Toyota Corolla & hauling canoes

We just got a new, more economical car, and at 41+ mpg my wallet is happy. We have a few canoe/camping trips planned this year, one being a 1300 mile drive to the BWCA. It’s hard not to be interested in the fuel savings on such a long trip. Racks are available from both Yakima and Thule, and with two kevlar solo boats we would still be under the maximum weight limit. I’m wondering how two solo canoes on the roof of this little car is going to affect it’s power and fuel economy.

Anyone have any experience hauling boats with these little cars? I don’t want to waste the $$$ on racks if it’s not going to be economically practical. I figure if it still gets 30 mpg, it’s still twice as good as my truck. But I couldn’t stand doing 55 all the way to northern Minnesota.

Thanks, Mike

You will be able to keep up with traffic
I remember carrying an 18.5’, 85 pound tandem and a 50 pound 13’ C-1 on a '76 Volkswagen Dasher wagon. That car had a smaller engine and much less horsepower than your Corolla, yet once, for tactical reasons, I was doing 85 mph on the Interstate. Today’s Corolla is certainly not underpowered, even with automatic.

Mercury Villager and Honda Civic
I can offer a few reference points:

Mercury Villager minivan without canoe at 70mph 23 mpg highway

Mercury Villager with one tandem canoe at 70 mph 20 mpg highway

Mercury Villager with two tandem canoes at 70 mph 16 mpg highway (there was a very noticable difference between one and two canoes)

Honda Civic without canoe at 70 mph 35mpg highway

Honda Civic with solo canoe at 70 mph highway 29 mpg (it did not have any issues keeping this speed)

Corolla w Seakayaks - 30 mpg
Our 2004 Corolla with rack and 2 seakayaks consistently gets 30 mpg on the highway. With no kayaks or rack it gets 40 mpg. And that is at 60 to 70 mph.

canoes (and more) on top
An '89 Honda Accord (2.0 liter 4-cylinder) with one Wenonah tandem canoe on roof rack – I never noticed a significant difference in gas mileage, although we definitely were more susceptible to cross-winds. I attributed the results to the streamlined shape of the canoe.

As my wife and I have gotten older, our toys have changed. Latest trip was out to Cape Cod in a 2000 Saturn LS-1 (2.2 liter 4-cylinder) with two solo pack canoes AND two mountain bikes on the roof rack. Mileage dropped from about normal 28-30 mpg to ~22-23 mpg on primarily interstate travel. I suspect the real culprits here were the mountain bikes and the need to mount everything pretty close to one another (less room for air to squeeze past – more drag?).

Our Corolla hauled a Grumman and tons
of gear to the Current from the Chicago suburbs and did great! Get the Yakima racks because you can adjust the position of the gunnel brackets easier and the gunnels sit evenly on round bars. Thule’s square bars are harder to position so that the flat surface meets the flat surface.

We just sold our Corolla to my brother and I think it may have been a mistake. It gets great milage and only had 212,000 miles on it. :slight_smile:

Toyota and hauling a boat
I have to agree with Pamskee we hauled an Old town Loon and Dagger Zydeko 300+ mile to the Adirondaks for several years and had no problems keeping up with 70 mph traffic on the Northway. Yes, gas milage did drop to a horrible 32-30 mpg, but with the Yakima rack and a fore and aft tied down there was no shifting. My daughter still drives that car in Boston with 150,000 miles. We bought that Corrolla when when donated my first one to a charity, it was still running well at 225,000 mile and both kids learned to drive a floor shift on the car- we donated it with the original transmission. I love my Toyotas.


The Milage Will Likely Drop Some
I cartop two kevlar boats on a Jetta TDI wagon. I normally get 48-51 mpg without the boats and that drops to about 40 with the boat. I dont have any problems with handling and dont even notice the boats on top. I have not taken a long road trip with the boats up there but I dont expect any issues.


Thanks to all
Just what I was hoping to hear.

Enjoy the day, Mike

I love my toyota and all it does for me.
I have a yakima rack with the 58" bars and stackers and carry 4 Swiftys at a time and have for quite a few years, I tie my boats down front and rear and stop occasionally to make sure straps are all snug. I travel 352 miles alot of which is highway over to Rochester NY usually a couple times a summer and though I won’t be taking all 4 this summer will have maybe 2 (or 3) and my bike up there for my trip to the GreatLakes and Dakotas … this summer. I’ll knock on my head that my luck doesn’t change, but don’t know why it would. My mileage has been pretty consistent at around 30-32mpg and I also put one of those Tornados in, but that didn’t make enough of a difference to warrant one on my car. But maybe it does. I’m just not complaining!!!

Chevy Aveo
My Chevy Aveo only got 36 MPG max before the racks. Now the best I get is 34 or 35. With a boat on top it gets 28 to 30. It still goes plenty fast and handles well enough. I have only carried one big canoe on top so far.