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Old 04-11-2010   #11
youngpaddler06's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 173
My gf has an element that we use for boating. The seats fold up really easily, which makes enough room to fit all my gear for the trip, including the boat. As far as gas milage, we just got back from a Ruby Horsethief, Westwater trip, 2 1/2 tanks for the round trip. When splitting that with someone it comes out to be very cheap.

That being said, on our way back i did notice it struggling just a bit to keep the speed limit.

BUT the best river car ever, Honda Odessy!!! More room then you know what to do with. I ran a Cataract trip and had 2 full setups including boats IN the car, with frames and oars strapped to the roof. The soccer mom car is the way to go!

If you are lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.
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Old 04-11-2010   #12
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 10
Payload limit is pretty low. I was driving behind an element on a shuttle and with four boats, four people and gear the rear suspension was overloaded to the point that the rear wheels were slanted way in.

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Old 04-11-2010   #13
Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 127
Thanks Kazak. I appreciate the clearance info. Great insight on the Pilot, I think that is the next expansion. The Element just does not have enough towing capacity for me.
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Old 04-12-2010   #14
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 57
I had an Element for a short while, and while it does have a fair amount of space, nice leg room in the back seats, it does definitely lack power and the gas mileage is not that great. Mileage was about 20 on the highway (auto trans) and it was a grunt to get over even the lowest pass. I would not recommend it for Colorado driving (i.e. in the mountains, over passes, etc.).
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Old 04-13-2010   #15
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 403
Originally Posted by FreeKickHero View Post
Ditched my F150 for a 09 Subaru Outback. Like the other posts, it's crazy comfortable for me and my passengers, plenty of room for gear and with Thule Kayak Stackers and load bars, can put up 4 big boats without any problems. AWD is bomber off pavement and in snow/rain, super gas mileage and more than enough ground clearance. I sprung for the manual transmission too.
I have an Outback and it does not get "super gas mileage" by any stretch of the imagination. New F-150's get better gas mileage than older Outbacks. It is a widely accepted misperception that Subaru's get good mileage. AWD just eats it up but it is worth it for how great they are in snow.
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Old 04-13-2010   #16
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 88
I have an '08 Outback with racks and get 26 to 31 MPG.
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Old 04-13-2010   #17
Jefe Driver
FreeKickHero's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 82
My 2009 Outback: 330-360 miles on a full tank of 85 octane gas, averaging 28-31 miles per gallon, cost of filling the tank from empty as of last Sunday approximately 34 dollars. My 2004 F150 XLT, usually 280 miles (doing the same type of kayak road trip driving) at 18-20 mpg, cost before I got rid of it to fill the tank from empty between 78-88 dollars. Between the two vehicles I personally owned and drove, I consider it super gas milage.
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Old 04-13-2010   #18
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
My subaru got crappy mileage as well but then again it was a complete lemon and after many trips to the dealer for warranty work I gave up to never buy another one. Traded it in at the Honda dealership and never looked back. Honda's are quality in my book.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 04-13-2010   #19
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 27
I need to put in a vote for the Pilot. Ours is a 2004, has 139,000 on it and we've had zippo problems. As others have said the third row back seat is great for a short shuttle. I have had as many as six boats on top. The rack was probably more than maxed out but hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Ours has the DVD (got that for the grandkids) so kayak porn is always part of the shuttle. It's comfy, roomy, and gets 20-21 mpg on the road (regular gas). Not great but I think respectable for this size vehicle. My only beef is that it does transfer a lot of road noise. Can't have it all I guess. It is front wheel drive but you can manually lock in the differential for 4x4. It's not an off-roader but it handles mud and snow well enough. I would buy this vehicle again in a heartbeat and recommend new or used to anyone.
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Old 04-14-2010   #20
Emmielou's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 106
Thanks for all the feedback. I'm surprised by the support behind the pilot, given its car body and the number of similar SUVs.

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