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Old 07-26-2011, 09:58 PM   #1
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Default Recommend a winter vehicle

Looking at buying a car that gets good gas mileage (at a decent speed) for Tahoe trips this winter. Drive is ~400 miles each way.
Requirements are that it can seat 4 guys, boards on top, our crap in trunk. A wagon would be preferred but definitely not required. AWD is definitely a plus as well but I'd rather have fuel economy. Budget is hopefully around $5k or less. I'll take suggestions that are more than that, but they get dinged right away because of it.

Right now I'm looking at something like a Jetta TDI because they get ~45mpg at 80mph. I've also considered an older Suby but don't believe they get the mileage I'm looking for.

Suggestions?
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:04 PM   #2
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Old Volvo wagon.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
Old Volvo wagon.
What kind of fuel economy do you think they get? I'm going to go ahead and say not enough.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:33 PM   #4
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Holy crapoly you guys have to drive far for good snow.
Move to Sac
Subaru if you can find one around here that's not overpriced by 200%. Its ridiculous right now.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:57 PM   #5
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If you stay away from the WRX's and Legacys, price shouldn't be too bad. My 08 WRX gets 25mpg mixed, and that's with heavy footed mountain driving. Driving like a good boy on the hwy gets me 28/29 mpg. (its for sale BTW)

The older TDI's that are in your price range, are not legal here in Cali, afaik.

Chaining up, and diving with chains sucks *****. Don't do it. AWD hurts your MPG''s a bit, but unless you friends are willing to lay in the mud to put your chains on, make them pony up a little extra in gas money.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:04 PM   #6
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Old Volvo wagon.
Any time anyone needs a second car, this is the correct answer. When will the rest of you catch up?
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dstn2bdoa View Post
If you stay away from the WRX's and Legacys, price shouldn't be too bad. My 08 WRX gets 25mpg mixed, and that's with heavy footed mountain driving. Driving like a good boy on the hwy gets me 28/29 mpg. (its for sale BTW)

The older TDI's that are in your price range, are not legal here in Cali, afaik.

Chaining up, and diving with chains sucks *****. Don't do it. AWD hurts your MPG''s a bit, but unless you friends are willing to lay in the mud to put your chains on, make them pony up a little extra in gas money.
I used to be into Subarus and always averaged ~16mpg in my two 02 WRXs and 07 STi. I think our definitions of heavy footed driving may be different . I did however manage to get 27mpg in it once, freeway only, while trying to be fuel efficient. Mine were all modified too so that also made my fuel economy lower I'm sure.
Agreed about putting on chains.
Why do you think the older TDIs aren't California legal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by icantthink4155 View Post
Any time anyone needs a second car, this is the correct answer. When will the rest of you catch up?
Many of my friends have them and are big turbo bricks guys. Can't say I'm a huge fan, although I definitely would not be against owning one if it was the right choice. That being said, I don't believe it is as I think I would be disappointed with the fuel economy.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:27 PM   #8
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I've always liked the old Suzuki grand vitaras. Not the best gas mileage, but a super capable 4wd vehicle with lots of space. You can get them on the cheap too.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashnscar View Post
Many of my friends have them and are big turbo bricks guys. Can't say I'm a huge fan, although I definitely would not be against owning one if it was the right choice. That being said, I don't believe it is as I think I would be disappointed with the fuel economy.
My brother has a 93' 240 wagon. It does very well in the snow, stops/goes better on snow then my car in the rain despite it being RWD, I think it gets decent mileage, it comfortably seats 4 adult males, roof racks are probably easy to come by, it has lots of room behind the rear seats, there supposed to be pretty reliable, there cheap, there slow as hell. I'd try and find one that's been well taken care of.

or

An E30/E36 BMW 325ix (the awd model) might work, and would be a hole hell of a lot more fun then a slow *** Volvo.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:54 PM   #10
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Im sure your more bad *** than I am . Stock drive train, suspension and brakes are only mods. My mixed tank is 88 miles of spirited mountain driving, followed by two hours of fwy driving. This is what I get the 24 mpg out of. Results may vary.

My TDI knowledge is based off a single conservation with a guy who had a late model one, probably 2009? He said that until VW did the direct injection, Cali didn't consider it clean enough, and the older ones were only 48 state legal.
If this is not correct, I apologize for flapping my ignorant lips.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:58 PM   #11
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http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/2491197001.html

It's perfect! Heated leather seats, even!
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashnscar View Post
What kind of fuel economy do you think they get? I'm going to go ahead and say not enough.
You need to talk to Nick Salyer / NSFab. He's all-knowing and a good friend to have in your line of work.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:22 AM   #13
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Early '00s Chrysler Town & Country Minivan.

I am dead serious.

You want something roomy as hell, comfortable for four adults on 400 mile trips, AWD, good on gas, and with plenty of space for snowboards and gear.

The early to mid '00s Town & Country fits this bill to a tee. They all had V6 engines in the 200-250 ft/lbs range, about half of them were fitted with AWD (always as part of a standard trim level), and they're rated for 22-24 MPG highway. Rated to tow 3,500 lbs, too.

And those ******* are reliable, believe it or not. A friend of mine uses a stripped-out FWD version as his work truck (he runs a flooring business) and the thing just never gives him a minute's trouble.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:58 AM   #14
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If you can find a FWD subie wagon(or sedan) from the early 90's they do pretty well. my buddy had a 91 sedan that got low thirties mpg and I had no problem sitting in the back at 6'1" 200lbs. and we used it exactly for what you want to, trips to the mountain.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:03 AM   #15
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I had a 2000 Outback wagon and although it only got 24mpg, it was ******* awesome and I want another one. I had it in Santa Fe for a winter and fell in love with it. Dog **** slow, but fun as **** in the snow and didn't have super-ghey traction control.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:19 AM   #16
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Some options I have found so far:
97 Subaru OBS w/ 300k for $2200
97 Subaru Outback w/ 150k for $2100 (new tires, temp gauge starts to climb in hot weather)
95 Subaru Impreza w/ 239k for $350 (coolant leak)
84 Volvo 760 GLE turbo diesel w/ 89k for $1000 (bad injector pump seals)
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:26 AM   #17
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id get the 150k ob...


Have you looked into like a scion xa/xb or some of those? the older ones (03) just might be in your range. super simple, very roomy, good on gas, fairly cheap.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:52 AM   #18
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1st gen Focus hatch
6th gen N. Am. Honda Accord wagon
1st gen Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute/Mercury Mariner
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:34 AM   #19
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Get late 90's early 00's CRV or RAV4... CRV preferably.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:29 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Early '00s Chrysler Town & Country Minivan.

I am dead serious.
Very good point. However, at least on the whole string of these produced in the 90s the trans was a known weak point, I swapped two or three of them for friends. That said, the resale is low because of this so you can get a deal. And the trans swap is not that difficult, at least on the FWD ones.

Also, FWIW from someone in the mountainous NE, really good snow tires on FWD is equivalent to at least AWD on all seasons, or better. It is damn near impossible to get stuck on Blizzaks, the car will need to be resting on it's belly on the snow. FWD is better on gas and easier and cheaper to maintain.
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