toyota Echo vs what?

Am shopping for a new vehicle and have been drawn to the Subaru forester as it has the right towing capabilities as well as a nice long roof rack. the big surprise though was that after measuring, I am getting a 44 inch spread on the Echo with the Yakima racks compared to a 48 inch length on the Forester!! Not much difference in length at all. Been hearing and reading good things about the Forester. Any opinions?


I’ve Been Looking
The Forester looks very good. My wife and I were in the NC mountains recently and they were as common as crows. Must be good.

Sure wish Toyota made a plain old Corolla or Camry wagon. Sure wish Honda made a plain old Civic or Accord wagon. I reckon they didn’t sell due to the SUV craze.

In the NC mountains ???
And you didn’t stop in to say hello?

You no good rotten friza-frat!

Can I assume it was for the “Assult on Mt Mitchell” ?



Good Morning, Jack!
I’m on vacation today. Working on cup #3 or so. Yup. Took Mrs. Kudzu to Asheville for an anniversary overnighter. The theme was “art and craft”. We hit the folk art center on the parkway and some nice gallery-type places in town.

I sold my number for the Assault. Glad I did as the weather at the start was nasty. I might have to do it next year if I feel good. See how the new ‘Shark’ climbs.

Hope you and Nanci are doing well.

Now you’re going to
get the Subie people all wound up…

I do like the “all wheel” drive though.

Do they still give you a weather radio standard?

weather radio standard. very nice perk.


Love mine
I’ve got an '05 Forester X - the bare bones model - with a 5 speed, and it’s been everything I’ve asked for. Gas mileage usually ranges between 27 and 31, although hauling the boats with the a/c brings it down to about 25 or so. I can’t speak for long-term problems, as mine only has 25000 miles on it, but so far so good. The awd system that Subaru uses is nothing short of phenominal in snow and wet weather. I had a Saturn Vue before this, and there is absolutely no comparison.

We have two poly boats, a Dagger Cypress and Perception Carolina 13.5, which we carry on the factory rack with a Thule stacker with no problems.

Check out the Honda CRV
I’m very happy with mine, after considering the Forestor among others. Especially check out reliability ratings in Consumer’s Report.


– Last Updated: Jun-10-06 2:33 AM EST –

C'on, Paul, we've been -literally, *L*! -down this road multiple times...

Well, how 'bout a Yaris...???


Agree with prior posts about small car manufacturers abandonning wagons for mini-SUVs, etc.


Maybe they'll be considered in the era of high fuel costs, if they can get decent mileage...

Since you're thinking small anyway, might want to look at the Focus wagon -it was too small for us, but after spending a week in Tally in a 5-door stick, expectations extremely low, I was surprisingly pleased. It was far more comfortable, pretty well-laid out, and moderately-well appointed, and it had OK performance and handling. Knowing you and you stance on vehicles, these latter attributes you'll probably find to be just fine; I wanted a tad more performance. I don't know the relaibility or rate of repair data -and that may be it's Achilles heel.

I suggest wagons because they're lower in the roofline -makes a diff for most of us old farts. Jack is excepted: he gets up on his ladder to put their fleet atop his truck camper shell setup.

But as much as we looked long & hard, the Big Three (Toyota, Nissan, Honda) all dropped wagons.

We got mainly so-so and two very poor reviews for the VW Passat, and they, along with the Subies, need premium to fuel engines with go.

We couldn't find a decent used -we were NOT about to buy any of these new! -Audi (we liked the A3, & it might've been a good car -see Kris -but it was too small for us), Bimmer or Benz. A friend has 2 BMWs, both bought used, both exceptionally good values, both run very well -but while the used sedans are as commen as antagonistic aligators down here, the wagons are woefully wandering elsewhere, it seems...

I didn't want a Volvo (other reasons) or a Saab (even tho' some accuse me of driving like I'm piloting a jet).

And that was about -ABOUT -it...

We like our Mazda6S wagon just fine, you've seen it in action. If you're still thinking small, how about not a 6 like ours, but a 3 5-door? Or their new crossover 5?

Or small crossovers from the other manufacturers, like the Toyota Matrix, the forthcoming Nissan Versa, Honda Fit -some may have rooflines to provide an improved bar setup...

OTOH -do you want/need 4WD/AWD for your anticipated move to NC?

If you're happy with a sedan, then do as you're doing: look to see if there's an advantage accruing to rack spread and storage/stowage capacity -sedans come equipped with relatively low roofs to begin with. We went with wagon over sedan because of ease of sliding stuff in/out of the trunk, plus the extra room -but if you can live without, you've expanded your possibilities.

Well, let us know how it turns out when you get you new vehicle and set up the racks to carry the boats so you (and your clan) can


-Frank in Miami

Consumer Reports mag
has a report in this month’s issue on several vehicles in that class.They like the Forester alot (came in second) but the Toyota Rav 4 is their top choice in that class.

who is Frank in Miami?
I know a Scupper Pro Frank but I don’t know a Frank in Miami. Are you an imposter?

And no we haven’t been down this road before. the original thread about vehicles degenarated into a alcohol versus gas versus cooking oil. I just wanted to comment on the fact that no matter how much bigger the car, the roof line difference was minimal.


Subaru head gasket issues
Subaru has had a cronic head gasket problem on their large 4 motor for a number of years. My daughters blew last Sept in the Rockies and we had to be towed 40 miles to Denver.

While I have owned and liked five Subarus, I will not buy another until they can tell me exactly what changes they made to fix this cronic problem and are willing to extend the warrentee for head gasket issues. I sold my 2002 (which was recalled for head gasket issues) when they refused to extend the warrentee to 150,000 after they poured a can of gunk into the antifreeze as a solution to potential head gasket issues.

I’m not holding my breath that they will finally stand behind their product. If you must have one, dump it when warrentee ends or lease it.


I was seriously considering the RAV 4 but the !!!!**s at Toyota decided to offer ONLY an automatic transmission. What’s with that?

American made
Great fuel economy

low-cost insurance

ease of handling


better than four wheel drive

roof or side mounted boat carriers

can’t access the page.


Its called profit. Manual trannys don’t
sell well anymore. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have bought a 4 cylinder car with an automatic, the were mostly dogs. Now, I’ve had two, one a Sentra, the other a new CRV, both with automatics. The performance is great. Good pickup and better gas mileage than the standard transmission. Toyata is marketing to the biggest segment of their buying public. If you don’t want it the way they make, they’ll not miss you.

We considered the Forester, RAV4,
and the CRV. Subaru is a bit pricy for what they have. The Toyota salesman were either rude, uninterested in selling a car, or fell asleep on the test drive. I kid you not, one salesman fell asleep before I had driven 1/4 of a mile. Also, I couldn’t find a RAV4 that didn’t have $2000 of unecessary and unwanted dealer add ons, the side curtain airbags were extra (have a 3 yr old riding in the back seat), and it was $2000 more than a CRV. We bought the CRV EX model with moon roof. Love it. Drive out was $21,800. Do that with a RAV4 with the same equipment.

drive off
forester is 19,600, then there are 2 grand in rebates plus my trade in.

5 speed with no real extras…just standard equip.


Element or Scion xB
In '03, when I needed to replace a vehicle, I looked hard at the Subaru Forester. But, after riding in the back seat of one for 3 hrs, and after really looking at how I planned to use it, I realized it just didn’t have the versitility and room that I needed. After initiallly discounting the, then brand new, Honda Element as the ugliest thing on wheels, I test drove one. Then another. And another. I completely warmed up to it’s funky versitility, and functionality. Suddenly, it went to the top of my “must have” list, and I wound up with one of the first orange ones. I’ve got over 50K miles on it, and I LOVE this vehicle. This is truly the first vehicle I’ve ever had that I really, really liked.

You can clean it out with a sponge, (or a leaf blower ;-), due to it’s all plastic insides. It’s a fantastic camping vehicle, since everything is accessible due to it’s funky, reverse opening “suicide” rear doors. The rear seats either fold up or come completely out, so it can be used as a surprisingly spacious utility van. How spacious? Well, when I went to pick up the Santees, I just chucked the little Santee inside the vehicle, since I didn’t feel like roping it to the roof rack alongside the XL.

True, it’s very tall, and putting boats on top requires some reaching. But, given the way the doors open up, it’s not that bad, as you can just step up to get to the roof. The factory roof racks are ridiculously too close together. If I had it to do over, I’d get one without the factory roof racks, and I’d get a 2wheel drive manual transmission, instead of the AWD auto. But, I would get another one.

Now, frankly, if the Toyota Scion xB had been out when I got this Element, I would’ve looked very hard at it, too. I missed that model by months. But, I’ve test driven one and thought it rather anemically underpowered on hills compared to the AWD auto Element, (which is considered the most underpowered of the Elements).

The weaknesses of the Element are that it could, and probably should get better gas mileage. I average about 25mpg, which is the same as I was getting in an '89 Ford Taurus station wagon. So, it’s not great that way, but is miles ahead of many of the other SUVs. The Scion does better in that regard. Another weakness is getting passengers out of the rear seats in a crowded parking lot. Because of the way the rear doors work, they can only be opened after the front doors are opened, and it makes it hard to get people out, if there’s cars parked closely on the sides. A Honda Odyssesy minivan, with double sliding doors is much better for families frequently faced with that problem. But, the Elemental solution is just to get folks out before squeezing into a parking space. And an Element is one heck of a lot cheaper than an Odyssey

But, as far as a rec car goes, the Element deserves serious consideration. You can stick 3-4 mountain bikes inside it, and 3-4 boats on top of it, or you can load it up for a month’s worth of camping, and stick the bikes on a rack on the back, hanging off the canoe loader.

highway mpg
my daughters '92 Oldsmobile Cruiser station wagon gets 24-25 at 65mph. Surprised me but I guess if the engine is running at 1600rpm it isn’t using too much fuel.