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Old 05-23-08, 10:14 PM   #1
TexasRider
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fuel efficient cars

I've been thinking it might be time to trade-in my SUV and get a fuel efficeint car. I'm six feet tall, so the car would need to have sufficient head room. With the SUV, I just leave the back seats down and transport the bike inside. Any recommendations on a car and a good bike rack/hitch?
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Old 05-23-08, 10:23 PM   #2
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That box thing that LowCel got. Or the Honda version of it. Or whatever it is.

Oh nevermind. I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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Old 05-23-08, 10:35 PM   #3
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What counts as fuel-efficient? What kind of car do you need?

I have a Subaru Outback with a Yakima rack, although it is not as fuel efficient as a front-wheel-drive car.
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Old 05-23-08, 11:08 PM   #4
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is living in yakima better than having a yakima rack
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Old 05-24-08, 12:04 AM   #5
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How fuel efficient is fuel efficent? This sort of is in the eye of the beholder. To me, anything more than 10MPG is efficient. To others, anything under 100MPG is considered a dino juice guzzler.

The Honda Element is decent, I'm guessing about 15-20MPG, although its sluggish compared to a V8 pickup or SUV.

I'm also looking at replacement vehicles myself, and what I think seems to fit the best is a Honda Ridgeline. It has more horsepower than my current pickup even with a V6 (although it gives the HP at 3-4k RPM instead of 2500), and supposedly the ability to shut down to 3, 4, or 5 cylinders will help MPG by a couple gallons here and there. For me, it seems to be the best all around combo of what I do both in town for driving, and when I have to haul/tow stuff.
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Old 05-24-08, 12:05 AM   #6
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I have a 2006 civic sedan and average 34mpg. I'm 6'2 and have plenty of headroom even with my massive melon. I have a hitch with a Saris Thelma 2-bike rack. It has been a great setup for me. My wife drives a 2006 Element and on average we get 24-25mpg in it
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Old 05-24-08, 12:13 AM   #7
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What I find funny is that even though Elements are ugly, they are decent vehicles. Should my next job not pay enough to afford a Ridgeline, I'd buy an Element instead, just because it can handle a lot of stuff all the time, as well as carry four people fairly comfortably.
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Old 05-24-08, 12:20 AM   #8
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Lightweight, fuel efficient Japanese cars can accommodate a 6' person better than most think. The issue will be that there won't be much (any) foot room for the passenger who gets to sit behind you but the driver will be accommodated. Those little engines run forever too. I had a 3 cylinder, 1000cc Diahatsu engine do 300,000 km (just shy of 200,000 miles) of trouble free miles and it was perfectly capable of long highway trips although maybe not in that much comfort. 1.5 litre 4 cylinder cars are perfectly capable of comfortable highway driving. EDIT, OK with a driver, one passenger and some luggage. 4 passengers + luggage is doable but not comfortably.

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Old 05-24-08, 12:23 AM   #9
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Lightweight, fuel efficient Japanese cars can accommodate a 6' person better than most think. The issue will be that there won't be much (any) foot room for the passenger who gets to sit behind you but the driver will be accommodated. Those little engines run forever too. I had a 3 cylinder, 1000cc Diahatsu engine do 300,000 km (just shy of 200,000 miles) of trouble free miles and it was perfectly capable of long highway trips although maybe not in that much comfort. 1.5 litre 4 cylinder cars are perfectly capable of comfortable highway driving.

Regards, Anthony
My only complaint about the Japanese four-bangers is that they are skittish on power. With a V8 truck, you can keep your foot on the accelerator and it will accelerate or drop back very smoothly. The four cylinders are sort of erratic and slightly lurch forward or hang back -- its something to get used to, I guess.
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Old 05-24-08, 12:29 AM   #10
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you could always look at the civic si they good power
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Old 05-24-08, 01:41 AM   #11
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How about a turbo diesel European station wagon such as a Puegeot 407, Ford Mondeo, Audi/VW/Skoda. They would get very good mileage and should have plenty of space for carting stuff. I have no idea how reliable they would be and whether you can even get them in the states.

My next car will be a diesel/turbo diesel station wagon. Eventually. My current car is a 25 year old small Citroen that gets good mileage but is sulking right now with a hydraulic problem.
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Old 05-24-08, 03:44 AM   #12
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How about a turbo diesel European station wagon such as a Puegeot 407, Ford Mondeo, Audi/VW/Skoda. They would get very good mileage and should have plenty of space for carting stuff. I have no idea how reliable they would be and whether you can even get them in the states.

My next car will be a diesel/turbo diesel station wagon. Eventually. My current car is a 25 year old small Citroen that gets good mileage but is sulking right now with a hydraulic problem.
The only thing turbo diesel you can get in the US are heavy duty pickup trucks. Last cars that were turbo diesel that were in the US were the underpowered Mercedes in the mid 80s which everyone around hated because of the nasty smelling exhaust, so people don't think much of turbo diesels here unless they are buying a heavy duty 4x4 truck for hauling stuff.
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Old 05-24-08, 03:48 AM   #13
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I've been thinking it might be time to trade-in my SUV and get a fuel efficeint car. I'm six feet tall, so the car would need to have sufficient head room. With the SUV, I just leave the back seats down and transport the bike inside. Any recommendations on a car and a good bike rack/hitch?
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Old 05-24-08, 05:04 AM   #14
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Ha ha. Boxed out VW bug. ^^^
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Old 05-24-08, 06:23 AM   #15
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Smart?

40/45 City/highway. Can get a bikerack for the back.
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Old 05-24-08, 06:58 AM   #16
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as a six-footer, i can recommend the Smart - though i don't have one (yet), i fit just fine. plenty of headroom and comfortable.
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Old 05-24-08, 07:16 AM   #17
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I've been thinking it might be time to trade-in my SUV and get a fuel efficeint car. I'm six feet tall, so the car would need to have sufficient head room. With the SUV, I just leave the back seats down and transport the bike inside. Any recommendations on a car and a good bike rack/hitch?
If you truly want fuel efficient, you have to change not only your car, but your mentality altogether. People in the US, and I am one of them, have been brain washed by advertisement. Most people want gigantic trucks and SUVS because they think they are safe (they are not), because they have a lot of room but never carry more than what can fit in most small cars, because it can carry many people but never have more than 1-2 more passengers onboard, and because it has more power that you really don't need.

Having said that, I have always liked small cars myself. I am currently driving a V-6 simply because of the luuxry it came with and nothing else. I still get 24-27 MPG, which is still pretty piss poor! My lease on it ends in a month, so it will be traded for a SmartCar.

As far as the bike transport issue, just get the car and later get a rack that fits it well. A bike can go on anything!!
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Old 05-24-08, 08:52 AM   #18
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is living in yakima better than having a yakima rack
no, it just means that all the racks around you are Yakima racks, even the Thules.
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Old 05-24-08, 08:56 AM   #19
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I've got an Escort station wagon. 30-36 mpg, and more than enough room for 3 broken down bikes in the back with 3 passengers.
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Old 05-24-08, 08:57 AM   #20
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Here is a story that I saw on CNN this week

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/...x.html?cnn=yes

I like the Scion, but it does not have leather, and the Mazda 5 impressed me when I test drove one back in 2005. Hithch mounted racks are nice, but entail the installation of a receiver hitch. Easily removed, most can fold down or out of the way, there are even tray style hitch mount racks.


Roof racks are a little harder to get the bike on, but offer you full access to all doors on the vehicle. Watch out for low overhangs on parking garages, etc. as one lapse in memory can ruin your bike.
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Old 05-24-08, 09:17 AM   #21
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I have a Hyundai accent 5-speed. 36-38mpg my normal driving, and 40+ mpg highway. Room for two adults comfortably, or four if needed (short people in back) or fold the seat down and can fit three bikes in the hatch with driver and passanger (not sure where the third person would go( I can even fit my recumbent and one other bike inside.
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Old 05-24-08, 09:46 AM   #22
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My only complaint about the Japanese four-bangers is that they are skittish on power. With a V8 truck, you can keep your foot on the accelerator and it will accelerate or drop back very smoothly. The four cylinders are sort of erratic and slightly lurch forward or hang back -- its something to get used to, I guess.
I suppose it is all what you're used to, as well as what you prefer and perhaps even where you drive.

I've lived in the mountains ever since learning to drive, and one annoying trait I've seen far too much of is something I call "V-8 Driving". This is where a driver slams on the brakes in every turn and accellerates in every straightaway (where the passing lanes are) just because they have the power to do so. Since no one can pass, traffic stays at the speed the obviously frightened or unskilled driver can maintain through the turns and will become a bunched up group, even harder to pass. The drivers behind the lead car can get annoyed and take risky pass attempts, putting everyone in danger.

When driving a decent handling 4-cylinder, one learns to conserve momentum through the turns, not relying on power to make up for poor driving skills. The lighter vehicle will usually handle the corners better anyway, and shifting technique has a much greater impact, both uphill and downhill due to the ability to engine brake.

I've also found that relatively underpowered FWD, AWD or 4WD vehicles can do much better in Winter driving conditions. Accelleration is inherently limited and the likelihood of spinning all four tires is lessened. A powerful engine that can break traction is next to useless on ice and snow...unless you're chained up and pushing a plow.

Just so you know, we own a V-6 Toyota T-100 pickup, a 4-cylinder Subaru Forester (with 4X studded tires for Winter) and up until last year a 4-cylinder Camry. While I find my truck perfectly adequate for hauling anything needed, I miss the Camry a whole bunch. It was a 5-speed manual and a perfect car for mountain passes. I really miss the 36MPG it got on the highway. I'm also looking for another economical car.
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Old 05-24-08, 09:59 AM   #23
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My dad has a Chevy Malibu and consistently gets around 35-38 MPG (and also drives like a maniac). There is tons of room in it. With that being said, however, you could try a hybrid version of a small SUV. I think the Ford Escape comes in a hybrid, though I am not sure about the cost.
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Old 05-24-08, 11:22 AM   #24
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If I had the cash, I'd consider the Tahoe hybrid which Chevy says gets over 22.7 mpg. Its a hybrid vehicle, so it passes the PC test. Perhaps if Chevy added plug-in capabilities, it would crack the 30 mpg mark on a 7100 pound vehicle.

As for "V8 driving", I notice that, but it seems to be with a lot of people who just have failed to learn basic driving, and end up slamming on brakes through a curve as opposed to slowing before it, then accelerating on through. I always find it ironic that I can safely push a pickup on a curve 10-15 mph faster than the brake-slammers who usually have far better cornering vehicles than mine. Shifting technique is also an art that few people have mastered. It seems common to see people fumble with the shifter for 3-5 seconds when the light changes, or just slowly drop back onto your bumper if its a hill.
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Old 05-24-08, 12:19 PM   #25
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My only complaint about the Japanese four-bangers is that they are skittish on power. With a V8 truck, you can keep your foot on the accelerator and it will accelerate or drop back very smoothly. The four cylinders are sort of erratic and slightly lurch forward or hang back -- its something to get used to, I guess.
You pay a lot for that power. A mini Cooper S can get 38mpg on the highway and goes from 0-60 in roughly 7 seconds -- a trick that few trucks can do. Handling is also much better.

I had a civic for long time and got over 40mpg, but it was fairly gutless. Now I drive an impreza and consistently get 28-29mpg (which makes it seem like a guzzler to me). Acceleration is very decent, and it handles, parks, and is great for all around use.
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