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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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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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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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car

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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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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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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You guys must have the magic suby's or drive different than me cause I never got what I would call good gas mileage out of them. Had two and you had to be unloaded with the a/c off and on the highway with a tailwind to get over 30mpg.
 

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If you can find a deal on an older VW TDI (turbo-diesel) wagon, that might fit the bill - if you can accept shitty clearance and no 4WD. The positives are that the wagons will hold a lot of gear, the diesel engine has great torque and acceleration and does fine loaded down. I get 42+mpg with a roof rack and a rocket box. No rack and go light on the accelerator, and I can get 50+ and go over 550 miles on a 12 gallon tank. If you have a short commute, you'll be filling that tank once a month.

Might be tough to find one at $6K, but diesels will handle high mileage or you might find a dinged one. But it's a great car if you want to lighten your fuel bills; the high-mpg gas cars are generally dogs when you load them down or put boats on them.
 

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Yeah- mine's a sedan. I should have held out for a wagon, but we have a 4 door Nissan pickup and I figured the VW would be strictly a commuter for my heinous commute. But I've been using it for playtime too - I almost made the full round trip from Front Range - Fruita - Front Range on one friggin tank. I will probably upgrade to the new VW SportWagen eventually. Quite a few of the hyper-milers [URL="http://tdi.vw.com/leaderboard/"]on their site [/URL]are averaging 70mpg, with some freaks getting close to 100mpg. Amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My Durango has been getting maybe 12 mpg, so basically anything will be a step up. But with the traveling I may be looking at next summer (making the rounds in CO, NM, AZ, UT, WY, MT, and ID) I need something bullet proof, with good-great gas mileage, and I need storage. A box on top will not suffice.

I def have been interested in the 4runners as I've barely heard a bad thing about em. But Nissan trucks, or maybe some newer Chevy 6bangers could possibly work as well. I'd just have to throw a camper shell on the back and outfit it that way.

I've also thought about getting one of the Dodge Cummins Diesel trucks and converting it to veggie oil, just need to pick my friend's brain more about it.

Thanks for all the input, and if someone else has any good suggestions feel free to chime in!
 

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My 1994 Subaru Legacy Wagon has done a great job getting me and lots of gear around for the last 12 years. I bought it just when it was getting broken in at 72K miles and have put another 200K miles on it since. I haul an aluminum raft trailer and fully loaded have carried 4 people, 2 kayaks, inflated raft, & tons of gear with it on long trips. It'll cruise at about 80 mph on the open road, then climb Vail Pass and to the tunnel at 55 mph in 3rd gear just fine (best power is just above 4K rpm).

There's talk about wanting to stomp the passes but consider this - if you're patient enough to take an extra minute or two getting up the major passes, you can probably get an extra 6 - 8 mpg everywhere else you go. Or you can tach it out in 3rd, do 70mph up the hills, and get the same mileage as an Escalade up the passes. My Suby gets about 26 mpg normally (with a Thule box on top). This drops to about 20 mpg hauling the raft and gear. About the only time the Suby has had a problem was when I had a relatively light load but was trying to carry two inflated and rigged rafts - the extra wind drag was worse than any load I've ever hauled.
 

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Here is a Russian friend's website and he is just about the only guy I would get a suby from.. SUMMIT AUTO

They build some sweet suby's even I would drive. They call this one the yurchalka - it has a duramax engine in there - that puts 600hp to the ground and if tuned up could throw 800hp!!









They aslo can put a tranny that will last in just about any suby that you have. One of these days I would like to have him build me a full on rally suby but that is still a few years out ;)...
 

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I have to agree with the 4runner. Had a civic and it was great for gas mileage but no off-roading. Didn't get to test my tacoma before totaling it but those seem to be a few grand more than their 4runner counterparts. I have a 1998 4runner with bout 130k on it no problems and get about 20mpg with it. I can load up the rack with bikes and boats and store tons of stuff in the back, carry five people and sleep in the back if need be. I live over in G wood but drive to the Fort all the time and have no problems with the passes. Biggest plus is that it is a toyota.
 

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Can't believe nobody has put this one out there because it seems this SUV is the state vehicle of CO but you should look at a Nissan Xterra. I've never had a problem with mine, gets decent gas mileage (19-21 mpg) and if you put some good tires on it, it literally goes through anything. Plus, the backseats can be detached and are buoyant so when you drive off a cliff Indiana Jones style you will not drown if you land in a river because you have a built in PFD! My favorite vehicle i've ever owned.... :)
 

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I'll second the Nissan. I've got a '98 Pathfinder that runs like a champ; very few problems, 18mpg loaded with 4 boats and 4 people with camping gear. I would have gone with the 4 Runner, but they hold their value really well. The Pathfinder cost me about $2000 less than a comparable (year, mileage, ect..) 4 Runner.
 
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