DrivingRental CarsExplore Iceland in Comfort with a Standard SUV
A person standing beside a Hyundai Tucson rental car in Iceland.

Explore Iceland in Comfort with a Standard SUV

It can sometimes be overwhelming to rent a car in Iceland since there are so many options to consider. Some vehicles are allowed on Iceland’s mountainous roads while others are better for driving on paved routes. There are so many attractions to road trip to in Iceland, thanks to its astonishing scenery and volcanic landscape!

We are going to let you know when you should rent a standard SUV. Then we will talk about standard SUV examples and our top picks for SUV rental vehicles! That way you can feel confident at the rental counter when arriving in the land and fire of ice.

What is a Standard SUV?

A Standard SUV is a rental vehicle that has seating for 5 passengers or more. They are also known for their large trunk spaces, great for holding luggage and gear.

Back trunk of the SUV Toyota in Iceland

This is the most popular rental vehicle for groups, or those in smaller groups seeking extra luggage space. One of the biggest perks of renting a Standard SUV is being able to drive them on rougher terrain.

Is a Standard SUV a 4x4?

Simply put, no, a standard SUV is not always a 4X4 Vehicle. Some SUVs only have 2WD and we will go over those later. But first, let’s talk about why having a 4X4 is different from a 2WD.

A 4X4 vehicle is a car that has four-wheel drive and a drivetrain system that directly powers all 4 wheels. This helps with off-roading and driving on rough terrain. 4X4 vehicles also have twice the traction of a 2WD car.

You may also hear the term AWD, which means all-wheel drive. This does count as a 4X4 vehicle. The difference between AWD and 4WD is that AWD is typically always on.

You can toggle between having 4WD on and off. Either way, you are safer in either of these in tough road conditions than you would be in a 2WD.

When to Rent a Standard SUV?

Do you need a Standard SUV for your Iceland road trip? Here are some reasons why you should rent a Standard SUV or SUV 4X4 vehicle.

Driving F-Roads

You are allowed to drive Iceland’s F-Roads with a 4X4 vehicle, which is just another perk of driving SUV 4X4 vehicles.

An F-Road is a mountain road that has rugged terrain, this includes dirt or gravel tracks. The “F” in F-Road comes from the word FJall, which translates to the mountain in Icelandic.

F-roads are usually open during the summer months only. They close in the winter months, thanks to heavy snow and icy conditions.

But F-Roads will bring you to some of Iceland’s must-see attractions. Such as the Icelandic Highlands and remote peninsulas. This includes the serene area of Kjölur, which is home to the Hveravellir Hot Spring. You can reach this area by driving F35, a great road for beginners.

There is a map of F-roads you can use, to know where they are located before your road trip. That way you can be prepared and know what to expect.

Detailed map of all F-roads in Iceland

We recommended saving a list of gas stations along your route and filling it up ahead of time. A lot of F-roads have no shops or gas stations in sight for miles and miles.

If you plan to drive on any of these roads, you have to rent an SUV 4X4 Vehicle. Not only is it dangerous, but it is also illegal to drive an F-Road without a 4X4 Vehicle.

All Year Round

You can drive a standard SUV in Iceland any time of the year!. Weather is always changing in Iceland, but here is what you can expect.

Winter: December, January, and February

When planning a winter trip to Iceland, it is essential to rent an SUV vehicle. January is known to be the snowiest month in Iceland, with February not too far behind. You do get more daylight hours in February, but there is not enough warmth to quickly melt the snow.

Visiting during any of these months will require snow, ice, participation, and more. If you plan to stay around Reykjavik you could get either an SUV 4X4 or an SUV 2WD. Both will still be good in the snow near the city.

A Dacia Duster driving in winter in Iceland

Spring: March, April & May

Although March marks the beginning of spring, it is still considered Iceland’s winter season. However, as the month progresses, temperatures may gradually rise. When May comes around,  temperatures begin to feel like Spring.

May can still have some issues at the beginning of the month. Towards the end of the month, the weather gets warmer and snow is normally melted. This does mean river crossings can be more dangerous though, due to flowing water. So be careful when exploring F-Roads with your standard SUV.

Summer:  June, July & August

This time of the year is one of the best times to visit Iceland’s top tourist attractions. It is also the busiest time to travel to Iceland.

Thanks to the country’s long daylight hours, you will have more to explore. A 2WD SUV is okay to drive in the summer, as long as you are staying on paved roads.

A 4x4 is better to drive in the summer if you want to explore Iceland’s F-Roads. This is just one of the reasons why it is a popular season for Iceland SUV tours! This is also when roads to Icelandic highlights are open, an area that provides endless hiking trails and campgrounds.

Fall: September, October & November

Fall is similar to summer when planning a road trip through Iceland. There will not be a ton of snow yet, but the days will begin to get shorter.

Occasionally, the snow may arrive earlier than expected, causing roads to become icy. Nevertheless, autumn generally boasts delightful weather.

It's worth noting that in October, remote areas such as the Highlands or Eastern Iceland may have road closures.

For The Camping Lovers

If you plan on camping in Iceland a standard SUV is perfect for your Iceland road trip.

Especially if you are heading to campgrounds in Þórsmörk or The Highlands, a 4X4 vehicle is necessary. Not only can these roads be rough, but you may even find yourself on an F-Road.

In addition to being able to handle rough roads, standard SUVs are also good for their trunk space. That means all of your camping gear and sleep bags will be easily accessible for you during your overnight trip.

If you want to camp in Southern Iceland, book a site at Skógar Campsite. Enjoy the views of the massive Skógarfoss Waterfall, which will be just steps away from your rental car.

Panoramic view over camping site with orange tent, and tourists in front of famous Skogafoss waterfall, while hiking in Iceland, summer, scenic view.

Camping in Vatnajökull National Park is another gorgeous option. Skaftafell Campground is open all year long, so you could even do winter camping and see the Northern Lights from here.

Research if your campground is located off of a paved road or a dirt road. If you have to take any gravel roads be sure to get a 4X4 Standard SUV for your journey.

Those Wanting Extra Space

If you are traveling with a small group and need extra space, a standard SUV is a great option.

Some of us are over-packers and we understand why. So that extra luggage space can make or break your road trip through the country. Standard SUVs have bigger trunk space than small or midsize vehicles.

You will also need a place to store your hiking boots, towels, and other adventure supplies.

Extra space in your rental car also means you can buy more souvenirs during your travels too! The last thing you want is to be overcrowded and uncomfortable.

Did we mention that Standard SUVs also provide more legroom? Another perk of riding in comfort.

Subaru XV on an F-road in Iceland showing its back trunk space

Ideal For Longer Road Trips

Comfort is key when driving around Iceland, especially on longer road trips. Iceland has so many routes for you to drive and most are perfect to drive with a standard SUV.

If you are planning on driving Ring Road, get a standard SUV for your trip. Not only will you have plenty of room for your luggage but you will also have room for snacks and water.

Planning on driving the Diamond Circle or the Golden Circle? These trips can be done in one day, but we think you should make a weekend trip out of them instead. Taking an SUV road trip through Iceland is recommended since you can pack your camping supplies or luggage easily.

Another tip is packing a reusable cooler for long road trips. You can grab some prepared sandwiches and snacks from local Icelandic restaurants along your way.

Stocking up on water is a great idea too, since some of Iceland’s must-see attractions are in isolated areas. Besides, Iceland’s water is delicious! So you will be happy that you did.

Standard SUVs are known for their comfort too! Some offer luxurious seats and extra room for your legs to stretch out.

Best Standard SUVs

There are so many vehicle options when it comes to Standard SUVs in Iceland. From solo travel to family-friendly SUVs in Iceland, we have got you covered!

Here are some of our favorite picks for you to choose from.

Dacia Duster

One of our most popular Standard SUV rental cars is the Dacia Duster! This Standard SUV is a 4X4 vehicle and is allowed on Iceland’s F-Roads. This vehicle can fit up to 5 people, as well as 2 large bags and 1 small bag.

It is popular due to its affordability, spaciousness, and reliability when taking a road trip through Iceland. Its 4WD capabilities make it well-suited to traverse icy roads during winter

The Dacia Duster is a fantastic budget standard SUV, thanks to its fuel efficiency.

Dacia Duster SUV crossing a river in an F-road in Iceland surrounded by mountain

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is a Standard SUV, great for any time of the year. Its powerful 4-wheel drive system allows you to explore Iceland's rugged terrain with ease and confidence.

This vehicle is recommended for over-packers since the Forester has a spacious trunk capacity. This Iceland rental car can fit 5 large bags, so bring as much as you need.

The Subaru Forester is allowed on F-roads in Iceland, but it's important to remember that off-road driving is illegal in Iceland.

A subaru Forester SUV driving a F-road in a rugged terrain in Iceland

Land Rover Discovery Sport

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is an amazing standard SUV, built for adventures. Its advanced all-wheel-drive system makes it one of the Best SUVs for Icelandic roads

This standard SUV  has been designed to handle any terrain, varying from paved highways to rocky and uneven F-roads.

This rental car can fit 5 passengers comfortably. It also has room for 3 large and 2 small bags, so everyone's luggage will fit just fine. This vehicle is allowed on Iceland’s F-Roads too!

For a limited time, this vehicle comes with limited 4G Wifi, for free!

Land Rover Discovery Sport parked during Icelandic sunset

Dacia Jogger

Another great Standard SUV rental is the Dacia Jogger. This vehicle can fit up to 7 passengers comfortably.

The luggage space in the back of the vehicle only fits one bag. But the Dacia Jogger also comes with a 330L roof box that fits 2-3 bags or a maximum of 75 kg.

Roof boxes are a lifesaver if you are planning on camping or hiking during your travels.

A grey Dacia Jogger parked in Iceland with a roof box

The Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is one of our top luxury SUV Iceland rental cars.  It has a 4-wheel drive system that offers different modes for each terrain. That means it's great on both rough gravel roads and snowy conditions.

This standard SUV can fit 5 passengers and has great luggage space. In fact, you can fit 4 large bags and 2 small bags in this spacious vehicle.

Land Rover Defender on a scenic road

Suzuki Jimny

The Suzuki Jimny is a 4WD F-road mini SUV. It has quickly become one of the best rental cars in the world! It is most recommended for those going on Iceland’s F-Roads or hard-to-reach destinations.

It is equipped with a new and more powerful 1500cc engine that can produce 102hp. Developing that extra bit of torque when you need it.

This rental car is best for two people. It also has plenty of luggage space for you and your crew.

Off-roading in Iceland is illegal. But don’t worry there are plenty of adventurous locations in Iceland that you can safely explore.

The Suzuki Jimny 4x4 in an Icelandic landscape

Suzuki Vitara

A standard SUV that can hold 5 passengers and 3 bags is the Suzuki Vitara! This universal vehicle is a great option for exploring Iceland's wild terrain.

It is also very stylish and has advanced ALLGRIP 4-wheel drive technology. So feel free to head to Iceland’s highlands with this bad boy!

You can view our entire fleet of SUVs here. If you are interested in our 4X4 SUV rental examples, check out our guide.

Red Suzuki Vitara on a paved road

Other Rental Car Types

If you don’t think a standard SUV is the right pick for you, don’t worry! Go Car Rental has a variety of rental car types for you to choose from. Here are our different categories.


Our small rental cars are a terrific option for those not traveling with a group. Or if you are heading to Iceland solo or as a couple. We also offer a variety of fuel-efficient rental cars. Which can help you save money on gas during your Iceland road trip.


If you want a smaller ride that is still comfortable and spacious, you can rent a midsize vehicle. You'll have plenty of legroom and space for your gear and snacks. This type of car is perfect for medium-sized groups.


Are you traveling with a large group or family? We got you covered. At Go Car Rental Iceland, we have spacious minivans with 9, 8, and 7-seater vehicles available.

You can even visit some of our favorite family-friendly destinations in Iceland!

If you are searching for a specific type of vehicle, you can reach out to our team for assistance!

Frequently Asked Questions

To answer any remaining queries, here are some frequently asked questions about driving in Iceland.

Is it difficult to drive in Iceland?

No, Iceland is an easy country to drive in. Not only are the roads well taken care of, but the routes are built for tourism. Popular roads such as the Golden Circle and Ring Road are easy to drive.

What time of year is best to drive around Iceland?

Summer is the best time to travel through Iceland. Not only is the snow melted and the roads cleared, but you also get more daylight hours. That means you can hike all day instead of fighting the sunset early.

Can you drive in Iceland with a US license?

Yes, you can! A European, Canadian, or American driver's license is accepted when driving in Iceland.

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