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Small hatchbacks for hauling a bike or two..

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Small hatchbacks for hauling a bike or two..

Old 08-10-19, 06:47 AM
  #51  
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This is a sensitive issue for me. We have a 2001 VW Passat wagon, which is simply the best-sized, best-configured car ever sold in the American market. Now VW internet pop-up ads are touting the new Eurospec version of the VW Passat wagon, still Europe's best-selling wagon for more than 20 years, which VWoA, in its finite wisdom, withholds from the American market. Since we can't keep driving two geriatric cars forever, my current plan is to replace the 1996 A4 sedan and keep the Passat running as long as I possibly can.
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Old 08-10-19, 07:07 AM
  #52  
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I have a 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT. Works well for me. Back seat goes down and bike goes in. It also has mounting points built into the roof for a bike rack, which I have used on occasion. One caveat on the roof rack. The access points to the mounts do not have drains. You cannot leave the feet mounted all the time. Also I highly recommend getting a fairing for the rack. Cuts down wind noise to an acceptable level.
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Old 08-10-19, 07:14 AM
  #53  
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Old 08-10-19, 07:22 AM
  #54  
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Honda Fit.
I travel from PA to somewhere in the west every summer. I don't take a bike but I do take luggage, camping equipment, etc and I always come back with three cases (at least) of beer. There would still be room for a bike.
Bonus: 40-42 MPG on trips.

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Old 08-10-19, 07:26 AM
  #55  
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My 2013 Chrysler town and country is the best vehicle I've ever owned. Never wanting for cargo space, can move 7 people and 5 minutes later full pieces of plywood and drywall. Full bikes no problem.
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Old 08-10-19, 07:46 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
I'm actually thinking of tracking down a first-generation Honda Odyssey. Crazy cheap, easy to find in good shape, 25+ MPG and built on the early 90's Honda Accord platform, probably the most reliable car in automotive history. I'll have to check one out, to make sure there's enough room for me to car-camp comfortably (sleeping on the floor with middle and back seats removed). I think it'd be a pretty spacious bike hauler, too.

Problem is, I'd then have to get rid of my early 90's Accord, and it's barely broken in with 304,000 miles.
Back in the day we bought one brand new, 2001. We had a big forum going ,etc.etc. Fun vehicle. I lowered it with some nice H&R springs,badged it as a JDM Honda LaGreat, installed an overhead monitor myself which back then was really unheard of in minivans and hard to find. Then the tranny problems started appearing on the forums. Honda had a recall for those affected. Long story short, we were lucky for 4-5 years then out of nowhere,bam. Tranny started slipping. Low mileage, under average. Honda replaced it for free but after that, I just couldn't trust it anymore. It sure did take us a lot of places as a family and very utilitarian. Just make sure the tranny is in good shape.
Here was my set-up for my bike:
32091810vNHGmIyzyg_fs by 2cam16, on Flickr
32091942fdWkXzDwOA_fs by 2cam16, on Flickr
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Old 08-10-19, 07:55 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
When I replaced the motor mount on the 5's, I replaced all 3 mounts as well. Now I keep a watch on the passenger side mount. The 5s are really versatile vehicles and fun to drive. They do need more power. I was so disappointed when they were discontinued. If they would have offered it with the Speed 3 engine, what a sleeper it would have been! I have 131k miles on one and 82k on the other. The high mileage one is used as a delivery vehicle at my business. I'll keep driving it until they get the transmission problems worked out with the little Ford Transit Connect.
I can't speak for the 2.3L, but the 2.5L has a good amount of torque that starts really low in the RPM range. Compared to the high strung 1.6L and 1.8L engines we have*, the 2.5L is a torque machine. My 5 drives best if I just feed it enough throttle to torque its way down the road. Sure, I can rev it to 6,000 rpm to merge into freeway traffic, but it's happier pulling like a wannabe diesel engine.

Of course, my wife's current car has a 3.0L V6 and beats them all in torque and horsepower, but the gas mileage is as bad as a single cab full size pickup truck.

*offspring's vehicles that I maintain.

EDIT: By the way, I found an older photo on my phone with my Mazda 5 parked next to a Mazda MPV. Both are "toeing the line", which is why the 180" long 5 is further forward than the 189" long MPV. It still shows the size difference of a Japanese/Euro sized minivan next to a larger sized minivan. Compared to currently produced minivans reaching 203" in length, the Mazda 5 is pretty small for a "minivan".


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Old 08-10-19, 08:32 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
I'm actually thinking of tracking down a first-generation Honda Odyssey. Crazy cheap, easy to find in good shape, 25+ MPG and built on the early 90's Honda Accord platform, probably the most reliable car in automotive history. I'll have to check one out, to make sure there's enough room for me to car-camp comfortably (sleeping on the floor with middle and back seats removed). I think it'd be a pretty spacious bike hauler, too.

Problem is, I'd then have to get rid of my early 90's Accord, and it's barely broken in with 304,000 miles.
I was parked next to a 1st gen Odyssey earlier this year in my Mazda 5. The 2 vehicles were about the same size. Definitely not the bloated whales that minivans have become.
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Old 08-10-19, 08:36 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
I'm actually thinking of tracking down a first-generation Honda Odyssey. Crazy cheap, easy to find in good shape, 25+ MPG and built on the early 90's Honda Accord platform, probably the most reliable car in automotive history. I'll have to check one out, to make sure there's enough room for me to car-camp comfortably (sleeping on the floor with middle and back seats removed). I think it'd be a pretty spacious bike hauler, too.

Problem is, I'd then have to get rid of my early 90's Accord, and it's barely broken in with 304,000 miles.
I had one in Heather Mist, the 1995, and I thought it was the best minivan ever: 4-cyl got 25-28 mpg. Rear AC, good handling, sunroof. Rear doors were CAR doors, opened the same way and windows rolled down, not like the other minivan "cages." Back seat folded into the floor. I had the 2nd row buckets (EX model) and they came out in 2 minutes, giving you a cavernous interior that would easily hold 4 bikes with the wheels on. A 4x8 sheet of plywood fit if you put it all the way up to the dash. At the time, I didn't connect it with bikes, because I'd ended that silly cycling business at the end of 1995.

25 years on: I tried for a few years to find one in good shape, and I wanted the EX model. The only nice one I found, owner refused to sell, and who would blame him? Isuzu made a twin, but I never really got a chance to look at one of those.

When I went looking for a truck, another older Odyssey did cross my mind. If I wasn't locked into the truck for towing my motorcycle and hauling bikes, I'd be looking again for one. You made my day.
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Old 08-10-19, 08:37 AM
  #60  
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When my 5 won't do the job, I have this as a backup.

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Old 08-10-19, 08:39 AM
  #61  
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Different generation of Odyssey. The 95-98 was a 4cyl platform based on the Accord and shared by Isuzu and Honda.


Originally Posted by 2cam16 View Post
Back in the day we bought one brand new, 2001. We had a big forum going ,etc.etc. Fun vehicle. I lowered it with some nice H&R springs,badged it as a JDM Honda LaGreat, installed an overhead monitor myself which back then was really unheard of in minivans and hard to find. Then the tranny problems started appearing on the forums. Honda had a recall for those affected. Long story short, we were lucky for 4-5 years then out of nowhere,bam. Tranny started slipping. Low mileage, under average. Honda replaced it for free but after that, I just couldn't trust it anymore. It sure did take us a lot of places as a family and very utilitarian. Just make sure the tranny is in good shape.
Here was my set-up for my bike:
32091810vNHGmIyzyg_fs by 2cam16, on Flickr
32091942fdWkXzDwOA_fs by 2cam16, on Flickr
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Old 08-10-19, 08:45 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
I'd take one of those in a heartbeat for our youngest son if I could find one.

Honda should return this model to the market with a similar design. I wonder what their sales numbers looked like when it was discontinued?
Great minds think alike. I found my son a great one (with the Paws Package!) and he didn't want it.

For bike enthusiasts, the Element is only eclipsed by the 95-98 Odyssey, IMO, as far as Honda. Probably more fun.
The CRV, which my son now has is a decent 3rd. He likes the AWD, being in the mountains, but after he hit a bear, it's not quite what it was.
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Old 08-10-19, 08:52 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Surprising! Thanks for the data.

Maybe I'm just looking at a small sample space, but our neighborhood in STP is all Hondas and Subarus.

.....and ginormous SUVs.
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Old 08-10-19, 09:18 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
When my 5 won't do the job, I have this as a backup.
Looks small and thrifty.
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Old 08-10-19, 09:49 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
When my 5 won't do the job, I have this as a backup.

Fan of the van too. I miss my rolling workshop Chevy dually with standing height, 12 ft box and lift gate. Super reliable and simple. Only problem was the many asking to borrow it! I added a sign to the door... 'Don't Ask'

Second best was an AWD Chevy Astro extended and optioned out. Barn doors and added a floor slide out to the rear. Was hit head on and I escaped without a scratch. Pigs on fuel consumption but I want another, perhaps an 05 GMC Safari AWD extended.

Burned out of the modern euro garbage.. Benz, BMW, Audi and even VW. Too much piddly and go wrongs. I expect the Mini to rate with the garbage but so far its been fun and rarely a boring drive.

On my list and considering + willing to step up for the choice unmolested are an earlier Benz wagon 300sd turbo diesel (W123 chassis) or a 1991 Audi Avant 200 Quattro turbo 5cyl 20 valve.

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Old 08-10-19, 10:09 AM
  #66  
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What about that Civic minivanish thing that was produced in the late 80s early 90s. It was taller than the normal Civic. A coworker had one with AWD. I had a 90 Civic Si at the time. Fun car.
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Old 08-10-19, 10:16 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
What about that Civic minivanish thing that was produced in the late 80s early 90s. It was taller than the normal Civic. A coworker had one with AWD. I had a 90 Civic Si at the time. Fun car.
Wagovan. We had one. Nice little car as I recall. That was years ago, though. I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, let alone significant details (like carrying capacity) of a car I owned 20+ years ago.
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Old 08-10-19, 11:19 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
What about that Civic minivanish thing that was produced in the late 80s early 90s. It was taller than the normal Civic. A coworker had one with AWD. I had a 90 Civic Si at the time. Fun car.
Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
Wagovan. We had one. Nice little car as I recall. That was years ago, though. I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, let alone significant details (like carrying capacity) of a car I owned 20+ years ago.
I like that era of Civics. I had a 1991 CRX Si and a friend of mine had the same generation Civic hatchback that resembled a VW Golf.

That generation of Civics were great Hondas, IMO.
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Old 08-10-19, 11:34 AM
  #69  
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Dang, lost a post, here's a coles notes version based on owning or driving a bunch of these:

Outback: awesome, amazing, instant AWD, terrible driving experience (terrible clutch, reluctant engine), mediocre reliability (be careful about what year 2.5l you buy) as they age vs. Honda or Toyota. A proper station wagon. Bigger than the Forester, don't be fooled by the "SUV" label. Good for safety, terrible "drivers car."

Element: my favourite car that I ever owned. Big, useful interior, small overall size. Super reliable, only unscheduled/non-wear item I ever had to do to mine was install adjustable camber kit on the back (same problem w/CRV's). Good fuel economy for the size. Not very relaxed at interstate speeds but Honda engines are designed to rev so I had zero problems with many long days driving to Alberta or Southern California from Victoria. Tall for loading bikes on the roof, I used a hitch rack mostly. Available in stick. AWD is pretty lame vs. Subaru but very durable and will get you out of some tough spots.

Mazda 3: Feels like a more grown up car than the rest in it's class - has a bit of a "quality German car" feel to it. Drives nicely, and you can get a stick. Good "drivers car."

VW's: nice to drive, available bare bones and with stick if that's what you want. The diesels are strong and economical and no car is doing any favours for the planet.


You can put a roof rack on anything, and most of these are easy to load a bike up there. Hitch racks are super nice but I wouldn't go more than two on these - light duty suspension doesn't like a bunch of weight hanging way off the back, particularly if you have a person for each bike in the car at the same time.

Personally, if I wanted something small I'd be looking at BMW's (318ti for a hatch, 3-series coupes etc) or M-B c-classes with a stick cause they'll all get decent milage and I like having fun when driving small cars.
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Old 08-10-19, 11:58 AM
  #70  
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I love GTIs, but I’ve found Prius 2006 and later really good at carrying two fendered road bikes plus gear and vacation luggage. Lay a blanket or big rug on top of the first bike t keep them from jamming together, no parts need to be removed!

Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Well I had a 2017 VW GTI that would carry a bike inside with no problem. You could leave the front wheel on even if you pushed the front passenger seat all the way forward and then just lay the back seats down flat. Even easier to fit if you pulled the front wheel. It actually had as much space inside as my Jeep Patriot. The GTI usually got me around 33 mpg commuting even with getting on it some. Fun to drive but pretty practical too.



Prices were real good for awhile there as VW struggled to recover from the emissions cheat scandal. Not sure how willing to deal they are now.

Mine was trouble free for the two years I had it. Traded it in only because my bad knees could not find a comfortable seat position in it. Totally an issue with my beat up body.
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Old 08-10-19, 12:40 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I like that era of Civics. I had a 1991 CRX Si and a friend of mine had the same generation Civic hatchback that resembled a VW Golf.

That generation of Civics were great Hondas, IMO.
+1

I had an '87 Civic Si Hatchback. Better car than most of what I've had since. Acura motor, Prelude
interior, 30 mpg great pickup, M5 transmission only, sunroof popped out and went into a sleeve and
loaded into the back of the car. It would have been a great "bike car," but I'd just traded my bike at
that time for a CD player and 200 CD's.



That Civic Wagovan was a lot like it, with a raised roof. Nissan had one, too.

I'm sure none of this is helping my friend, but she may enjoy the thread
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Old 08-10-19, 12:53 PM
  #72  
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Not particularly small, but the Buick X Tour wagon is just a rebadged Opel made in Germany. Popular cars in Europe with a good reputation.
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Old 08-10-19, 02:36 PM
  #73  
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Minivan He might be able to get a better deal on a minivan than a SUV. Before I bought Morticia I was looking at a few fleet minivans with surprising low milage. they were top of line vehicles with 4 cup holders per seat and Blue Ray DVD system but they were good solid low milage late model cars. Another plus to a minivan is, I assume this will be for going to and from bike rides and trips? a minivan might be more comfortable then squeezing down into a hatchback after a several hours in the saddle.
Remove most of the rear seats, get some cheap carpet a piece of plywood and those fork holders, mine are from a company called Bovine or something but I don't think they were around long.


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Old 08-10-19, 02:46 PM
  #74  
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Robbie, I must have driven every car in this class before purchasing my Honda Civic. After driving my civic for a few years, if I had it to do over again, I probably would’ve got the Kia soul. I think that is your answer, Kia soul. The other best contender, in my opinion is the Subaru Impreza. The reason I didn’t get an Impreza is because Subaru just has the crappiest speaker systems, and that is a really big deal to me.

My civic has been absolutely wonderful, but it is too low to the ground, and I get a lot of flats with the sports car tires.
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Old 08-10-19, 03:09 PM
  #75  
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The friend could get a new Civic Type R. I don't know how good it is for hauling bikes. It sure can haul a$$, though.
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