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Old 12-11-06, 05:19 AM   #1
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Mid Size SUV

My wife and I are looking for a mid size SUV that we can transport our road bikes in. We currently have a Chrysler town & country that we would like to replace with a smaller mid size. We do not like roof or hitch mount racks. We remove the front wheel and with a board I have, I installed two quick release mounts placed the board in the back of my van and now we can have our bikes safe and secure and out of the wether. We also do not have to worry when staying over night in motel. Any suggestions?

Thank you
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Old 12-11-06, 05:52 AM   #2
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The new Skoda Roomster, has the fork mounts in the back as standard, no need for additional fitting. Similarly many cars with high rear space have room enough to transport bikes this way, by adding DIY mounts as you described (various Toyota Verso -models and Renault Kangoo come to mind).

None of those are typical SUVs of course, but they'll do the job if your main concern is being able to fit two bikes inside. If you are in the US, some of these may not be readily available for you.

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Old 12-11-06, 06:53 AM   #3
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Have you looked at the Subaru Forester? I like my '02, my second. Ample room in the boxy back, decent mileage, and crash-worthy: several years ago, when a driver coming towards me fell asleep and drifted into my lane, I walked away from the head-on collision (my Forester was totalled) with just a sprained thumb.
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Old 12-11-06, 07:09 AM   #4
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Honda Element may be worth looking into. The floor is all rubber, so cleanups would be easy. The rear seats fold up to the sides to make a good bit of storage space.

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Old 12-11-06, 08:00 AM   #5
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I use my Scion xB when I carry only one bike but use my diesel Excursion for carrying more than one bike.

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Old 12-11-06, 11:27 AM   #6
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My wife has been eyeing the Honda CRV to replace my '94 POS (with a roof rack). She wants the bike(s) inside, not on the roof.
Any thoughts on the CRV?

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Old 12-11-06, 11:33 AM   #7
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I haven't used one, because I prefer a hitch rack, but I believe Saturn sells a 2 bike unit in a style somewhat like your home-made one for the Vue.
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Old 12-11-06, 12:01 PM   #8
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Jeep - Liberty, Grand Cherokee or Commander.
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Old 12-11-06, 12:18 PM   #9
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Honda Pilot for sure! It's quite an amazing mid-size SUV and Honda reliability, can't beat it. I agree with the Forrester also.
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Old 12-11-06, 12:31 PM   #10
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I'd look at a Honda Element or a Subaru Forester. Both make very efficient use of space and lean towards the utilitarian end of the spectrum with their high roof lines. Makes loading/unloading bikes worlds easier.
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Old 12-11-06, 02:53 PM   #11
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I would recommend a minivan instead of a small SUV. They're more stable, made better with nicer components, nicer suspensions, get better gas mileage, and have more cargo room

Or I'd recommend a Honda Element.
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Old 12-11-06, 05:09 PM   #12
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My choices would be:

Honda Element
Volkswagon Touareg (V10 Turbo Diesel... but you are in Humvee cost territory for one of these)
Subaru Forester
Toyota FJ Cruiser (New model, but the size looks right)
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Old 12-11-06, 05:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by RonH
Any thoughts on the CRV?
You cant go wrong with a honda. It will hold its value like nobodies business and will run forever. I can sell my car that I bought 2 years ago for more then I paid for it.

I will only buy honda. Everything I have owned and own is honda. I have had their quads, dirtbikes, snowblowers, lawnmowers, jetskiis, and cars (over 4 of them).

Not 1 complaint with anything from them.

As for the OP....

I dont know how much room you are looking for but the Fit is a great roomy car. If you need bigger then the Element is great or the Odyssey. I am also a fan of the CRV and if you need bigger the pilot. Feel like going all out for a truck get a ridgeline. Having a midlife crisis hit up the s2000.

I have personally driven the Fit, Element, Odyssey, and CRV and they are all great.
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Old 12-11-06, 08:46 PM   #14
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I second the recommendation for Honda Fit. If more space is needed, the Odyssey would be a step up from that Mopar POS you've got now. I'm not a big SUV lover.

Skoda is not available in the USA yet.
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Old 12-11-06, 09:01 PM   #15
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I LOVE my Jeep Liberty. My road bike fits very nicely in the back when I take the front wheel off.

Nice car, not much bigger than many mid-size sedans... but it tows a LOT, has 4WD and holds a ton of cargo in the back for its size.
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Old 12-11-06, 09:06 PM   #16
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I can fit 2 - 16" bikes in our Jeep Liberty. And another plus is, its almost impossible to get it stuck, that thing digs like you wouldnt belive!
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Old 12-11-06, 09:30 PM   #17
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Don't rule out station wagons. They seem to have made a bit of a comeback and are a lot roomier than you might think. The wife and I just ordered and Audi A4 Avant for some of the same reasons mentioned in the OP.
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Old 12-12-06, 01:00 AM   #18
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had a 1999 Nissan Xterra, had no problems lugging bikes around inside. Have a 2006 Pathfinder now, and yup, everything fits fine....
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Old 12-12-06, 06:27 AM   #19
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SUV's are fun but for downright bike hauling it is still hard to beat a minivan. When my kid went off to college 2 years ago. the first thing we wanted to get rid of was the minivan and get a midsize SUV or a Volvo wagon. After we looked at everything on the market we decided to keep our old van. Our Toyota Sienna gets 27-28 mpg on the highway ,will hold 2 bikes and a tandem inside with room to spare. We are trading the Sienna for a Honda Odyssey in the near future.

The Toyota Highlander has pretty good space for bikes, Also look at the Mazda 5 which is smaller than your T&C but still a minivan, sort of. The Chevy HR looks cool,but I haven't sized it for carrying bikes.
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Old 12-12-06, 08:20 AM   #20
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I like to carry my bikes upright inside my vehicle (with the front tire removed and the fork clamped to the floor). They don't get damaged and are less likely to get stolen inside the vehicle (I have a cable lock that will slow the thieves down a bit more). I can go inside stores, hotels or take a hike without much concern for theft.

I currently use a Isuzu trooper which has tremendous floor to roof height for even my tall framed bikes. But I am nearing the end with this vehicle so I'm beginning to look at new vehicles and am frustrated with how manufacturers list interior dimensions. They always give them in cubic inches which doesn't help me. I need dimensions for floor to roof heights and rear door openings.

One thing I have found is that if they hang the spare tire on the rear door, it usually gives you more interior height as not doing this means the spare tire is usually under the floor.

Having a quick release seat post clamp allows you to drop down (or remove) the seat for more clearance.

Measure your bike(s) and bring a tape measure with you when you shop for vehicles.
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Old 12-12-06, 09:43 AM   #21
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Honda Element.

Flat floor in back. You can easily bolt 2-3 side-by-side roof-type for mount racks. 20+ mph.

This crazy Italian guy (actually he's not that crazy), who has about 10 bikes and rides everyday has an entire bike shop, including compressors and power tools, and two bikes, mounted easily inside the back of his element.

And if UPS every sponsors a bike team, you can paint it brown and join the fun.

I have a Forester, and it's a great car, but you can't realy transport bikes intact inside the rear, which I glean you are looking for.
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Old 12-12-06, 10:03 AM   #22
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2nd the minivan! We currently have a Nissan Quest. We don't have any kids, just bikes. It's great man! We just leave the seats folded down all the time, and just roll the bikes right in! NOTHING is easier than a minivan! We also have a Nissan Armada. And while the Armada is huge, you just can't roll 2 bikes into it. At best, we have to fold the seats down, and we can lie 2 bikes on each other.

Sure, minivans may not be the coolest, but when it comes to bike hauling, they are tops! If you must go SUV, I would recommend the Xterra from Nissan. A buddy of mine has one, and with it's stepped roof, he can stand 3 bikes in the back with the front wheels off (and the handlebars turned). My 2 cents though. . .Get a minivan!
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Old 12-12-06, 12:25 PM   #23
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My Scion carries 2 bikes regularly & 3 when going someplace in a caravan. usual set-up clamps on a board front wheels off, turn the bars to fit 3 bikes, bikes don't touch or fall or move etc etc ad infinitum

[tries hard not to laugh at guy that needs diesel excursion to carry 2 bikes, fails, leaves]
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Old 12-12-06, 12:44 PM   #24
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I got a Mazda Tribute in 2005. One of the criteria was that my bike would have to fit upright (minus the front wheel. Got a lot of funny looks from the salesmen when I pulled out my tape measure.
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Old 12-13-06, 10:52 PM   #25
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I own an '03 Honda CR-V, and maybe I'm doing something wrong, but fitting a bike in the back isn't exactly the easiest to do, but it is possible with the front wheels removed.

To get my 58cm bikes into the back of the 'V placing the rear wheel in first requires lowering or removing the seat post, but once they're in you have a nice and flat surface to mount some type of QR clamp for the fork or whatever, you may also have to angle the bike some to make it fit completely depending on the geometry.

It's a bit easier to put the bikes in front wheel/fork first, however the floor at that part is normally covered by the rear seats so you won't be able to permanently mount a fork clamp there. I often get the brake levers (drop bar levers) stuck between in the folded up seatbacks, it helps secure them but it could also get grime on the upholstery.

I like the CR-V in general as transport for family trips and hauling lots of stuff but keeping a bicycle inside isn't as easy as the brochures make it seem, maybe if you have a frame smaller than 58cm your results could differ. If I was in a position to purchase another vehicle today I would seriously consider either the Honda Fit or the Element. The one thing that kept me from buying the Element in 03 was the fact it can only hold 4 passengers, there are no provisions for a 3rd passenger in the back seat. My wife really wanted to have room for 5 people, 3 years later and I don't think we've had 5 people in the car yet!
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