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  1. #1
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    $20k for next bike hauler. Suggestions?

    I'm thinking about selling my 2011 Ram 1500. It's worth about $20K.

    What should I get?

    Stipulations:

    No Prius, No Yugo, No sensible family cars (we already have one of those for our main car). This is my car to both haul my bike and for fun, enthusiast-centered driving.

    It can be any body style (including another pick-up), but I'm partial to wagons and hatches. It could be a newer, less expensive car, or an older upper end car but it's gotta be reasonably reliable and it can't make my insurance go up substantially over my pick-up..... and, of course, it has to be able to haul a couple bikes.

    Go.

    I'll start. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 2006 16,995. Gas mileage has gotta suck, but with 460HP and AWD it would make one heckuva fun bike hauler.
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    I love my Fiesta ST: fun to drive, good on fuel, can fit a 29er inside with both wheels off, 2 bikes on the top for long road trips have been just fine. For $20k, you'd find one with really low miles.

    But an SRT-8 Jeep would be tons of fun too!


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    Don't go out there and waste 20k on a silly car...be sensible
    Spend 19k on a brand new custom bike and spend the remaining 1000$ on a reliable civic

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    Don't go out there and waste 20k on a silly car...be sensible
    Spend 19k on a brand new custom bike and spend the remaining 1000$ on a reliable civic
    Ha ha. I like how you think. I've already got that covered. New Endorphin on the way and I'm getting very itchy to pull the trigger on the new RFX too.

    That is a thought though. Maybe get something in the $14,000 range and use the rest to finance the RFX. Hmm.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RancidSLP View Post
    I love my Fiesta ST: fun to drive, good on fuel, can fit a 29er inside with both wheels off, 2 bikes on the top for long road trips have been just fine. For $20k, you'd find one with really low miles.

    But an SRT-8 Jeep would be tons of fun too!

    Nice. I don't know about the Fiesta, but I have had my eye on the new Focus RS. Not sure when /if it will be available in the US but AWD and 300+ hp would be a riot. ...and likely over my budget.

    A used ST should be right around there though.
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    05/06 Porsche Cayenne S ~ $14-15k
    04/05 Cayenne Turbo ~$14-15k
    get ready for some maintenance and these prices

    WRX STi wagon/hatch - unless the kids have thrashed it

    audi rs/6 - roof rack it for the sedan

    audi rs4 avant - rack or hitch mount for more than 1 bike in the wagon

    and if you decide to go "vanlife" over ultimate fun etc - the venerable Vanagon Westfalia! Get an older one with the WRX engine transplant and shock people when you pull away from em!

  7. #7
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    Fun options: Mini S or BRZ

    All-weather fun option: WRX hatch.

    Not as enthusiast-oriented, but still fun and much more practical: Honda Fit

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamper11 View Post
    05/06 Porsche Cayenne S ~ $14-15k
    04/05 Cayenne Turbo ~$14-15k
    get ready for some maintenance and these prices

    WRX STi wagon/hatch - unless the kids have thrashed it

    audi rs/6 - roof rack it for the sedan

    audi rs4 avant - rack or hitch mount for more than 1 bike in the wagon

    and if you decide to go "vanlife" over ultimate fun etc - the venerable Vanagon Westfalia! Get an older one with the WRX engine transplant and shock people when you pull away from em!

    I've considered the Cayenne S in the past when we were shopping in the $40,000 price range for our main vehicle, but yeah, a bit nervous about repair costs and availability of mechanics (I live out in the sticks).

    Now if I could find a Cayman S in that price range I might be all over that. With the new one coming out, that might just be possible soon.

    Didn't imagine an RS6 could be had for that, although I just found a 2002 M5 in my price range which would also be super cool. I like the body style better than the newer Bangle versions. Maintenance would be a worry again.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    Fun options: Mini S or BRZ

    All-weather fun option: WRX hatch.

    Not as enthusiast-oriented, but still fun and much more practical: Honda Fit
    I love the Mini S, WRX hatch, and BRZ but I'm 54 and don't wear a flat brimmed cap. My 16 year old son is going to love that, but how's that going to work for me? Is the BRZ rackable?
    Last edited by KRob; 08-26-2015 at 10:14 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Nice. I don't know about the Fiesta, ...
    Fiesta ST's are a big grin. I don't have a tune on mine yet, but am looking forward to my warranty running out so I can buy a COBB.

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  11. #11
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    So are the Focus ST's. Loved mine when I had it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I love the Mini S, WRX hatch, and BRZ but I'm 54 and don't wear a flat brimmed cap. My 16 year old son is going love that, but how's that going work for me? Is the BRZ rackable?
    BRZ has roof racks available, so carrying 2 bikes isn't a problem. Cool car, but like you, I'm a bit older and would rather get something more "fitting." Mini would be a good option, though, as I see lots of geezers driving them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    looking forward to my warranty running out so I can buy a COBB.


    You'll like it

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    2008-2012 Nissan Pathfinder LE with the 5.6L V8 (out of the Titan and Armada). 320 HP/390 TQ. 5 spd auto (also out of Titan and Armada) with manual mode (great for towing and mountain driving).

    I've gotten up to 21 MPG out of mine (2008 LE 5.6), lowest was ~14.5-15 MPG when I used the Pathy to tow my '98 Wrangler from Denver to Telluride and back.

    Easily fits 3 dudes + gear + one bike inside and 2 on the Thule hitch rack.

    Bonus feature: rear glass opens separate from the hatch, so when your bike is on the back, you can still open up the back and grab your helmet/shoes/etc. that you forgot to get out.

    The LE includes every creature feature that you'd want (and would get if they made an Infiniti version of the Pathfinder), including a heated steering wheel
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

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    Just a word of warning ... you're going to miss the pickup! I had driven one for years, and sold it a few years ago. I bought a Subaru, and only made it 13 months before going back to a truck. Just missed the versatility, and I guess I just like driving a truck. And it is so nice not to have to deal with a bike rack. Just throw it over the tailgate and go.

    FYI, my F150 Ecoboost wouldn't be described as an enthusiasts vehicle by any stretch, but it does 0-60 faster than most of the cars listed here (ok, the SRT8 Jeep would probably beat it easily). And I average a little above 18 mpg, city and highway combined,with about 50/50 driving.

    If I were to go away from a truck, it would probably be either to a Tesla or a 4 dr Jeep Wrangler, I think. You can find a 4dr Jeep for 20k. A Tesla, not so much.

    Good luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    2008-2012 Nissan Pathfinder LE with the 5.6L V8 (out of the Titan and Armada). 320 HP/390 TQ. 5 spd auto (also out of Titan and Armada) with manual mode (great for towing and mountain driving).

    I've gotten up to 21 MPG out of mine (2008 LE 5.6), lowest was ~14.5-15 MPG when I used the Pathy to tow my '98 Wrangler from Denver to Telluride and back.

    Easily fits 3 dudes + gear + one bike inside and 2 on the Thule hitch rack.

    Bonus feature: rear glass opens separate from the hatch, so when your bike is on the back, you can still open up the back and grab your helmet/shoes/etc. that you forgot to get out.

    The LE includes every creature feature that you'd want (and would get if they made an Infiniti version of the Pathfinder), including a heated steering wheel
    Denver >> Grand Junction @ I-70 speeds, 20.1 MPG
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

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    OK I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend a used VW Jetta sportwagon TDI. I got a 2011 with a manual a few months ago and I totally love it. I live in fort collins and its a total joy to drive in the canyons, gets grate gas milage, and is hands down the best road trip car EVER. I find the driving position the best of any car I have ever driven. I drove it home to PA to see my parents and averaged 500 to 600 miles to a tank with the cruse set to the speed limit or 5 over.
    I had only trucks till I got an 08 subaru forester and then my VW. I thought about going back but when you get 30+ mpg its really hard to think about having to feed a truck. I find wagons are just a useful when it comes to biking and camping. I think really good MPG and sporty handling are the best tradeoffs when comparing a wagon to a pickup.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    Just a word of warning ... you're going to miss the pickup! I had driven one for years, and sold it a few years ago. I bought a Subaru, and only made it 13 months before going back to a truck. Just missed the versatility, and I guess I just like driving a truck. And it is so nice not to have to deal with a bike rack. Just throw it over the tailgate and go.

    FYI, my F150 Ecoboost wouldn't be described as an enthusiasts vehicle by any stretch, but it does 0-60 faster than most of the cars listed here (ok, the SRT8 Jeep would probably beat it easily). And I average a little above 18 mpg, city and highway combined,with about 50/50 driving.

    If I were to go away from a truck, it would probably be either to a Tesla or a 4 dr Jeep Wrangler, I think. You can find a 4dr Jeep for 20k. A Tesla, not so much.

    Good luck!
    Yeah, that 3.5 twin turb ECO Boost engine in the new F 150 goes like stink. We had it in our Flex. A toaster with 0-60 times faster than many sports cars = too cool.

    I'll still have a pick up. I'm keeping my 1997 Ford F 1-50 for the dirty work that you just need a pick up for like hauling the trash, and trimming trees, and plowing snow, and shuttle runs, and marking course, etc.

    Part of the reason I'm thinking of selling the RAM is that it's kind of a highway queen. Creature comforts, street rated 2-ply tires, not scratched up yet, etc. So it's no good for the stuff I usually need a pick up for and it get lowsy gas mileage for road trips.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    OK I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend a used VW Jetta sportwagon TDI. I got a 2011 with a manual a few months ago and I totally love it. I live in fort collins and its a total joy to drive in the canyons, gets grate gas milage, and is hands down the best road trip car EVER. I find the driving position the best of any car I have ever driven. I drove it home to PA to see my parents and averaged 500 to 600 miles to a tank with the cruse set to the speed limit or 5 over.
    I had only trucks till I got an 08 subaru forester and then my VW. I thought about going back but when you get 30+ mpg its really hard to think about having to feed a truck. I find wagons are just a useful when it comes to biking and camping. I think really good MPG and sporty handling are the best tradeoffs when comparing a wagon to a pickup.
    Funny you should mention the Jetta SW TDI. I already have one. That's our main family car. You're right, it's a great bike trip car. I can fit three bikes on the roof rack and with a hitch I could fit two more on the OneUp rack. With bikes on the roof it still gets 30-32 miles per gallon driving 75+mph and I can sleep in the back with the seats down very comfortably if I'm alone.

    In fact we were talking about this tonight and my older son suggested trading the RAM in and getting my wife a new car (maybe a TDI Passat) and then I could take over the Jetta SW for my car. Actually not a bad idea except my 16 year-old son gets left with the F 1-50 and he was hoping to get something smaller and with a manual transmission for his car. I guess we could trade the F 150 in on something else for him, but then we'd be left without a pick up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Funny you should mention the Jetta SW TDI. I already have one. That's our main family car. You're right, it's a great bike trip car. I can fit three bikes on the roof rack and with a hitch I could fit two more on the OneUp rack. With bikes on the roof it still gets 30-32 miles per gallon driving 75+mph and I can sleep in the back with the seats down very comfortably if I'm alone.

    In fact we were talking about this tonight and my older son suggested trading the RAM in and getting my wife a new car (maybe a TDI Passat) and then I could take over the Jetta SW for my car. Actually not a bad idea except my 16 year-old son gets left with the F 1-50 and he was hoping to get something smaller and with a manual transmission for his car. I guess we could trade the F 150 in on something else for him, but then we'd be left without a pick up.
    Sounds like you need a GTI then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    Sounds like you need a GTI then.
    Ha ha. It's like you're in my head. I was just searching used GTIs in my price range last night.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Ha ha. It's like you're in my head. I was just searching used GTIs in my price range last night.
    I almost got one but I needed more room because it is my only car. I would love to have one as a second car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Ha ha. It's like you're in my head. I was just searching used GTIs in my price range last night.
    Are you sure you don't have a flat brimmed cap somewhere in your closet? Maybe 2" ear gauges?


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    As an Audi guy, I have to throw the Q5 out there. Been trying to find this rack system. Can probably find a 2010 for $20K and under.

    k for next bike hauler. Suggestions?-audi-worthersee-34.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
    As an Audi guy, I have to throw the Q5 out there. Been trying to find this rack system. Can probably find a 2010 for $20K and under.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Those Euro racks are cool, but are meant to clamp on the Euro style ball, so it would be a huge hassle here... better off with 1up (or similar) and add some lights if that's the part you like.

    k for next bike hauler. Suggestions?-%24_57.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    Are you sure you don't have a flat brimmed cap somewhere in your closet? Maybe 2" ear gauges?

    Ha ha. You may be right. I keep saving GTIs, Mini Cooper JCWs and the like as I search Autotrader though I think they are a little less boy-racer than the likes of the WRX STi, and Lancer EVO. I do have a few more grown up cars in there as well, like an S5, M3, S2000, and Mini Countryman.

    The search continues. Know anyone that wants a very clean 2011 RAM 1500 4x4 with Hemi and 20" Chrome wheels?
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I love the Mini S, WRX hatch, and BRZ but I'm 54 and don't wear a flat brimmed cap. My 16 year old son is going to love that, but how's that going to work for me? Is the BRZ rackable?
    As already stated, there are roof racks for the BRZ now. You can also use SeaSuckers. A hitch is also available now. You can also have custom bars made to go into the rear tow hook locations and mount a 1up rack to it like the picture below. Not my car, but I just got the same setup.

    k for next bike hauler. Suggestions?-21035254082_73125bc87e_c.jpg

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    The Mazda Speed 3 is a pretty fun car to drive as well. For $20k though...actually a little more, my low budget dream car would be a Dodge Challenger R/T.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails k for next bike hauler. Suggestions?-fbd4e28848556c6526e9339ffa1b83e1x.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnk View Post
    As already stated, there are roof racks for the BRZ now. You can also use SeaSuckers. A hitch is also available now. You can also have custom bars made to go into the rear tow hook locations and mount a 1up rack to it like the picture below. Not my car, but I just got the same setup.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Interesting, you just screw the 2 main shafts in? Are the they steel or aluminum?
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    Quote Originally Posted by lastplace29er View Post
    Interesting, you just screw the 2 main shafts in? Are the they steel or aluminum?
    Yup. They screw into the 2 tow hook locations. Just remove the cover and screw them in. The ones I have are 303 stainless steel. Others have had them made from other material or they used threaded rod.

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    If you want something with a lot of utility, check out a used lexus GX470.

    Its luxury, but its really still a toyota. I worked for lexus for a few years, and their whole lineup is basically a more reliable toyota, which are already ridiculous reliable. They're not popular with kids, so its pretty easy to find adult owned and well maintained used ones. Ive seen them closing in on 200k miles with basically no service history besides oil changes (and a timing belt here and there, for maintenance not breaks).

    They kinda went balls out on the offroad features of the GX, which is funny because no one offroads them. Gas mileage is good as well.

    Im happily with audi now. Theres no such thing as a broke audi tech, we've got work all day long, every time

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    If you want something with a lot of utility, check out a used lexus GX470.
    ...
    Gas mileage is good as well.
    I'm not sure what you consider to be "good," but my experience with Toyota 4.7L's weren't great (MPG wise). 12 around town and 16-17 on the highway. Another friend with a GX reports 13mpg, mixed driving. VERY nice suv's, but MPG isn't its strong point (and makes sense, considering its price point).

    I will say Toyota V8's are just work horses, though. Never had a lick of trouble in the 170k miles I owned it. Didn't hardly burn any oil for 10k miles oil change intervals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    I'm not sure what you consider to be "good," but my experience with Toyota 4.7L's weren't great (MPG wise). 12 around town and 16-17 on the highway. Another friend with a GX reports 13mpg, mixed driving. VERY nice suv's, but MPG isn't its strong point (and makes sense, considering its price point).

    I will say Toyota V8's are just work horses, though. Never had a lick of trouble in the 170k miles I owned it. Didn't hardly burn any oil for 10k miles oil change intervals.
    My 5.6L V8 Pathfinder LE has every bell and whistle you could imagine (heated steering wheel!) and has gotten as high as 20.1 MPG in Colorado mountainous driving this summer... just sayin'
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnk View Post
    As already stated, there are roof racks for the BRZ now. You can also use SeaSuckers. A hitch is also available now. You can also have custom bars made to go into the rear tow hook locations and mount a 1up rack to it like the picture below. Not my car, but I just got the same setup.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Whoah. That's cool! I already have a 1Up too. Who makes those custom bars?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Whoah. That's cool! I already have a 1Up too. Who makes those custom bars?
    Contact that_guy from this thread: http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29963

    He's got 4 sets left and says he won't be making any more when they're gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    I'm not sure what you consider to be "good," but my experience with Toyota 4.7L's weren't great (MPG wise). 12 around town and 16-17 on the highway. Another friend with a GX reports 13mpg, mixed driving. VERY nice suv's, but MPG isn't its strong point (and makes sense, considering its price point).

    I will say Toyota V8's are just work horses, though. Never had a lick of trouble in the 170k miles I owned it. Didn't hardly burn any oil for 10k miles oil change intervals.
    I really like that Toyota 4.7 V8 engine. Very reliable, reasonably fuel efficient (although not as good as I thought based on your numbers), and a strong runner. In fact, when I bought my RAM, the other truck I was shopping was a 2006 Tundra with "only" 51,000 miles. Really liked that truck, the newer connectivity and creature comforts of the RAM swayed me though..... and I've kinda regretted not getting the Toyota ever since. Salesman at the dealership where I bought the RAM used to sell Toyotas and owned a Tundra and when he asked me what other trucks I was shopping, he said, "I wouldn't blame you AT ALL if you went with he Tundra." When I told him the price and mileage he wanted to know where it was.

    Maybe I oughta put the Tundra back on the list. Don't really want a bigger SUV this time but I did almost buy a GX470 when I was shopping for my Flex. Nice car. Mercedes GL450 from 2007-08 should be getting down into that price range now too. We looked at a really nice 2007 for $34K four years ago.

    I'm kind of narrowing down to the GTI and the Mini Countryman more and more...... although that BRZ with the rack was hot.
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    Obtain used WRX wagon, install 1" lift and (slightly) bigger tires..basically a fast Crosstrek, and still get low-20's mpg and know that there's no tralhead you can't get to.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Obtain used WRX wagon, install 1" lift and (slightly) bigger tires..basically a fast Crosstrek, and still get low-20's mpg and know that there's no tralhead you can't get to.
    Word. Did that to my Impreza.

    I can sleep in the back if it gets really nasty outside, too.
    Death from Below.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Obtain used WRX wagon, install 1" lift and (slightly) bigger tires..basically a fast Crosstrek, and still get low-20's mpg and know that there's no tralhead you can't get to.
    Is that a thing? I really like the WRX wagon/hatch and have seen some that are pretty understated (not all rice racered out).

    Why don't they put the WRX engine in the Crosstech? That's my only real gripe with Crosstech (which I have added to the list).
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Is that a thing? I really like the WRX wagon/hatch and have seen some that are pretty understated (not all rice racered out).

    Why don't they put the WRX engine in the Crosstech? That's my only real gripe with Crosstech (which I have added to the list).
    Yes, it is.

    You can do it relatively cheaply by just using spacers on top of the struts...probably $150-200 or something...and just using crossover-style, slightly offroad-ish tires. Boom, >250hp, tons of ground clearance and the only thing that can stop you is deep mud.

    I have a Crosstrek, and it's not an exciting car, but does get 28ish (real) mpg with a relatively massive 15.9 gallon tank, and is pretty awesome on rough dirt roads like the ones leading up to Gooseberry Mesa. I'd have suggested that, but you said you want a fun car. It will deliver you to fun places, but it isn't fun in itself.

  41. #41
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    I have a 2012 WRX hatch and I absolutely love it! Got the hitch rack and OEM support bars for the roof so there's lots of options for carrying bikes and gear. The only thing it lacks, in my opinion, is a little bit of ground clearance. I'm looking into a 3-4" lift right now which should remedy that issue =)

    If I had $20k and had to choose another vehicle I would consider a small/er Japanese pickup with a short wheelbase. Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, or similar. They are extremely versatile and tough with good ground clearance and offroad ability. They also don't require much additional gear (racks, support bars, etc) for you to be able to carry a couple bikes.

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    Cayenne's are reasonably reliable, the issues known, and not bad to work on. I would look at a2008-2010. One thing, despite their epa mileage ratings similar, the V8 gets far worse real world mileage. I have a unicorn, 2008 with a six speed manual and v6. It gets about 20-22 on the highway and 17 in mixed driving around town. Power is decent, handling good for what it is, and it is the best trip car I have ever had. If you want to go off roading, it sucks, as it has zero flex. (Fortunately, I have a Toyota Land Cruiser (80 series) for that).


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD so please forgive the typos that occur when typing with two fingers.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    If you want something with a lot of utility, check out a used lexus GX470.

    Its luxury, but its really still a toyota. I worked for lexus for a few years, and their whole lineup is basically a more reliable toyota, which are already ridiculous reliable. They're not popular with kids, so its pretty easy to find adult owned and well maintained used ones. Ive seen them closing in on 200k miles with basically no service history besides oil changes (and a timing belt here and there, for maintenance not breaks).

    They kinda went balls out on the offroad features of the GX, which is funny because no one offroads them. Gas mileage is good as well.

    Im happily with audi now. Theres no such thing as a broke audi tech, we've got work all day long, every time
    The GX is a Land Cruiser 105 chassis, same as the 2003+ 4 runner. Great vehicle, but ugly as sin and feels narrow and tippy.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD so please forgive the typos that occur when typing with two fingers.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  44. #44
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    Check out a BMW 135i/335i. There is a lot of aftermarket support and 2010s with lower miles are around your price requirements.
    Minis are fun cars though. I've had a 2004 mini s, 2010 jcw, and 2013 mini gp2 (still have this one).

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    Trailblazer SS should do the trick.....395hp

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKHappy View Post
    Trailblazer SS should do the trick.....395hp
    I forgot about those! Those were seriously cool cars. What year did they make those?
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by c-wal View Post
    Check out a BMW 135i/335i.
    Yes, I have found a couple 335xi that fit the price range 2008-10. I do have snow here so there are some downsides to the rear wheel drive vehicles on the list like the BRZ and Challenger/Charger/Magnum, M3, M5, and S2000. So AWD or FWD would probably be best.

    The new Audi All Road Quattro would be cool, but doubtful they could be had for under $30,000. Q5 may be an option as someone else suggested.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

    www.stuckinthespokes.com

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I forgot about those! Those were seriously cool cars. What year did they make those?
    2006-2009

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