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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for input on good small cars for cyclists. I currently drive a Ford Ranger pickup and I'm looking ahead to my next vehicle. I would like something more carlike that still has lots of storage -- ideally with room for a bike inside -- and good gas mileage. My Ranger gets about 21 mpg city/ 26 highway with 5 speed manual, not bad for a truck. But I'd like something that gets at least 30 mpg highway. Fuel economy is important to me for a range of reasons: costs, environmental consciousness, air quality, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

My ideal car would be a Mini Cooper, but it has no room for a bike and I don't want to drive around a cool car like that with a rack. I wouldn't mind something like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla or Prius, but I don't think a bike will fit in the trunk. I also really like the Chrysler PT Cruiser, but disappointed by their lousy gas mileage for such a small car. Chrysler needs to get its act together in this regard. Same thing goes for the Honda CRV. That leads me to the new Chevy HHR, which gets much better gas mileage than the PT Cruiser or CRV (30 mpg vs. 26 mpg) and seems very comparable in other respects. Has anyone here driven or own an HHR? The Ford Escape Hybrid is another worthy option, but costs about $10,000 more than the HHR so is probably out of the question.

Any other decent small cars that I'm overlooking? I don't care how small a car is as long as its large enough to hold a bike.
 

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Call me a Fred
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I think that, if you removed the wheels and possibly lowered the seat, a bike could fit in any small car with a rear seat.
 

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SAAB 9-3. Fold down rear seats, carry my bike in there w/ the front wheel removed. Fits all of your other needs very well. :)
 

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I have a Mazda6 i (4-cyl.) sedan. With the rear seats folded down, my entire 58cm bike fits easily -no wheel removal necessary. Good mileage, good handling. Nice car - also comes as a station wagon.
 

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I had a honda civic hatchback for 10 yrs - held 2 bikes, 6 wheels, 2 big duffel bags & a medium sized cooler

.......... all inside the car.

- the mini cooper looks pretty cool, but it's far behind Japanese vehicles in terms of quality.
 

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remodeling...me
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1995 Ranger with xtended cab. I can fit the bike, without the front wheel, in the cab behind the seat! Love my truck.
However in regards to the rest of of your post, we have a Honda Accord and I just drop the seat, remove the front wheel and my bike fits inside.
 

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Take yer bike

Pick the car you like, and take your bike to the dealer. You will be surprised how many cars can accomodate a bike with the front wheel removed.

Look for a 4 door to make it easier-I use my 92 Accord 4 door to haul my bike. I don't even drop the rear seats. I am looking at a Mazda 3 "tall wagon" now. The bike fits perfectly.
 

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2003 Toyota Matrix here, great on gas, fun to drive, can take 2 bikes in the back of it, but I put a bike rack on the back hatch.
 

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I have a VW Passat Wagon 1.8L 5sp. I been able to get 2 Mtn bikes + 2 road bike and gear inside.
I can also put in several road bikes with front wheels on.

Road MPG range from 28-32 depending on conditions.

Putting anything on car rack can really knock down gas mileage.
 

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Element? But my 64cm goes into my Protege

I was headed for a Honda Element or Scion xB when I found a low-miles 2003 Protege with everything I needed for half the money. Either of those would be a good choice, though the Element's mileage is about the same as the CRV's (don't put too much faith in EPA figures--talk to some owners. A neighbor of mine says he gets 30 in his '03 CRV).
I can get my 64cm Atlantis or Rambouillet (but not both...) in the back of the Protege if I remove both wheels. Takes some fiddling (50cm bars and a lot of post showing), but no big deal. A Mazda3 or Focus certainly would accommodate them.
Regarding the rack on a cool car, though--don't rule it out, because they come off pretty easily. I can pop the Yakima racks on and off my Protege or my daughter's Civic coupe in just a couple of minutes. I leave the carriers and all the hardware attached to the bars, so all I have to do is open the clamps on the Q towers, lift the rack into place and lock it down. I've marked the positions of the clamps on the door jambs with Magic Marker, so that part's instantaneous. I wouldn't let that single factor keep me out of a car I wanted.
 

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Mini fit

tarwheel2 said:
My ideal car would be a Mini Cooper, but it has no room for a bike.
That's strange, because my wife's Mini Cooper has room for two bikes. You have to take off both wheels and fold down the seat, but they go in there just fine.
 

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On second thought, how about a little station wagon?

They're making a comeback, and they're not all clunky. My wife has a Protege5, a hot-rod Mazda wagon, that will hold her bike and one of the kids' (or mine alone). It's way fun to drive, 34mpg easy on the highway and has a certain cult appeal. There are others out there, starting with the Kia Spectra5 (big improvement last year; don't automatically sneer). They're not called "wagons" anymore--the new buzz term is "five-door" or "sport-activity vehicle."
 

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Saturn Wagon

I have a 2001 Saturn wagon (4 door + hatchback) that easily fits a bike in the back without removing wheels. Mileage is 33 mpg city. With 3 bike carriers on the roof rack I don't usually put any of my bikes inside.
 

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I can second the Subaru wagon bit: I've got a '98 Subaru Legacy Outback, and the bike goes in the back without effort. On long trips, with all the accompanying stuff that a wife and an 8 y.o. daughter brings, I can still fit in inside if need be.
 

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THe Mrs. was thinking about a Focus at one point, (but went wwith a Tarus) so I stuffed my MTB in the back of one. It took a little fanagleing, but it fit, and didn't even have to take the ft. wheel off.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
removing wheels

I don't mind removing the front wheel on my bike, because you have to do that anyway with most racks. However, I would find it a pain to have to remove the rear wheel every time I took my bike in the car. That's what I was referring to about the Mini. Can you fit a bike in the trunk of most cars (eg, Civic or Corolla) with the front wheel removed? I've driven a pickup truck for so long I am not really familiar with the size of car trunks.
 

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The Carlster said:
I had a honda civic hatchback for 10 yrs - held 2 bikes, 6 wheels, 2 big duffel bags & a medium sized cooler

.......... all inside the car.

- the mini cooper looks pretty cool, but it's far behind Japanese vehicles in terms of quality.
Not sure you have a clue? Had plenty of Honda's and Toyota's over the years and currently have a 02 Lexus IS Sport Cross and a 03 VW Jetta GLI.

German cars by far feel better, have less problems and you get way more bang for the buck! Have plenty of friends with Mini's it really is a great car!

As for the topic, try the Audi A3.
 
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