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  1. Default Car rental types - help!!!!!!!

    Hi,
    Can anyone point me in the right direction please re Car Rental types. There are 6 of us (all adults) coming over from England in September next year, and we intend to drive from San Francisco, through Yosemite, Death Valley, and on to Las Vegas.

    In order of preference we rather fancy:-

    1. An SUV
    2. A Minivan
    3. A Ford E350 type (I think)?

    The problem is that lots of them seem to seat 6 comfortably, but the difficulty is the luggage. Knowing the wives as I do I'm sure we'll end up with 6 suitcases loaded with all manner of stuff.

    Does anyone know of a rental vehicle that will comfortably sit 6 adults and take 6 suitcases plus odd bits of hand luggage ?

    Your help as always, is much appreciated.

    Charlie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Two vehicles?

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieB View Post
    There are 6 of us (all adults) coming over from England in September next year, and we intend to drive from San Francisco, through Yosemite, Death Valley, and on to Las Vegas.
    Personally I would get two vehicles so that you can mix and match the occupants. There are SUVs that will fit six adults -- but storage is going to be a problem. Some of the minivan options will work -- so I would suggest going to a site like National Car Rental and look at the options -- they are pretty clear about how many adults and how much luggage can be carried in each type of vehicle. You don't have to book a rental to see the various types and what carries what.

    Mark

  3. Default Two vehicles

    Mark,

    Thanks for the reply, we'd actually prefer all being in the one vehicle, although the luggage issue might prevent this. I'll take a look at National & see what's on offer.

    The way the Pound against the Dollar is currenty going the cost isn't going to be to much of an issue so we may well just book the biggest lump we can find, and upgrade at pickup to an even bigger lump if we need to !

    Charlie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Five Adults in an Uplander

    I used a Chevy Uplander (sort of mini-van) to pickup five adults and ten people's worth of luggage (well, I am sorta of kidding about that) in Denver a couple of month's ago. It was a bit jammed -- but it worked. Six is still going to be an problem in my view. The GMC Envoy is a little bit bigger -- Some of the SUV Crossover models are supposed to fit 8 adults -- but I can't see how....

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default The Big Van

    Hello Charlie-
    Being a longtime owner/operator of fullsize trucks and SUVs, I can heartily recommend the E-350 van for your trip. Here's why:

    Plenty of room for 6 adults and luggage: The E-350, or the Chevy equivalent, is often referred to as a "15 passenger van". Mind you, it helps a lot if most of the 15 are small children. Seriously, though, this vehicle will likely have two seats up front (with the insulated "hump" cover over the engine between them), and 3 or 4 rows of bench style seats behind that. The remaining 4 travellers will have plenty of space to spread out and still not be cramped for luggage space.

    Visibility: The big van sits up high off the road surface and affords a view over top of all autos and many light trucks, minivans, and SUVs. It can be difficult to enjoy the mountain scenery from a smaller vehicle, especially when your travelling companions are jammed into the vehicle shoulder to shoulder, with some in the middle of a bench rear seat.

    Weight carrying capacity: 6 passengers and luggage is a light load for a 15 passenger van. I much prefer to drive or travel in a vehicle with a light load than in one pressed to it's maximum.

    There are downsides, of course, and they are:

    Rental expense: I imagine a 15 passenger van rental rate is steep.

    Drivability: This is a top-heavy vehicle. Wide, too, with mirrors which you'll be sure will be lost to other trucks or mailboxes along the way. If the drivers in your group are not attuned to the challenge of driving a truck such as this, steer clear. This is a handful of vehicle, as we say over here.

    Fuel cost: Expect fuel mileage in the 10-12mpg range, at best. You could see < 10 mpg in mountainous terrain.

    Good luck with your plans!

    Foy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default If one can be found

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    Hello Charlie-
    Being a longtime owner/operator of fullsize trucks and SUVs, I can heartily recommend the E-350 van for your trip.
    Excellent post -- the only caveat might be, it can be tough to find a full-size van from a car rental firm.

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default Thanks Mark

    It's been close to 25 years since I was involved in renting a 15 passenger. My now-deceased father used to gather his brood and their spouses and his grandchildren each January in Denver, CO, and travel to Aspen, Vail, Copper Mountain, or Steamboat for a ski week. We used to call it our annual "The Clampetts Go Sking" trip. We'd rent a caravan of 2 or 3 big vans from mainstream rental companies. This was early enough that after several years, these new-fangled contraptions called mini-vans were introduced while we were still doing those trips. The front-wheel-drive was a great selling point for snowy travel capability, so we started renting as many mini-vans as we needed by about 1984 or 85 or so.

    As you are aware, however, a 15 passenger van is a heckuva handful of steering wheel. Very definitely a truck, not a car. Dad would only trust himself, yours truly, and one of his 3 sons-in-law to operate the big vans with precious cargo aboard.

    Foy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
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    Posts
    10,060

    Default Certainly can be tiring!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    As you are aware, however, a 15 passenger van is a heckuva handful of steering wheel.
    It has been about six years since I last drove one -- Mostly I remember the fatigue after driving one for six hours --

    Mark

  9. #9

    Default Yep

    No doubt. The NASCAR term used around here is that you've got to stay "up on the wheel" in those things.

    Best,

    Foy

  10. Default A big SUV would work...

    I do have to note, that I work with a local Boy Scout Group. I have a larger SUV (Toyota Sequoia) and I've hauled myself plus 6 Scouts plus gear for a weekend backpacking trip in my vehicle (with 2 packs on the roof rack). We have scouts up to 6'5 in size, so these are not little kids. The seating is notionally 2+3+3, but most comfortable with 2+3+2. Since the back seat folds in half, for 6 people I'd do 2+3+1, and devote another half of the rear seat to luggage. I'm sure I could get 6 suitcases inside, plus personal gear (a briefcase, small duffel, or day pack each) without a problem. Mileage is about 20 mpg on the highway at 70 mph.

    So, a larger SUV would work for this trip. Something like a Sequoia, Chevy Suburban/ Tahoe, Ford Excursion (Explorer?), etc. There are several classes of SUVs, and you'd want the larger ones.

    The vehicles are still typically more top heavy than a standard sedan, so you still have to be careful about quick high speed maneuvers, but probably get better mileage than a big van, and might be a bit more comfortable (depends on how outfitted the van is...). Mileage will probably be better or equivalent. Cost might be a bit less per day, though, since the rental companies will have more on hand and a better resale market.

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