What Is A Good Canoe Car?

Saab 95 wagon
2.4t light pressure turbo 4cylinder. Built like a tank. Loaded with comfy features, low load height, excellent mpg, storage galore, sleeps 2 with seats folded down flat, front wheel drive with 4 snows will go anywhere. Factory rails accept all sorts of thule and yakima aftermarket stuff. My 2000 has 165+k miles and is going strong.

Subaru info updates
For 2010 and 2011 Outbacks, Yakima has now come out with Landing Pad 12 which replaces the factory crossbars on the Outback. The separation between the Yakima crossbars will be only 30 inches, but it’s a whole lot better than before with a third party rack.

I just bought a Forester after much back & forth with the Honda Element. I was looking at 2010 models and had good deals offered on both.

The 2010 Mazda 5 was an intrigueing vehicle but bad road clearance and the seats too short (for me). I really wanted to take a chance on the 2011 Kia Sorento: it’s well packaged, has the great warranties, and has a 1000 rebate + a 1500 competitive change incentive; BUT for me the driver’s seat is too hard and uncomfortable. Based on other recommendations here, I looked hard at the Hyundai Elantra Touring and the VW Jetta Sportwagen, but for each I’d have to sit ‘down’ into the car which I don’t want to do. For my purposes the Forester will be great, as would have the Element.

Traction control is a must
I’ve been driving a Sienna since 2004 and I have no problems with it in the snow. Gotta have traction control though. The base model does not have it. That may or may not be your daughter’s issue. But as minivans go, the Sienna is as good as any in the snow. And if you get the 4wd version (I didn’t) I’m sure it is pretty darned effective. But in Maine … who knows. That’s a different world than mine.

couldn’t agree more
Minivans are the only vehicles I lust after because of the way they support my paddling.


– Last Updated: Jan-19-11 2:44 PM EST –

I have a Ford Taurus X(used to be the Freestyle). Great vehicle. Looks a bit like a Volvo wagon, a bit like a van. True 7 passenger with fold down seats(all of them except the drivers side).

Don't get the 2007 version(freestyle). It has an undersized motor and the tranny isn't as good.

The 2008 and 2009(last year they were made) are very nice vehicles. The new Ford Explorer is a Taurus X with a different body. Every part is the same.

On mine, I modified my towers from the expedition, adding aluminum washers to fit the track. It bolted down quite nicely. I have carried two canoe on it with room to spare(60" bars).

what are your criteria?

– Last Updated: Jan-19-11 3:29 PM EST –

1. Do you need AWD? Think about it. And if you haven't tried a fwd or rwd with winter tires - try one. You may eliminate a need right there. FWD costs # which costs $.

2. Do you need extra space?

3. Is a lower roof height important?

4. Do you have an allegiance to domestic cars?

5. New or used?

6. Will this be your one and only car?

If you complete this matrix of questions you'll likely narrow the field dramatically.

I'm so glad to see people endorsing the ubiquitous minivan. The only thing wrong with the minivan is it's image.

TR with Forester
with 2 canoes on roof and Yakima rack system.

Start from home yesterday. There was a fresh 12 inches of snow and the plow guy had not yet come to our lake neighborhood.

Managed to get the 1.5 miles to paved road (which was plowed but hardly snow free). Made it up first hill which is about 800 feet ascent over a little over a mile…its steep.

Drove to CT.

Left CT this am after descending daughters sheet of ice driveway (its about 300 feet and steep) without incident…though much caution!

Usually get 29 miles per gallon with nothing on roof. There was a decrease of 4.1 mpg with the boats and a hefty west wind (the trees were blowing, but I don’t know what the actual wind speed was)

Drove through more rain and crap weather.

Now in sunny South…my goodness 51 degrees is balmy.

If you drive in places where I drive the Forester ought to be fine. I was curious about the mileage and actually paid attention to gas consumption this trip…so thats why I posted.

Totally useless answer
But back in the 70’s there use to be a team on the Northeast Downriver racing circuit that traveled around in a 60’s Chrysler Imperial with the back seat taken out and converted into sleeping and storage. It was a monster but they traveled in comfort.

now you’re talkin’!
I like this one myself:


Olds Vista Cruiser, circa early 1970’s. Plenty low for loading, lots of room, and that cool skylight like a Greyhound bus!

Vista cruiser
Looks like a great shuttle/camping vehicle as long as all the river access roads you take are hard surfaced. I would hate to see what the access road to Kyle’s Landing on the Buffalo River would do to a Vista Cruiser.

Subby, Sienna, CRV, Rav4
Yakima RailGrab, previously known as the LowRider, attach Yakima round bars to roof rails on 1st Gen CRV, Toyota Sienna van, Subaru Outback, Rav4s…

All get good gas mileage and are very handy. I’m currently using a 03 Outback and always eye my wife’s Sienna.

Second gen CRV you have to drill the roof and put on tracks or permanently mounted bases to get wide enough crossbar spacing.

that is all I know about that.

racking CRV
The CRV discontinued around 2008 can be racked with the Thule fit kit 8 (bolts into the roof rack mounting sites) and then the Tracker II feet go on and come off with just a push of a button. My favorite system-like it so much that I figured out a way to install it on my 2007 Rav4.


Volvo 850, V70, V70 AWD or V70 XC
with factory euro rails. Great cars, keep on going, very little body rusting. FWD if you don’t need AWD, less maintenance and better mileage. I live in the snowy NE and have two FWD’s, a 1994 850 that had 150,000 miles when the odometer broke 3 years ago, probably has 180,000 on it now, and a 2005 V70. Both purchased used from lease turn ins. Avoid the turbo models(higer maintenance).

Jeep Cherokee Sport

– Last Updated: Jan-22-11 2:51 PM EST –

Unfortunately Jeep discontinued it wit de 2001 model (which ah' gots), but it's still built in China. Dems still plenty around on de used market, though

Welded rain gutters so wit heavy duty clamp-on roof racks ye gots 6 feet of spread, purdy roomy, super dependable inline 6 motor, GAS HOG but de thing never dies.


my taurus worked great
Roof was too round but here is the key. I drilled thru yakima clamps up under door frame with super drill. Then used stainless screw barely long enough and large enough to penetrate so as not to touch wiring harness on all 4 corners.

I am not handy with knots so I often do not use tie downs, even on 18ft canoe. THE KEY IS SPAN AND SOLID RACKS TO RELAX WHILE GOING FAST. Front rack is near front windshield a.d rear is near back for max span. Then use straps. The problem is holes but on a 2000 mile trip who cares. Easier to find car with racks on. Off ythe record, the yakima installer says this is the only way to have solid racks on most new cars when you have lots of span.

What is worse- boat blowing off and killing someone or 4 small holes up under door frame. It might leak and might whistle. Hvae a smart mechaic or machinist help with drilling becuase yakima steel is very hard. Go easy and let the drill cool.

I have had numerous SUV’s but the Chrysler long wheelbase minivans are the best. Long roofline, tremendous interior space, flat floor where side-by-side sleeping is very doable when the seats are removed, good ground clearance with 17" wheels and 235 65 series tires. Gotta be careful though on pothole dirtroads because I broke a motormount once but I was being careless to the point it would have probably happened regardless of what vehicle I was driving. I was driving the nasty Forest Service road up to the Wynoochee River gorge run on the Olympic Peninsula of WA state. UGLY road but AWESOME RIVER.