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  Fuel Efficient Canoe Haulers
  Posted by: cedarcanoe on Oct-03-12 9:56 AM (EST)
   Category: Canoes 

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?

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Messages in this Topic

 

  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.

Either way you go, I would look to use after market racks, especially for the weight of two canoes.

Ryan L.
 
 
  marginal answer
  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.
Turtle
 
 
  Outback...
  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...
 
 
  Gear?
  Posted by: rpg51 on Oct-04-12 6:32 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-04-12 7:23 AM EST --

Are you talking about gear for multi day trips meaning cooking equipment, food boxes, personal gear/clothing bags etc.? Or are you talking about day trips?

Why do you say Prius 5 only for 2 people and 1 boat?

 
 
  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.
 
 
  Outback...
  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.

I talked to someone who had a Prius V and was having issues racking it. This owner claimed a Yakima customer service rep, who had the same car, recommended taking it to a rak-attack shop and getting rails installed.
 
 
  thats becoming
  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.

Ryan L.
 
 
  Volvo
  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.

Peter
 
 
  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?

I would imagine the Highlander rack would work just fine. But you can't beat the minivan for space. And you can't beat the wagon for loading ease.
 
 
  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.

The roof rack on the new Highlander I looked at was so short. It started well back from the trailing edge of the front doors. To balance a canoe on the rack it would have to project well out behind the vehicle.

I love my '04 Sienna for it's capacity. It holds two 17' canoes w/o problem. Just wish it had better fuel economy, mostly 'cuz as our second vehicle it has to serve for daily commuting to work when we aren't out paddling.
 
 
  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.

I bet you noticed a bit less room in that Highlander compared to the Sienna, huh?
 
 
  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.
 
 
  canoe hauler
  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
 
 
  Ingenuity
  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.

I know I go on about this, but every car I have owned has been more than up to the task of getting me to the put in. I had an Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra, which is a small sedan with a four cylinder, and I took it from Manitoba to Utah with 2 canoes and all the gear for four people. One of those canoes was a tripper xl at 20', and the gear included coolers and water jugs. for the last leg, we had all four in the car with all their gear and we drove over the mountains. Yes, it was a bit tight and we had to be a bit clever in how things were arranged. However, the rest of the year I probably saved a few thousand dollars on gas, not to mention depreciation/capital cost on a more luxurious vehicle. I've had three canoes on a dodge omni, and currently drive a focus hatchback. On the focus, if I have to carry more than two I use a little trailer. In the old days having an eight horse team pulling your covered wagon was pretty big. I have something like 140 horses pulling my little focus, so it really is more than enough.

If I'm willing to portage it, my car can carry or pull it. I've actually been considering downsizing further, because typically when four or more people are going, two vehicles are needed for a shuttle. I'm thinking my next car will likely be something like a civic sedan, though I do like the prius c and scion iQ.
 
 
  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.
 
 
  Kayak hauler
  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
It was a great kayak hauler and could cruise at 80 with one or two kayaks on top. It got about 27 mph with no kayak and around 24 mph at 75 with one on top
I now have A 2010 VW Jetta TDi diesel wagon which has a similar Eurorail rack set up
I get a actual 42 mpg driving 100 miles a day to work with no kayak
I got ( measured by filling tank and countin gallons used) an actual 37 mpg when we took my 20 ft tandem on the roof from Daytona Beach to Key West and back with some excursions in between
The computer mpg gage runs a few mpg high
I like my Jetta TDI wagon but I don't get any where near 50 mpg with it for high speed highway driving and certainly not with a kayak on top.
The Volvo V70 wagon was was mor comfortable on long trips and probably better built but Volvo stopped offering them in non turbo versions and now doesn't seem to offer a v70 size wagon at all
 
 
  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.

I'd recommend it to a friend.
 
 
  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.

The Sportwagen TDI will be the king of fuel efficiency among rooftop haulers, but at a higher purchase price.
 
 
  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.

For the same $$$ as what I could locally find the 2011 Hyundai Elantra Wagon SE for (or whatever the "sport" version was - everyone asked at least $16.6K before fees and taxes and registration), I got a brand new 2011 Honda Insight hybrid that gives me almost 2x the MPG with very little loss in utility comapred to the E. Touring (hatch vs. wagon). I got permanent mounts for Yakima racks installed on it for a quick conversion from rack to no rack...

Of course, that's no help to the OP (as isn't the Elantra too, as both cars are too small for what the OP wants)...
 
 
  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.
 
 
  Trailer ?
  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...

I don't think you can get anything that will remotely come close to 30MPG and still have the space you want with 2 canoes on top and nearly a ton of cargo in it... Shrimpy 4-seater wagons appear to be too small for you and any SUV or minivan or large wagon like a Volvo V70 with 2 canoes on top will be a gaz guzzler compared to a Prius V or diesel Jetta.
 
 
  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.

Fuel prices are going to creep higher...we may retreat briefly from the creep toward $5 gas, but prices will continue to rise... Thus my search for the most fuel efficient canoe hauler.

Sure, the Sienna is great for the few weeks a year we're doing big canoe trips. But we're feeding it's fuel appetite all year round. I'm thinking the situation should be reversed. Have great fuel mileage all year round, but have to squeeze to get the two canoes and gear aboard for the big canoe trips....hence the interest in the likes of the Prius V or VW Sportwagon TDI, or Highlander Hybrid.
 
 
  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.

 
 
  Same here
  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.

Its a great canoe hauler..gets 22 miles a gallon. We have a more fuel efficient vehicles for around town where the miles really do sneak up on you.
 
 
  22??
  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

Am I missing out on an awesome trick? I love my truck to death but would love seeing better mileage.
 
 
  My Tundra seldom sees a stop light
  Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-11-12 6:50 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-11-12 6:57 PM EST --

and seldom stop and go driving. I get out of my camp dirt road and its 55-65 mph.

If I were in congested areas it would be a bank drainer.

Its 13 years old now..1999. Given me many a good canoe trip and I figure that the $21000 I paid for it is pennies a mile. Its got nearly 300 k miles.

But it is NOT 4 wheel drive. Its two wheel. I can get a runnning start on snowy hills and have yet to get stuck in the snow. And we do get some 150-200 inches a year. Were I to have to have 4 WD it would sure be different. I bought my house here with priority of flat driveway. And our snow is usually powdery..ish..( not like the West though!)

Also my canoe hauling is into the wilderness for the majority of trips traversing twitch and logging roads. Traction is not so much the issue rather ground clearance. More fuel efficient cars are often ground huggers and that is where in my case a high vehicle makes more sense even if there is a penalty.

I learned to drive with rear wheel drive long ago so I might have a little experience with those vehicles in snow..(the Adirondacks were a former home). Those people of more recent vintage of course may have different experiences.

 
 
  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.
Turtle
 
 
  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.

I have a 06 Toyota Tundra 4WD mentioned above, gets 14.5 to 19 mpg depending on conditions and speed. It is parked unless I need it to haul or pull something. I have four Yakima Landing Pad #6 permanently mounted to the camper shell, for use with Control Towers and Yakima crossbars. But to haul a long canoe or kayak, I have a pair of Q-towers that attach about the middle of the front doors, so I can really maximize front to rear bar spacing with one crossbar over the pickup cab and the other on the camper shell.

New vehicle? Strongly consider a Hyundai Sante Fe. In front-wheel drive version, they get up to 30 mpg highway, which is awesome for a medium sized SUV.

I also have experience with Honda CRVs. I owned a 2000 model. Factory rack is good to use Railgrab towers on for Yakima crossbars.

Consider newer models of the CRV. DON'T be afraid of the roof rack options of ANY vehicle! I currently own a 2003 CRV, and the rack options are very limited. Using Yakima towers that attach at the factory rack mounting points, the crossbars are very close together. SO, on my 03, I dropped the headliner in the very front and very rear of the vehicle, and permanently mounted a set of the Yakima Landing Pad #6 on each end of the vehicle. I dropped the headliner to be able to use the regular "nut and bolt" connectors rather than the blind nuts available in the Landing Pad #7. Yakima can't tell you where to put the blind nuts in...so you would have to drop the headliner anyway. The landing pads are not that noticable and come with covers when the rack is off the vehicle. I'm really, really happy with the custom install on the CRV. A similar install could be done on virtually ANY vehicle. If you are handy, you can drop the headliner yourself, or just find an upholstery shop to do it for you.

SO, my advice is to buy the perfect car, then get a rack on it. My choice would be a 4 cylinder late model RAV4 or CRV.

Joe


 
 
  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.
Turtle
 
 
  focus wagon
  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.

The Subaru Outback wasn't a bad vehicle...but both it and the Focus are too low to the ground for this old guy to drive everyday. I just hated getting into and out of it all the time. The CRV is a huge improvement in that regard. It is AWD and gets 23 city and about 25/26 highway. Not great numbers but not bad either, compared to my V8 pickup.
 
 
  I agree
  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.
Turtle
 
 
  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%.

My math says that operating a car that gets 10 l/100km costs more than one that gets 6 l/100km.

20 000km/year
20 000km/100km * 10l * $1.25/l = $2500
20 000km/100km * 6l * $1.25/l = $1500

This is based on the current fuel cost in my city, and 12 000 miles per year. Extrapolated over a typical 10 year service life the bigger car costs $10 000 more in fuel. This is just fuel, too. Bigger cars usually cost more initially, often cost more in maintenance/parts (bigger tires cost more), and may have a lower resale value as a percent of their initial purchase price. Also, this equation assumes gas will stay the same price, though it seems reasonable that the price of fuel may increase.

On top of the economic argument are the other reasons for using less petroleum including climate change, local air pollution/smog, energy security, and keeping wealth closer to home.
 
 
  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.

For example, a heavier weight blunt nosed canoe will have much more of an adverse effect on your mileage than a lighter weight streamlined kevlar canoe.
 
 
  On canoe shape, the aerodynamics
  Posted by: ezwater 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.

Our 15', 65#, high rocker, blunt ended ww tandem actually gets a bit better mileage on our Honda Accord than our 17', 50#, sharp ended flatwater tandem.

Another wild card in the mix is outfitting inside the canoe. The end bags in our ww canoe seem to stabilise turbulence. This probably makes more of a difference at the front end of the canoe, as it sits on the car. On the other hand, prominent minicell pedestals inside a canoe may impede air flow that has to occur.

There's a lot we don't know about canoe and kayak aerodynamics on car racks. Wish some grad student would supply the data.
 
 
  +1 for TDI
  Posted by: old_user 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).

Be wary of hybrids if you often haul a heavy load...they are commuter vehicles and at highway speeds man not have the power you need when you have extra wind resistance and weight to deal with.
 
 
  Nonsense regarding the hybrids
  Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-22-12 12:54 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-22-12 12:56 AM EST --

First, whether they are "computer vehicles" or not makes no difference. With extra weight and wind resistance, the car will do the same thing it would otherwise do when going uphill. Second, the gas engine will take on as much of the load as it has to if a period of unusually hard work lasts too long for the battery/electric-motor to continue providing assistance (battery power is normally a short-term thing when extra oomph is needed, not full time, so the gas engine is fully capable of doing the work when necessary - there's just less reserve power in that case). The gas engine of a Prius, for example, has much more horsepower than the compact cars made around 1980 and earlier, and I can vouch for the fact that a 50-horsepower car from the 70s or early 80s was more than capable of hauling two canoes plus people and gear. I have it on good authority that before my time, the same was true of 40-horsepower VWs. You won't be winning any drag races with such a rig, but it'll get you where you are going. Low horsepower nowadays doesn't mean your car can't pull whatever practical amount of load you ask it to, it only means it won't have as much reserve power when accelerating up to speed, and it MIGHT have to go slower up really steep hills. No modern car runs at it's horsepower limit simply because there are boats on the roof and a bunch of stuff inside.

 
 
  read more on how hybrids work.
  Posted by: old_user 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'm not saying that hybrids are the worst and to avoid them at all costs, but if the majority of your driving is on highways and involves being loaded with more than just you and maybe 1 or 2 friends, perhaps they are not for you. If on the other hand you do most of your driving in the city and just want to be able to move a heavy load and 2 boats a couple of times a year, than any car will do and a hybrid is a fine choice. Just expect it to be noticeably less efficient and struggle more than what you are used to compared with driving it around town (what they were meant for).
 
 
  I know how they work, ...
  Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-22-12 9:10 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-22-12 10:12 AM EST --

..., I often drive a Honda Civic hybrid and there's a display right on the dashboard that tells when the batteries are charging and by what method (the car I sometimes drive makes use of deceleration, whether by brake application or coasting, as well as engine power). On the highway, all of the power for normal cruising comes from the engine, and the electric motor only kicks in for hill climbing. But you seem to have missed my point. You say these engines are small, and for a reason, which is true, but since I already mentioned the fact that they are not any smaller than those of compact cars years ago, and are a lot more powerful, why do you still insist they don't have enough power to haul boats? Let me guess. You're a young pup and weren't carrying boats back in the days when 50-horsepower compact cars where used for all the same things that modern small cars are used for. Back when I was doing such things, having 75 or 90 horsepower would have been an unbelievable luxury, not a "handicap". Of course in those days we didn't expect to be able to go 85 mph on the highway. Going the speed limit was considered good enough.

Wanna know something else? The owner of the car I mentioned above often carries a canoe, and sometimes a big canoe AND a kayak. Wanna know something else? The mileage takes a noticeable hit (just as was true of tiny-engined small cars decades ago) but it still gets much better mileage than any mid-size car running unloaded, let alone with boats on the roof, and there is NO feeling of inadequate power. Yeah, it's not a race car, but it gets the job done, and it does it a whole lot easier than you have convinced yourself would be the case.

Finally, a few people here, including the original poster, stressed the idea that a car which suits everyday needs well and may not be ideal for hauling boats is a wiser choice than choosing a car for reasons that are the other way around, and for some people, this would be compatible with the idea of using a hybrid. As has been said, the biggest problem with the Prius is that it's roof is so poorly suited to mounting a good rack, not that it struggles too much when carrying boats and gear. Gear weight is over-rated anyway. A four-person car carrying two people and their gear is usually carrying less weight than if it were simply carrying four people. At worst, it might be about the same, but normally that will only be true if the people are lightweights (does your portion of gear on a typical trip exceed your own body weight? How about exceeding the body weight of a "normal" American male? (that's about 240 pounds)

 
 
  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.
 
 
  Multi vehicles.
  Posted by: kybishop on Oct-22-12 12:55 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-22-12 1:32 PM EST --

There are trade offs with every vehicle out there. If it is great at hauling a lot of gear and boats it will typically not be as great as a daily driver (mpg). What is good mpg for one person is not for someone else, relative.

My 98 TDI Jetta got 41 around town and 48-50 on trips. 2000 rpm was the sweet spot. Had roof racks and hauled okay but limited on rack placement. Engine torque and power is excellent. Trunk was pretty big too. That was my daily till it gave in to rust.

We have 2 Outbacks, a 2000 with a 4 cylinder which we would load with 4 people (adult size), gear for a weak at the beach, kayak and cargo box on top. Typically saw about 26-29 mpg. It is great on power except emergency merging when loaded like that. Great car.

Our 2006 is the 3.0 6 cylinder and gets in the high teens to mid to high 20's on trips. Have not had it loaded much but the 3.0 is a strong engine. The roof racks on these Outbacks of both these generations is excellent for loading with gear. They are both fun and nimble to drive around town and as a daily.

My 94 Land Cruiser consumes much fuel. 15 mpg is the best I have gotten. But, it will hold an absolute ton of gear. Put what we usually put in the Outbacks and not even half full. Love to drive it but gets 10-11 mpg around town. But, this gets us to those hard to reach sites and with ease.

We had a mini van which was great on trips but a fun factor of 0. Do not like as a daily driver, not as easy to park as the autos or wagons. Longer wheelbase makes daily driving that much worse or can depending on what you do each day. MPG in the mid low to mid 20's, it was a 2000 Grand Caravan.

My 86 Subaru GL 4x4 wagon will haul a few boats but limited in power and size for sure but can certainly beat around in the backwoods to get you there. Mid 20's on mpg, carburated does not help this as the fuel injected flavor of these did much better.

Basically what works best for me is to have multiple older vehicles for more specific purposes. Depends on what you want to do. Technically the 06 Outback is my wifes, the others are mine. If you are comfortable with older vehicles you can have several for less money than a newer one. Keep them well maintained and you can drive them anywhere. Repairs as needed and still way less than a new vehicle.

Just an option that works for me. Keep the beloved van for what you love it for. By an older TDI for daily driving. Taxes are way less than a newer car. Save on insurance as you can just do liability if paid for in full and not out a huge loss if totaled.

Safety is a concern as well and many of the vehicles in the 2000's got great scores. The TDI's have great scores and the Outbacks do too I believe.

Good luck to you in whatever you decide.

 
 
  canoe vehicle
  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.
I used a 1/2 ton pick-up once at a take out and hauled two rafts and frames, 7 people and 4 dogs in one vehicle. We could have used 2 little vehicles, instead but it would not have saved us anything.
 
 
  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.
My choices for yak haulers: Volvo wagon (low roof line), Mazda 6 wagon (made 2004-2008) good mileage/performance, Jetta wagon, and Ford Flex like buddy has..lots of room and long and roof line getting 29mpg hwy with LOTS of room.
 
 
  Learn to drive it ...
  Posted by: kocho on Oct-30-12 9:13 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-30-12 9:16 AM EST --

I'm on my second prius and my friend has one too. I also have a Honda Insight. With either one I have no problem staying closer to 50 than to 40 actual mpg on the highway if i drive normally with traffic between 60 and 70 mph. If i drive closer to 60 mph i get clost to 60 mpg. That's with nothing on the roof. With 2 surfskis and 2 guys and gear over a 1000 mile roundtrip last year i easily got 40mpg actual mileage with speeds around 60mph.

My wife drives our '08 Prius and she's consistently around 44 actual (46.5) on the computer. I used to track both her and my old '02 and they give similar results. With the In sight I'm getting 43 mpg actual over the past 28k miles in mixed driving - if it was only highway or suburbs it would be much better, what kills mileage is short trips on cold engine, of which I do a lot...Plus, I'm usually the fastest and one of the more aggressive drivers, not a traffic calming device like some like to drive -;) If I drive calmly and with the traffic flow, I beat the EPA by a considerable margin - but who drives like that in the Metro D C area ???

That said, Top Gear managed to average 17 mpg in the Prius being gunned down to the floor, where a BMW M3 did 19 MPG at the same speed, following the Prius. So, you could torture a Prius to give you well below the EPA rating average, but most people seem to be getting about 50mpg real mileage out of the 2010+ Prii (just check Fuelly.com, with hundreds of real people - don't take my word for it).

 
 
  TDI EuroVan
  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: ezwater 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.

Our latest Accord is an '08, and gets 32 mpg highway mileage with no boat and no racks. It gets 27 mpg with racks and one ww tandem on top. Last weekend we got Sandy tailwind going to New Orleans, and clocked 28 mpg. All of our Accords track straighter in crosswinds than our Outback, with or without boats. The latest Accord holds cruise control speed as well as the Outback, in spite of being much longer geared.
 

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