Awesome Vehicle that can handle the lifestyle? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-28-2010   #1
bldrmorgan's Avatar
On the Highway, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 166
Awesome Vehicle that can handle the lifestyle?

So I'm looking to get rid of my Durango. It's been an awesome vehicle for me except for the whole gas mileage thing. For a broke ass kayaker, it makes a big difference.

I really liked how much room it had. I could easily sleep in it, load 6 kayaks on top of the raft, throw a couple playboats inside, and basically beat the sh*t out of it. It's held up well to my abuse and fun, but I've just gotta find something with better mileage. Waaaaaaaaaay better mileage.

I'm going to only have 5-6 grand (maybe) to spend so don't tell me about how bad ass your 2010 Tacoma is, i'll just get jealous. I'm going to be traveling a lot next summer and need to line something up sooner than later.

Thanks for any ideas.

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Old 06-28-2010   #2
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 328
Do you have anything more specific than "way better" for MPG? Is 20 good enough, 30?
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Old 06-28-2010   #3
montuckyhuck's Avatar
The Bitterroot, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 473
spend the $$ for a new car on gas... or get a V6 full size pickup with a standard trans. My 2000 Chevy 1500 gets 21 MPG and cost 4g's. it fits 4 creekers in the bed. The bigger the engine the faster it goes but the worse the mileage gets. a standard trans helps if you dont try to drag race. small engine, big truck, nothing automatic.
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Old 06-29-2010   #4
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,769
My last paddling ride was a Jeep Cherokee, it had lots of room and awesome 4-wheel and ground clearance...but I, like you had issues with fuel costs. After looking at many options I went with a Subaru Impreza hatchback. I put a roof rack on it and it will transport 4-5 paddlers and their gear relatively comfortably, plus I get 32 mpg (still have all-wheel-drive, just crappy clearance).
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Old 06-29-2010   #5
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 701
4 runner / outback

I love my 98 4 runner. 130 K and never a single problem. I have an outback 4 work. I get 25-28 mpg driving from the mountians to the city daily. (up and down a steep hill). I think I may go back to Toyota on the next round. It seems like I am constantly fighting some little thing with this car. Most recently the entire radio/cd went out. I have not had major engine or drive train, but seem to constantly be having little stuff that never happens on the 4 runner. The Sub is great on the highway and really good in snow. Has decent clearance, but isn't a 4 wheeler to go into OBJ. I will be selling the 4 runner in the next year or so as it only has 2 shoulder straps in the back seat and I now have three kids.

Both cars have ample room for boats, bikes, etc..
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Old 06-29-2010   #6
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Golden Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 187
I just got a Pontiac Vibe GT. With a roof rack I easily get 4 boats on the roof, I can fit either my creeker or playboat inside (the front passenger seat folds down flat) and I have yet to get less than 30 mpg even with boats on the roof. The Vibe is the same car as the Toyota Matrix with Pontiac exterior, the engine, transmission and frame are all Toyota. I saw a lot of them with low miles (~50-75k) for under $10k when I was shopping for mine. The GT has quite a bit more power and handles the mountain passes better. I commute a lot for work but needed a vehicle I could play in as well, this was the best option I could find for both.

My .02
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Old 06-29-2010   #7
Phippsburg, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 27
I'd go with an older model 4 runner. I bought one a few years back with 110,000 miles for $7K and ran it until I traded it off for my brand new dodge ram at 250,000 miles. I miss my Toy! I'm a big fan of 4 Runners. With a proper roof rack set up they can haul a ton of gear, fit 5 people and gas mileage is in the high 20's if your not a lead foot. The greatest thing is that they last forever and take a solid beating. I'm looking around for another 4 runner that I will dedicate as my river/camping vehicle. If you have time, look out in the midwest on Craigslist, I've seen some smoking deals on them and their not as beat up as the ones you find here in the mountains.
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Old 06-29-2010   #8
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 451

The Vibe is a good suggestion or the Matrix. I ended up getting a SAAB station wagon which has been a great car. 27 MPG hwy with 2 boats and a mtn bike on top. Turbo charged and will fly over Vail pass in a snow storm. I don't recommend this car unless you are committed to learn how to maintain them. Low ground clearance.

I have a friend who has a Toyota station wagon that we use as a ski car as well. It's down on power but runs like a scalded dog and gets decent MPG.

I would stick with 2 wheel drive unless you just positively must have 4x. Suck it up and manage your recreation needs without it and save yourself money, weight,complexity.
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Old 06-29-2010   #9
nmalozzi's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 330
i gotta disagree with all the vibe love. my x had one back in college (think it was like a 2002 or so), and all that thing was good for was the mpg. terrible ground clearance, sucked on hills, and once you loaded it down for a weekend in the woods id was slower then molasses in december. not to mention the interior was hideous being that it was a pontiac, and the seats were no more comfortable the the rtd busses. that being said, i know they've gotten better recently, but i still wouldn't go that route if you paid me.

tacoma is my weapon of choice. easily fit 4 boats and people, and the 6cyl has the nuts to stomp the passes even with gear. ground clearance is a non issue, and as long as you don't drive like a dick you'll average about 22mpg.
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Old 06-29-2010   #10
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 49
I have an old suby and love it. I can fit a raft in the back with all my camping gear. you could easily fit 4 boats in there. there is also enough room to sleep if you take everything out. it gets great milage and does great in the snow. we have over 200k on ours and it is still running long road trips. you can pick up old ones cheep.

thats my vote.
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