I'm starting to look for a replacement for our faithful old Sienna mini-van.
I need to be able to haul two canoes, 4 adults and gear.
I'd like to improve on the gas mileage of the van, gas prices heading north a little higher each year.
I looked at a Toyota Highlander (hybrid) last night. The roof rails are so short that I don't see how a canoe could be made secure for a highway speed haul. Has anyone put a pair of canoes on a recent model?
Hows the capacity of a Subaru Outback for gear? What is the mileage like?
The Prius V is only big enough for 2 people and 1 boat...
What other vehicles should I be looking at?
Kayak Carrier Kits
Kayak Motor Kit
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have you |
Posted by: radiomix on Oct-03-12 10:12 AM (EST)
Looked at the prius v? It is huge. The back seats even recline. I guess you would be a little limited on gear, but that's the case with anything that is not a van or large SUV.
Posted by: rblturtle on Oct-03-12 11:28 AM (EST)
I reciently bought a low millage used 2007 Ford Focus wagon with a stick for $10,000. A lot of old people bought these,and a nice low millage one is not too hard to find. It hauls 2 boats and another paddler great,but may be marginal in rear seat room and cargo capacity for 4 adults on along haul. I get -35ish with it with boats and load on,+35ish without. It would depend how much you want to skimp for fuel millage. I'm real happy with it for my use.
Posted by: johnysmoke on Oct-04-12 12:35 AM (EST)
I have an 2012 Outback with the 4 cylinder and a stick shift, put a Yakima rack on it that is rock solid. Car easily carried two 17 foot sea kayaks and lots of gear during a 2 week trip to Canada. Tons of room in the way back for gear, can easily fit four large duffel bags back there without obstructing the rear window. Good leg room in the back seat. The car will pull down about 22-24 mpg loaded with two boats and gear and going about 75 or so. Lowest was 18mpg running at about 85-90 on the highway for a stretch. I've seen about 26-28 with myself and 1 boat on the highway driving close to 60-65. Unloaded the car will pull down 26 in town and low 30's on the highway, depending of course on hills and how you drive... Not bad for a big awd car...
Posted by: rpg51 on Oct-04-12 6:32 AM (EST)
Load 'em up for four...|
Posted by: cedarcanoe on Oct-04-12 8:13 AM (EST)
Exactly, I'm talking about multi-day trips. Food, packs, etc.
Posted by: johnysmoke on Oct-04-12 11:07 AM (EST)
I was talking about a week long trip including food and gear. Might be a tight fit for four and gear though.
Posted by: radiomix on Oct-04-12 11:13 AM (EST)
More common. Some new cars are making it difficult to attach towers in a good position.
Posted by: pgeorg on Oct-04-12 6:53 AM (EST)
I use a 2005 Volvo V70 wagon. With a canoe and a load it will get about 25mpg/hwy. It is, admittedly, a bit small. From 2008 on they put a bigger engine in them and the mpg went down. The trick, if you are looking for good mileage is to stick with the normally aspirated V70. The XC70 is AWD and has a turbo. The mileage drops on those.
Consider a Mazda 5|
Posted by: RedCrossRandy on Oct-04-12 9:19 AM (EST)
My wife used to drive an MPV and I was so impressed by the handling that when I had to replace my Ford Sportrac, I got a Mazda 5. Looks like a cross between an MPV and a Honda Fit. I routinely carry two canoes on top and I have plenty of room for gear. I've also carried 6 passengers. Love how all the rear seats fold down as needed. I'm getting much better milage than I ever got with my truck, and the best part is the roofline is a foot lower, so hoisting up the boats on top is less of an effort (that feature becomes more important the older I get)!
new, or used?|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Oct-04-12 9:47 AM (EST)
...and what's most important? Do you need AWD? Van or car? Is roof height important?
Minivan still best|
Posted by: yatipope on Oct-04-12 10:56 AM (EST)
I have owned many different SUV,s and wagons (Outback, Forester, Sort-Trac, Expedition, etc) and nothing really compares to the minivan for space, comfort, roof-rack capabilites and decent gas mileage. In particular I have a 2000 Grand Caravan with 336,000 miles and still going strong at average of 23 mpg. Heck you can even sleep comfortably on the big flat floor with back seats removed.
New or Used?|
Posted by: cedarcanoe on Oct-04-12 11:47 AM (EST)
I could go either way...if it's used I'd prefer 3-4 years old, with some good life left in it.
why not another Sienna?|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Oct-04-12 2:39 PM (EST)
Toyota, hard to go wrong. Honda makes a great minivan but they really retain their value. Nissan makes a nice one also.
How about using a trailer?|
Posted by: redmond on Oct-04-12 12:00 PM (EST)
We put a hitch on our Subaru Legacy and it works well.
Posted by: bushwacker on Oct-04-12 1:07 PM (EST)
I have owned several outbacks over the years and they will do a fine job...right now I am loving my 4 door nissan frontier pickup......you have a lot of options for caps or racks...it is also my daily commuter vehicle. I also had an f150 for years and after I sold it I had a hard time figuring out how I could get by without a pickup
Posted by: mr_canoehead on Oct-04-12 2:09 PM (EST)
To my mind, if you have four people, 2 canoes, and gear with you the majority of the time you are using the vehicle, a minivan makes sense. If, however, like most people 99% of trips are with one or two occupants, and only the other 1% is the canoe trip, I'd get a much smaller car.
stop making sense!|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Oct-04-12 3:50 PM (EST)
VW TDI Sportwagon|
Posted by: RiverMystic on Oct-04-12 3:35 PM (EST)
Up to 50 mpg and a rated roof capacity of 165 pounds, plus low enough for easy loading. In 100K the only thing I had to do other than routine maintenance was replace a low beam lightbulb.
Posted by: joebhamilton on Oct-08-12 2:29 PM (EST)
I owned a Volvo V 70 wagon (non turbo) and hauled my kayak up to my girlfriends almost every weekend for a few years
Second TDI Sportwagon|
Posted by: Morayreef on Oct-08-12 5:16 PM (EST)
I also own a TDI Sportwagon, the long roof line is great as is the 42MPG with 2 kayaks on the roof, 2 people and a week worth of camping gear.
Elantra Touring - wagon|
Posted by: Patuxent on Oct-08-12 3:05 PM (EST)
The Elantra Touring is actually a small wagon and not a variant of the Elantra. The SE trim comes with side rails and is available with a sweet B&M racing shifter. But it has been discontinued in the trend away from wagons. It might be tough to find a 2012, but used Hyundais depreciate much more than subarus, toyotas or hondas, and a used one could be a steal after some negotiation.
I would have gotten the H Wagon if not|
Posted by: Kocho on Oct-09-12 10:50 AM (EST)
For its pretty bad fuel economy figures compared to what I think such a relatively small and low power car should be getting. It has the older style engine that was phased out in the current generation Huyndai cars - one reason I did not get it, otherwise a nice car and drives fine too.
Any fuel efficient 4 person hauler ...|
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Oct-08-12 4:07 PM (EST)
... is a reasonable answer to the question.
Posted by: Kocho on Oct-09-12 9:13 AM (EST)
Unless you get a light trailer hauled by a fuel efficient vehicle you are not going to get great mpg for what you want...
TDI Jetta added to list...|
Posted by: cedarcanoe on Oct-10-12 3:04 PM (EST)
I have an appointment Friday to check out the TDI Jetta Sportwagon. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention. The Prius V is interesting too, but I'd have to cut back on the gear we haul (which could be a good thing in its own right).
Full Size Pick up|
Posted by: rpg51 on Oct-10-12 9:15 PM (EST)
screw the gas mileage - its only two maybe three trips a year. I have an old Tundra that does it all. Use it at home for load of mulch, gravel, trips to dump etc.
$5 gas ... changes "screw the mileage"|
Posted by: cedarcanoe on Oct-11-12 9:22 AM (EST)
My concern about good gas mileage isn't focused around the 3-4 canoes trips per year. Its the rest of the year when the vehicle has to be the commuter vehicle for one of us.
Rent for those few exceptional trips|
Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-11-12 9:46 PM (EST)
buy for what you need day to day.
Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-11-12 10:20 AM (EST)
Mine is a full size v8. We exercise it during the winter so it doesnt get too stiff. Its now has 285,000 miles on it and a new frame courtesy Toyota. I expect it will have several more years to fulfill its canoe hauler role.
Posted by: Lanky189 on Oct-11-12 12:59 PM (EST)
I must know more about this full size yota getting 22 mpg. My 02 tundra gets 17 at best with the 4.7 v8
My Tundra seldom sees a stop light|
Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-11-12 6:50 PM (EST)
do the math|
Posted by: rblturtle on Oct-11-12 4:26 PM (EST)
$30,00+ for a new hybred or diesel will buy a lot of gas. When I looked at a replacment vehicle for canoe hauling,when I factored initial cost, I couldn't justify a new gee whiz fuel mizer. the pay back extended to far into the future. FOR ME,the 8,000 used car turned out to make sense.
Totally agree with Turtle|
Posted by: yatipope on Oct-11-12 9:42 PM (EST)
Yes I think the math almost always leans to a good second hand vehicle that might not get the awesome gas mileage,..but will serve both purposes well.
Thats funny - |
Posted by: rpg51 on Oct-11-12 10:42 PM (EST)
lots of Tundra owners. Mine is an 02. Gets about 16 mpg. Got a new frame just the other day. Taken me and my friends on just about every old woods road imaginable in Northern Maine with loads of wanigans and canoes. It owes me not one dime and it has years left in it. We like to trip in relative comfort so there is no way I could fit everything and drive those roads in a sedan or fancy wagon. Pick ups are the best.
Roof rack thoughts|
Posted by: joewildlife on Oct-12-12 3:03 PM (EST)
I've had several canoe haulers over the years and have had to deal with roof rack issues. I've noticed many vehicles today have short little racks and the crossbars are located too close together or too far to the back of the vehicle to be useful. Subaru REALLY screwed up their racks on the newest model Outback. I had a 03 Outback 2.5L and it was a powerless gas hog for its size. Yakima Railgrab towers worked pretty good to put Yakima crossbars on the Subby, and carry two canoes.
hate to harp|
Posted by: rblturtle on Oct-13-12 2:46 PM (EST)
On my Focus wagon,but one of the advantages it has other than great millage,is long rack bar spacing and a flat roof. I use a clamp on yakama tower on the door channel in front,and a clamp to the factory roof rack in rear. This make a nice,level, long span that secures boats well.
Posted by: joewildlife on Oct-17-12 10:16 PM (EST)
I rode in a Focus wagon with three grown men and a teenage daughter, two solo canoes and a big load of gear. I am positive that we exceeded the GVWR of the car. It was a hot day and we suffered a blowout to make matters worse. GVWR could be a concern.
Posted by: rblturtle on Oct-18-12 9:47 AM (EST)
4 adults+ gear is too much for the Focus. For 2 adult + 2 solos and tripping gear works great as did 1 solo 1 tandem and 3 adultd for a day trip. I don't think any 35mpg vehicle would do 4 adults+gear well. The trade off for a bigger vehicle is shared fuel expense,but then 95% of the time your'e driving too much car. We run into this when 4 of us drive to the ADK's for tripping and take 2 vehicles.
2 makes more sense|
Posted by: mr_canoehead on Oct-18-12 6:50 PM (EST)
Put in canoe terms, if you were paddling solo 95% of the time, but once a year needed more capacity, would you want an 18'6" tandem as your only canoe? Much preferable to have a solo, and either rent a tandem or bring a second solo for the other 5%.
Factor your canoes into the equation,|
Posted by: mickjetblue on Oct-20-12 9:16 PM (EST)
right, because I have carried a variety of canoes on pickups and minivans over the years, and they will "perform" in like manner in the air, as they "perform' in water.
On canoe shape, the aerodynamics|
Posted by: g2d on Nov-02-12 12:46 AM (EST)
at highway speed do not give an advantage to a sharp ended canoe. At subsonic speeds, a blunt entry and a tapered "stern" work best.
+1 for TDI|
Posted by: mcthiel on Oct-21-12 10:28 PM (EST)
+1 for Jetta TDI wagon. I have a golf TDI and it have had it loaded with 2 boats, 3 guys and gear and it handled it great (could have squeezed a 4th man if need be).
Nonsense regarding the hybrids|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-22-12 12:54 AM (EST)
read more on how hybrids work.|
Posted by: mcthiel on Oct-22-12 1:59 AM (EST)
I never said that hybrids COULDN'T do it, just that they will struggle more than a diesel or other gas powered engines. Hybrids get their efficiency in the city (as COMMUTER vehicles) by charging their batteries when you coast or brake. On the highway they rely almost exclusively on the gas engine to keep them going and will draw on the electric motors when needed (ie, on a hill or when you smash it to merge). As a result, the gas engine has less power and torque than a conventional engine in favor of fuel efficiency. Now, get on the highway and take away this constant charge/discharge that you get in town and load an extra 600-700+ lbs of load and strap two wind-breaks to the roof and suddenly that little engine is working for all it's worth. Yes, it will get you there, but no, it will not be happy doing it.
I know how they work, ...|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-22-12 9:10 AM (EST)
It's been my experience|
Posted by: redmond on Oct-22-12 9:09 AM (EST)
that some cars or truck's mileage drops more than others when loaded. I wish that someone would test vehicles with stuff on the roof or pulling a trailer.
Posted by: kybishop on Oct-22-12 12:55 PM (EST)
Posted by: ppine on Oct-23-12 4:19 PM (EST)
I use a Ford f-350 pick-up and a trailer. It gets 24 mpg with a diesel engine and can haul a ton of stuff.
Prius Sucks for hauling|
Posted by: jimx200 on Oct-28-12 11:32 AM (EST)
Had a rental Prius (2010) for two weeks and I would never own one: mileage is way less than advertised as I got 36mpg (actual,not what computer says) total on a long trip driving 65-70, a/c on most of the time, rolling hills/mostly flat, and temps in the high 90's-low 100's. In the wind, the handling is not good as they have a high roof line. Even if calm, the handling is poor with too much body lean. Headed for the mountains? This is not your car with it's anemic 84hp engine. I've had some imports from the 70;s-80's and they kill this thing for performance and handling. I made one trip with the Prius hauling my 16' kayak and even in light wind, I could feel it pushing the car around.
Learn to drive it ...|
Posted by: kocho on Oct-30-12 9:13 AM (EST)
Posted by: dressmeister on Oct-31-12 9:17 AM (EST)
It will take a few thousand bucks and many, many frustrating hours in the shop, but once you're done, you'll have a full sized van that can tow 4,000 lbs and gets 32 mpg.
We've had Accords and a '97 Outback. |
Posted by: g2d on Nov-02-12 12:56 AM (EST)
Our stick Outback 4 got 29 mpg with no boats and no racks, and 25-26 mpg or so with a single ww tandem canoe on Yakima crossbars. In the SE, one seldom needs AWD for snow, and only occasionally for ice, but the Outback is outstanding on heavily rain-puddled highways, and extra competent when negotiating long stretches of gravel road.