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  1. #1
    Paper or plastic?
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    need a new car: RAV4 or Matrix?

    Okay,

    My old VW Golf is nearing the end of its useful life (actually, it's way past it, but anyhow).

    I'm looking for a car that I can get for $12-15k used, that won't use too much gas, will be reliable and in which I can store my bike easily when I want to ride weekdays. I don't want to leave the bike on the roof while I'm at work.

    I looked at available hatchbacks, small SUVs and those two seem to fit the bill.

    I'd like to get the feedback of owners of either car as to how well or not, their bike fits in their car. Ideally, I'd love to be able to store the bike upright (sans the front wheel) in the trunk with one back seat folded down.

    Thanks for the answer.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  2. #2
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    Take a look at the Mazda3 5 door...its very similar to the Toyota, except its less expensive. I did a long road trip with my friend in his Mazda3 and its a great car.

  3. #3
    Paper or plastic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJBlur
    Take a look at the Mazda3 5 door...its very similar to the Toyota, except its less expensive. I did a long road trip with my friend in his Mazda3 and its a great car.
    Thanks. Can you stand your bike in the back?
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  4. #4
    Shreddin the Cul de Sac
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    My Dad just bought a Matrix

    So far he's real happy with it. I was impressed with the test drive that I did. 5 speed, rides real sporty. In his comparisons to Mazda3, he found that the console on the mazda had sort of a square edge that dug into his leg while he drove. It was enough to annoy him just for his short test drive.

    As far as stowing bikes go, I think he said he lays the bike down in the back (road bike, but he's not a big guy, so the frames probably a 53cm?), but I can't say for sure.

    Nice car though. Real nice driver.

    Oh, btw, you mentioned $12 - 15 used... Pops bought brand new (Xr 5speed with some upgrade package that included lots of good stuff, 6 CD changer, sunroof, power options, etc), and after incentives and shopping around he only paid $16k-something

    Happy hunting!

    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Okay,

    My old VW Golf is nearing the end of its useful life (actually, it's way past it, but anyhow).

    I'm looking for a car that I can get for $12-15k used, that won't use too much gas, will be reliable and in which I can store my bike easily when I want to ride weekdays. I don't want to leave the bike on the roof while I'm at work.

    I looked at available hatchbacks, small SUVs and those two seem to fit the bill.

    I'd like to get the feedback of owners of either car as to how well or not, their bike fits in their car. Ideally, I'd love to be able to store the bike upright (sans the front wheel) in the trunk with one back seat folded down.

    Thanks for the answer.
    keep moving

  5. #5
    Paper or plastic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burpee
    So far he's real happy with it. I was impressed with the test drive that I did. 5 speed, rides real sporty. In his comparisons to Mazda3, he found that the console on the mazda had sort of a square edge that dug into his leg while he drove. It was enough to annoy him just for his short test drive.

    As far as stowing bikes go, I think he said he lays the bike down in the back (road bike, but he's not a big guy, so the frames probably a 53cm?), but I can't say for sure.

    Nice car though. Real nice driver.

    Oh, btw, you mentioned $12 - 15 used... Pops bought brand new (Xr 5speed with some upgrade package that included lots of good stuff, 6 CD changer, sunroof, power options, etc), and after incentives and shopping around he only paid $16k-something

    Happy hunting!
    Thanks. I tried a RAV 4 last night and was a lil disappointed by the pick up, and the trunk space (seats don't fold flat). As for the price, I'm shooting for $12k on a recent Matrix ($15k would be more for a RAV).
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  6. #6
    occupation : Foole
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Thanks. I tried a RAV 4 last night and was a lil disappointed by the pick up, and the trunk space (seats don't fold flat). As for the price, I'm shooting for $12k on a recent Matrix ($15k would be more for a RAV).
    We were in the market recently and looked into both vehicles you listed. I liked the RAV4, other than the gas mileage. I liked the Matrix, but wife thought it was too "wagon-ish" ....we ended up with a Corolla S - great mpg, decent styling, great Toyota reliability.... I'd seriously factor in gas mileage, anymore, and the RAV4 ain't all that great. consider the Matrix (and NOT the Matrix XRS, which has the high output motor which gets worse mileage and requires premium gas ......we test drove a Corolla XRS - 'rollas and 'trixes share drivetrains - and that badboy was fun to drive - ....but it would pain me to HAVE to use premium fuel.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuelish
    We were in the market recently and looked into both vehicles you listed. I liked the RAV4, other than the gas mileage. I liked the Matrix, but wife thought it was too "wagon-ish" ....we ended up with a Corolla S - great mpg, decent styling, great Toyota reliability.... I'd seriously factor in gas mileage, anymore, and the RAV4 ain't all that great. consider the Matrix (and NOT the Matrix XRS, which has the high output motor which gets worse mileage and requires premium gas ......we test drove a Corolla XRS - 'rollas and 'trixes share drivetrains - and that badboy was fun to drive - ....but it would pain me to HAVE to use premium fuel.
    Having to use premium fuel isn't as big a deal as it used to be. For years now, premium at most stations has been 20 cents more per gallon than regular. When gas was $1.50, premium was 13% more than regular. Now that prices are around $3.00, the difference is down to 6.5% or so. Premium is a much better deal than it used to be.

  8. #8
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    I've got a Vibe and love it.

    The Vibe is Pontiac's version of the Matrix. (joint venture between GM and toyota) Identical inside, but different exterior styling. I love it, but there is no way my very large bike will fit upright with the seatpost and all in the back. Fits no problem laid over on it's side. I can even leave the front wheel attached if I fold down the front passenger seat and both sides of the back seat. I once put a friends 17" Schwinn in standing up sideways behind the back seat (no seats folded down and 4 passengers in the car). I removed both wheels, but was able to leave the seatpost extended. The fit was very tight. I'm sure an anxious salesman would let you try it out to see how your bike will fit inside the car. If you are willing to lower or remove the seatpost, a small frame might fit in the way you describe.

    I've got a roof rack and a hitch + hitch rack on mine. Both work great. The mounting holes for the hitch were pre-drilled and tapped. Putting on the hitch itself is about a 5 minute job if you ever decide to go that route.

  9. #9
    paintbucket
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    I just bought a car and used the same criteria: that a bike has to fit upright on a fork mount. I think that limits you to cute utes. I bought an Element.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  10. #10
    Paper or plastic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by npstaehling
    The Vibe is Pontiac's version of the Matrix. (joint venture between GM and toyota) Identical inside, but different exterior styling. I love it, but there is no way my very large bike will fit upright with the seatpost and all in the back. Fits no problem laid over on it's side. I can even leave the front wheel attached if I fold down the front passenger seat and both sides of the back seat. I once put a friends 17" Schwinn in standing up sideways behind the back seat (no seats folded down and 4 passengers in the car). I removed both wheels, but was able to leave the seatpost extended. The fit was very tight. I'm sure an anxious salesman would let you try it out to see how your bike will fit inside the car. If you are willing to lower or remove the seatpost, a small frame might fit in the way you describe.

    I've got a roof rack and a hitch + hitch rack on mine. Both work great. The mounting holes for the hitch were pre-drilled and tapped. Putting on the hitch itself is about a 5 minute job if you ever decide to go that route.
    Thanks for the feedback. Muy appreciated. I got a small Motolite, so I figure that without the front wheel and with the seatpost lowered, it'd probably fit upright. If not, I'll just lay it down on the plastic shell.

    Thanks everybody for the feedback. Ironically, the Vibe/Matrix are built about 10 miles from my house. Now, I have to go find a good used one.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Thanks. Can you stand your bike in the back?
    We had the bikes on the roof..but when he doesn't need to haul 2 bikes, he just lays it down in the back...safer as its not as visible to thieves.

    Also check into the Pontiac Vibe...its the same thing as the Matrix with Pontiac badge on it. But seriously...the Mazda3 handles like a BMW....give it a drive, you'll be impressed.

  12. #12
    jrm
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    What about an element?

    Quote Originally Posted by zorg
    Okay,

    My old VW Golf is nearing the end of its useful life (actually, it's way past it, but anyhow).

    I'm looking for a car that I can get for $12-15k used, that won't use too much gas, will be reliable and in which I can store my bike easily when I want to ride weekdays. I don't want to leave the bike on the roof while I'm at work.

    I looked at available hatchbacks, small SUVs and those two seem to fit the bill.

    I'd like to get the feedback of owners of either car as to how well or not, their bike fits in their car. Ideally, I'd love to be able to store the bike upright (sans the front wheel) in the trunk with one back seat folded down.

    Thanks for the answer.
    functional as all git out..

  13. #13
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    Each one has it's pros and cons.

    The Rav4 may be a better choice if you plan or may drive it off road, the Matrix just won't be able to handle that. On the other side if you want room to put your stuff the Matrix has a lot more cargo space specially if you drop the rear seats.

    I own a Matrix and the only regret is the off road thing, for those kind of trips I take my wife's Explorer.


  14. #14
    inner peace to make peace
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    Honda Element (4wd)

    Honda Element (4wd)
    Honda Element (2wd)
    Matrix
    Rav4

    in that order
    The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards & its fighting by fools.

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