Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Choosing a car to support my biking habit...

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Choosing a car to support my biking habit...

Old 12-26-07, 11:35 AM
  #1  
Digital Gee
I need more cowbell.
Thread Starter
 
Digital Gee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Reno, Nevada
Posts: 8,182

Bikes: 2015 Specialized Sirrus Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Choosing a car to support my biking habit...

I'm going to the San Diego Auto Show today (woohoo!) with an eye towards finding a good vehicle to support my biking habit. This may be the year I turn over my 8 year old Avalon to my second daughter when she's licensed so that's as good excuse as any to get a new vehicle.

Now, cars have almost no appeal to me anymore except as a means of getting from here to there. I've been through the fancy car stage long ago with a neat little BMW 325 and a Mazda RX-7. Since then, it's all about reliability and dependability. Not that the Avalon doesn't have some creature comforts, but for the most part, all of that is wasted on me.

I nearly pulled the trigger on a Honda Element a while back, and even was impressed with a Honda Fit, of all things, which has an amazing amount of interior space to hold a bike or other stuff.

Anyway, I'll be looking for a vehicle which makes it easy to store a bike inside without taking off the wheel, has an interior that's easy to clean, gets reasonable mileage, and I can reasonably keep for the next 7-8 years. I might use it to get a mountain bike up into the, well, mountains and do some light camping from it as well. (It doesn't have to be a 4x4 however.)

I also like to bring home the occasional treasure from a garage sale (things that aren't even bikes!).

So...any suggestions of what to look at?
__________________
2015 Sirrus Elite

Proud member of the original Club Tombay
Digital Gee is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 11:45 AM
  #2  
LastPlace
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
DG,

I have several coworkers that drive the Honda Fit and all are impressed with the interior volume but were surprised that the mileage is not better than it is. Since I'm not at work I can't recall the numbers but all three mentioned it.

I have two other coworkers who have the element and love it, but I don't recall what they said about mileage.

In my perfect world I would have a 2006 Honda CRV. It looks like you can put a bike in there with the front wheel on......but I'm not sure.....and has Honda reliability.

Good luck.
LastPlace is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 12:08 PM
  #3  
howsteepisit
Senior Member
 
howsteepisit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 4,307

Bikes: Mecian

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 500 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Take a look at the Honda Element, although I usually take off my front wheel just to make packing easier. Its a great car for outdoor activities, all wheel drive, and rather than carpet its a waterproof liner, so you can wash the interior out.

It works for me and my slovenly lifestyle.
howsteepisit is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 12:19 PM
  #4  
CrossChain
Senior Member
 
CrossChain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,023
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
FWIW, I love my Subaru Forester on all counts. 46,000 miles so far. She and I have done many fire-roads up in the Sierra. We've swerved at the last second to avoid a few accidents and stayed stable and safe. They are very popular up in the nearby mountains for use in snow & mud. I have a rack on top, but more often just put down the back seat and toss in a bike. (I do have to remove the front wheel unless I want to much more carefully place it in. Wheel removal is simply easier. Relatively inexpensive than other, similar vehicles although not so unique in design to be a "box" for carrying things. But, works for me.
CrossChain is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 12:24 PM
  #5  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,278

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1163 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
Take a look at the Honda Element,
I bought an Element this summer. It's long enough on the inside to hold my tandem and short enough on the outside to comfortably fit in my garage. I'm liking it a lot.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 12:28 PM
  #6  
BILLYPATT
Still kickin - most days
 
BILLYPATT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 91

Bikes: Trek 5200 road bike, Trek 7.5 FX hybrid

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd second the recomendation on the Subaru Forester. I love mine. All wheel drive, great for mud and snow. Affordable. I lay down the back seat and put the bilke in with front tire in place. I also use a roof rack for times when i carry passengers and it is not too high to work with - I use a single step to load the bikes.
BILLYPATT is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 12:39 PM
  #7  
late
Senior Member
 
late's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Southern Maine
Posts: 8,548
Mentioned: 93 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8894 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 27 Times in 26 Posts
I have a 96 Avalon. In a couple years I'll have to ditch it. But as long
as the rate of repair isn't too bad, I don't feel any pressing need to change.

Get her a used Forester
late is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 12:40 PM
  #8  
swan652
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 449

Bikes: '01 Specialized Hard Rock, '06 Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd go for a Jeep (maybe a Rubicon) with a bike rack. You can toss your garage sale stuff in the backseat and they're great for getting around in the snow in San Di.......never mind.
swan652 is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 12:57 PM
  #9  
Digital Gee
I need more cowbell.
Thread Starter
 
Digital Gee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Reno, Nevada
Posts: 8,182

Bikes: 2015 Specialized Sirrus Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CrossChain View Post
FWIW, I love my Subaru Forester on all counts. 46,000 miles so far. She and I have done many fire-roads up in the Sierra. We've swerved at the last second to avoid a few accidents and stayed stable and safe. They are very popular up in the nearby mountains for use in snow & mud. I have a rack on top, but more often just put down the back seat and toss in a bike. (I do have to remove the front wheel unless I want to much more carefully place it in. Wheel removal is simply easier. Relatively inexpensive than other, similar vehicles although not so unique in design to be a "box" for carrying things. But, works for me.
I've admired the Forester for some time now. I think it's attractive and practical. And Suburu enjoys a good reputation. What kind of mileage are you getting?
__________________
2015 Sirrus Elite

Proud member of the original Club Tombay
Digital Gee is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 01:21 PM
  #10  
CrossChain
Senior Member
 
CrossChain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,023
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
I've admired the Forester for some time now. I think it's attractive and practical. And Suburu enjoys a good reputation. What kind of mileage are you getting?
Not remarkable. Perhaps 23/24 around town. 26/27 cruising. My friends joke it's a "teacher car"....practical, value for the price, dependable, functional-- and oddly "cute". A smart pair of brown shoes.

I test road the turbo model....whoa! Hold on to the wheel and your gasoline credit card and enjoy the g-forces reconstituting your innards. Settled for the standard 4 banger/manual transmission which has proven just fine. The hill-holder clutch works great.

Last edited by CrossChain; 12-26-07 at 01:28 PM.
CrossChain is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 01:49 PM
  #11  
Digital Gee
I need more cowbell.
Thread Starter
 
Digital Gee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Reno, Nevada
Posts: 8,182

Bikes: 2015 Specialized Sirrus Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CrossChain View Post
Not remarkable. Perhaps 23/24 around town. 26/27 cruising. My friends joke it's a "teacher car"....practical, value for the price, dependable, functional-- and oddly "cute". A smart pair of brown shoes.

I test road the turbo model....whoa! Hold on to the wheel and your gasoline credit card and enjoy the g-forces reconstituting your innards. Settled for the standard 4 banger/manual transmission which has proven just fine. The hill-holder clutch works great.
Well, that beats my Avalon, which seems to get about 20 mph no matter what. Mostly freeway, I guess.
__________________
2015 Sirrus Elite

Proud member of the original Club Tombay
Digital Gee is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 01:54 PM
  #12  
jab1362
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 85
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+1 on the CRV I have a 2001 with 165,000 miles on it and it drives like the day we brought it home from the dealer. AWD 23 mpg the best car i've owned in the last 20 years.
jab1362 is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 01:58 PM
  #13  
Tom Bombadil
His Brain is Gone!
 
Tom Bombadil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Paoli, Wisconsin
Posts: 9,979

Bikes: RANS Stratus, Bridgestone CB-1, Trek 7600, Sun EZ-Rider AX, Fuji Absolute 1.0, Cayne Rambler 3

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Toyota RAV4 is also very good in this category. Many people get 23-24 city, 29-30 highway. Slightly larger interior than the CR-V and Forester. The mileage penalty with the V-6 is only 1 mpg lower than the 4 cyl.

Another Subaru option is their Outback wagon. Larger than the Forester, a bit quieter & smoother ride, 4-wheel drive, and about the same gas mileage. Both of these are a bit pokey with the standard 2.5L engine and automatic transmission. Subaru has never made a good auto tranny. They are reliable, but slow to shift. Most cars are about 0.8 seconds slower on their 0-60 times with an auto, Subaru's are twice that.

I've test driven Subaru's with both manual and automatic, it is hard to believe it is the same engine as the performance is so different.

The Honda Fit is a well-made car. My neighbor has one and is getting 32/33 city and high 30's highway. Here the difference between the auto and manual is very slight.

The CR-V has amazing reliability. It is so well made for its price range that I don't know how Honda does it.
__________________
"Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post
Tom Bombadil is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 02:00 PM
  #14  
Marrock
Senior Member
 
Marrock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Used to be there, now I'm here.
Posts: 1,921
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The girlfriend and I have been discussing getting a car next year since her office is moving quite some way away and to get there by 9am on a bus would mean she has to be out there at the bus stop by about 6am.

I'm seriously thinking of getting something diesel powered so I can make my own fuel for it...
Marrock is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 02:08 PM
  #15  
Tom Bombadil
His Brain is Gone!
 
Tom Bombadil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Paoli, Wisconsin
Posts: 9,979

Bikes: RANS Stratus, Bridgestone CB-1, Trek 7600, Sun EZ-Rider AX, Fuji Absolute 1.0, Cayne Rambler 3

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I sure wish these companies offered some of their turbo-diesel engine options here in the USA. Some have great engines in their European models. Honda has a 2.2L turbo-diesel Accord that gets over 50mpg on the highway. If they offered this engine in their USA CR-V, it would be #1 on my list.

Even Chrysler is doing the same thing. Their new vehicle that replaces their Pacifica line in 2009 is going to be offered in Europe with a turbo-diesel and a 6-spd DSG tranny. Both are wonderful. But they won't be on the models sold in the States.
__________________
"Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post
Tom Bombadil is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 02:28 PM
  #16  
Pamestique 
Shredding Grandma!
 
Pamestique's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: So Cal
Posts: 4,803

Bikes: I don't own any bikes

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a 10 year old (with 140K miles on it) Ford Explorer 2 dr. 2 X 4 Sport. It has been the perfect bike hauling vehicle. I so want something new but haven't yet found anything that comes close. It's either too big or the rear box is too small for bikes. I'm starting to realize my only alternative is =gulp= a mini van or a small SUV and I add a bike trac like the Thule Sports Rac. For around town stuff don't mind putting the bikes on back but on trips I like to have them inside. I can lay one bike in but try to put in two no go.

DG can't wait to hear about what you see and what's out there. I am desperately seeking something that works! I like Hondas but have looked at the Ridgeline, CRV and Pilot. Yeah, I like trucks - what of it!
__________________
______________________________________________________________

Private docent led mountain bike rides through Limestone Canyon. Go to letsgooutside.org and register today! Also available: hikes, equestrian rides and family events as well as trail maintenance and science study.
Pamestique is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 02:36 PM
  #17  
Marrock
Senior Member
 
Marrock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Used to be there, now I'm here.
Posts: 1,921
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
http://www.fatcyclist.com/2007/12/19...he-bikemobile/
Marrock is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 03:41 PM
  #18  
ang1sgt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Chili, NY
Posts: 733

Bikes: 88 Fisher Gemini tandem, 92 Trek 970, 07 Nashbar Frame, 08 Gary Fisher Paragon

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Look at the Suzuki SX4. No REALLY! You might not be able to fit your bike inside, but it's got a sturdy roof rack that a Yakima or Thule would mount right up too. It's very high on my list to replace or supplement my Jeep.

Chris
ang1sgt is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 03:55 PM
  #19  
Jet Travis
Ride Daddy Ride
 
Jet Travis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Villa Incognito
Posts: 2,648

Bikes: 1983 Trek 720; 1983 Trek 620; 1989 Gi Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra; LeMond Victoire; Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Think small, dg. You can put a bike in the back of a Honda Civic by simply removing the front wheel (of the bike, not the Honda) and folding the seats down. The whole operation takes maybe 15 seconds. You'll get great reliability and excellent gas mileage--and if you think gas prices are high now, wait a year or two.
__________________
"Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer
Jet Travis is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 04:12 PM
  #20  
Tom Bombadil
His Brain is Gone!
 
Tom Bombadil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Paoli, Wisconsin
Posts: 9,979

Bikes: RANS Stratus, Bridgestone CB-1, Trek 7600, Sun EZ-Rider AX, Fuji Absolute 1.0, Cayne Rambler 3

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Another one worth taking a look at, if you deal with being a mini-van owner, is the Mazda5. It's a Mazda3 hatchback that has been expanded a few inches into a mini-mini-van. Very nice utility. Decent gas mileage. Lots of space in it. Even fun to drive - got a bit of the Mazda Zoom Zoom in it.

And then there is the Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe. Reliable, good mileage, good utility.
__________________
"Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post
Tom Bombadil is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 04:23 PM
  #21  
Shifty
Sore saddle cyclist
 
Shifty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 3,874

Bikes: Road, touring and mountain

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
RAV-4 or Honda CRV The RAV 4 comes with either 4 cyl or V-6, both get excellent mileage.
Shifty is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 04:30 PM
  #22  
maddmaxx 
Small Member
 
maddmaxx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 7,164

Bikes: Diamondback Clarity II frame homebuilt.

Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11028 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 23 Posts
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I sure wish these companies offered some of their turbo-diesel engine options here in the USA. Some have great engines in their European models. Honda has a 2.2L turbo-diesel Accord that gets over 50mpg on the highway. If they offered this engine in their USA CR-V, it would be #1 on my list.

Even Chrysler is doing the same thing. Their new vehicle that replaces their Pacifica line in 2009 is going to be offered in Europe with a turbo-diesel and a 6-spd DSG tranny. Both are wonderful. But they won't be on the models sold in the States.
I saw an article a while back that stated that something in the California automobile law was going to prevent Euro style Turbo-diesel from being used over here.
maddmaxx is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 04:39 PM
  #23  
BillK
Senior Member
 
BillK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Maryland suburbs outside Washington D.C.
Posts: 498

Bikes: '06 Specialized Roubiax Expert, '08 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 29, Nishiki frame

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
So...any suggestions of what to look at?
I could make a cute quip about "girls, of course", but this isn't Foo.

Back in '04 when I was in the market I focused on three 4-wheel small SUVs: the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Forester, and the Toyota RAV4. All achieved good crash tests, got decent gas mileage, had good reputations and were very highly rated by Consumer's Report. I settled on the CR-V for three reasons: a) I like sitting up high (the Forester is not as "upright", more like a car), b) it had better back seat leg-room (important for a 6' 3" son, and one of shortfalls of the Forester at the time), and c) it was less costly than the RAV4.

I've now driven it ~65K miles and love it. My bike rack permanently hangs off the outside rear tire, which means it automatically swings with the door. The only complaint I have is that my bike won't fit inside unless I lower one or both of the back seat sections, preferably after I take the front wheel off.

For better or worse, however, Honda has moved the spare tire inside, so you're probably back to using a hitch mounted rack...trying to wrestle it inside...or going with a roof mounted rack (here the Forester would have the edge as the top is lower to ground, making it an easier manuever). If I were doing it again (now), I'd be tempted to go with the Honda Element. I haven't driven it, but I suspect my bike would slip easily inside.

BillK
BillK is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 04:42 PM
  #24  
Paydirt
Senior Member
 
Paydirt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Central Meechegan
Posts: 70
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Don't forget about the Toyota Prius. The back seat folds down in a snap and my road bike fits in with the back wheel on with no problem. I get between 45 and 55 mpg. Better in the city.
Paydirt is offline  
Old 12-26-07, 05:27 PM
  #25  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,411

Bikes: 1959 & 1960 Capo; 1982 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 699 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 21 Posts
Our 2001 VW Passat variant / estate / station wagon performs admirably as a bicycle transporter and in numerous other roles. I can put two bikes on the roof rack and five people inside, or two bikes and two people inside.

Unfortunately, I am extremely displeased with the ugly and gimmicky (electronic parking brake, anyone?) 2006 makeover of what had been an unusually attractive, well-designed, extensively imitated car based on the Audi A4 platform. The new Passat is an overgrown Jetta, in more ways than one. At this point, we plan and hope to keep driving our Passat another 8 to 10 years, but if we have to replace it any sooner, the Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons continue to look like good successor candidates. I note with disappointment that another alternative, the Ford Focus wagon, just got discontinued.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I really like European sports wagons instead of SUVs, minivans, or even crossovers.
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.