want the top down when it's sunny and hot which would be most of the time. Might make for somewhat better views but when your eyes are dried out from the wind it wouldn't matter much.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 03:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'd vote for a full-size car, too esp when considering how much luggage you will have for four people. In fact, mini vans are still my favorite trip vehicle. You might check into a one day rental of an SUV set up for offroading and go on an organized tour which the boys would probably love. Driving off-road alone in unfamiliar territory is not a good idea.
dfrostnh is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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As a Jeep owner and Utah resident, I vote for the SUV. You are correct that the rental policy forbids "off roading", but you shouldn't go out on something really tough on your own anyway. There are companies in Moab that will rent real off road vehicles, just for pick up and return in Moab.

However, the road to The Wave and many other roads in southern UT are graded, gravel roads that can be done safely in a rental 4x4. They do get washboarded and sometimes there is some sand, so a 4x4 is much better than a regular car.

I wouldn't recommend the convertible etiher, as the sun and wind just gets to be too much.
Dayle is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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A convertible car in the desert is usually a precursor to a really bad sunburn. I'd vote for the full-size car, and get one with a GOOD a/c system!
ChristieP is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 07:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Convertibles are fun for the first 15 mintues, then they are a pain.

1. Sunburn is a real threat.
2. Windburn is even more of a threat.
3. Can't have anything loose in the car- maps, snacks, etc.
4. The passengers in the back (the kids) get the worst of it.
5. Little trunk room in most convertibles. Probably not enough for 4 people and their stuff.
6. Theft is a big issue. Easy to stick a knife in the top, so all your stuff has to be locked in the trunk.

Get a full-sized car with A/C. 4WD is not necessary,but space is.
Placename is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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I get the idea about the convertible, we took ours from CT to Yellowstone and back and it was a kick to view all around without a roof in the way, of course the bison running 3 inches from the rear bumper with the top down, not so much. The thing about the heat is true, if it is above 85 degrees you would have to have the top up and the ac on or you would fry. Ours is a chrysler and there is room for two in back but not much room for a cooler and snacks with kids in the seats and trunk space is ok but not with gear for four.
emalloy is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 04:11 PM
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We rented a convertible when we went to Arches. With the top down there is very very little room in the trunk. I mean next to nothing. I would go for the SUV. I totally ignore rental car rules on the offroading. I wouldn't do anything extreme, but a lot of the roads are dirt and my insurance covers me anyway if anything were to happen. At worse case, you might have to pay a towing fee, which would be super steep if you got stuck in some really out of the way place.
spirobulldog is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 04:38 PM
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Thanks everyone. I would definitely need the trunk space. I realize that most of the time the top would be up but I thought the convertable would make some of the slower scenic drives (like Bryce) even more memorable. It's harder for those in the back seat to see out of most sedans vs. a van or SUV imo.
KenInPA is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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Driving through Bryce is beautiful, but in order to see down into the canyon, you must park and walk along the rim to the various view points. Better yet, hike into the canyon. Bryce is one place that should really be appreciated by looking down into, and up among the hoodoos!

One other comment: if you do a long drive on a dirt or gravel road, think about how far you might need to walk out in a worst case senario. There is NO cell phone coverage where there are no towers - and that means out into the desert and in most places inside the Natl Parks. Sometimes you can get coverage near the visitor's centers, but don't count even on that. So, if you go, take plenty of food and water and be very prepared. You can't always count on someone else coming along to help. Many of these areas are very remote.
Dayle is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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I think you may have the wrong impression of Bryce. The more scenic viewpoints aren't visible from the main road. The further south you drive the more you can see from the road, but that's beyond the main ampitheater and the classic views you see in photos.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 05:28 PM
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You're right, I did have the wrong idea about Bryce. Anyway, I think contertibles (finally I spelled it right) are better for 2 people anyway. I don't think the kids could see out the back windows very well when the top is up and the posts mention the luggage issue.

KenInPA is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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In June? I'd skip the convertible.
Get whatever will give you the most leg and luggage room.
Join the frequent renter program of the agency you are renting from. You'll save LOTS of time at check-in.
starrs is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 03:39 AM
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We always sent an SUV when traveling in southern Utah. We love taking backroads whenever possible and having the option of 4WD is really important to us. We always have a full cooler - we bring along a portable folding cooler in our luggage - and the Delorme Utah Gazetteer which provides detailed maps of all recreational sites throughout the area. We've found some incredible places off the beaten track through our backroad adventures. We strongly recommend an SUV. We've used Dollar Rental at LV airport and they've been excellent. Even joined their Fast track program and you don't have to wait in line. Great prices too - last trip we rented an SUV for 10 days for a little over $400. Great deal!
sharondi is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
No brainer...get an SUV. While you might not
go offroading, an SUV will allow you to travel
back (dirt) roads with confidence. A convertible
sounds like a good idea but isn't.

Here's some places a convertible wouldn't have
gotten us:







peterboy is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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We own a Yukon Denali and did the same trip last year. I would vote for the SUV with 4-wheel or all-wheel drive for the high clearance. Some of the roads we traveled were not paved, and in June last year we had to deal with snow in several locations. You might try to rent a SUV with a sunroof if you really feel the need for an open top.
Susan33 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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Peter - great photos! That must be your own website but it's one of the best photo galleries I've seen.

We always take a SUV to Southern Utah. The really good stuff is off the main roads.
Supercilious is offline  
Feb 28th, 2009, 01:01 AM
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We rented an SUV (Nissan Rogue) last year for our AZ/UT/NM trip and were really glad we did. Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Moki Dugway and through the Bears Ears near Natural Arches are just some of the reasons we're glad we had it! We didn't go off road as such, (well except for a bit near Mexican Hat rock) but certainly took more dirt roads than we otherwise would have. And lets face it any car rental company hiring a 4WD SUV in that area realises it isn't going to stay on the paved roads!
hetismij is offline  
Mar 4th, 2009, 03:45 AM
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For future reference. There is a place in Moab that rents Jeep Wranglers. They allow offroad use. So there is your Offroading, your SUV and your Top Off without the hassles of loosing trunk space. They rent 2 door and 3 door models. Of course, the doors come off as well.
spirobulldog is offline  
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