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Recommendations for Rental Vehicle for Tahoe

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My family of 4 will be headed to Tahoe, flying into Sacramento next month. I think a full size SUV is the right choice for a rental but I really don't know if a smaller SUV will be large enough to hall us, our gear and luggage to and from the airport. The main reason I'm thinking SUV is for AWD.  I really don't want to rent a ski rack and was hoping to load my skis inside, 186 the longest. I am totally ignorant of makes, model and sizes of SUVs owning family sedans and station wagons. Recommendations please.

post #2 of 10

Full size SUV would make the ski vacation much nicer.  For a trip to Tahoe a few years ago, my ski buddy and I had a small SUV.  Fine for 2 people but even three would've been complicated.


The Ford Explorer is considered Standard while the Expedition is Full-size.  With the Expedition, putting skis of any length inside is pretty easy.  Along with a driver (me) and three 6-foot guys.  I know because that's what happened a couple years ago for a trip to SLC.  Did a low-cost upgrade at the airport, partially because was a chance of going to Snowbasin with four 6-foot passengers.  For a family of 4 who packs light, an Explorer is possible but more complicated for the ski gear.

post #3 of 10

For sure you'll want 4 wheel drive just in case you run into a storm and chain control.  With a family of 4, assuming that you're kids are bigger, a full size SUV will be a bit roomier, but something like the GMC Terrain can make due if they(you) don't mind being squeezed a bit for the 1 1/2 hr drive from Sacramento. 

Personally, I'd get a Yukon or something of the like. 


Out of curiosity, why aren't you flying into Reno? 

post #4 of 10
Depends on level of comfort you ate used to and the amount if stuff you bring. A full size will definitely be more comfortable, but you can fit 4 in a compact too. I hailed 4 people and skis in a Corolla, but was before I got older and lazier. 4wd is a good idea if there is snowin the forecast, otherwise it's not necessary.
post #5 of 10

If you try reserving an SUV, but also find a much cheaper fullsize regular car or station wagon, you could try reserving both and then follow the weather. You might be able to save some pretty big bucks by dropping the SUV at the last minute if weather is clear.  For insurance you could buy a cheap set of chains from a place like Pep Boys in Sacramento, returnable if unused at end of trip.  In my case, a two week rental, it saved me about $1000.  Sending PM with details on my recent experiences.

post #6 of 10

Sometimes an all wheel drive minivan is less expensive. 

post #7 of 10

I like mini vans for ski trips.  The AWD ones are killer and even the FWD have the engine over the front wheels, so they handle pretty well.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

AWD minivan sounds intriguing. For the past decade  when I skied out west it was the Cottonwoods. I always found the best deal I could on larger car with a split seat and just crammed them in for the short drive to lodging. Once the suit cases were unloaded there was just enough space. Usually stayed in town and took the bus if the weather was beyond the capabilities of the car. It's happen to me a few time, more often the FWD car does me fine.


TC, we can fly into Sacramento  free using points and have almost enough points left for the vehicle. Reno would cost me cash.


Thanks all.

post #9 of 10

You need to check expedia etc everyday.  I just left Tahoe and while the midsize SUV was anywhere from $700-$1100 most times I checked, we ended up finding a deal for $337 for 11 days while a full size  was $560.  That deal only existed for about 10hrs total, so keep checking.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks JG. I learned all about how deals seem to vanish. It happened to me while in the middle of booking flights. Before I could complete the booking, the fare on the return flight went up. mad.gif

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