Iceland Budget Rental Car – SADcars


SADcars. Yes, this is the legit name of the rental car agency and you’ll see soon why that is such an accurate name.

As a budget traveler, transportation in Iceland is tricky. Reykjavik is easily explored by walking or taking public transportation, but traveling outside the city for cheap isn’t easy. Joining a tour might seem like an option, but I urge you to reconsider. I wanted to poke my eyes out watching all the people on the tour buses shuttled around like cattle. They all looked incredible unhappy. And probably paid a small fortune to be on those tours.

Plus, you’re in Iceland! The land, air, and sea is alive and ever changing – shifting glaciers, steaming thermal pools, crashing waterfalls, burning sun, and thundering waves. You want the freedom to explore and ponder as much as you desire. For us, being tied to a tour group would be torture.  “Ok fine”, you say, “rent a car and get on with it.” Well, like everything else in Iceland, car rental prices were a little hard for our tiny budget to swallow.

In came SADcars. After much online research, I found a few articles highlighting SADcars as the cheapest in Iceland. SADcars claims “used cars with experience”. That’s one way to put it. Let me introduce you to our rental – a two door Toyota Yaris with 360,000 kilometers (that’s over 220k miles!).

Our SADcar

Now, we weren’t totally shocked. We heard a few fellow travelers talking about SADcars at our campground in Reykjavik. They both experienced some sort of mechanical issue with the car over their two week rental but agreed they saved enough money it was worth the risk. Gabi and I are always up for an adventure so we figured we’d roll the dice and go for it (and we prepaid so it was too late to change our minds).

Overall, we were super happy with our “experienced” car. We had no mechanical issues, it had good gas mileage, and we didn’t have to worry about every little ding or dent. We would recommend SADcars to fellow travelers like ourselves, who are willing to give up a little comfort in exchange for affordable freedom. But before you run off and prepay for 12 days, here are a few facts you should know.

The car is a beater.

Gorilla Tap to the rescue.

Seriously you guys. Think of the beat up car your neighbor drove when he turned 16. Add a few more dents, some rust, and a shitty stereo and that is your SADcar. But you’re in Iceland. There are gravel roads, wind storms, ice, and sometimes ash. And you know the rental agencies offer (and try to sell) insurance for all those. With SADcars there is no need for additional insurance. The car is so banged up they will never notice a few more dents. This was another money saver and offered piece of mind. Just make sure you have some Gorilla Tape for when something comes unglued…

In car entertainment is limited.

No aux plug, no usb port, no CD player, no cassette deck. For us, road trip = playlist so we came prepared. We had a mini bluetooth speaker, portable chargers, and offline Spotify playlists ready to go. But in my opinion, the Icelandic views provided the best entertainment.

In car entertainment.

Make sure you’re route accommodates an older car.  

Due to our limited time in Iceland, we decided to stick to the heavily trafficked southern circuit. It is packed with sights, very easy to navigate, and has camping in every town. In the summer, this route easily accommodates an old beater with shitty tires. I’ve heard the same can NOT be said for other parts of Iceland. As you move around the island (or towards the interior) towns with services are further apart and roads are more treacherous, many requiring 4×4. We would never have trusted our little SADcar in those conditions. The biggest hazards we came across in the south were sheep. LOTS of sheep.

Sheep crossing

Bottom line, SADcars was a great option for us and could be your solution for budget transportation in Iceland. It ended up costing us under $200 for a four day rental. At least 75% cheaper than what we found through other rental agencies. Just know what you’re getting yourself into and plan your route accordingly.