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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Looking to buy a SUV that is good for the trail and family...any thoughts?

    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!

  2. #2
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    Yes, the SUV you are looking for is called a van (Toyota,Honda, Chrysler Town & Country), depending on how you define cool factor. The utility aspect (especially the sliding van doors) trumps all others. Open the back and just roll the bikes into the cavernous space. Otherwise, just get what appeals and add a hitch for a 4-bike bumper mounted bike rack -- I recommend Kuat.

    Sorry to be flippant, but we own a MAZDA MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) which is just an amazing vehicle for cyclists. Alas, that model is no longer made by Mazda, but Honda and ToyAuto have it pretty well covered. Bikes fit, seats fold up and down and all the amenities.

  3. #3
    Picture Unrelated
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    Well, I like my Touareg TDI but I suppose that depends on your budget. Big enough for 4 easily, enough room for a moderate amount of gear, TDI gets good mileage for how big the thing is and I don't think you can find an SUV that looks better from the front. Here's mine in a poor quality shot while performing its current most important duty: bike hauler.



    But perhaps you'd have better luck over in Car & Biker - Mtbr Forums instead of "Passion".
    Last edited by zebrahum; 01-20-2013 at 07:34 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Closest I can think of is the Mercedes Benz R-350 Bluetec, but it's $$$$.

    Which i don't think you can get in the US anymore.

    Mercedes-Benz R-class Reviews: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTec Tested

    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Well, I like my Touareg TDI but I suppose that depends on your budget. Big enough for 4 easily, enough room for a moderate amount of gear, TDI gets good mileage for how big the thing is and I don't think you can find an SUV that looks better from the front. Here's mine in a poor quality shot while performing its current most important duty: bike hauler.



    But perhaps you'd have better luck over in Car & Biker - Mtbr Forums instead of "Passion".
    My father in law has one and it's an excellent vehicle. He likes it a lot.
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  5. #5
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
    Reputation: CHUM's Avatar
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    We just bought a damn minivan....Honda Odyssey.

    almost had to hand in my Man Card (luckily I still have a 'cool' car).

    But I gotta say - the minivan freaking ROCKS!. Way easy to get in and out, pull seats in and out, eleventyhundred cupholders and storage space nooks, 3 climate zones, remote opening everything, DVD player, wireless headphones, sliding doors,...it even has a built in cooler and rear view camera!

    not only can you fit 4'X8' sheets of plywood in it - you can fit 4 adults plus a 10' longboard and still have gobs of space...
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  6. #6
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    Depends on your style or budget. I'm not a Toureg or Mercedes kind of guy. I don't mind older vehicles as I do all the maintenance and save a lot of money up front. Buying a brand new vehicle for the sake of fuel mileage doesn;t make sense to me. But I understand the draw of a brand new car, too.

    My wife drives a Jeep Cherokee. Not great gas mileage, but you won't have to spend 30-50k for one. More like $3-5k. Tow of my favorites are the Jeep Wagoneer and Toyota Landcruiser FJ80. I can save 20k but get worse fuel mileage.

  7. #7
    Dude, got any schwag?
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    My Mtn Biking SUV is a 1997 Jeep wrangler. This thing sucks for room, sucks gas, sucks on the highway. But in the summer, top down, bikes on back to and from the trailhead ROCKS!

    If I had the coin to buy another, I'd simply move up to a 4 door Wrangler with a 4 bike Kuat on the back.

    (Edit) Great gas mileage-wise, try the '07-'08 Grand Cherokee CRD!

    (Edit part deux) The 2014 Grand Cherokee CRD is on the horizon.
    Last edited by TheSchwagman; 01-17-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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  8. #8
    Team Livemedium
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    minivans have a much lower floor than suvs. I keep the middle seat out of my voyager and just roll the bikes right in. Better that having them on the outside while hitting a resturaunt after a ride.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  9. #9
    Tactical Nightmare
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    I'll put my $.02 in for my Jeep Patriot. Small SUV, fits my family of 4 and our Boxer too! I average around 22 MPG, which is mainly city miles. It has 4x4, fits my bike inside with the seats down if needed, and I like the looks because it looks like an updated Cherokee and I always liked those. Tons of head and leg room, even for the back seats, and some cool built in features (rear cargo light doubles as a flashlight). Plus, it is a Jeep, so you get the off-road coolness factor too!
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  10. #10
    Bite Me.
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    The Honda van is a great vehicle, but cannot be taken off road in any serious way. If they would just build it on the Pilot chassis with the higher clearance and all wheel drive, I'd buy one in a heart beat.

    For all around MTB use, camping, and hauling, I love my 2004 Tahoe - not particularly great on gas, but checks all the other boxes.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  11. #11
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    SUV and "great gas mileage" will be a tough roll to fill. I've got a family of 4 and luckily, the wife refuses to drive a minivan. So we got a Subaru Outback. Close to 9" of ground clearance, 30+ MPG on the freeway and good amount of room inside. Does great in snow, sand, etc. Priced at ~$30k, it was a good buy. And it's definitely cooler than CHUM's minivan.

  12. #12
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    Love my 4 door jeep Wrangler. If you get a Sahara hardtop they are pretty plush these days too.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  13. #13
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    I have a Honda Pilot with a hitch mount rack. Cool factor of zero, but with two kids, and two dogs, and a need for AWD, it works pretty well.

  14. #14
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    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.

  15. #15
    WTB 29 allmountain wheels
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    A 4 door Jeep (Wrangler or Grand Cherokee) will give you everything you need EXCEPT gas mileage. A mid-sized, 4-door pick up truck would get better gas mileage in most cases and may fit your needs even better. I wound up with an older Honda Accord and a Wrangler. My brother and I trade off with these two until the Wrangler is too built for daily driving and then he'll buy a dd and I'll buy the Wrangler from him as a second vehicle. Best of both worlds.

  16. #16
    Get to dah choppah
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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!
    2004-5 Forester. Quite capable. Cheap. Excellent mileage and reliability.

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  17. #17
    two wheel whore
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    Quote Originally Posted by millargeo View Post
    I have a Honda Pilot with a hitch mount rack. Cool factor of zero, but with two kids, and two dogs, and a need for AWD, it works pretty well.
    We have a Pilot as well, with the Yakima Stickup hitch rack. We have averaged 24mpg on the highway. Only off-road we have seen is on the beaches of Outer Banks.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    We just bought a damn minivan....Honda Odyssey.

    almost had to hand in my Man Card (luckily I still have a 'cool' car).

    But I gotta say - the minivan freaking ROCKS!. Way easy to get in and out, pull seats in and out, eleventyhundred cupholders and storage space nooks, 3 climate zones, remote opening everything, DVD player, wireless headphones, sliding doors,...it even has a built in cooler and rear view camera!

    not only can you fit 4'X8' sheets of plywood in it - you can fit 4 adults plus a 10' longboard and still have gobs of space...
    Welcome to the dark side, bro - been in a minivan since 2001. If it makes you feel any better, I once read that only difference between a van and SUV is perception... either way you are sitting in a big box with lots of room behind you. Except with more headroom , a better ride, and better mileage.

    One car I have been in is a Dodge Grand Caravan for the last 4 1/2 years. The Japanese models get higher ratings, but I got mine lightly used and it was way cheaper; paid cash for it. Plus the seat fold into the floor, so they are always there - you don't have to take them out and sit them in the garage. 100% reliable.

    Plus, you can rig a camping hammock in a minivan and use it like an RV:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyyoFujk8K4
    Mind your own religion.

  19. #19
    inner peace to make peace
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    1. Jeep Wranger Rubicon
    2. ToYo' FJ Cruiser
    3. Jeep Grand Cherokee
    4. a diesel pickup with 4WD, lockable differentials, and extended cab...that's what I'm looking for
    The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards & its fighting by fools.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    SUV and "great gas mileage" will be a tough roll to fill. I've got a family of 4 and luckily, the wife refuses to drive a minivan. So we got a Subaru Outback. Close to 9" of ground clearance, 30+ MPG on the freeway and good amount of room inside. Does great in snow, sand, etc. Priced at ~$30k, it was a good buy. And it's definitely cooler than CHUM's minivan.
    I ended up with an Outback as well, and am happy with it. Rolling with a Kuat NV rack and two bikes works great.

    Now, it's not particularly "fun" to drive compared to other vehicles I've had in my life. It certainly isn't fast, either. It doesn't pretend to be anything like that. It does its intended role exceedingly well, and has a pretty nice interior. I really like the heated seats and dual-zone climate, as they save a lot of arguments about it being too cold in the car. Also the iPod interface works really well, and will even play Pandora (and display artist/song) rather than only your iTunes all through the iPod input (no AUX cable needed) and charge the iPod/iPhone at the same time.

    Last edited by Camel Toad; 01-17-2013 at 01:47 PM.
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  21. #21
    .44
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut View Post
    1. Jeep Wranger Rubicon
    2. ToYo' FJ Cruiser
    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.

  22. #22
    Bite Me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    I once read that only difference between a van and SUV is perception... either way you are sitting in a big box with lots of room behind you. Except with more headroom , a better ride, and better mileage.
    I can't say I would want to take my Odyssey on any kind of rough 4WD road, but other than that I agree. If you're not doing any back country driving the van option is awesome.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat View Post
    I can't say I would want to take my Odyssey on any kind of rough 4WD road, but other than that I agree. If you're not doing any back country driving the van option is awesome.
    Shoot guys, I'm sorry - I misread the whole 4wd part... never mind my minivan post.
    Mind your own religion.

  24. #24
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    XJ Jeep Cherokee....but I'm biased

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerny View Post
    Closest I can think of is the Mercedes Benz R-350 Bluetec, but it's $$$$.

    Which i don't think you can get in the US anymore.

    Mercedes-Benz R-class Reviews: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTec Tested



    My father in law has one and it's an excellent vehicle. He likes it a lot.
    Add me to the list of satisfied Touareg TDI owners, but bank on the repair bills not being cheap, when they occur. Drive it hard, and your wallet will pay hard with repairs and routine maintenance expenses that will drive you to poverty. It's my belief, being a long time VW and TDI owner, that Vw's are not for every one, and they are very quirky to work on, period.
    "i'll brazilian when YOU do boy, right around the ol' rusty star. Actually, whole fruit bowl. Get on it!" NicoleB

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