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  1. #1
    Cycling Apparel RoadHolland's Avatar
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    Best Electric, Hybrid, or Fuel Efficient Cars to use with Bike Racks

    Looking for lots of opinions here ... I'm in need of replacing my V6 4-Door Nissan Maxima and looking to find a more gasoline friendly car without losing anything from what I get in terms of comfort and "vroom" from current vehicle. Also I currently use a Roof Rack (the kind you take the front tire off).

    I know there are lots of new cars out there (especially since I bought this one in 2002) and many are sporting fancy engines that run on coal (er... I mean electricity). So which ones can accommodate a real Bike Rack (not a trunk rack that prohibits you from getting into your trunk, but one that lets you lock your bike to your car).

    I guess what I am asking is can Bike Racks and these new fuel efficient cars even mix?
    Last edited by RoadHolland; 05-13-13 at 11:45 AM.

  2. #2
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    I have a 2006 Honda Insight, 65 mpg winter, 70+ mpg summer. A bike fits in the back with the front wheel removed, but I had a receiver installed so I could carry two bikes. That said, bikes on the back decrease fuel economy . . . a lot! Approx. 10 mpg less with bikes on the back.

    Here is a photo of my car with the bike rack on:
    InSight with Commuter Rack.jpgRick / OCRR

  3. #3
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    I used to own a Civic Hybrid though I never put a bike rack on the top. But, from what I remember, a bicycle on top will also reduce your fuel economy by quite a bit. My suggestion is that if you're only moving one bicycle and yourself, buy a hybrid with a hatchback.

  4. #4
    Roadkill
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    Just fit my wife's new (to her) 16" mountain bike in the trunk of our VW Passat TDI. We get 34 MPG City in the winter, 36 in the summer and 45+ on the highway. Not exactly answering your question, but of a similar thread. Oh - and that was without putting the seats down.

    I get 2 bikes (front wheel off) in my VW Golf TDI. 38-40 City, 48+ highway...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadHolland View Post
    Looking for lots of opinions here ... I'm in need of replacing my V6 4-Door Nissan Maxima and looking to find a more gasoline friendly car without losing anything from what I get in terms of comfort and "vroom" from current vehicle. Also I currently use a Roof Rack (the kind you take the front tire off).

    I know there are lots of new cars out there (especially since I bought this one in 2002) and many are sporting fancy engines that run on coal (er... I mean electricity). So which ones can accommodate a real Bike Rack (not a trunk rack that prohibits you from getting into your trunk, but one that lets you lock your bike to your car).

    I guess what I am asking is can Bike Racks and these new fuel efficient cars even mix?
    Electric cars have very poor range (about 50-70 miles) and they take a while to recharge (assuming that there's a place to plug it into). That means an electric vehicle is going to be a second car for most people.

    Anyway, "vroom" is largely the opposite from "gasoline friendly" (efficient). Getting good efficiency requires not "vrooming".

    (Electric motors can have lots of "vroom" but doing that alot would cut into range.)

  6. #6
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    A lot of variables to consider, but the best m.p.g. results will be if you carry your bike(s) inside the vehicle.
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    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  7. #7
    absent Ferrous Bueller's Avatar
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    ^Agreed. Most hatchbacks/ small wagons you can toss the bike in without even needing to take off the front wheel (assuming nobody's in the back seats).
    this is my sig

  8. #8
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    Jetta TDI wagon with a roof rack or hitch rack. Chip it and you can have your "vroom" too by boosting the diesel engine's output. Torque is never overrated.

  9. #9
    Senior Member gforeman's Avatar
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    I had a 2007 Prius with a trailer hitch and used my 3 bike hitch rack all the time. No problems.
    Gary F.


    2015 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert
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  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Perhaps hatchbacks, as I found, with my old car can accept roof rack hardware ,
    partially attached to the hatch back lid.

    I had 1 roof rail connected by the extruded bike wheel mount channel,
    to a shorter rail clipping into the edge of the hatchback , hatch.

    bikes on there, round rack rails, did not interfere with opening the lid, other than their weight..

  11. #11
    Senior Member Number400's Avatar
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    +1 for the TDI. I have the sedan but will get the wagon next for the roof rails. Real world 42-45mpg per tank and better on trips or if I try. I have seen over 620 miles on a good tank so if you don't drive much, you can go for long periods between fill-ups. . There is also enough torque to make the car feel quick.
    Barbossa: I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means "no".

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  12. #12
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    +1 on putting the bike(s) inside the car unless you want to take a hit on mileage. Even the bare rack on top of the car will increase air drag a bunch, meaning a fuel economy hit. That seems to point to the TDI, but I've never had one so I dunno. A TDI Transporter would be great, but they aren't available in the U.S.

    My wife and I have been shopping for a "new" car (the 2003 Toyota has 150,000 miles) and we're thinking about a Nissan Altima hybrid. A little bigger than what we have now, and better fuel economy to boot. That and a hitch rack would a reasonable alternative for you.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  13. #13
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Honda Fit gets excellent mileage. Fold the back seats down and you can put your bike inside without even removing the wheels. I used to have a Honda Civic Hybrid and bikes on a hitch rack lowered mpg dramatically @ highway speed. much prefer the Fit.

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