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  1. #26
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    I has a 2006 jeep srt8 which was an amazing vehicle. Tons of room and dripped performance. Was unfortunately a flood victim of hurricane sandy. Took the check looked at tons of SUVs and cars...BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Chrysler, Audi, Vw, and Ford. After cranking numbers I went with a fully loaded black ford edge. It is a great vehicle tons of room, style, huge glass roof....while I don't have a family besides my fiancÚ and our dog it can easily haul 5 people and our gear.
    Ryan
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  2. #27
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    I can throw multiple bikes, TONS of gear and four people in my Suburban ('03). Mileage isn't the greatest but it's off-road capable and doesn't have the "lame" rep that a van does. With the third row seat in I can fit six people plus driver, it can tow, has roof racks and a hitch for a bike rack if you choose. The LS V8 makes plenty of torque to get it moving and it makes such nice noises compared to a minivan :-)

  3. #28
    inner peace to make peace
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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    For a family of 4? Not sure if you've spent any time in those vehicles, but Rubi's are not comfortable. The back seats might as well be made of wood planks. The very upright position sucks as well. Cargo room is almost non-existent. Only cool things are how off-road capable it is (if that's important to you) and the drop top.

    The FJC. Suicide doors and families don't mix. Back seats are super cramped and you'll be sure to get lots of complaints and kicks to the back of the seats.
    They're Four Door Rubicons now: get 'em before they start making them in "Commie" China.

    Our Family of 3 plus dog was fine with 2 Door Wrangler in terms of comfort, for ten years, but cargo space was severely limited for 3 mountain bikes for multi-night trips.

    Wranglers with off-road differentials (mech' or e-locking or "limited slip" differentials) are the best as adventure & off road exploration car, for mere $31K, unless you can afford 'Benz G`wagon for $85K.
    The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards & its fighting by fools.

  4. #29
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    Have you considered a Toyota 4runner? I bought mine for $2000, put another $1500 in it. Now I have a super solid, fun to offroad, kid hauler, bike hauler, camping vehicle, exploring vehicle.

    The wife likes it because it has plenty of room for the girls and the dog when she wants to go to the park. I like it, well just because I have always liked the 4runners. Plus if you like to offroad there are tons of goodies for them, similar to jeeps.

    It gets about 18mpg on the freeway which isn't great, but for the price I paid I can buy a lot of gas.

    If you want something newer then the new 4runners are very nice and much more comfortable than my old 2nd generation. They obviously get better mileage too.

    Looking to buy a SUV that is good for the trail and family...any thoughts?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1358522442.520148.jpg

    Also, you can't deny Toyota longevity, I just clicked over 200K on mine.

    I have also had a 4wd suburban which was great but it was just way bigger than we needed or wanted.

  5. #30
    inner peace to make peace
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eacook1 View Post
    Have you considered a Toyota 4runner? I bought mine for $2000, put another $1500 in it. Now I have a super solid, fun to offroad, kid hauler, bike hauler, camping vehicle, exploring vehicle.

    The wife likes it because it has plenty of room for the girls and the dog when she wants to go to the park. I like it, well just because I have always liked the 4runners. Plus if you like to offroad there are tons of goodies for them, similar to jeeps.

    It gets about 18mpg on the freeway which isn't great, but for the price I paid I can buy a lot of gas.

    If you want something newer then the new 4runners are very nice and much more comfortable than my old 2nd generation. They obviously get better mileage too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Also, you can't deny Toyota longevity, I just clicked over 200K on mine.

    I have also had a 4wd suburban which was great but it was just way bigger than we needed or wanted.
    4runners (and tacomas) are, indeed, outstanding as are the similar offering from Nissan: Frontiers & Pathfinders.

    A Pathfinder rescued my big fat pig 4WD pickup in the snow in s. l. tahoe area

    most of a real 4WDs I've seen in mountain fire-road trails are mini-suv or mini-puckups (Wranglers, G. Cherokee, Tacoma, 4 Runners, Frontiers, Pathfinders).
    The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards & its fighting by fools.

  6. #31
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    I went with Honda Crosstour EX 4WD (18x8-inch wheels) instead of an SUV. I would have got an older 4Runner (hate the new big/ugly/boxy ones) but my back would get too pissed off bouncing around on a truck chassis particularly on longer road trips which I go on frequently for vacation and MTB riding adventures.

    Fits my large 29er's inside (I use a hitch rack most of the time- get the OEM hitch if you end up with a Honda), room enough for family of 4 to go on vacation, better gas mileage and very quiet.


  7. #32
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    Chevy Suburban here. I know it sounds crazy, but compared to my 98 Yukon, my 09 Suburban gets excellent mileage.
    I have four kids. We travel to Florida regularly. I use a Thule T2 to carry four bikes and I disassemble my son's bike and put it in the back. When the older kids go, I use a roof box. It rides great and is very comfortable.
    When I'm just using it in my daily life, I keep all my bike stuff in a plastic storage bin in the back. It's always at the ready. Just throw a bike on the back and go.
    My brother also has four kids and didn't listen to me and got a Tahoe instead. Now, when he has all four and has the third row up, there's minimal space between the back of the seats and the tailgate. My truck always has space.
    I like turtles

  8. #33
    Riding and lovin it.
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    Nissan Pathfinder,

  9. #34
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    one more vote for a 4runner! super reilable, tough and trail worthy.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut View Post
    They're Four Door Rubicons now: get 'em before they start making them in "Commie" China.

    Our Family of 3 plus dog was fine with 2 Door Wrangler in terms of comfort, for ten years, but cargo space was severely limited for 3 mountain bikes for multi-night trips.

    Wranglers with off-road differentials (mech' or e-locking or "limited slip" differentials) are the best as adventure & off road exploration car, for mere $31K, unless you can afford 'Benz G`wagon for $85K.
    I was actually referring to the 4-door JK's. I guess comfort depends on the tolerance levels of each individual. Which may mean I have spoiled family members. But cargo capacity for extended trips is still a concern in those things. The off-road capability with the triple lockers, sway bar disconnect would be awesome. But I feel that the JKU's intended purpose filled the need for maybe 5% of the buyers, but people buy them because they're cool (and they are). 95% will never use it to the full potential of these rigs. Especially the OP, who is probably looking for something more practical, comfortable and better MPG. And IFS rig, or even IFS/IRS with good GC and cargo should fit the OP's needs better.

    For what it's worth, the head of Chrysler/Fiat said this morning that Wrangler and Grand Cherokee will always be made here in the US, but other models could be sent overseas for production.

    Oh, and as a Toyota enthusiast with a Land Cruiser that I love, I vow to own a G-Wagen some day. Too bad we don't get the cool options like in EU.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgroove View Post
    I am in the market to purchase an SUV this year that is good for the trail, carrying a family of four, great gas mileage, low maintenance, and has a cool factor to it as well. Any thoughts? Send me your pics and details! Thanks for your help!
    If you want great gas mileage, you'll probably not find it in an SUV. Some parameters to reference would help narrow down the answers here. Price, new or used, are two good starting points.

    When you say trail, are you meaning that you want to off road in the thing or just get you to the trail with your bike? If the former, I think the Nissan XTerra will be tough to beat - though the mpg is 15-20. If you're just looking to get to the trails with your bike, then you can put a rack on just about anything.

    If I were in your shoes, I would look for comfort and safety for the family first. Then weigh the reality and need for awd/4wd. That should narrow down your search quite a bit.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgroove View Post
    I am in the market to purchase an SUV this year that is good for the trail, carrying a family of four, great gas mileage, low maintenance, and has a cool factor to it as well. Any thoughts? Send me your pics and details! Thanks for your help!
    I vote for Toyota 4Runner, maybe it's just me, but I can't see any better SUV on the market for the money.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by joynanbaby View Post
    yeah,XJ Jeep Cherokee....but I'm biased
    +1 for the Jeep Cherokee. If you can find a clean one they are a great bargain. It has great 4x4 capabilities, holds quite a bit of gear and still seats 4 comfy and 5 if they don't mind sitting in the middle. It is older but still reliable. My 96 keeps on ticking with minor service every so often. If the trail gets tough I just pull the sway bar and can go nearly anywhere I want. Highway it is a bit louder than newer vehicles but still for an inexpensive 4x4 I don't really think it can be beat.

  14. #39
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    Honda Element

    1. SUV yes
    2. good for the trail good, not great. AWD, not 4x4
    3. carrying a family of four seats four, no more
    4. great gas mileage meh, 24 on hwy
    5. low maintenance Its a Honda
    6. and has a cool factor subjective, but I like it

    Flat rubber floor for easy cleaning. Seats fold up or can be taken out for bikes

  15. #40
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    Toyota Hilux.
    Nissan Navara.
    LandRover Defender or Discovery.
    Subaru Forester.

    I'll get flamed for this...but don't buy American...especially not a Jeep.

  16. #41
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    Great thread. I'm currently driving an F150. I'm selling my travel trailer and looking for a vehicle that will hold a couple of 29ers inside on a fork mount and get good gas mileage. I've had a number of cars in the past. I've loved my big SUVs ... except gas mileage. A minivan makes a lot of sense and would work great 99% of the time and the other 1% of the time it would work but I'd have to drive slower. A Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4 or something similar might be the best compromise utility, a little added clearance, and decent mpg.

  17. #42
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    Be sure to do a good test drive of the FJ, if you are considering it. I loved the styling, but I couldn't see out the thing. Between the 18" c-pillars and the hatch-mounted spare obscuring the middle of the rear glass, it was a big rolling blind spot. Drove me crazy - wanted so much to like it but I didn't see how I could stand driving it every day.
    Mind your own religion.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgroove View Post
    I am in the market to purchase an SUV this year that is good for the trail, carrying a family of four, great gas mileage, low maintenance, and has a cool factor to it as well. Any thoughts? Send me your pics and details! Thanks for your help!
    * good for the trail, how bad will the "trails" be that you'll be driving on? Something gnarly or just simple fire-road duty?
    * most SUVs can carry a family of four, so that's set
    * great gas mileage means you'll have to abandon most traditional body-on-frame SUVs (read: actual trucks), and you'll likely have to resort to a unibody SUV (such as a Honda Pilot, Subaru Tribeca, Jeep Grand Cherokee, etc)
    * low maintenance, newer vehicles are a little more maintenance-intensive but not to worry if you're buying new or pre-owned (but avoid luxury brands)
    * cool factor is entirely subjective and up to you!

    Quote Originally Posted by zgroove View Post
    Minvan was not our first option, but I definitely appreciate the feedback on them. It makes me take a second look at them and I like the fact that rolling the bike in and out and not having to worry about them when I am in a pub is great. We have been looking at the new Lexus RX F Sport or the Acura MDX, mainly because living in the Bay Area, we do not want to big of a vehicle when we go into the city. Does anyone have either model or know someone with those models? Any feedback would be great! We still have to check out the Subaru's and Jeeps as well.
    Based off of that, you want a mid-size SUV.


    Now, I would recommend avoiding luxury brands as the extra electronics become a maintenance nightmare in the long run.

    For a non-luxury brand unibody mid-size SUV that's trail-worthy, I only have two in mind.

    It seems the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most popular unibody SUV recommended. Because it's a Jeep, it definitely has off-road credentials and the new Pentastar V6 has impressive numbers. A Jeep Grand Cherokee 4X4 with the V6 gets 16/23 MPG while outputting a generous 290HP.

    A Subaru Tribeca, which is the only other one I would recommend for off-roading purposes, gets 16/21 MPG while generating a mediocre 256HP out of the flat-6, so in the city, both may be similar. For highway cruising, the Jeep beats out the Subaru.


    Cool factors... The Jeep is trail-rated (if you get a trim level and 4X4 matched for off-roading) and got quite a few awards, while the Tribeca doesn't really have any real cool factors that most would care for.


    Between the two, if you drive light to medium trails, the Subaru will be optimal (it's slightly lower than the Jeep), while the Jeep will have "overkill" on your side if you do genuine off-roading (as in, something that requires decent ground clearance).

  19. #44
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    element is a crossover not an SUV

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgroove View Post
    I am in the market to purchase an SUV this year that is good for the trail, carrying a family of four, great gas mileage, low maintenance, and has a cool factor to it as well. Any thoughts? Send me your pics and details! Thanks for your help!
    I like the Ford Escape. If the new model has similar interior cargo dimensions as the previous model (which I have), it can fit THREE MOUNTAIN BIKES inside AND THREE PEOPLE including driver!

    That's how we used to go up to the trails, my two buddies and me.

    The fit requires removal of the removable rear bench seat and a short supporting jig with two axle clamps. And it's not really a squeeze either. Just careful placement.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbike01 View Post
    element is a crossover not an SUV
    So are:
    VW Touareg
    Jeep Patriot
    Subaru Outback
    Honda Crosstour
    Ford Escape

  22. #47
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    Thanks everyone for replying and helping me out in this future investment of an automobile. I believe that our decision will be leaning towards a Toyota, Honda, or Subaru. A few auto shows have just passed and each auto maker is really coming out with some cool body styles and technology is making it a tough choice, but I think either way we go will be a solid choice.

  23. #48
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    Highly recommend the 4runner. I am on my 2nd one.

    The first one I traded in when the transmission was starting to go at 250,000 miles. That would have been the 2nd repair required for the life of the vehicle. That is hard to beat.
    2013 Carve Comp

    "It never gets easier, you just go faster" Greg LeMond

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    Be sure to do a good test drive of the FJ, if you are considering it. I loved the styling, but I couldn't see out the thing. Between the 18" c-pillars and the hatch-mounted spare obscuring the middle of the rear glass, it was a big rolling blind spot. Drove me crazy - wanted so much to like it but I didn't see how I could stand driving it every day.
    I had my heart set on replacing my old, trusty Isuzu with an FJ Cruiser.
    Felt like I was driving a panel wagon with no windows. Test drive drove me nuts, couldn't imagine living with it, so I passed and bought a Nissan Xterra, which was rated #1in its class by Car and Driver that year.

    That was in 2008. I absolutely love my Xterra. Hauls everything from kayaks to bikes and all the gear, comfortably seats 4 adults, with room for 5, with reasonable storage behind the rear seat, which also fold flat.

    Love my Xterra so much that we bought my wife an Armada to be her mommy taxi for our 4 kids.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgroove View Post
    Thanks everyone for replying and helping me out in this future investment of an automobile. I believe that our decision will be leaning towards a Toyota, Honda, or Subaru. A few auto shows have just passed and each auto maker is really coming out with some cool body styles and technology is making it a tough choice, but I think either way we go will be a solid choice.
    If we are talking about a family SUV it's better be a midsize one. Not sure about Subary, they seem smaller to me, but I was shopping for an SUV in 2010, so they might came up with bigger models since then. Between Toyota and Honda there's really 3 choices Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Toyota 4Runner. If you're going to explore some trails and not mainained logging roads 4Runner would be the best choice. All 4Runners have locking center differential with low range. It drives like a truck though and lower models are part time 4x4. Some like part time some don't. Highlander drives more like a car and it has full time 4x4 with open differentials and electronic traction control to simulate limited slip differentinals. This limits its offroad capability but Higlander would be suitable for easy trails. Pilot is "AWD drive" - front wheel drive with rear wheels connected when electonics detects slippage. Rear wheels can be turned on with a button, but only on low speeds and it will turn back off when overheating. So I'd say Pilot has worst offroad capability from those 3. But it has tons of space and it quite nice it you're stay on roads.
    so good luck with your shopping : )
    Last edited by scanny; 01-22-2013 at 08:38 AM.

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