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  1. #1
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    wagon to fit my bike (and snowboards) in. volvo vs subaru vs ford

    My wife and I are looking for a new vehicle... my priorities are storage space, awd for winters, and of course a quality car. we are in the 10-15k range

    so far our top 3 choices are

    2006-2007 subaru outback/forrester with around 70k in our price range... 2.5 4 cyl engine ($10-15000)


    2004 volvo xc70 5 cyl (turbo i believe), 100k miles ($10,000)

    Ford freestyle AWD (2006-2008) 40-60K MILES ($13,000)

    i am leaning toward the volvo, but want to hear if anyone has comments toward any of these vehicles... each has their own strong points, but would like to hear thoughts...

    i don't want the horrible mpg of an SUV, but would like more storage and safety for my toys than a sedan

  2. #2
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    Are you trying to get two bikes in the back? I know the Subaru (either O or F, have one of each) will handle one, laying down w/ front wheel on. Two? You'll have to stack them up, maybe with heavy cardboard or a moving blanket between.

    I know nothing about the others. With some finesse, I can fit three bikes upright in my Chevy Suburban (front wheels off, locked on fork mounts).

    I don't know why people call the Subarus SUV's; they're just small station wagons.

  3. #3
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    I'm on my 3rd Subaru, a 2001 Outback, 135k. They've been doing awd forever. All my Subarus have been good and reliable. Not too expensive to fix. I get up to 30mpg with a 5spd, 2.5L engine, not sure if the newer ones are as good on mpg.

    My last Subaru was a 1991 Legacy wagon I bought in 1999. Drove it for 8 years with no problems. Sold it still running well at 17 yrs old, 165k.

    I'm not sure about the Ford. Do newer Volovos have high repair costs?
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  4. #4
    Member WilliamH's Avatar
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    Er.... Have you tried the option of attaching bike rack on your vehicle instead of buying a new vehicle? It seems like your main reason of buying a new one is for you to have more space for your bikes and snowboards. It could be cheaper for you.... just a thought.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member kissTheApex's Avatar
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    I'm driving my second Volvo (2002 S60 2.4T, albeit a sedan, I don't think it is very different from the XC mechanically other than the apparent AWD of course). I can confidently tell you that this will be the last Volvo I drive. Even though XC is a wagon, the storage is not that good. Volvo has a kit (~ $200) so that you can put two bikes (upright, front wheels removed) in the rear with one side of the rear seats pulled down, but for your bikes to fit, the vertical distance from the bottom of the rear wheel to the top of the saddle needs to be IIRC 75cm. Also, in general Volvos have very very expensive parts and dealership labor rates. The turbo is a low pressure turbo and spooling rpm is too high to my liking such that when I'm driving in the city the rpm is low enough and turbo is not spooling, but I don't have enough power, and when the turbo is spooling I have too much power for city driving, so you're always in a state of limbo unnecessarily engaging the turbo on/off. I believe that was one of the reasons they increased the displacement of their 5 cylinder block to 2.5 liter from 2.4 in 2004 model year and on. One of the things I hate most about is the almost non existent turning radius. The thing absolutely cannot turn to save its life. On most places you'll need three-point turns. My wife's Ford Escape (with almost the same engine displacement but 4 cyl, and 4 speed transmission turns much better than my S60). I believe it would be better on the wagon but S60's rear leg room is worse than my sister's 2008 Honda Civic (imagine my disgust when I sat on the rear seat of my sister's Civic and feeling not as cramped as I felt in my own car's rear seat). My previous Volvo (a 95 850 sedan) has been such a great car that the S60's shortcomings are even more pronounced to me that I can say this one has been a huge disappointment. On the plus side, the small details and the interior build quality spoils you quite a lot. Long drives are pleasurable and you will be absolutely spoilt by how it feels and drives.

    I can't comment on the other two, but if you really want to carry your bike inside the car, definitely take your bike with you and make sure it fits when you're at the dealership/seller to look at the cars. Now, if you're definitely set on Volvo, I would recommend looking at the 1999 & 2000 V70s, not the AWD ones, invest in a good set of snow tires if you're in a snowy climate, believe me I drove my 850 in 8 inches of snow and I didn't need AWD. They are definitely easier to work on your own, at least you won't have to take it to the dealership every time you need work done. You'll have maybe a bit outdated, but a better all around car, you'll save quite a lot of initial purchase.

    If you'd like a newer car though, I'd look into the Ford Freestyle. It is based on the same Volvo P2 chassis that S60 and V/XC 70 are built on, and I believe has more head room so it should be easier to keep bikes upright in the back. I have to say, I was unexpectedly surprised with my wife's 2008 Escape (company car). It turned out to be a better car/small SUV than I gave it credit for. Of course, you don't have the build/ride quality (in terms of sound insulation) and amenities of the Volvo, but it is a nice car and when I have to drive to my group rides or centuries, I can fit my 56 cm road bike in the rear passenger foot well with front wheel removed easily. I hope this helps and I hope it doesn't come across as total negatives. I wanted to share my 8 years' total Volvo ownership experience.

  6. #6
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    Valid point, however my current VW is leaking about 1 qt oil every 10-14 days... gaskets are so bad i have lost MPG from 28 to 19 on highway... she's ready to give up the ghost...

    i do have a bike rack. Would like to be able to have more security for my stuff as long as i am buying a vehicle

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    Actually, I want to modify a comment I made above. I think it might be possible to fit two bikes upright w/ fork mounts inside an Outback or Forester - if the seats bicycle could be lowereed. (of course assuming back seat is lowered). That's the problem, ceiling height. My Sube's are pretty old - the Outback's an '00, the Forester is an '02. The Outback's rear compartment is longer and wider than the Forester, the Forester is a little higher (the net is the Outback has considerably more total volume). Those dimensions may or may not be critical to your bikes. I remember thinking at one point that if I installe quick release seat post clamp on my daughter's bike she could transport it upright in the back of the Forester. But she finds it easier to either use the tray-type hitch rack we have or to just slide the bike in with the wheel on. But that's only one bike and a small-ish one to boot.

    I

  8. #8
    Pro Paper Plane Pilot wunderkind's Avatar
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    Subaru for surrrreeeeee! Reliable vehicles. Outdoorsie type of cars. Outbacks are good solid wagons that offer some form of competent soft-road capability.
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  9. #9
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    well, i will be bringing my bike to the dealer at the end of this week (assuming my cars i want to see are still there) to compare the outback/forrester and freestyle with the bike fit. I do know that with seat all the way up at ride height and front tire on, i can get it in the OB laying down... will attempt upright with/out wheel, and also in the forrester.

  10. #10
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    I have a 2004 xc70 wagon. We absolutely love it. My giant ocr3 fit nicely in the back. No prob.

    We've had pretty good luck with our volvo so far, but when things do break down, they are pretty expensive.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    '02 Volvo XC70 with approx 75K miles over here. bought it a year ago. We love the car, but it has needed alot of repairs. i HIGHLY recommend the warranty if one is available

  12. #12
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    Are you hip enough for the swagger wagon? With seats folded, I bet you could fit two in there upright on fork mounts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUG3Z8Hxa5I

  13. #13
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    that video totally makes me want a swagger wagon!

    but my AWD xc70 is nice for climbing snowy mountain roads

  14. #14
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    awd for winters
    I've driven the Volvo and various Subarus in ICY conditions. For pure snow, any FWD vehicle with proper tires should have no problems (snow is actually pretty grippy). For ice, I have been very impressed with Subaru's AWD + traction control. Note that the traction control system is not included in all AWD vehicles. With studded tires I have driven in conditions that have had 4WD pickup trucks + chains sitting in ditches. My family had multiple mechanical issues with our Volvo back in the early 80s and we have avoided the company since (the one I drove was a friend's).

    Subaru's 4 cyl engines will start to leak oil after awhile but the leaks come from the valve cover gaskets (cheap fix), not the head gasket (very $$$ fix). The Forrester is going to have more storage than the Outback.

    Having said all of that, I use a rack to haul my skis and bikes around. If you want to carry your bike in the car, I'd look at something like a Honda Element (car engine with tons of room behind the front seats).

  15. #15
    billyymc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Are you hip enough for the swagger wagon? With seats folded, I bet you could fit two in there upright on fork mounts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUG3Z8Hxa5I
    Ha...two? Have a 2000 Odyssey that I can fit 4 bikes in, upright...if I'm careful. And carry four people (mid row seats all the way forward).

    Have a Forester too. Great car, but can pretty much just fit one bike in lying down.

    If you want a small SUV that you can fit two bikes in upright, look at the Element.

  16. #16
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    Well, we are going with the Freestyle, mother in law has a dealership, and we are getting one for trade in value, so it was hard to justify less of a vehicle for more money with the subaru...

  17. #17
    Senior Member kissTheApex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam_mac84 View Post
    Well, we are going with the Freestyle, mother in law has a dealership, and we are getting one for trade in value, so it was hard to justify less of a vehicle for more money with the subaru...
    Did you have a chance to see if you can fit your bike upright in the back? Keep us updated on how the ownership experience is shaping up.

  18. #18
    Senior Member kissTheApex's Avatar
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    Now that you had it for a couple of months, would you care to share your bicycle pros/cons regarding the Freestyle?

  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I bit late to the game, but I am a died in the wool Ford man. FWIW I believe that the Freestyle shares some platform parts with Volvo. My next "car" is most likely going to be a Ford Transit Connect, no problem getting bikes in that!

    Aaron
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  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Dodge Sprinter with the Mercedes Diesel engine in it , local newspaper has one,
    says they are getting 30mpg.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    The only American cars you should consider buying are Fords, and those only from '08 or so or newer. Ford finally figured out that making cars that don't break all the time is the way to get repeat business, something no other American-run car company has learned. Even Toyota's having problems, now that they let American execs make decisions.

    Our management culture in this country is deeply messed up. No reason for you to sponsor their stupidity.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Dodge Sprinter with the Mercedes Diesel engine in it , local newspaper has one,
    says they are getting 30mpg.
    We have had a couple of those as service vans and have never seen mileage much over the mid 20's range. I have the company best record of 27 mpg over a 500 mile run, but was running a US highway at 55-60mph and had a decent tailwind for much of it.

    From what I have been hearing the newer V-6 isn't getting the mileage the 5cyl were.

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  23. #23
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    sorry for the delay. The freestyle is GREAT. My bike (64cm) will not fit upright in there. With the seats folded down, i have put carpet back there to protect the vehicle upholstery, I lay my bike down in the back, and place my wife's on top with a shipping blanket between them to protect both bikes. It is convenient enough... i have no real complaints. The vehicle in general is pretty nice, 22MPG, smooth ride, all the bells and whistles, can't complain too much.

    Now, i would imagine that my wife's 54cm bike would likely fit if i fashioned a rack for it back there with front tire off, and mine MAY fit if i were to drop the seat down. But the convenience factor goes down, but packing ability goes up.

    I will go out today and see if it's practical to do it that way.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I bit late to the game, but I am a died in the wool Ford man. FWIW I believe that the Freestyle shares some platform parts with Volvo. My next "car" is most likely going to be a Ford Transit Connect, no problem getting bikes in that!

    Aaron
    There was a transit at MIL dealership. Wife put the kibosh on that one however... that would have been MONEY

  25. #25
    Senior Member cruisintx's Avatar
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    I recently purchased a 2004 Pontiac Vibe (4dr-hatchback). It is a Toyota Matrix underneath the skin (literallly built by toyota on a Corolla frame -- same as the Matrix). I am very pleased with it and it will easily carry two bikes inside the rear with seat down. It consistenatly gets 34mpg provided I drive with some amount of sanity. Only thing it does not have that you want is AWD, it is front wheel drive only. Great car tho!!

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