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Thread: Ultimate SUV?

  1. #1
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    Ultimate SUV?

    I don't mean SUV in the traditional sense, as in the Tahoe, Expidition, 4Runner, etc. I'm talking about a vehicle that's going to be able to do wha I need it to do (utility) and be able to handle it (sport). I enjoy a wide array of outdoor activities from biking, to golf, to fishing, and everything in-between.

    I currently have a 97 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, and while the car has served me well (I come from a family of Subaru enthusiasts), it's a bit small. My 5 year old daughter is getting big enough that she digs her knees into my back when she's in there. I was considering trading it in on a new Legacy wagon or Forrester, but then heard some buzz around here about the Element. I went to check them out and they're pretty sweet, fitting the utility aspect to a tee.

    I also like to take my buddies with me on these trips, and the more the merrier. I need room for 4 (3 + me) average sized men and our gear. With a Subaru I could get a roof mounted luggage carrier, but it would be nice if I didn't have to depend on that absolutely. I figure a V6 would be idealistic to get me through the mountains but maintain some fuel economy. I don't need anything oversized. My wife has a 5.3L 4WD Tahoe LT that I can use for towing, should I need to.

    My family is also a long time VW enthusiast, so I thought about grabbing an old bus (or camper van) from my old man, but I'm not sure it would make it through the mountains once it was loaded down with us and our gear. Then I thought about one of those Econovans, the boxy 15-pack type. Are those primarilly V8s? That would be sweet because I could gut the back end out for bikes, or a matress, or something.

    So I guess choices are:

    Subaru Legacy Wagon / Forrester
    Honda Element
    Box van (if 6cyl available)

    What else would you add? Any minivan? I like the old Broncos & K5 Blazers, but I don't think there's enough cargo space for gear.

    This thread is kind of hypothetical, but kind of research for a near future purchase, so please be reasonable. In fact, let's budget it at $25k because I have enough bills as it is. I'm also an auto hobbyist, so getting something cheap to fix up is definitely an option. I like some of the quadcab trucks, but most end up being $35-40k.

    Remember it's gotta be roomy, sporty (not stylish, but rugged), and moderate on fuel consumption (the Tahoe gets 13MPG, so I don't want anything else like that).

    Thanks for any input. Have fun with it.

  2. #2
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    Outback. Roomier than tha Legacy and much more well appointed (if that's what you're looking for).

    Plus, the new models are plenty sporty for any regular driver.

  3. #3
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    Legacy outback wagon, LL bean edition is pretty nice.

    Handling way better than forester, good leg room, great do-everything vehicle. No matter what you believe, the handling the legacy outback will be far safer than pretty much anything else (that you're considering), due to the AWD system and due to the center of gravity. It's a great vehicle.
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  4. #4
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    They'd actually be the same, since the Outback is a Legacy with an appearance package. Everything else is identical.

  5. #5
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    Boy this is a tough one.....

    The problem being is you need a few features that sort of preclude each other. You obviously need room for 4 and their gear, and you need power for the mountains. Unfortunately those to criteria usually relate to a larger size vehicle and more weight. Larger size and increased mass directly and adversly affect fuel economy. The full size 15 passenger van is out, most manufacturers don't even offer a V6 option in that size of a vehicle. They are HUGE and heavy, a V6 would be WAY underpowered for such a vehicle and would get worse fuel economy than a V8 becuase of it. With that type of vehicle the best you could hope for would probably be an average of around 15mpg if you were lucky. Probably worse, becuase they are also a "high profile" vehicle and are dramatically affected by wind. Just a 5mph head wind dramatically affects fuel economy in such a vehicle. I think that you'd find that a full size "quad cab" pickup would fall into the same catagory as well. Roomy, rugged, and a real hauler. But a V6 really isn't an option if you want power to move it in the mountains, and fuel economy is going to be an issue.

    The Element would work, but might be a little short on room when it came to 4 full grown adults plus gear. But if you set it up right, roof rack or hitch rack for bikes, and the rest of the interior room for gear it might work. But no V6 option, though the Vtech 4 banger does have a reasonable amount of snort (I have an 05 SI and it'll jump). But it is a realatively high rev engine so once you get much past 70 to 75 mph fuel economy drops off quickly, and wind does affect it more than a larger torquier engine. And the boxy design will also have an effect on fuel economy as well.

    In terms of room, power, and fuel economy IMHO it is tough to beat the minivan. I've had two, a Pontiac Montana, and my current hauler a Nissan Quest. Both have averaged a solid 25mpg, usually better. Both will carry 4 adults, plenty of gear, but again if you add bikes and camping gear your probably going to end up looking at a rack. The best part is the V6 power. I've had both in mountainous areas with no problem. The big draw back with this type of vehicle is your "ruggedness" requirement. They are not usually designed as a rugged vehicle in the strictest sense of the word. They are more family hauler oriented and as such have nicer interiors, carpeting, more bells and whistles, and the suspension is designed more towards ride than handling.

    The VW van might be an option, but any of them I've ever driven were pretty weak in the power department. But I don't have enough experience with them to really make any further comment. Same with the Subaru Legacy. I've only driven one. Power was good, and you could haul 4 adults with gear and bikes if properly set up, rack etc.

    Anyway, my solution to this dilema was a minivan. Not as rugged as some of the others, but powerful, reasonably economical, and plenty of room. I would suggest that you look at a few and see if they would work for you. Otherwise, in order of preference, I'd be looking at the Suby or the Element.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  6. #6
    Randall "Tex" Cobb
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    I own a Honda Element so it's pretty obvious where my vote goes. It is quite honestly the best vehicle I have ever owned. We looked at a wide spectrum of vehicles including:

    Toyota Matrix (Fun to drive but too small inside, didn't like the GM style interior accents)
    Jeep Liberty (Too small inside, very poor gas mileage, Jeep (Un)reliability - I'm an ex Jeep technician)
    Subaru Forester (Tiny back seat, fun to drive but too station wagon looking.)
    Honda CRV (Almost as fun as Element, not as much interior space)
    Toyota RAV4 old style (Smaller inside than the CRV, bland styling)
    Toyota RAV4 new style (They don't offer a manual transmission!)

    The Element was the clear winner of the bunch. Fun to drive, zippy with the 5 speed manual, tons of room inside, flexible seating and decent gas mileage for how much room it has and how much it can haul. For biking it's an absolute dream. When we don't feel like putting the bikes on the rack we just fit them right inside with wheels on. In the winter we routinely carry around two other friends with us going to the slopes and there is never a shortage of room for all our gear. Also, with an active lifestyle (especially during mud season in Vermont) comes a lot of dirt and the Element is such a breaze to clean out with it's plastic flooring.

    This is not my Element but it belongs to someone over at www.elementownersclub.com and is just one example of how much you can haul with these things. I would suggest you go over there and ask any questions you have regarding this vehicle if you're seriously interested. Ultimately though you have to purchase a vehicle that best fits your needs.

    Good luck!

    Last edited by Funktional; 03-17-2006 at 08:19 AM.

  7. #7
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    Have you considered a Land Cruiser??

    Still to this day the absolute best SUV I've ever owned is the Toyota Land Cruiser. If you look at the '94-'97 model you'll be looking to spend anywhere from $10,000-$16,000 depending on mileage. They're full time 4wd and have tons of space in the rear with the third row seat up or removed. The reliability is out of this world (bought my '94 with 40K miles & sold it with 120K miles and spent $0 on fixes of any sort) the ride isn't to bad and off road you won't find much of anything that can compete. Gas mileage on the highway is almost 20mpg however in the city you're closer to 14-15mpg. If you look at '98-'01 (newer style) you'll be in the $18K-$25K area, move from the inline 6 to V8 and the ride is much more refined. Mileage is about the same as the previous model and you'll gain a touch more room inside. The '01 that I had was also wonderful and even though it was more of a luxury vehicle than the '94, it's actually better off road.

    I know this is a bit different than what you were initially looking at, but do yourself a favor and at least try to go look at and drive each of these variations.....you just might be surprised at what they have to offer. Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Are you looking to by new? If not, take a look a the Chevy Astro/GMC Safari in 2WD. Comes with the 4.3l Vortec V6 and gets a shade over 20mpg. I'm on my third one. My second one, a '94, I ran to over 211k miles without it ever visiting a mechanic, as everything that went wrong with it I was able to repair. I have no automotive training, just read the Haynes/Chiltons manuals. I'd still be driving the second one, but it was starting to look beat up from offroading and getting hit by idiots in parking lots, and my wife was wanting me to get something nicer. My third one, a 2000, has over 120k miles already and is looking like it will follow the '94 in reliablity. These vans have been great road trip vehicles for me, racking 20k+ miles a year, and handle the mountains great. For trips with just the wife and I, I pull out both back seats and lay down a full size futon mattress and add a hitch rack for the bikes. For trips with the guys, I adjust the number of rear seats accordingly and run the hitch rack if needed. Front wheel and pedals removed, three bikes fit behind the third row, seven bikes fit behind the second with the third row removed. Another plus is that despite being 6'2" and 210lbs, I find the cockpit comfortable and have never got drivers butt during my travels. They are also fun to hot rod out a little. My current one has oversized tires, the throttle body's restrictor plate removed, restrictor plate added to the EGR, hotter plugs & wires & coil, and a K&N air filter. My friends are always commenting about it's power and they only see it fully loaded on road trips. I'm currently hoping the exhaust rusts off soon, so I have an excuse to put on a Gibson cat back system.
    HB - The God Damn Flying Dutchman
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  9. #9
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    Heh...I love how bike guys always go for the Subarus...nothing wrong with that, they're good cars, but I don't know how well they would serve your purposes...and that SUV "thing" they have is just plain nasty-looking.

    Now...here are my suggestions for you.

    If you want something rugged that seats four people easily, Jeep is coming out with a 4-door wrangler next year. It will have 4 doors, cargo room, AND a hardtop that's removable in sections or completely. It'll be powered by either a 4 liter V-6 or a 5.7 liter V-8 with multi-displacement (4 cylinders under light load conditions). Rumor has it that a diesel version will also be available soon. It will be wider than the current Wrangler as well to COMFORTABLY seat four people.

    If you want something that you'll drive to the trails (but not on them) get a minivan. With the center seats installed, My Grand Caravan can seat four easily and have enough room to stow four bikes in back along with all associated gear.

  10. #10
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    3" lifted 88 GL

    Under $2000, 27 mpg, low range 4wd, fuel-injected 1.8 with turbo options. I've got a 45X40 ragtop sunroof that's closed in this pic. It can carry 6 DH bikes too!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceezer
    I also like to take my buddies with me on these trips, and the more the merrier. I need room for 4 (3 + me) average sized men and our gear. With a Subaru I could get a roof mounted luggage carrier, but it would be nice if I didn't have to depend on that absolutely.
    You mention you would like to avoid having to use a roof mounted luggage carrier, but I would give it some more thought. I think it may be the ticket for what you are trying to achieve. A big Tule (or Yakima) box give you a lot of versatility. It lets you drive a smaller (more efficient) vehicle for the 95% of the time you don't need the extra room. When you do need the extra room, I find it far more usefull than more interior room. I love mine because I can throw a bunch of smaller things in it (camping gear, helmets, shoes, camelbacks....) and not have all of that stuff rolling around inside the car. This is especially nice when you have a bunch of folks with you. I bought a CR-V because of all of the road trips I do with my dog, and I wanted room for her and all of my stuff in the back. After getting a Tule box for the car, I realize I could have gotten a much smaller vehicle. With the box I have had 4 people with LOTS of camping gear in the car and we were all very comfortable. The back seats in the CR-V are the most roomy I've ever sat in. I believe the Element's rear seats are very roomy as well.

    I think both the Subaru or the the Element would suit you well. You may want to look at the CR-V. I chose it over the Element as a bike trip vehicle because I did not need something quite as big as the Element.

  12. #12
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    I'm going through a similar debate... I drive a Chev silverado 5.3L, 13mpg is a wonderful thing

    How much weight are you towing with the Tahoe?
    Are you looking for New or Used?

    I'm torn between 2 styles of vehicles, these would be good but the downside is not being able to tow anything and ground clearance.

    Jetta wagon TDI 60mpg...
    Toyota Matrix 48mpg

    or
    These can tow up to 3500lbs with V6 engines have better ground clearance and still get reasonable gas mileage.

    Toyota Rav4 V6 35mpg
    Saturn Vue V6 35mpg

    You already said that your familiar with the VW so I don't have to say anything about the TDI. But have you looked at this years Rav4? Its bigger, nearly as big as the Highlander now. There is the option to seat 7 in it. The V6 puts out 260hp so its got some punch to it.

    Unless your towing a 20' trailer, alot. More than its worth renting a truck the odd weekend... Why not keep your subaru and replace the Tahoe?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by El_Gordo
    Heh...I love how bike guys always go for the Subarus...nothing wrong with that, they're good cars, but I don't know how well they would serve your purposes...and that SUV "thing" they have is just plain nasty-looking.

    Now...here are my suggestions for you.

    If you want something rugged that seats four people easily, Jeep is coming out with a 4-door wrangler next year. It will have 4 doors, cargo room, AND a hardtop that's removable in sections or completely. It'll be powered by either a 4 liter V-6 or a 5.7 liter V-8 with multi-displacement (4 cylinders under light load conditions). Rumor has it that a diesel version will also be available soon. It will be wider than the current Wrangler as well to COMFORTABLY seat four people.

    If you want something that you'll drive to the trails (but not on them) get a minivan. With the center seats installed, My Grand Caravan can seat four easily and have enough room to stow four bikes in back along with all associated gear.
    Why does a Jeep make more sense than a Subaru? I doubt a 4-door wrangler will have any more room than a Subaru Outback, it won't carry more bikes, it will get MUCH worse mileage, and they are not as nice to drive on the road. What does the Jeep offer over the Subaru? He did not mention off-roading as something he needs.

  14. #14
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    I would vote for the Outback and Forester for great AWD. I like the CRV and Rav4 as well, my preference being the Rav4 BUT only the 2006 version. The CRV has the floor to ceiling space if you want that though.

    However, if you want the "ultimate" SUV that can offroad well, is reliable in the long-term, and has good space, it is practically impossible to beat the Toyota Landcruiser, my all-time favorite. In fact, I am currently looking for an older one in nice condition if I can get someone to part with one. People don't give them up easily and there are so many running around with over 200K on them. People still don't want to sell them- I may just have to swipe one and call it a day.

  15. #15
    AOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    You may want to look at the CR-V. I chose it over the Element as a bike trip vehicle because I did not need something quite as big as the Element.
    I wouldn't say that the Element is bigger than the CRV. Although it is taller, the Element is shorter than the CRV and has less interior cargo room with the rear seats in.

    Advantages of the Element over the CRV seem to be the wipe down plastic interior, and removable rear seats. The element also has more headroom and slightly more legroom in the rear.

    The CRV has a little more cargo space with rear seats in, gets better gas mileage, has side curtain airbags standard, and drives/handles a little better, IMO.

    I own a CRV (my wife's car) and had an Element on an extended test drive (3 days). Other than the two points mentioned above, I didn't see a huge advantage to the Element over the CRV as a bike/gear hauler. I can see why kapusta decided on the CRV.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    Why does a Jeep make more sense than a Subaru? I doubt a 4-door wrangler will have any more room than a Subaru Outback, it won't carry more bikes, it will get MUCH worse mileage, and they are not as nice to drive on the road. What does the Jeep offer over the Subaru? He did not mention off-roading as something he needs.
    True dat...but if I'm gonna buy an SUV...for me anyways...its gonna be of the "removable top" variety. Besides...I just like jeeps and mileage will be something of a non-issue with the coming available availability of diesel engines accross all of DaimlerChrysler's cars.

    If he's not planning on offroad jaunts, I'd still go for a minivan. I'm partial to the Grand Caravans, but they're all good. I paid 20,000 for my 2003 brand new and its been swiss watch reliable (105,000 miles and still going).

    If you want something bigger, find a Sprinter. You get box van size with diesel engine mileage and reliability.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by El_Gordo
    True dat...but if I'm gonna buy an SUV...for me anyways...its gonna be of the "removable top" variety. Besides...I just like jeeps and mileage will be something of a non-issue with the coming available availability of diesel engines accross all of DaimlerChrysler's cars.

    If he's not planning on offroad jaunts, I'd still go for a minivan. I'm partial to the Grand Caravans, but they're all good. I paid 20,000 for my 2003 brand new and its been swiss watch reliable (105,000 miles and still going).
    Yeah, minivans rock.

    I'm also partial to diesels.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by AOK
    I wouldn't say that the Element is bigger than the CRV. Although it is taller, the Element is shorter than the CRV and has less interior cargo room with the rear seats in.

    Advantages of the Element over the CRV seem to be the wipe down plastic interior, and removable rear seats. The element also has more headroom and slightly more legroom in the rear.

    The CRV has a little more cargo space with rear seats in, gets better gas mileage, has side curtain airbags standard, and drives/handles a little better, IMO.

    I own a CRV (my wife's car) and had an Element on an extended test drive (3 days). Other than the two points mentioned above, I didn't see a huge advantage to the Element over the CRV as a bike/gear hauler. I can see why kapusta decided on the CRV.

    Oh yeah. Now that you mention it, I did find the CR-V had more usable room for me. I think if hauling bikes inside the car is a priority, then the Element is great, but I really don't care. I think a spare tire rack on a swinging gate is the absolutle best option for bikes. Yes, Element is very tall, and that's not usually very useful room for me. In fact, I even find the CR-V a good 4" taller inside than I need (I don't have a sunroof).

    I would do anything for a rubber floor in the back. I don't see any advantage of carpet.

    BTW, the seats in the CR-V come out in about 5 minutes once you get the proccess down. They go back in about 10. What you are left with is a nearly perfectly flat surface, and it is just cavernous in the back.

  19. #19
    Randall "Tex" Cobb
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    Quote Originally Posted by AOK
    I wouldn't say that the Element is bigger than the CRV. Although it is taller, the Element is shorter than the CRV and has less interior cargo room with the rear seats in.

    Advantages of the Element over the CRV seem to be the wipe down plastic interior, and removable rear seats. The element also has more headroom and slightly more legroom in the rear.

    The CRV has a little more cargo space with rear seats in, gets better gas mileage, has side curtain airbags standard, and drives/handles a little better, IMO.

    I own a CRV (my wife's car) and had an Element on an extended test drive (3 days). Other than the two points mentioned above, I didn't see a huge advantage to the Element over the CRV as a bike/gear hauler. I can see why kapusta decided on the CRV.
    The Element has over 2 more cubic feet of passenger volume and over 5 more cubic feet of max cargo volume than the CR-V (Taken directly from Honda's website) I'm 6'2" and it's hard for me to find a comfortable vehicle. The CR-V made me feel a little more cramped inside but it all comes down to personal preference. One area where the Element definitely had the CR-V beat was handling. Due to the flat floor of the Element, it has a shorter traveling suspension which was compensated with stiffer springs and shocks, and the wider track aids a lot too. Plus it's nice to drive a vehicle that's a little more exclusive. Sometimes it's just no fun driving around in the same car everyone and their grandmother drives.

    Either way they're both Hondas and super reliable.
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  20. #20
    Lopen is sneller....
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    Well it does fit two bikes but for sure not roomy, friends would have to take their own car, not a tree hugger. But sporty it is...
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  21. #21
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    I am facing the same thing as soon as my car dies (hopefully no time soon).
    You want a car that does everything well.

    You are going to have to compromise, so you should just think about how much you actually do all of those things that you say. How often do you go with 4 guys into the mountains? Once a month, or once a year? how often do you drive with just your family on a long highway trip, where comfort and MPG are important?

    like choosing a DH or XC bike or whatever.

    We currently fit the bill with 2 vehicles, my ford E150 cargo van which i can sleep in the back in the parking lot at races, etc. But it doesnt have rear seats at all, so cannot haul passengers or children. and then we have a little hyundai for getting around with no luggage.

    i think people get fashion consious (jeep vs subaru) on the car purchase. some people say 'never a minivan'. but i would get a minivan next. i have yet to look into which one, but they are just so practical. all the other cars are getting as closet to being a minivan as possible, without actually being a minivan for marketing purposes.

    we also have a passat wagon, which is newish and is great. if not a minivan, a wagon with optional roofbox is great. problem is that they dont make wagons anymore (honda toyota, etc) so the choices are limited.

    good luck! just think about how you will use the vehicle most of the time. if you go into the mountains with buddies only once in a while, you can all just pitch in and rent something fun. or get one of your buds to drive!
    Only boring people get bored.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funktional
    Either way they're both Hondas and super reliable.
    The only complaint I have about Hondas is the AC compressors. They are crapping out left and right, damaging the rest of the AC system to the tune of $1,000 - $2,000 and Honda is not doing sh!t about it. My compressor started making noise around 25K and they told me everything was fine. At 50K it crapped out and they would only cover 1/3 of the cost, so it cost me almost $700. Months of phone calls (all unanswered) and letters to Honda did nothing. I was lucky because I could tell something was wrong and stopped using it before it did damage to the rest of the system. Other-wise I could have been $2000 and my share would have been $1,300 This problem is VERY widespread and Honda has not even acknowleged the problem. My sister's 2003 Accord suffered a similar fate and they are looking at a minimum of $1500. That's just weak.

    It's a shame because I really like this car (other than the AC), and my family has owned many Hondas in the past, but I may not buy another Honda just on principle. We'll see.

  23. #23
    Randall "Tex" Cobb
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    The only complaint I have about Hondas is the AC compressors. They are crapping out left and right, damaging the rest of the AC system to the tune of $1,000 - $2,000 and Honda is not doing sh!t about it. My compressor started making noise around 25K and they told me everything was fine. At 50K it crapped out and they would only cover 1/3 of the cost, so it cost me almost $700. Months of phone calls (all unanswered) and letters to Honda did nothing. I was lucky because I could tell something was wrong and stopped using it before it did damage to the rest of the system. Other-wise I could have been $2000 and my share would have been $1,300 This problem is VERY widespread and Honda has not even acknowleged the problem. My sister's 2003 Accord suffered a similar fate and they are looking at a minimum of $1500. That's just weak.

    It's a shame because I really like this car (other than the AC), and my family has owned many Hondas in the past, but I may not buy another Honda just on principle. We'll see.
    I haven't heard of one case of this on the Element Owners Club forums which is strange considering the two vehicles share the same engine and components.

  24. #24
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    Any thoughts on the Nissan Xterra? It's at least a real SUV (rubber mats, built in rack) and not just a short bus for soccer moms or an extended manhood for little man syndrome. Or maybe a 4 door Tacoma or Frontier? The new models are both much bigger than they used to be (mid size vs. compact). WIth a bed extender and/or hitchrack, you could carry 4 people for a weekend trip with bikes.

    Good luck.
    Long Live Long Rides

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funktional
    I haven't heard of one case of this on the Element Owners Club forums which is strange considering the two vehicles share the same engine and components.

    Go over to Edmunds.com. I don't know about the Element, but go on the CR-V owners page and do a search.

  26. #26
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    I'm buying my 1st SUV soon

    Subaru Outback XT Limited w/auto. (my first auto for that matter)

    I still will not drive one of the large traditional SUV's (I.E. Explorer, Expedition, ML450, X5, etc. etc.) I really want a station wagon and accept the Outback as just that with a little more ground clearance. I have no intention of going off-road but do head out during snow storms so the AWD is important to me.

    MPG is fairly unimportant. I take mass transit to work and don't drive that many mile any more.

    As a long time VW owner, enough is enough. I'm tired of really high priced maintenance and questionable reliability.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funktional
    The Element has over 2 more cubic feet of passenger volume and over 5 more cubic feet of max cargo volume than the CR-V (Taken directly from Honda's website)
    I don't disagree, but some of that extra volume in the Element comes from the increased roof height. So you are gaining vertical space, which is not always as useful as floor space, IMO.

    I certainly don't have anything against the Element - I really liked the one I drove. I just don't see a huge advantage over the CRV, while the CRV has a few important advantages over the element (airbags, better gas mileage).

  28. #28
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    Toyota FJ Cruiser

    Take a look at this:

    http://www.rockcrawler.com/features/...fj_cruiser.asp

    I saw this at the Auto show and it was definelty very cool. A plastic "bathtube" style floor that you could hose out if you needed to. Perfect for biking / active people not a soccer Mom wanna be SUV. Kinda minamalist on the inside but, that's what appealed to me - a very purpose oriented vehicle and not as in-your-face as the H3. Nice retro styling.....

    BEST part a loaded one with winch, 4x4, stability control, etc. = $24,500.

    Put it this way. I work for a domestic car company and I want to switch jobs just so I can go buy one.....................

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uzzi
    Well it does fit two bikes but for sure not roomy, friends would have to take their own car, not a tree hugger. But sporty it is...
    Been there done that, no thanks...

    If every trailhead you ride from is paved these cars are good. Gas milage still sucks, but its sporty and fun to drive. They have at least put a turbo in them now. I had a 99 A6 Avant and it sucked in everyway other than cornering.

    It did not have turbo so 0-60 in 8-9 seconds... A minivan can take you...
    The fuel economy was ok but add in the cost of premium gas and bend over.
    The clearance of well a german sports car. Slow down here comes a pebble on the road...

    Up here there a few trailhead that you drive a gravel road. I basically stopped riding those trails. You know cuz Jumping pound and Cox hill are trails that you can live without The newer ones probably have more power, turbo, ect ect. But if a vehicle limits my access to trailhead, no thanks...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew
    Any thoughts on the Nissan Xterra? It's at least a real SUV (rubber mats, built in rack) and not just a short bus for soccer moms or an extended manhood for little man syndrome. Or maybe a 4 door Tacoma or Frontier? The new models are both much bigger than they used to be (mid size vs. compact). WIth a bed extender and/or hitchrack, you could carry 4 people for a weekend trip with bikes.

    Good luck.
    The X is rugged and a good off-roader. It has decent space as well and the seats fold flat. You can expect around 15-16 in the city with the regular version. If you get the new one, they aer powerful. The old ones are much cheaper but are a bit underpowered. I thin kthe new ones crank out around 265hp. The Pathfinder is more refined as is the 4Runner. All can do some great off-roading in stock form. Another option is the Murano- reliable, AWD, good gas mileage for a V6 SUV. Just don't try bouldering with it

  31. #31
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    Any thought to the Honda Pilot? I know they're not a serious off road vehicle but have 4x4, have lots of room inside. I test rode one a couple weeks back and it seemed pretty decent. No idea about hill climbing but would like to hear anyone's opinion.
    Currently have an Outback that may need to be replaced so starting to explore too.
    Don't harsh my mello

  32. #32
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    The Pilot is nice- bad gas mileage with all that weight and AWD is very basic. If you're not really offroading (ever) it is an excellent option. Of course, the others with their true 4WD or advanced AWD option are more versatile but if all you're doing is going on some dirt trails, the Pilot is a reliable, spacious, and worthy contender.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by AscentCanada
    Been there done that, no thanks...
    It's the RS4 and now comes in an estate as well. 4.2 V8 no turbo, 309 KW at 7800 RPM. Would def be my favorite home to trailhead mode of transportation. Here in the old world I have yet to come across a trailhead that you can not reach by normal car...

  34. #34
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    I will add my .02. I have a 2005 Xterra and I LOVE it! The 265hp kicks great and the interior for everything sport is awesome. It is not something that I am nervous about putting my muddy bike in or anything like that. Since it is all plastic it cleans up real easily. The mpg is not bad. For the price, I don't think it can be beat. I know that the Element is a great choice too, I have just never been crazy about them. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Good luck with your choice.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uzzi
    It's the RS4 and now comes in an estate as well. 4.2 V8 no turbo, 309 KW at 7800 RPM. Would def be my favorite home to trailhead mode of transportation. Here in the old world I have yet to come across a trailhead that you can not reach by normal car...
    Ahh the RS.. That'll suck the headlights out of just about anything.

    We can get to alot of trailhead on paved roads. But there is also 1000s of kms of gravel, oil and gas, forestry and logging roads. About 1/3 trails here usually involve at least 5km of a gravel road. Out in BC some trailheads are 20km of logging roads, tight switch backs that climb 2000' of elevation. One ride is in the high alpine meadows, tight winding single track with view across the valley of glaciers. Its just amazing!

    While some people do get normal cars up to these trailheads, I also wouldn't describe an RS4 as a normal car...

  36. #36
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    Another Legacy Outback vote. I really like mine. V-4 provides all I need - my occasional regrets at not going for the V-6 are just testosterone talking.

    Get a roof rack or hitch rack (trunk racks - even Saris Bones - don't fit very well on the Outback wagon), and you've got more than enough passenger room and cargo room.

  37. #37
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    what about an XTerra...the off road addition is nice
    This aggression will not stand, man.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceezer
    ...so I thought about grabbing an old bus (or camper van) from my old man, but I'm not sure it would make it through the mountains once it was loaded down with us and our gear. Then I thought about one of those Econovans, the boxy 15-pack type. Are those primarilly V8s? That would be sweet because I could gut the back end out for bikes, or a matress, or something...
    If a box van is an option at least look at the Dodge Sprinter (rebadged Mercedes). Available in many configurations, passenger and cargo, all with a 6 cylinder turbo diesel.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceezer
    They'd actually be the same, since the Outback is a Legacy with an appearance package. Everything else is identical.
    The Outback Sport, which he has, is a Impreza wagon, not a Legacy.
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  40. #40
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    Actually the xterra is built on the same frame as the frontier. So the two will do about the same, they are both capable. I like the murano too, but i believe like the toyota rav 4 and honda's that it's built on a car frame, i think anyway. I personally am most interested in the new toyota fj, good price, sold vehicle, awesome styling.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    If a box van is an option at least look at the Dodge Sprinter (rebadged Mercedes). Available in many configurations, passenger and cargo, all with a 6 cylinder turbo diesel.
    Precisely (though I believe its currently a 5 cylinder diesel...but I may be wrong).

    The things are tall enough to stand up in, roomy as anything, and extremely reliable.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by El_Gordo
    Precisely (though I believe its currently a 5 cylinder diesel...but I may be wrong)...
    Right you are.
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  43. #43
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    Outback has more ground clearance

    All other things being equal, the Outback sits higher.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by AscentCanada
    I'm going through a similar debate... I drive a Chev silverado 5.3L, 13mpg is a wonderful thing

    How much weight are you towing with the Tahoe?
    Are you looking for New or Used?

    I'm torn between 2 styles of vehicles, these would be good but the downside is not being able to tow anything and ground clearance.

    Jetta wagon TDI 60mpg...
    Toyota Matrix 48mpg

    or
    These can tow up to 3500lbs with V6 engines have better ground clearance and still get reasonable gas mileage.

    Toyota Rav4 V6 35mpg
    Saturn Vue V6 35mpg

    You already said that your familiar with the VW so I don't have to say anything about the TDI. But have you looked at this years Rav4? Its bigger, nearly as big as the Highlander now. There is the option to seat 7 in it. The V6 puts out 260hp so its got some punch to it.

    Unless your towing a 20' trailer, alot. More than its worth renting a truck the odd weekend... Why not keep your subaru and replace the Tahoe?
    13mpg? Man, you need to keep your foot out of the gas or something. Maybe something is wrong with that Chevy? My dad has a 2000 Silverado 1500 5.3L and get consistantly gets 18mpg in the city and 20 on the hwy. It kinda ticks me off when I can barely muster 18mpg on the highway in my V-6 Toyota Tacoma.

    Where are you coming up with these other mpg figures? I know for a fact that the estimated EPA mileage ratings are a lot lower. I believe the VW TDI is 48, not 60. I know for a fact that the Matrix is rated at 34, not 48. The new RAV4 V-6 is rated at 29, not 35. The RAV4 with the 4 banger only does 30mpg, which makes getting the V6 a no-brainer. The Saturn VUE can't get 35 either, not with the V6 and I highly doubt the 4 banger does that well either.

    On a side note, I do like the idea of the dodge sprinter van with the turbo diesel, but it is too big for everyday driving. The fedex driver on my shop's route drives one and he claims he gets 25mpg, which isn't bad at all. Kinda gets me to thinking about what I wish somebody would make. I really like the Element, but I wish it was a little bigger and more fuel efficient. I'd like to see Honda extend the length about 10 inches and put dual sliding doors. I suppose that would be more like a minivan, but I think it'd be neat if it still had all the waterproof seats and rubberized flooring. That only leaves the powerplant. A turbo diesel would be nice, but diesel is more expensive than gas, offsetting a lot of the fuel savings. Why not make it a hybrid that gets over 30 mpg. I call it the XLement.
    Get on your bikes and ride!

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerboy
    13mpg? Man, you need to keep your foot out of the gas or something. Maybe something is wrong with that Chevy? My dad has a 2000 Silverado 1500 5.3L and get consistantly gets 18mpg in the city and 20 on the hwy. It kinda ticks me off when I can barely muster 18mpg on the highway in my V-6 Toyota Tacoma.

    Where are you coming up with these other mpg figures? I know for a fact that the estimated EPA mileage ratings are a lot lower. I believe the VW TDI is 48, not 60. I know for a fact that the Matrix is rated at 34, not 48. The new RAV4 V-6 is rated at 29, not 35. The RAV4 with the 4 banger only does 30mpg, which makes getting the V6 a no-brainer. The Saturn VUE can't get 35 either, not with the V6 and I highly doubt the 4 banger does that well either.
    Hey BikerBoy,

    I have to admit I just quoted Ceezer on the gas mileage of his tahoe and assumed that I'd be getting the same since its the same engine. My bad.

    As for the other stats. Straight from the energuide that the dealerships quote from.

    http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transport...guide-2006.pdf

    You? One difference to consider when comaring mgp gallon is Imperial or US gallon... I don't know which the Canadian government means in their guide. To be honest I find the mpg rating can be misleading. What type of fuel, diesel, regular, premium... Each have a different cost. Look at ratings for german cars and think hey thats not so bad. Then add 10 cents a litre for premium gas...

    But the worst are hybrid vehicles, all they rate is the mpg. What does it cost to plug it in at night... Or emissions how is the electricity generated. Up here its mostly by burning Coal... What emissions are there in that...

  46. #46
    Lopen is sneller....
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    Quote Originally Posted by AscentCanada
    While some people do get normal cars up to these trailheads, I also wouldn't describe an RS4 as a normal car...
    True...although here in CH the RS's are pretty common... A more sensible home to trailhead car would in my opinion be the Subaru Forester or Outback. Both are really popular here higher up the mountain.

  47. #47
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    The element is the one you want. Your kids will never be able to kick you in the back. Rear seat room in it is unbelievable. 4 people and lots of gear no problem. Nothing is more versatile. And it's decent on gas and relatively inexpensive to boot.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrack
    Under $2000, 27 mpg, low range 4wd, fuel-injected 1.8 with turbo options. I've got a 45X40 ragtop sunroof that's closed in this pic. It can carry 6 DH bikes too!

    Nice car bro! Me likey
    My tapeworm tells me what to do.

  49. #49
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    Xterra

    I was a skeptic until I went to the dealer. Check out Anthony Sloan's site. You'd love an X.

  50. #50
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    If you can get away from the socccer mom mystique, I'd say for room and utility go with a minivan. decent full economy, AWD available, it'll tow if need be, you can crash out it in it.

    Currently own a chevy venture LT, front wheel drive, i live in snow country and it goes great. would like an AWD but hell i used to have a bronco and a f150 used the 4wd about twice a year and didn't really need to.

    Want to pack it full of buds to go out in , plenty of room
    Want to go camping with alot of gear, plenty of room
    Want to take all the fam out including in laws and kids, plenty of room
    Want to go skiing, tons of room for equip and friends.
    Want to race, give you a run for your money in a straight, run you off the road in a turn.

    Have a buddy with an Element, like it , cool car but in the end is not practical, no real adult can sit comfortably in the back seats for a long drive, and has no room to carry anything in the back.

    Can't beat the engineering of a Subaru, put on 300,000 miles and maybe your starting to kill it, same with a volvo, but can't beat the minivan with a stick especially cause you can usually find a great deal on one a couple years old cheap!!

  51. #51
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    You are all looking in the wrong direction. This should do for what you are looking for....
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  52. #52
    discombobulated SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    Yeah, minivans rock.

    I'm also partial to diesels.
    I must say mine rocks...Stow-N-Go..Room for 4 adults, mid seats slide back...$25k +tax for a Well optioned SXT And 7-70 exteneded .Heck I figure w/o front wheels , I could get 4 bikes INSIDE....The stow-n-go thing holds alot of stuff...In fact it has a Glow-in-dark emergency handle in there for children who might play in there.
    Tony

  53. #53
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    My bro has the Element and Forester, and they're good, but a modern minivan is the ultimate for sport and utility. Our Toyota minivan replaced a high trim turbo European wagon, and it's a superior vehicle. We tested wagons 'cause we had a nice one, and were blown away by the Honda and Toyota minivans. Not very sexy, but surprisingly powerful, comfy, frugal, quiet and competent in all sorts of driving. Not at all the cr_ppy minivans I've had to drive as rental or company vehicles.

    FWIW: I think Honda is better looking and maybe a bit more sporty but we still went for Toyota due to space, rear venting, and reputation for fuel economy. It beats our friend's VW wagon in city and highway driving mileage, and has been problem free.

    Good luck.

  54. #54
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    Just went through this last year. I wanted something other than a minivan and I didn't want to huge SUV. I wanted a car/crossover with some minivan and suv-like utility.

    I drove a bunch of vehicles. I liked the Pilot, and the Pathfinder (both around 30K). If I was going minivan I would go with the Honda Odessy. If five passenger seating were OK for us, the Outback would have been way up on my list too.

    I finally went with a Ford Freestyle (I paid 28K for an AWD pretty well loaded SEL) and they've been marking them down big time lately. It really does drive like a car and the AWD system (by Volvo) seems pretty competent. Not a lot of ground clearance for serious off-roading, but it will handle all the rough dirt and gravel roads I normally take to the trail head. Gas mileage is averaging just over 20 city/highway combined. Some may balk at Ford reliability but I've put hundreds of thousand of miles on the last four Fords I've had with nary a whimper. Just lucky, I guess.

    Happy shopping.
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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by AscentCanada
    Hey BikerBoy,

    I have to admit I just quoted Ceezer on the gas mileage of his tahoe and assumed that I'd be getting the same since its the same engine. My bad.

    As for the other stats. Straight from the energuide that the dealerships quote from.

    http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transport...guide-2006.pdf

    You? One difference to consider when comaring mgp gallon is Imperial or US gallon... I don't know which the Canadian government means in their guide. To be honest I find the mpg rating can be misleading. What type of fuel, diesel, regular, premium... Each have a different cost. Look at ratings for german cars and think hey thats not so bad. Then add 10 cents a litre for premium gas...

    But the worst are hybrid vehicles, all they rate is the mpg. What does it cost to plug it in at night... Or emissions how is the electricity generated. Up here its mostly by burning Coal... What emissions are there in that...
    As soon as I came back to see if anybody replied, I saw that you were likely from Canada. Then I realized that imperial and US gallons are probably accounting for the difference. So, my bad.
    Get on your bikes and ride!

  56. #56
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    Land Rover...don't laugh like I did

    Last year, after totaling my trusty Cherokee in a Jeep vs. deer incident, I was in the SUV market. With a growing family, I wanted something a little bigger. I had almost dropped some money down on a Tahoe when my wife suggested looking at a Land Rover. I laughed but decided to check it out. Well, I found a used Land Rover (same year as the Tahoe I was looking at ... 2001) for about the same price and it still had 7,000+ miles on the full factory warranty.

    I bought it and could not be any happier. It is an SE 7 (seats 7 with the rear jumpseats), so I have plenty of space for car pooling the school bunch and there is plenty of leg and head room for adults. I ran it through the local dealership a few times prior to the warranty running out and they fixed every single issue that I brought to their attention. I ended up with a solid, well tuned, well running, new feeling vehicle.

    Not mine, but it's twin.



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  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrack
    Under $2000, 27 mpg, low range 4wd, fuel-injected 1.8 with turbo options. I've got a 45X40 ragtop sunroof that's closed in this pic. It can carry 6 DH bikes too!

    Hah, that's sweet! I've had a few GLs in my time but they always felt kind of sluggish with the 1.8s. My Outback Sport has a 2.2 and even it feels sluggish.

  58. #58
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    Lamborghini LM002

    Now this is an SUV. Not very economical but a hoot to drive. Love that V-12 purr!
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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsr1
    Now this is an SUV. Not very economical but a hoot to drive. Love that V-12 purr!

    This is the ultimate SUV- not even the Porshe Cayenne Turbo comes close. It definitely isn't for those who make less than $200K though

  60. #60
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    Jeep Liberty

    Have you thought about a Jeep Liberty? They are a true trail rated off-road vehicle that has a comfortable ride on the road... and I think they look pretty cool too. They come with a 6 cylinder and can tow up to 5,000 lbs. I have 2 of them.. a 2004 and a 2006. I get 19 and 20 mpg in both of mine around town.. and upwards of 22 to 24 mpg highway when fully loaded with 3 adults and all our gear. They are such solid well built SUVs that I haven't had a squeak or a rattle develop in either of them and my 2004 has almost 55,000 miles on it. Nothing flimsy on the Liberty.. the interiors and exteriors are well built. My 2006 I just bought was $25,685 sticker price and I bought it for $23,500... including power sunroof, deep tinted glass, aluminum wheels, 4WD.. etc.

    It's another SUV for you to think about anyway. Good luck and enjoy your hunt for the perfect SUV!

  61. #61
    The Casual Rider
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    Very happy with the XC90.... It's the wife and kids car, but I steel it for bike transpo..

    Mind you if I really needed to go off road in a major way, I'd get a Range Rover... if I need a VERY MAJOR way.. a Humvee (H1).. not the BS Humvee H2!

    As for the M1A1 tank, I've got 4 years in the army as a crewman on one, and I can tell you it CAN GO ANYWHERE.
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  62. #62
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    Check into the VW Tourege, I used to sell them and their awesome vehicles. If you don't mind the gas mileage, try the Chevy Avalanche, very versatile and you get the option of a SUV or truck.

  63. #63
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    I know some Toureg owners

    Man, stay far away form those things. Yeah, they perform well but break even better. I've been a VW owner for decades but the Toureg may be hitting a new low in reliability and for cost of repairs, a new high, if you keep it past the warranty.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Bubba
    Man, stay far away form those things. Yeah, they perform well but break even better. I've been a VW owner for decades but the Toureg may be hitting a new low in reliability and for cost of repairs, a new high, if you keep it past the warranty.
    If you have your heart set on a VW, Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler have finalized a deal whereby VW will sell VW-badged next Gen Chrysler minivans in the US.

  65. #65
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    I have to say that minivans are great for hauling bikes. I have a rack inside mine and have fit 3 bikes and 5 people in with luggage. Could easiliy fit a fourth bike back there if needed.
    Went camping with my son had our bikes and all our camping gear in the van and got mid 20s mpg.
    At the trailhead they are great for changing in.
    I kow they aren't cool but you really can't beat there versatility.

  66. #66
    The Casual Rider
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    though I'm not a fan of their design, I hear the Honda Element is a great bike hauler.
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  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by AOK
    I don't disagree, but some of that extra volume in the Element comes from the increased roof height. So you are gaining vertical space, which is not always as useful as floor space, IMO.
    Not always useful? Hey, unless you ride an XL 29" wheeled mountain bike where that extra vertical space allows me to slide it right in there with both wheels on (mud and all) and drive to and from the trails.


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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsr1
    Now this is an SUV. Not very economical but a hoot to drive. Love that V-12 purr!

    I heard that those were developed in hopes of selling them as desert oriented military vehicles. They could do 120mph in the desert sand (an over most bushes) and had solid tires. There was little interest in them, but when they decked them out for luxury, the princes in Saudi Arabia started buying them.

  69. #69
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    all over the map..

    Last year I replaced my '01 Xterra SE with an '05 Outback XT. The Xterra was a good value, but was a little too rough for me (underpowered, very cheap interior, noisy). The Xterra does have 4-Lo, however unless that is a base requirement for your vehicle, you'll probably never use it.

    The new Outbacks ('05+) with turbos rock. As previously noted, the only visible difference between the Outback and Legacy is the exterior (Outback has higher ground clearance and body cladding), though there are differences in the mechanicals (different final gear ratios, different steering ratio, different front brakes).

    I wouldn't try putting four 6-footers in the Outback with gear. I'm 6'1"+ and slide the drivers seat all the way back, which leaves practically no room for a rear passenger.

    Last fall we replaced my wife's '99 CR-V with an '06 Odyssey minivan, and I've got to say that's the ultimate car for MTBing. While it doesn't have a lot of ground clearance, it'll get you to any paved trailhead. You can easily carry 4+ full size adults in comfort without having to pack efficiently, and depending how you configure the seating can have room inside to carry bikes or everything you might put in a roof box.

    I'm now absolutely pleased with our car selection; the Outback as a sporty and utilitarian day to day car for getting to the local trails, and my wife's Odyssey which is great for hauling the kid around day to day, for the long multi-day trips.

  70. #70
    dual suspension newbie
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    Whatever my next vehicle is, I want to get AWD, if possible. I have it in my Forester, and it's great for snow and heavy rain. I feel sure that it has saved me from at least 2 accidents. Maybe by the time I start looking for another car (hopefully used) there'll be one out there that has auto AWD, and isn't a Subie. I like my Forester a lot, but need more room, and I am not going to be caught dead in a Tribeca/Chewbacca thing. Lose the new grills on your cars, Subaru!

    Catherine

  71. #71
    PCC
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    Buy an old Vanagon diesel and swap out the engine for a TDI. You would have the power and get around 20-25MPG. If you need 4WD then get a 4WD Vanagon (rare) and convert it to diesel.

    The Eurovan is nice, too, especially the last ones with the 200 HP VR6 engine.

    Then again, my wife drives a Toyota Sienna. She would not listen to me when we were in the market to get a minivan.

  72. #72
    Live 4 2day
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    Well.....

    ...just got back from Florida driving there and back in our CRV.......4500 kms round trip with 2 adults and 2 kids plus cargo. I can't comment on the rest of the vehicles but the CRV has been great so far.

    We have had the vehicle about 10 months without any complaints. I have done some rough calcs. and we averaged about 34 mpg for the trip which is not too far off the manuf.'s calcs.

    JG

  73. #73
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    the Xterra was nice

    But I opted for the full-blown utility only a non-suv can offer: the Frontier Crew Cab. You can get these relatively cheaply and have several options of how to mount bikes securely. And carry gear. And full blown adults.
    But for the same MPG and almost the same $$$, you can get the Titan.
    BTW, the stick shift frontier or the LE auto have the lowest final gearing ratios, lending to better MPG than mine!
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  74. #74
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    I thought about a Frontier, but my buddy (who is like 140lbs and 5'10") said he had trouble getting in and out of the back seat.

  75. #75
    A Guy Who is Going Places
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    I have an Xterra and quite like it: https://www.anthonysloan.com/xterra.html

    Lots of folks complain about the lack of power, but I have the 5m and it really has never bothered me. Gas mileage is not great though.

    I just got back from a trip overseas and spent a bunch of time lookiing at these:



    I'm contemplating a UK delivery.
    http://www.anthonysloan.com

    Isaiah 15:5

    There are many good bike companies out there, and I work for one of them.

  76. #76
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    Another one for the Xterra. I love mine...great for carrying all my gear, bikes and 4 people. It is great off road (I 4x4 a lot). Only thing is that it is kinda crappy on the gas mileage. But I couldn't be happier with mine...great truck...I have a 2001 and the new ones are even nicer. I like the everything you need nothing you don't deal...it is a real deal SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE...not like the luxury SUV's out there...Mine has seen some pretty tough offroad conditions and has never had a problem...I out wheel my buddy in his XJ all the time!!

    The element is real nice also but just doesn't have the ground clearance to go where I want it to.

    Tom

  77. #77
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    I have a Honda Pilot. It's 6cyl, 4wd, seats 8 in comfort(The third row is pretty decent unless you 6ft+), the rear seats fold flat to make a nice sleeping/changing area for over night races (I'm 5'10 and with the rear door closed I can still lay flat and in comfort). The back gate opens up which is great in the rain when messing with gear.
    I have a roof rack and with running boards I can reach the bikes without a stool.
    The Element would be my second choice. If you have small kids the Element is not so child friendly. If you park next to another car/truck in order to reach the kids you have to open both side doors which means your kinda stuck in the middle with a kid in arm. Although it is good for the snacks that end up all over the place.

  78. #78
    Randall "Tex" Cobb
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    Not always useful? Hey, unless you ride an XL 29" wheeled mountain bike where that extra vertical space allows me to slide it right in there with both wheels on (mud and all) and drive to and from the trails.


    [email protected]ent
    Or you're hauling your new couch home from the furniture store because you didn't want to pay an extra $100.00 to have it delivered. There was no way in hell I could have fit it in a CR-V. The guys at the furniture store just sat there in amazement at how such a small SUV could gobble up our new couch.

  79. #79
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    get to da dealerships

    Quote Originally Posted by Ceezer
    I thought about a Frontier, but my buddy (who is like 140lbs and 5'10") said he had trouble getting in and out of the back seat.
    The best way to check all of your options out is to gather a list from here of cars/trucks and hit the lots!

    The back seats are not the most comfortable in the world- but the space is the same as the xterra and better than the other SUV competition (4runner, etc). I am 6'0 and 225 and don't have a problem getting in or out of it, front or back. There is plenty of room, feel free to check on your own!


    the truck does sit kind of high, which causes problems when the wife's back acts up, so i am considering some rails/shrockguards for it.

    The biggest factors in getting a crew cab truck were the bike going easily in and carrying 4+bikes. Although i love my amigo's jeep gc, he has to strap everything from coolers to bikes to the top, the back and the front to make it out to teh desert. I can fit it all in the back - well have done 3 bikes, not 4 yet, but should be easy. And the nissan utilitrack rocks for easy/cheap setup options.
    my 2cents- hope it helps!

  80. #80
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    Element faults

    Got the first year Element, mainly for MTB and skiing and there are some glaring faults that others haven't brought up yet.
    My biggest peeve is the huge A pillar that is so far forward that driving on mountain roads fast can be frustrating since constant left turns are blocked from driver's view.
    If you drive at relaxed pace it may not be an issue, but I like to get to trailheads quicker.
    Another disadvantage is interior noise, since there are no carpeting to deaden the road noise, but easily addressed with loud stereo.
    Other than that, and mediocre fuel efficiency, I still feel it is the best vehicle for MTBing.
    (and I don't buy cars based on whether it can carry all my friends/gear so it wasn't a priority)

  81. #81
    Drinker w/ Riding Problem
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    Xterra vote


  82. #82
    No known cure
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    My pick for ultimate SUV...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Church
    Another one for the Xterra. I love mine...great for carrying all my gear, bikes and 4 people. It is great off road (I 4x4 a lot). Only thing is that it is kinda crappy on the gas mileage. But I couldn't be happier with mine...great truck...I have a 2001 and the new ones are even nicer. I like the everything you need nothing you don't deal...it is a real deal SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE...not like the luxury SUV's out there...Mine has seen some pretty tough offroad conditions and has never had a problem...I out wheel my buddy in his XJ all the time!!

    The element is real nice also but just doesn't have the ground clearance to go where I want it to.

    Tom
    I picked this Audi Allroad up last September after Nissan of North America bought back my Titan under the California Lemon Law. My payments only went up $23 a month in case anybody's wondering. It's shown here with the adjustable ride height set at level four getting 8.5 inches of clearance. The all wheel drive system in this wagon is immpressive and will easily do a stable 70mph on snow. I've had the computer flashed and the top speed is now 150mph. I've also installed bigger sway bars and exhaust. Turbos are next on the list. Trips to Mammoth have never been quicker. This car is top rated in safety and has six airbags and two curtain bags along with other features too numorous to list. Audi is not importing this car to the US this year but you can find a low mileage used one with the factory warranty within your price range. As for reliability, I have not had a single complaint or issue with this car in the first seven months. My Titan was in the shop 35% of the time I owned it(ten months) and the Honda Element I drove before that was in the shop almost as long. I know someone else on this site has an Allroad; maybe they'll chime in.
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    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader
    I picked this Audi Allroad up last September .
    The Allroad is cool.

    Not in his price range, but I want one of these.
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  84. #84
    The Casual Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob

    Not in his price range,
    Most "ultimate" SUV's hover over $50K.. so maybe he just wants a "practical SUV"

    typical "Ultimate SUV":

    Land Rover Range Rover
    Porsche Cayane S
    Audi Allroad
    Volvo AWD T6/V8
    MB G class

    typical "Practical SUV":

    Honda any
    Ford any
    Chevy any
    Nissan any
    Toyota any
    Dodge any
    I came, I rode, and I crashed!
    My Bike

  85. #85
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    Just bought a Ford Freestyle a few months ago,great vehicle and has three row of seats to fit all my rug rats.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by robdamanii
    Outback. Roomier than tha Legacy and much more well appointed (if that's what you're looking for).
    ?!?! - I just bought a Legacy wagon last year. The interior (space and style) is exactly the same. The difference is in the some body style, tail pipes, and ground clearance.
    People don't think it be like it is, but it do - Oscar Gamble

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel
    ?!?! - I just bought a Legacy wagon last year. The interior (space and style) is exactly the same. The difference is in the some body style, tail pipes, and ground clearance.
    Yeah, that's why they call it a 'Legacy Outback", the unibody is the same, the only real difference being strut length.

    BTW EJ owners, 'Outback' struts will bolt into and regular Imprezas or Legacys for a couple inches of suspension lift.

    Here's one, this is just a stock Leggy with outback struts.
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  88. #88
    Figment of Imagination
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    FJ is at the dealership

    For those interested in the FJ, My Toyota Dealer just got their first shipment of them in last night... They're all yellow, but it's nice to see them up close and in person for a change. They're a little small inside for me (the back seats take up most of the cargo room), but I soend most of my time commuting anyway, and the wife has a CRV. Might be nice to have something more reliable with 4x4 ability to take a friend and our two bikes up onto the trails...

    I didn't get all the specs, so I'm going to look into the Mpg rating and see what they get. They're so new, the Toyota website still lists them as "future/concept"




    Quote Originally Posted by IFrider1
    Take a look at this:

    http://www.rockcrawler.com/features/...fj_cruiser.asp

    I saw this at the Auto show and it was definelty very cool. A plastic "bathtube" style floor that you could hose out if you needed to. Perfect for biking / active people not a soccer Mom wanna be SUV. Kinda minamalist on the inside but, that's what appealed to me - a very purpose oriented vehicle and not as in-your-face as the H3. Nice retro styling.....

    BEST part a loaded one with winch, 4x4, stability control, etc. = $24,500.

    Put it this way. I work for a domestic car company and I want to switch jobs just so I can go buy one.....................
    I may be crazy, but I'm not Stupid!

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