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Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:44 pm
by Ahmad
Hi Everyone,

First of all, this is a great website, my fiance and I have been able to plan our entire honeymoon based on this website and these forums!

I did however have one question regarding which type of vehicle to rent out. It seems the Suzuki 4x4s are out of favour being cars with less durability. What would you people recommend as a good/trusted vehicle that can take the brunt of some off-roading along with the potholes here and there? Saloons have been suggested but are they good enough for whatever off-roading needs to be done on the island?

Thank you all!

Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:01 pm
by Steve Wooler
Hi Ahmed

Welcome aboard and thanks for your kind words. :)

For many visitors, the idea of whirling around the island in an open-top jeep-type vehicle is the ultimate experience. The problem is that the only affordable soft-tops were the Suzuki Samurai/Jimny breed of SUV and they haven't been made for many years. Also, bear in mind that MOST of the rental vehicles on Tobago are roll-on-roll-off used cars shipped over from the Far East - so they were 2-3 years old when shipped as 'new' to Tobago. In my experience, vehicles described as 'latest model' are invariably at least 5 years old compared to the rest of the world.

The hard-top SUVs are still a very popular choice with visitors. There's a lot to be said for touring in a higher vehicle, both from a sightseeing viewpoint and from the driving perspective. However, these SUVs tend to have much stiffer suspension so don't give as comfortable a ride as saloons/sedans, in my experience. The roads have improved hugely in recent years and frankly, my choice is for the comfort of a saloon every time. You mention off-roading. Be warned: the vehicle insurance will NOT cover you for 'off-roading'. The moment you leave the public highway, you are technically off-roading and if the vehicle breaks, you could be in for high recovery and repair costs.

In truth, while driving around the island, I have an almost compulsive need to see where roads I'm not familiar with go, so I am always experimenting and looking for those 'secret shortcuts'. For the last 5-6 years I have used a Nissan Tiida on most trips to Tobago and can count the number of times I wished I had a 4x4 on one hand.

So, I guess it is a matter of personal preference. :)

Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:42 pm
by Ahmad
Thank you Steve!

While I particularly like exploring, I have no particular fascination with either a soft-top or 4x4. Honestly I'm not even sure by what off-roading in Tobago means. I read it being mentioned repeatedly so for the sake of covering my grounds inquired about a good off-road vehicle. I do want to explore the island but I doubt I would see a clearing in the forest and say 'hey! lets try to steamroll our way through there' I would rather get out of my car and and trek the way through. For me off roading would simply mean getting to a certain place/beach/point-of-interest which has a pathway but not particularly paved with a road. Maybe just rocks and gravel. Again, I'm not familiar with the terrain at all in Tobago so it may seem like I do not know what I'm talking about, which is true.

In the end I suppose one would want their honeymoon to go as hiccup free as possible. I'd rather spend less time getting the vehicle towed and more time hiking up a hill or taking walks along a beach. The Tiida does look like a decent car so I'll probably go with that or something similar.

Thanks once again for your response, and I hope this can help other people in some way as well!

Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:36 pm
by Robert T
Hi Ahmad,
In my opinion the best vehicle for your needs would be the Suzuki Jimny hard top. That's been our choice for years. KCNN rental has a small but well maintained fleet of them.


Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:07 am
by Phil Bondie
Ahmad, We have used a Jimmy hardtop for the last 10 years or so. Before that we used a Terios. We like the Jimmy and have never been stuck. As Steve said we have probably only used the 4 wheel drive a couple of times. I am in Tobago from mid Dec. to April and it can be pretty wet and muddy in some spots on some little used tracks in Dec., Jan. If you are going more in the dry season there should be no reason for a 4x4. Again as Steve has said it is nice to sit up higher. In the US we drive an SUV and F150. I stay in Charlotteville and most visitors we see have rented cars. They drive the North Road and I have not heard of any problems and that road can at times be a little muddy and bumpy. I don't think you could go wrong with Steve's Tiida recomendation. I have never seen Steve stuck by the side of the road.

We use Sheppy's and have been happy with his service and never had a problem. One time he wanted to do some service on the Jimmy we had rented and he sent up a new rental all the way to Charlotteville. Sheppy and all his people are great to work with. We also use his Shepherd's Inn when we need a place to stay at, at that end of the Island. Phil

Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:19 pm
by Ahmad
Thank you both for your comments.

Having read everything and gone through Sheppy's fleet of cars, I think I may go with the 2 door Grand Vitara in manual. While a good Saloon is comfortable, it was clear that a high seated option is good for a first visit to the Island along with the 4x4 to roll forward with. I would think, since the Grand Vitara costs slightly more than the Jimny's it will provide a little added comfort, interior and suspension wise. But if I am entirely mistaken please do let me know!

I have inquired with Sheppy's for the condition of their 2dr Grand Vitara in comparison to others. Lets see what they say.

Thanks again.

Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:25 pm
by Steve Wooler
Hi Ahmad

Good choice! The higher viewpoint and taller screen and windows offer a decided advantage when sightseeing and the Grand Vitaras are a much more modern and comfortable vehicle than the old Jimnys. It is an ideal vehicle for Tobago and probably worth the extra cost.

Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:51 pm
by Ahmad
Great! the 2 door Grand Vitara is much cheaper to rent than the 4 door and works perfectly for us. I have just confirmed my reservations.

I will gladly be giving my reviews regarding the car, lodgings and explorations and contributing to this great community after my visit.


Re: Vehicle Suggestions

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 8:26 pm
by Ahmad
Having Finally made our trip to Tobago and back, I can safely say I was very pleased with the 2dr Grand Vitara. Even though it is not a 4 wheel drive we were still able to get some off roading done, and comfortably at that. Overall it was an excellent drive around the entire island, particularly some of the steep roads. The air conditioner worked great for the few times it got too hot, and the seats were very comfortable.

Generally, the primary roads of Tobago are pretty good, but occasionally you run into a bad patch and this rental from Sheppy's was great! Thank you everyone for all your help!