Bought a new kayaking car

Thanks for all the feedback on my original post about the Jetta TDI sportswagon. The higher price and a not so good negotiation with the Volkswagon dealer made me pass on the Jetta. I ended up buying a Elantra Touring with factory side-rails which will give me 165 lbs capacity and up to 42 in rack spread. Even with the not flat folding rear seats I think I can figure out something for emergency sleeping in it even if it is not quite comfortable enough for routine sleeping. The seats on the car I bought did seem to fold a little flatter than the in the first one I looked at. Maybe the salesman just did not get those folded down correctly.

Best of all the Elantra will fit in my garage. I almost made a big mistake in forgetting to check the clearance under my hanging kayaks. It is an older garage and the kayaks have to hang below the level of the door when it is opened. A couple of the vehicles I was considering would certainly not have fit with the racks on the car and might not even have fit with racks removed.

As a side note. The Volkswagon people never could get the Jetta seats to fold flat. It was obvious that if you removed the rear headrests that it would fold flat. However 2 salesmen and 3 repair techs tried to remove the headrests and none of them could figure out how to do it. Not real confidence inspiring.

Again thanks for all your help.


Yeah Man!
So far I’m very happy with mine. I think it was Chodups who pointed out just how fun the ET is to drive.

Correct me if I’m off the mark
but I have yet to see a “kayaking vehicle”. I have seen hundreds of different cars with kayak racks on top, and if you go to a Yakima or Thule dealer, they have a brochure that will show what adaptor you need to put a kayak rack on this or that vehicle. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the premise of the OP.

What he bought…

– Last Updated: Feb-13-11 5:17 PM EST –

He bought a new vehicle. He's going to use it as his primary vehicle for hauling kayaks to wherever he uses his kayaks. He might use the new vehicle to sleep in on occasion.

Thus, it is his new "kayaking vehicle".

He's proud of his new purchase.
Seemed pretty simple to me?

Paddle on Mark!


Very happy with my ET…
…Carries two touring kayaks very well and, Yes, it is fun to drive.

Here is a link to an i30 message board that Lyngo turned me on to. The rest of the world got the car before we did as the Hyundai i30 and have some fuel and model choices we don’t have. I have found this a better place to gather information than stateside sites.,6.0.html

Probably was a bad title
But here is my thinking:

If you are considering a vehicle purchase and the things that come to mind are:

  1. Performance and handling
  2. Interior appointments
  3. Styling

    then you are buying a car.

    on the other hand if what you do is
  4. Call yakima and search their website for all the fit information and rack options for various models and throw out those with wrong fit or no fit info

  5. Carry your 6" diameter 7’ long protection tube that you use to transport your Greenland paddles to the dealer and test fit that in each vehicle before test driving

  6. Measure the clearances between seat supports to make sure that the gear boxes you use will fit into place between sets.

  7. Lay down in the parking lot and look under the vehicle for tie down points

    then you a buying a kayaking car.


Good choice and I’m glad for you.
But if those were really your primary criteria, you’d now be the proud owner of a new-to-you 2006 Taurus wagon.

Just put your racks on and your good to go. That’s funny that no one at the VW dealer could figure how to make the seats lay down flat! They probably don’t even know about the secret storage compartments the Jetta’s have.

Enjoy your new “Kayaking car”.

great choice
and the i30 website is great. My favorite thread is below:

about the little things that owners noticed that surprised and impressed them. It’s a great read and I enjoyed finding all these thoughtful additions in my car. I probably would never have noticed many of them, like the pen holder in the glove compartment.

Enjoy your car,


german cars
Thank goodness you kept another clutch burning, turbo breaking piece off the road. For the record it is important to consider kayaking when buying a car. Because my truck is one of those cars that yakima and thule don’t make a rack for. I have the sweetest rack ever now but would of been a deal breaker for me at the time of purchase. So here’s to buying a kayak car.

Ryan L.

Road trip?
So when are you driving, or paddling, by?

See you on the water,


The-River-Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Dealing with the non-flat folded seats
A very thick ThermaRest self-inflating pad that you DO add some inflation to by mouth should do the trick.

My husband and I know because his '97 Tahoe’s folded-down rear seats create an uncomfortable zone complete with hard edge. Closed-cell foam pads or thin inflated ones don’t mask the edge, but a 2" or thicker one absorbs the height difference nicely. He uses his thick pad, and I use a thinner, narrower one (because two of the luxury-size pads won’t fit side-by-side in there) but I reverse head-toe positions so that the edge is under my knees instead of under my back or shoulders.

If there’s enough vertical room, you might try creating a platform that I saw in a minivan: the owners cut big PVC rings to make moveable legs upon which they put a sheet of plywood.

Good luck finding a solution, and congrats!


Nice choice
I’m on my third Toyota and hope the Elantra has good service and repair stats for you. I think that body style fits a lot of needs. It’s not a big tank SUV and not a 4 wheeler like Subaru yet has great open back storage etc and a simple 4 cyl engine. Good Luck with. It would be a top contender with me. In CT, I found the VW dealership like you did, fairly arrogant about pricing, plus the frequency of maintenance and repair is not as good as Toyotas. They have some nice looking cars however.

good luck
I also looked at a Jetta TDI wagon, and got a Kia hatchback. Same size as yours, the Matrix, Golf, etc. It did the trick for around town car, but you realize how small it is when you go camping. At least with your you will have more options about where to get it repaired. My dealership had poor service so I decided to get the CRV. It has more room and gets the same gas mileage. I hope you have better luck with yours.

Some Good and Some Bad News

– Last Updated: Feb-14-11 10:53 AM EST –

for Hyundai Elantra Touring fans - looks like the wagon will be phased out for the US market and replaced with a hatchback version:

Seems like a credible rummor... I guess the "good news" was that there will be an update and if you are not in the US you may get a real wagon....

I have an invitation
to come up to Potsdam,NY this summer. Not sure if I can make it or not since I have plans for a Wisconsin/Michigan Great Lakes trip. If I do make it up to NY I will try to get by. I really enjoyed the paddling on the Hudson in your area during my last visit.


I’m confused
my car is a hatchback.

The ET is "wagon"
I guess the difference b/w “wagon” and “hatchback” is that the roofline slopes faster on the hatchbacks. For instance, the current Toyota Prius is a hatchback where the new Toyota Prius v (“v” as in versatile) that is coming out later this year is considered more of a wagon. At least my interpretation…

For some reason (aerodynamics has a role in that too but I think mostly people’s perception) sloped rofflines are supposed to sell better than square ones…

My personal thought on the subject is that wagons are rare in the US because they would cut into far more profitable SUV sales if there were more of them available.

I know more than a few folks who would sell their SUV’s and buy wagons if one they liked was available here.