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  1. #1
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    Default Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX AWD or Toyota Prado?

    Hello,
    we are going to Kenya in 2nd half of June and are having a dilemma of which vehicle to rent.
    We are just two, so a smaller vehicle would in theory do. I have an offer from a reputable company for Mitsubishi RVR 2010 (or Toyota Vanguard 2012, but I doubt it would be more suited for us than ASX and it costs a bit more) and from another reputable company for Prado 120.
    Obviously, Prado is more than twice as expensive as the ASX an since Kenya is already pretty expensive vacation for us, this is of consideration.

    Our itinerary is Amboseli - Samburu - Nakuru - Kakamega - Mara Triangle (Dirisha) + main reserve.
    I find mostly information that a small SUV such as RAV4 would be suitable, but sometimes someone claims that a full size car such as Prado is necessary. Where better to ask than here . I suspect that this forum will be quite biased towards a larger 4x4 (not sure if always 4wd Prado is actually a 4x4), but sincerely, would there be actually any drawback on our circuit and on game drives? We are going to public reserves only, so except for some places in Mara, off roading is not allowed. Fording rivers might not be possible in Mara, but I am not sure how much of an issue this is, especially in the Triangle (or if I would be willing to ford a river in Prado anyway). Also, I do not have any significant off road experience, only 4x4 roads on Iceland in Vitara and roads in Chilean Tierra del Fuego in Xtrail, so I am not keen on going off a road anyway.

    Now I know Prado would be better and more safe, but the question is, is an ASX/RVR suitable? The difference means quite a lot of money for us, but we are willing to pay up, if it it justified.
    Could you please advise?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Asanoth; 2024/02/28 at 02:20 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Regardless of the vehicle you choose, the first priority will be to fit the best off road tyres you can find.
    2003 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 Di-d LWB

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    You might need a small vehicle but you need to consider the terrain, road conditions etc and if a standard vehicle will be efficient enough for the trip.You might be traveling on normal roads but a serious bout of rain etc can have you stuck in a normal vehicle.Just something to consider

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4ePajero View Post
    Regardless of the vehicle you choose, the first priority will be to fit the best off road tyres you can find.
    It's a rental, you get what you get.

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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Maybe see if a Jimny rental is possible..Perfect for 2 and very capable

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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre N View Post
    It's a rental, you get what you get.
    That I understand, but the rental company that does not "come to the party", should then be eliminated.
    Most rentals have hiway tyres fitted, which is a definite no-no for the proposed trip.
    2003 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 Di-d LWB

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4ePajero View Post
    That I understand, but the rental company that does not "come to the party", should then be eliminated.
    Most rentals have hiway tyres fitted, which is a definite no-no for the proposed trip.
    Does not seem like you thought this through. Budget seems key here. He seems undecided between 4x2 and 4x4, this is a far cry from fitting R20k worth of mud terrains to a rental. (with all the legal implications excluded)

  11. #9
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serious? View Post
    Does not seem like you thought this through. Budget seems key here. He seems undecided between 4x2 and 4x4, this is a far cry from fitting R20k worth of mud terrains to a rental. (with all the legal implications excluded)
    I did (think it through).
    I did not say "mud-terrains", but I would not tackle that trip with hiway rated tyres.

    Compare the cost of tyres to being stuck out there with a few failed tyres.
    The cost of tyres plus tow-in plus accommodation you did not plan for.
    2003 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 Di-d LWB

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    I would find out from the rental agency if the ASX/RAV is AWD or Front wheel drive as I believe they are available in both configurations.

  13. #11
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Thank you. From the thread, I take away "most of the roads can be done in a normal saloon". Does that mean, that an ASX would suffice? I am actually looking towards an Outlander as well, but I guess that is the same car with a larger chassis.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4ePajero View Post
    Regardless of the vehicle you choose, the first priority will be to fit the best off road tyres you can find.
    I do most kilometers on a road. I guess we will do about 2000 km on transfers and less than 1000 km in parks (calculated from my SA numbers, where the parks are larger).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post
    Maybe see if a Jimny rental is possible..Perfect for 2 and very capable
    I am considering this, that is why I am here, asking . Did not see any Jimny offer so far - plus when renting on Iceland, I learned (in theory only) that Jimny is very uncomfortable for cruising adn longer distances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serious? View Post
    Does not seem like you thought this through. Budget seems key here. He seems undecided between 4x2 and 4x4, this is a far cry from fitting R20k worth of mud terrains to a rental. (with all the legal implications excluded)
    Thank you, you exactly get my point. However, I am decigin between an AWD SUV and a 4x4. 2WD is not in consideration, and I believe they are not allowed inside the parks?
    Edit regarding your last post: ASX is an AWD with a central diff lock.
    Last edited by Asanoth; 2024/02/28 at 11:42 AM.

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  15. #12
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Looking at your routes, I would rent the Prado (or equivalent proper 4x4). No point in planning a big African trip and then having it ruined because your vehicle couldn't get through the drainage ditch in your campsite.
    Sure, the AWD saloon cars will probably cope with 95% of the routes, but the 5% are the problem.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2024/02/28 at 01:14 PM.
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  17. #13
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    The main thing, as I have said many times before, is that you rent from a reputable company. Reputable companies renting out fully-equipped vehicles for camping in national parks are few and far between in Kenya.

    In a 2WD, you would be restricted to all-weather roads in parks and you would have to consider the clearance.

  18. #14
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Again, I am deciding between an AWD such as Rav4 and a 4WD such as Prado. I am not considering a 2WD.

  19. #15
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asanoth View Post
    Again, I am deciding between an AWD such as Rav4 and a 4WD such as Prado. I am not considering a 2WD.
    Not a lot of difference when it comes to rough African tracks, AWD is a boon for ice and wet hard surfaces, but doesn't help much when it comes to mud, badly eroded tracks, rocky roads and other issues likely to be encountered. Here ground clearance is the key thing, and proper 4WD, low range especially, the next most important thing.
    A Rav4 will probably be fine most of the time, as I said, but it's that 5% that will test it to the limit.
    Tony Weaver
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    1983 Toyota HiLux 2l 4x4

  20. #16
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    The ASX is, I believe, a good vehicle. However the clearance is 180 mm (apparently the 2x4 has 205 mm for some bizarre reason), the approach and departure angles are 20 deg and 32 deg, so not that bad, but I think you need at least 250 mm clearance for your trip.

    We drove around South America in an X Trail which did a remarkably good job in sand, mud, rocks, etc. However we replaced it with a Montero (= Pajero) and this is far more capable. This is roughly equivalent to the ASX versus the Prado.

    In Africa most recently we had a LC80 for two years, and previously a Patrol for two years, as well as LC100s, a Pajero, a 4Runner, a Pathfinder (and a Peugeot 404 Estate in the dim and distant past, which was amazingly capable in Botswana and (what is now) Zimbabwe).

    As Tony notes, it's the 5% which will get you.

  21. #17
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by alannymarce View Post
    but I think you need at least 250 mm clearance for your trip.
    I do not think there are common vehicles with 250 mm clearance. Prado 120 has 225, Pajero has 225 and even Hillux has 220 (depending on a generation, but still). Some utes might have 250 mm+, but that is out of scope.
    I also have an offer for a rather old Pajero from Concorde, but they charge for kilometers, which ramps up the price by a lot, making it more expensive than a Prado 120.
    The ASX I have on offer is 2010, which is supposedly 195 mm.

    Anyway, where would you see those 5%? Are those bad transit roads? Or the game drives? Or is it just in the case it rains heavily? I asked in Mara (which I thought was the worst) and they said RAV4 is ok for game drives. Other than that, I plan to stay in public campsites, in Dirisha, or in towns.
    Btw. years ago I drove through Namibia (not the Caprivi) in March in a WV Polo, where I imagine there would also be some 5 % risk. But it is true the gravel roads there are not bad. Also I got lucky, as we had no flats. Also did South Africa in a Corolla, but there the roads are even better, only tough moment I recall was the road to Injisuthi, and we of course needed to hire a 4x4 taxi to Sentinel.

  22. #18
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    As Tony said, itís the 5%. However, the main transit roads are fine both outside and inside the parks. In the Mara Triangle, the rangers drive little Marutis. However, there is a big wallow on the way into Dirisha which might be a challenge if it has rained.

    The Samburu roads and tracks can be very corrugated as are those in Amboseli.

  23. #19
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Alternatively take the platinum no holds barred insurance and treat us with a nice trip report!

  24. #20
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    Default Re: Safari self drive - rent Mitsubishi ASX or Toyota Prado?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asanoth View Post
    I do not think there are common vehicles with 250 mm clearance. Prado 120 has 225, Pajero has 225 and even Hillux has 220 (depending on a generation, but still). Some utes might have 250 mm+, but that is out of scope.
    I also have an offer for a rather old Pajero from Concorde, but they charge for kilometers, which ramps up the price by a lot, making it more expensive than a Prado 120.
    The ASX I have on offer is 2010, which is supposedly 195 mm.

    Anyway, where would you see those 5%? Are those bad transit roads? Or the game drives? Or is it just in the case it rains heavily? I asked in Mara (which I thought was the worst) and they said RAV4 is ok for game drives. Other than that, I plan to stay in public campsites, in Dirisha, or in towns.
    Btw. years ago I drove through Namibia (not the Caprivi) in March in a WV Polo, where I imagine there would also be some 5 % risk. But it is true the gravel roads there are not bad. Also I got lucky, as we had no flats. Also did South Africa in a Corolla, but there the roads are even better, only tough moment I recall was the road to Injisuthi, and we of course needed to hire a 4x4 taxi to Sentinel.
    Yes, I appreciate the point. I suggest that you need 250 mm for the 5% cases, not the 95%. You can get around most of the roads/tracks with less.

    Our Montero has 268 mm clearance, our Series 80 had 270 mm, both with 50 mm lift; our Wrangler had 254 mm and our Patrol 275 mm (no lift).

    On the other hand we drove a chunk of Ruta 40 in Argentina (one of the two recognised difficult bits) in a rental FIAT Cronos with a clearance of 129 mm (loaded), the "F roads" in Iceland in a Tucson with 170 mm, and I covered a lot of ground in and around the Kalahari with my Peugeot 404 Estate which had 150 mm (!).

    Perhaps the key is be aware of the limitations and stop before getting grounded.

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