High Mileage cars and or SUV's

Delivery or rent
Real lumber yards will deliver. Free if you buy enough material, otherwise a very reasonable charge.

HD or Lowes will be glad to rent you a pick-up or flat-bed.

If you’re doing only a few projects a year these options are far cheaper than the cost of owing a pick-up or SUV that you don’t really need.

Mini Clubman
I am very enamored with the Clubman.

I’d buy one if I could justify buying a new car, but since I walk to the train station to get to work my car sits in the garage 5 days a week. Hard to justify an expensive and rapidly depreciating asset that sits in the garage.

You can put a rack on anything!
Seriosuly, there are tons of cars that get over 30 MPG. If you want to be around the EPA 30 mpg then i suggest:

Kia Spectra

Kia Optima

Toyota Camry

Volkswagon Passat

Hyundai Sonata

If you want to do it to it and get great gas mileage, enter:

Volkswagen Jetta

Toyota Corolla

If you want the ultimate SUV getting 30 MPG or better, go with the:

Ford Escape Hybrid FWD

Saturn Vue Hybrid

Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD

Chevrolet HHR FWD

But, if you want a great price and enough roof to carry both easily… enter the perfect car(s)

Pontiac G6

Saturn Aura

Both have PLENTY of roof for a nice roof rack. Both get an estimated 30 mpg, but on a trip using hypermilling skills I pulled 38 in the G6. Both are EXCELLENT cars that will fit most people needs.

For those that think that they need a truck/suv to get plywood once a month at best, I would suggest a trailor as most people have already mentioned and even better, JUST BORROW A FRIENDS PICKUP FOR AN HOUR. Absolutaly no need to waste all that money on gas to drive a gas guzzler if you can borrow a friends pickup for an hour to get some wood…

Mazda 5
I am not recommending this vehicle, as I do not own one, but I have been very interested in it. It looks like a mini, mini Van. The specs. say it gets good gas mileage and the vehicle looks like it would be very versatile. Anyone have any experience with this vehicle?

suggestion for hauling stuff
Here is my plan for carrying more stuff with a small vehicle. I bought a small closed box trailer - 5.5’ tall by 5’ wide and 8’ long. It was ~ $2,000. If I want, I can put a Yakima rack on top and even carry kayaks on top.

While towing the box, I can still put yaks on the car. Only wrinkle is that with boats as I would normally carry, I can only carry up to 16’ boats. If I instead displace slightly forward, I can carry longer, not sure how that will work out as I haven’t done it yet.

My current vehicle is a Subaru Outback and with a rack on the car I get 27MPG. Not sure what it is with boats too also not sure what it is with the trailer but that isn’t such a big concern as it is better than driving too big of a vehicle around all the time.


what about routine semi “off-road” use…

– Last Updated: Jun-10-08 3:33 PM EST –

i habitually drive through farm fields (both when dry and muddy), every 2-3 days i am driving on 1 lane seasonal dirt roads, about 2-3 times a week i found myself driving on old logging trails, and a few times a month i'm just making my own way through woods...

ground clearance must be at least 6 inches (more is better), drive train must be able to negotiate muddy slick terrain, and i routinely haul 2 boats on roof. The ability to tow a utility trailer with approx. 1200 lbs of weight through this terrain is a necesity. Also, i am always parking in unplowed lots in the winter, and driving over snow covered fields...

since i have a 100 mile round trip to work, i am always looking for a more fuel efficient vehicle - is there anything out there that can do this?

ps im currently driving a v6 ford escape with some kind of weird 4x4 system... if outdoor temp is below 50, i average 19-20 mpg, if above 50 i average 22-23 mpg.

New Diesel Jetta Wagon - 60 mpg!
My Subaru Forester is the perfect kayaker’s vehicle. Check my profile for a pic with a surfski on roof. However, my turbo model only get about 21 mpg.

The new diesel Jetta wagon is calling my name with 50 - 60 mpg. Despite the high cost of fuel, it doesn’t make sense to trade up. I calculate I would save about $1000 per year based on 12,000 miles of driving. For the average American, fuel economy is not a good financial reason to move into a new vehicle prematurely.

Toyota Tacoma
2-wheel drive, 4-cyl, 30 MPG highway

Matrix also
Just drove 400 miles to the Spring River in AR, with solo canoe on top. 35 mpg going up(tailwind) 32 coming back(headwind.) Driving 60 mph. Automatic. Without rack and boat gets around 37.

Additional Requirement
I’m looking for the same type vehicle, but at almost 6’3" and 245, I find many of the vehicles suggested just don’t fit. Does the Matrix have the necessary headroom?

New Car to Save Money?
I’m not sure that spending money on a new car is somehow going to save you more than it costs you. My car is paid for. I could get a new one and save $100 a month in gas but pay $500 a month in payments. That a loss of $400 a month. Not much of a savings.

Also consider that buying a new car puts huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere while keeping the old car does not. Do you want to stop global warming and save money, keep the old car.


well just bought a focus
to replace my ancient Corolla—My brother works at a Ford dealership and got me a really good price—about 4500 cheaper than a new Corolla—kayak yakima rack fits well—now if it lasts as half as long as the Toyota I’ll be satisfied. Truth be told the Corolla is a great car–would recommend it. I’ll get back to you on the Focus in about 6 years.

VW Diesel Wagon
Hey - I had my name on one too. It was supposedly on the release list for this summer. I stopped in at my local VW dealer who said no dice. They are going to have one that is for test driving only, and they had to agree not to sell.

In the spirit of “sell what you got” they proceeded to tell me that clean diesel will always be more expensive than regular and that the cost savings of a 40 + mpg diesel can be beat by buying one of their 30+ mpg vehicles… I said show me. Well they had NOTHING on the lot that was better than 22 MPG in a wagon so they then tried to get me interested in a Chrysler…

Someone else in this thread said that a VW Passat wagon was rated at 30+ mpg - none on the lot had those kind of ratings.

I must say shopping for a car is something I find very painful and I take no joy in the process. If replacing my radiator allows me to use my Subaru’s air conditioner when it is hot out, I may just decide to keep it for another year.


SideKick, Tracker, Etc.
All are the same vehicle - great little 1.6L econobox 4x4’s - we have a '97 Sidekick 4 door, uses about 8.5 liters. per 100 kms on the highway (at $1.40 Cdn/ltr)- about 30+mpg Cdn. Reliable, choppy ride, noisy, tough as a gad - the later models - from about '99 on - aren’t reputed to be as durable. If you don’t like lots of mechanical noise and some wind buffeting at highway speeds, it’s not the rig for you.

diesel is a tough choice
At $1/gal above regular. Boy are we missing out on some great diesel cars.


– Last Updated: Jun-10-08 10:23 PM EST –

I love my Prius. Yakama and Thule both make racks for them.

It gets 52 mpg in the summer (46 in the winter at 20 below). With two 17' kayaks on top, the mileage drops to maybe 45 mpg. Plus it has a ton of room for hauling stuff--we often fit two adults, 3 dogs (50 lbs each) and camping gear or ski gear in the hatchback part. In the winter, good snow tires make a huge difference--then it's better than my subaru AWD was in the snow. The clearance isn't very high, however. But my mechanic is good at screwing stuff back on when I knock it off the base of the car.

Hi Andy
In the last couple of years I have been driving a 03 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab that gets about 19 mpg. And like you, until the last few months, 3000-4000 miles a month was the norm. I hate the mileage but love the truck. it is paid off. I think that is what I love most about it :slight_smile: Thinking about driving it until I or it dies.

Anyway, before the truck, I had an 02 Ford Focus Wagon that I pimped out with full Thule racks and whitewater stickers that said really cool things that, as long as I was not in the car for people to see what a dork i was, was ok :slight_smile:

Point is, I LOVED THAT CAR! Not a power house, but at 30-32 mpg and with the seats folded, it was a gear haulers dream come true. I put 74,000 miles on it in two years and got within $3000 of what I paid for it when I sold it.

It had (that model) a really long flat roof line. It is not a chick magnet, but sweet to drive.

Good Luck,


Diesel is still cheaper to run
Diesel costs about a dollar mor per gallon to buy, however it is still more cost efficient to run. We see this in the boat business and its also true for automobiles. Diesel powerboats are still selling while you can’t give a gas powered boat away. Every sailboat we sell is also diesel powered.

If the new common rail diesels deliver the 50 - 60 mpg as promised then diesel fuel will have to double in cost before it is no longer more cost effective than gasoline. Diesel engines also have better reliability, lower maintenance costs, and significantly longer life.

I’m told one of the reasons diesel is now more expensive than gasoline is becasue the Europeans are buying it all up for their growing number of diesel cars.

Maybe the new Jetta diesel is on hold for delivery in the U.S. because the Europeans are buying them all.

Hi Jay
Lots of great info here! My SUV is paid for too. I’m in no rush to get another vehicle, just thinking ahead. My truck runs great and expect to keep it for awhile.

These gas prices are causing everyone to rethink what they’re doing. I just don’t commute to work everyday. I’m visiting customers, engineers and go to jobsites. Not unusual for me to pick up or deliver a small piece of equipment. As a result, I do quite a bit of driving and my fuel expenses have increased dramatically. I do not get reimbursed for my expenses.


Absolute BS
Diesel cars are a tiny part of any market.

Furnace oil and Diesel are the same product ( Much cheaper as there is no road tax ) Jet fuel is just super clean Diesel and Quantus just contracted to buy that for $84.00 per barrel delivered to the plane.

Kerosene Clean hot Diesel. Stove Oil clean hot Diesel.

With every boat, truck, furnace, jet plane and chopper, running on Diesel what the hell difference is the family car going to make?

We are being defrauded.