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Old 12-21-10, 01:06 PM   #1
Njord Noatun
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Car Cargo Space for Bicycle Transport

It is time to purchase a new (gasp!) car or mid-size SUV (NOT a pickup truck or van). Both our family's cars (Jeep Grand Cherokee, Saab 9-3) can be coerced into fitting my bicycle (a tall touring bike) into the trunk: Both cars need one back seat folded down, the Saab 9-3 requires me to also remove the front wheel (which I don't mind at all!).

So, when it is time to get a new car I need to make sure my bike can still fit (first things first, and all that!). Instead of spending long tedious hours trawling dealership lots with a tape measure (or worse, bringing my bike for test fitting!), has anybody collected data on what the cargo area is for different cars, or which cars might fit a (tall touring) bicycle?

Sites such as Carpoint give cargo volume (in cu.ft.) which isn't very useful for this puirpose 1) because it is measured with backseats up and 2) the length of the cargo area is more critical than volume for fitting a bike.

Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 12-21-10, 01:15 PM   #2
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Dodge Sprinter a van that you can stand up in. put roof rack parts inside to secure your bikes.
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Old 12-21-10, 01:38 PM   #3
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Dodge Sprinter a van that you can stand up in. put roof rack parts inside to secure your bikes.
Just one bicycle needs to fit (mine!), and the vehicle needs to be a car (sedan, hatchback or coupe) or a mid-size SUV -- NOT a van or pickup.

Thanks.
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Old 12-21-10, 02:23 PM   #4
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Why is a bike rack out of the question?
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Old 12-21-10, 02:33 PM   #5
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If you want the bike to stand vertically you need 4' from floor to ceiling. That's a quick test that will significantly cut the field.

Working the other way around, when we went to buy Mrs. Grouch's recumbent trike, we drove her Saturn SL1 to the bike shop. I told them that if they could show Mrs. Grouch how SHE could load it into and out of her car, we'd buy it. They did (with a Greenspeed GT3) and we did.
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Old 12-21-10, 03:17 PM   #6
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If you want the bike to stand vertically you need 4' from floor to ceiling.
Not needed - I am perfectly happy to lay the bike down on top of a moving blanket.

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Why is a bike rack out of the question?
It is not - I already have a 2" hitch rack and use it frequently: However, sometimes in-car placement is preferred, depending upon distance traveled, weather conditions, security during parking or overnight, etc.: I just want a car that can fit my bike in the cargo area, with backseats folded if needed, as an alternative to a rack when so desired.
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Old 12-21-10, 04:43 PM   #7
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Not needed - I am perfectly happy to lay the bike down on top of a moving blanket.
If that's the case, your options are pretty wide open. There simply aren't very many cars that you can't force feed a bike into with the front wheel removed.
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Old 12-21-10, 04:55 PM   #8
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Cars that work pretty well are, PT Cruiser. Remove the rear seat and most bikes will rool right in. Scion xB and xD. Ugly little suckers but a bike fits. Chevy HHR. same as the PT but by GM. If you keep your foot out of it I used to get close to 30MPG in my PT. xB, xD and HHR should work as well. I like the Kia Soul but I haven't tried to put a bike in one. The Nissan Qube might work but it looks strange like the back window slipped around on the right. The Forrester would be a good choice but it is more of a crossover SUV like the Honda CRV and Toyota Rav4.
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Old 12-21-10, 05:30 PM   #9
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My friend's Honda Element fits my 58cm bike with no issues with the seats folded. They're great cars, there's been a thread or two on them here. . .
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Old 12-21-10, 05:34 PM   #10
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Ford Transit Connect
Ugly, functional, low 20 mpg kinda bad
Good enough for pro racers
Attached Images
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Old 12-21-10, 05:34 PM   #11
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I have a 2004 Pontiac Vibe (Toyota Matrix/Corrola based car) four-door hatchback with front wheel drive. My road bike easily fits in the back (with both wheels on) with the rear seats folded down. Great little car that gets 34mpg.
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Old 12-21-10, 06:41 PM   #12
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NN, Okay, a sedan or a hatchback (or a five door) will work better than a coupe in most cases. My daughter's Focus and Accura TSX will both fit her road bike, front wheel removed on the Focus two door and the rear seats down... two bikes and they use my carrier.

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Old 12-21-10, 06:50 PM   #13
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Ford Transit or a Honda Element...my choices anyway. Now if somebody would get off their laurels and put a small diesel in them...

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Old 12-22-10, 02:14 AM   #14
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I have a 2003 Honda Element, and plan to drive it till it dies, but I'd hesitate to buy a new one. Honda has discontinued it after the next model year. Damn shame.

I hear that you can fit a bike in the Honda Fit without removing the front wheel. It's hard to believe, but that's a car I'd be looking at now if I were in the market. Hopefully there'll be something amazing available in ten years when I go looking for a new car
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Old 12-22-10, 04:47 AM   #15
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I have a 2003 Honda Element, and plan to drive it till it dies, but I'd hesitate to buy a new one. Honda has discontinued it after the next model year. Damn shame.

I hear that you can fit a bike in the Honda Fit without removing the front wheel. It's hard to believe, but that's a car I'd be looking at now if I were in the market. Hopefully there'll be something amazing available in ten years when I go looking for a new car
I have no problem driving older Honda's they do a much better than average job of keeping spare parts available. I was able to purchase parts for a 18 year old Civic at that dealer on more than one occasion, try that with one of the big three.

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Old 12-22-10, 07:31 AM   #16
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Don't know about the current model year as was a significant styling change, but my 07 Mercury Montego (Ford 500) will fit my 60cm road bike with back seat up. For my 19" mountain bike, I have to lower the back seat. While I currently use my hitch rack, I believe with both I had to remove the front wheel, but could fit the road bike with the seat down and both wheels on. Not certain about both wheels on the mountain bike.

Also, take your bike to he dealership. It really freaks out the sales person. Or you may find a salesperson who rides. I use to work for Lexus, and you can rule out virtually all luxury cars as designers seem to think that it is goesh to have rear seats fold for trunk access like their equivalent model at their lesser (Toyota, nissan etc) dealerships. About the only exception in the luxury segment is Audi where the seats fold (standard) or an expensive option in BMW requiring the Sports Package.
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Old 12-22-10, 10:45 AM   #17
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With your required parameters, I say Subaru Forester would be a great candidate.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:07 AM   #18
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Out of the cars I've owned, some would surprise you....

Audi TT - MTB fit with only the front wheel removed, hatch closed completely.
MINI Cooper S - MTB fit with both wheels removed, hatch closed completely.
BMW 330Cic - MTB fits with top down, both wheels removed and placed in trunk, with frame in back seat. This car is probably the toughest fit, but it works.

Cars I've owned that the bike did not fit in and surprised me...

Buick Regal LS - Trunk was too smal to fit the frame even with wheels off, and I couldn't get it into the back seat either.

Cars that just wouldn't work no matter what...

Honda S2000 - Need I say more?
Lotus Elise - Yeah, right.

Sure bets...

Jeep Wrangler - I did have to take the front wheel off, so really it was no better than the Audi TT, but loading was simpler.
Ford F250 - Fit several bicycles.
Honda Element - No problemo here with two bikes fully assembled. Very useful vehicle.
Volkswagen Passat - Front wheel removed and it fit nicely in the trunk. Very easy.

All of those based on my personal experience.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:14 AM   #19
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With your required parameters, I say Subaru Forester would be a great candidate.
I agree, or a Golf/GTI.
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Old 12-22-10, 01:36 PM   #20
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I have a 2003 Honda Element, and plan to drive it till it dies, but I'd hesitate to buy a new one. Honda has discontinued it after the next model year. Damn shame.
why would you hesitate to buy a new one? It isn't like Honda is going to disown the products they have already manufactured. The Element has the same powertrain as is found in the Accord and CRV, many chassis parts are shared with CRV, Pilot, and Odyssey so you can't play the "parts availability" card. I wouldn't think twice about buying a brand new one. In fact, I suggested to my wife that we replace our 2004 with a 2011 before it is too late, since it will be our last chance to get a brand new one.

We love our 2004 and in the interest of hauling bikes, it's tough to beat.
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Old 12-22-10, 01:37 PM   #21
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I had a 4 door Jetta (for one year) and I would take off both wheels and put it in the back seat. Then I bought a honda civic hatchback and only had to take off the front wheel to fit it in the back with seats down. Those were old cars, but the principle is still the same.
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