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Climbs like a sprinter...
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6,976 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the market. I'm looking for something that could carry the bike inside so I was pretty stoked on the Ford Flex until I saw the $30-45k sticker price. I'm in more of a Honda Element price range. But I've heard that in the long run the Element is not that nice on the highway. Checked out the Nissan Cube - don't like the CVT transmission. Drove a Subaru Outback and Forester and they seemed pretty gutless. The Honda Fit seems interesting the way the back seat bottoms fold up to give you space there but it seems pretty short on power.

This is what I would like:
Leather interior
Fold flat rear area (I can probably count on one hand the times that my wife and I have had passengers in our car)
Non GM (Government Motors)
Under $30k

Or should I just wait for the Sonota Turbo to come out?
 

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Proud luddite
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7,190 Posts
The only SUV I've owned is a Honda Element and I love it. Not sure what you heard about its performance on the highway, but I haven't had any problems and I drive it quite a bit on the interstates in AZ. The thing is deceptive in that its interior is much larger than you might think, great not only for bicycles but for carrying large loads of other things too.
 

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\m/{-_-}\m/
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787 Posts
I love my Element. I have the 2008 SC. I've bought it new in September 2008 and it already has 56,000 miles on it most of which are highway miles. The only real highway con is that it is a big box so it doesn't cut the wind and crosswinds can be brutal.

Although it isn't the most luxurious car I've owned it fits my needs more than any car I've ever owned. I took the backseats out and it easily accepts two mountain bikes or surfboards inside. I also used it to transport my drum kit when I was gigging with a band. Gas mileage isn't that great considering it's a 4 cyclinder (I average about 22 mpg) but that's partly due to the fact that I have a Yakima roof rack and a Thule T2 hitch rack that I leave on at all times.

Overall it has been a great car. Other than oil changes and an air filter I haven't had to do any real maintenance in 56k miles and I'm actually still on the factory tires although I'm about ready for a new set.

Pre roof rack pic:
 

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Beetpull DeLite
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12,749 Posts
Mazda5. Or Mazda3.

Why get the Sonata turbo? I'd rather save the $$ and get the better mpg of the non-turbo version. 200hp in a family sedan is way more than plenty.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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27,225 Posts
Did you drive the 3.6 subaru, or the 2.5? The 6 cylinder might push you over your limit with leather, but you might find one close to 30k.

Motor Trend is pretty positive on the 09 and 10 models, post redesign.
 

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Failboat Captian
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6,527 Posts
Don't buy new. There's a ton of vehicles you can get for under $20k when they turn 3 years old and are lease turn-ins.
 

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dr hoo said:
Did you drive the 3.6 subaru, or the 2.5? The 6 cylinder might push you over your limit with leather, but you might find one close to 30k.

Motor Trend is pretty positive on the 09 and 10 models, post redesign.

Even the 2.5 has enough to do what you need it to do. Pretty much anything this size is going to feel relatively gutless, though. The 2.5 with an Automatic isn't exciting but it will tow utility trailers full of gravel with a car full of construction equipment just fine, even in the mountains here.

I've owned a few Subaru's, including an Outback and a Forester (Currently, with 225,000 miles on it). Definitely a big fan, even having test driven several other same-class cars. I haven't ever been as confident in a car as I have been in my Subaru's (Except my wife's Honda's, and those don't meet your requirements).

EDIT: Seconding this
JohnnyTooBad said:
Don't buy new. There's a ton of vehicles you can get for under $20k when they turn 3 years old and are lease turn-ins.
 

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Registered
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5,192 Posts
Have you looked at Flex

as a used car? I saw a few a few weeks back when I began thinking about what I wanted to do with my Xterra in a few years. Might meet your budget and not take the big depriciation hit in the shorts.
 

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Slightly Opinionated
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10,231 Posts
Gotta say the Outback with the H6 would probably fit the bill quite nicely.

You're not racing it, so why do you need a supremely powerful engine? Look more into the creature comforts and the necessities (fold down rear seats and bike storage, etc.)
 

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1,325 Posts
My wife used to have an Element and other than the mediocre gas mileage (around 24 mpg) it was a great vehicle. The seats could get a little uncomfortable on long trips, but not unbearable. Besides hauling bikes inside it was great for our dogs. You could fit a 7 foot kayak inside easily too.
 

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What the what???
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12,702 Posts
If you didn't have the GM prohibition, I would suggest a Chevy HHR. Under 20k and room for a bike inside with the rear seats folded down.
 

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Banned
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7,071 Posts
I know yer all "no GM" and I'm kinda surprised to see myself write this, but I've heard a lot of really good things about the Chevy Equinox. It's been extremely well reviewed. I've been screwed by GM and swore I'd never catch myself even thinking about another one, but this one might change my mind.

I've seen them in person and they look really nice. They've got decent gas mileage. The rails on top are long enough for canoes and kayaks, but the roofline is low enough to easily reach. lots of amenities for the price, and the interior is pretty sharp. Considering how poorly my wife's civic has held up over the last 3 years, I'm pretty sure I don't want to buy another honda.

The price isn't too far from an Element and they're right inline with CRV/RAV4 pricing.

Like I said, I swore I'd never buy another GM, but this thing is exactly what I'm looking for- basically a station wagon with decent gas mileage.

Subaru has trashed the outback, turned it into a giant wallowing whale. That was going to be my next car- planned on just trading in my outback sport on the next larger model. But the next larger model got really fat and still gets lousy gas mileage...
 

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Have a nice day
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5,893 Posts
bmxhacksaw said:
This is what I would like:
Leather interior
Fold flat rear area (I can probably count on one hand the times that my wife and I have had passengers in our car)
Non GM (Government Motors)
Under $30k
Sure sounds like you want a minivan to me.
 

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Banned
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7,071 Posts
undies said:
Sure sounds like you want a minivan to me.
THe new toyota sienna actually looks pretty good and it's under 30k, especially if you avoid the silly options like DVD players and nav systems.
 

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Failboat Captian
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6,527 Posts
When I was looking to get rid of a Dodge Dakota pickup that was starting to get too expensive to keep running and got 15mpg (avg), I ended up with a 2006 Audi A4 Avant (wagon) 2.0T. I paid $21k with 34k miles on it. The rear seat folds flat and I can put my skis in it or my 60cm road bike (taking the front wheel off). Plenty of power, good mileage (rated 30mpg highway, but I can get 33-34 cruising on the highway, and average 27mpg). Plus, it's just a damn fun car to drive, has all the bells & whistles and long roof rails to mount the Thule on.
 

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Failboat Captian
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6,527 Posts
buck-50 said:
THe new toyota sienna actually looks pretty good and it's under 30k, especially if you avoid the silly options like DVD players and nav systems.
A Sienna for under $30? Not! You obviously aren't aware of Toyota's princing structure. Starting at under $30k, means you're out the door at $40k. Good luck finding one that isn't loaded with every option known to mankind.
 

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Seat's not level
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19,371 Posts
Dodge Sprinter.:D



and the snow blowers won't fall off the back. :thumbsup:

Other picture just for grins.
 

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Still On Steel
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2,391 Posts
Maybe the wrong class of vehicle for you, and I don't know if leather can be had, but I'm sorta-kinda warming up to the Ford Transit Connect as a bike hauler.

Another rider had one at a sponsored ride I did recently. She said it was around $22K for the middle version with windows in the rear doors and the fold-flat rear seats, and that she got 26 MPG overall. I looked it over pretty extensively. It's definitely more truck than car, but ... I liked it.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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27,225 Posts
skyphix said:
Even the 2.5 has enough to do what you need it to do.

I agree, including fully loaded with 4 bikes in the mountains. But I'm not the one looking to buy. We found it to be the best compromise vehicle for what we wanted in terms of mileage, power, size, and capability (for the long winters/mountain travel on vacations). Given a 20k price point that is!


On the used car front: Used late model subarus are a pretty limited market. Sometimes you can get a fleet car or a loaner, but they seem to be a buy and hold car for most people. At least that is the case around here.
 
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