Cheap boat hauler..

I recently picked up a small sporty coupe. For reasons I won’t bore anyone with, it turns out that while the car might be a blast to drive, it isn’t going to work as a kayak transport machine. And I mistakenly thought that it would… well duh!

…Anyhow it would seem I’ll need a dedicated foul weather machine/boat hauler. It should get very good gas mileage, probably be Japanese, and have a relatively low roof. I like the Honda Fit but there don’t appear to be many for sale and the few that are all seem to sell for $10,000 no matter how many miles they have on them. And that’s a little higher than I want to go.

Perhaps the Honda Element might be a consideration. Anybody have some offerings to put on the list?

Get a used Camry. Great boat hauler.

They are pretty rock solid
And there should be plenty of beaters. Heck, maybe a Corolla would be better still. Thanks.

I always thought the original Scion xB would make a good boat hauler, what with the long, flat, low roof. Not for every taste, of course.


– Last Updated: Mar-19-11 6:34 PM EST –

Don't you wish there were RS6 Avant available in the US ;) ?
A cheaper option might be getting a small kayak trailer with a real suspension, not that solid axle/leaf spring/twist spring crap.

Edit - Hyndai Elantra Wagon/Hatch, Ford Focus Wagon/Hatch, Mazda 3 ( Mazdaspeed ;) ), Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe

'73 Dodge Dart

Corolla or Prism
If you want economical and practical, these two clones are hard to beat. And you can probably pick one up in decent shape for the price of a yakima trailer.

Hyundai Eltra Touring.

No real changes.

Plenty of storage for two paddlers and a driver.

Honest gas mile with Thule Hullapro and boat 30 mpg. 2 boats something less. 29 - 28 mpg.

No boat or racks…exceeds 30 mpg.

GSE roof rack 175 pounds.

Thule and Yakima roof racks 165 pounds.

Do the math.

Fit is not a foul weather machine
Not sure what’s wrong with your sports coupe that a rack with a rack extension won’t fix, but I’m pretty sure that something like the Honda Fit won’t take you much farther - it has low clearance and is underpowered compared to most other cars on the road…

If you want the cheapest new, the outgoing Hyundai Accent should be on deep clearance now, in expectation of the new version that is touted to be much-much better. Of course, you could hardly do any worse than the current Accent in most other categroies but price, IMO…

The RS6 Avant…
…requires some major bucks for servicing :). I’d settle for an S4 Avant but no S4 Avants for us!

Saturn SW1

– Last Updated: Mar-20-11 7:59 AM EST –

Our '99 Saturn SW1 is a perfect boat hauler for us. Bought it two years ago for $1000, put $500 into it, and it's been a gas-and-go machine ever since. We did two trans-islands, a major 6,000 km klicer thru Nova Scotia and New Brusnwick last summer, and too many 250 km round trips to our cabin to count. It ain't fast, it ain't sexy, and it's low - so's the roof! - but it swallows gear and it goes and goes and goes. Average about 8 ltr/100 kms. Get 'em before they're gone...

"…Our '99 Saturn SW1 is a perfect boat hauler…"

Boy, did you do good. Lotta good ideas here. My sister has a Honda Fit, which is pretty nice, but it looks like all used Fits sell for $10,000 regardless of mileage, roll overs, fires, and floods.

Anyhow I probably knew in the recesses of my dark and twisted mind that my new ride would be far from ideal for boat transport. I simply tricked myself into the purchase:)

S4 Avant
Why no S4 avants for you? You could find a used B5 S4 avant. There was even a B5 RS4 avant out in Colorado for sale, but the price was a bit high.


Subaru wagon, AWD and a good size roof, most have factory racks on them.

3 fun ones

– Last Updated: Mar-22-11 12:56 AM EST –

mazda 3
toyota matrix xrs/pontiac vibe gt (first gen) - what a fun motor.
subaru impreza wrx (tough to find under 10k)

…and one from Ferrari

– Last Updated: Mar-22-11 12:31 PM EST –

Roofline looks long enough. I wonder if Thule or Yakima know about this yet?

Certainly not cheap - but with a v-12 and AWD, it will get you to the launch quickly!

I do enjoy Top Gear…
…nice show. I really enjoyed one of their episodes from a season or two back where they drove beaters across the Andes. I thought that Clarkson was going to die from acute mountain sickness. His O2 sat was probably totally tanking.

Today I drove a 2003 Mazda Protege 5-door. The little critter had 154,000 miles on it and an asking price of $5490. It was a very nice little old beater with a whole bunch of character :). The dealer is also getting in an '07 Chevy Aveo 5-door with 84,000 miles for $5990.

I’m gonna drive the Aveo, which as compared to the competition is a somewhat nasty little sucker. OTOH, this car should be in pretty good shape… maybe.

For slightly more there’s an '07 Nissan Versa at another dealer. From what I’ve read, the Nissan is a better package.

The one good thing about running around checking these cream puffs out is I get more seat time in my little Audi TTS. I musta been nuts thinking I could lug my 17 foot and 2 inch kayak around with the TTS…

Ohhhh, Al…

Well, it does have a flat roof
I haven’t seen that era of Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant/Duster in a very long time. They rusted really badly!

Avoid Japanese…Try a trailer
…sorry if it offends, but getting parts in future may be sketchy ‘specially for used auto’s…

as for a sporty coupe not carrying, well I carried a 14 ft perception on a Chrysler Lebaron “J” body, and now carry a Perception Eclipse (17’) upon occasion…maybe rethink this and haul your boat using the current car with a trailer…even the upscale trailers are cheaper than another auto…