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Old 04-30-2008, 07:08 AM   #1
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Need SUV size +towing ability +mpg for cheap?

Hi folks,

A while back I ran all the figures for what would be the most practical vehicle to replace Marvin with, that offered similar passenger and "carrying crap" volume, AND got better mpg, AND could pull a camping trailer in the summer... the answer was virtually nothing, I could get overweight pigs of vans with suspect transmissions that would do about the same, but for better mpg I was stuck... until I realised the awful truth, the horrible inescapable conclusion... the Pontiac Aztek seems to fit the bill all round That slight drop at the back really helps highway mpg, Cd is .33, not too shabby at all, tows 3500lb.

Then I started looking at prices and again, for some really strange reason, they were holding value very well, too well. So I forgot about it. The thing I've noticed in the last 3 years though, is that they are blending into traffic now, with the styling of the new trucks, hondas and nissans even, they don't stick out like a sore thumb any more.

Well anyway, if anyone else has been racking their brains for a similar vehicle, for cheap, I just found one that's a "project" that I can't take on at the moment...
http://www.trader.ca/powerpage/detai...7&adid=6919630

yes yes yes, I know an Escort wagon hauls a lot, as does a malibu maxx and a Mazda5 hauls people good too, and that CR-Vs, RAV-4s and Mazda Tributes, get similar mileage, if you need 1 out of 3, pick one of those, none of them will tow a pop-up camper, lowest dry weight you'll find in modern ones is 1500-1800lb... and then you need food, water, clothes....

So I reckon careful driving of an Aztek will get you 30 on the highway. Would probably benefit from grilleblock (removable while towing of course) and if I dragged that one home for cheap, I'd be wondering about putting the buick V6 in it... if the full size cars of similar Cd and weight can pull mid 30s highway with it, I'd think the aztek might have a chance too. You'd probably want the one out of the Lumina APV to play with at first, then upgrade it with bits off the buick ones.
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I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:42 PM   #2
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Have you looked into Jeep Liberty CRDs? Those diesels get good mileage.
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:24 AM   #3
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Possible, but I doubt those are gonna be south of $8,000 for years.
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I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
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Old 05-01-2008, 04:53 AM   #4
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I've seen a 2006 at $14K already. Some people are scared of diesel fuel's cost and selling, but I know people that regularly get 28mpg. Compared to my wife's 3.7L Liberty gasser getting 18mpg the math shows that the diesel is still very much worth it.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:05 AM   #5
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Saturn Vue.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:37 AM   #6
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Honda Odyssey. 3,000 lb towing, almost the same MPG as the Aztek, more interior space. Expensive, though. I've done 30 on the highway and 34 around town throwing the hypermiling book at it.
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Old 05-01-2008, 04:21 PM   #7
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Yep, they've finally been coming through with some reasonable mpg in larger vehicles, but there's 10 years of suck between about 1995 and 2005, where practically everything had worse mileage than it should have. So, not many cheapskate options. I've been wondering actually if I could cope with a Hyundai Elantra, plus a utility trailer, those pull 3000lb believe it or not.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the '08 Caravan with the 4.0L makes out, early indications are on those motors, are they are like the 3.8L buick V6... they have a very flat and broad torque curve, so you can get relatively amazing mileage if you "keep your foot out of it" as it were, or at least drive with a finely calibrated lead foot. Low Cd on those new vans too, so running light, I'm thinking they might do 30s on the highway.
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I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
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Old 05-01-2008, 04:52 PM   #8
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I'm telling you, check out www.saturnfans.com (saturnalia) and chat in the Vue forum... you can get a 3.5L Honda engine in them with 240hp (guessing... I used to remember but I forget now) AWD is optional, and they can tow!

Or if you're crazy like me, you can buy (well, I ALMOST bought) a 4 cyl. 5 speed FWD that can get over 30mpg.

The only problem, and reason I backed out was, I was at a used car lot test driving one and noticed a Subaru Forrester, took it for a spin too and was AMAZED how much better it handled than the Vue. Couldn't afford a nice Forrester and after that, didn't want to settle on a Vue, so I decided to just get out of the market. Not knocking the Vue, but I have an SCCA racing background, so for me the Vue was a bit too sloppy.
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Old 05-01-2008, 04:58 PM   #9
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Hynudai must be taking a huge liability risk rating the Elantra to drag 3000 pounds.

Considering that you probably drive every day but tow the camper no more than a few times per month, does it make sense to have a DD that can also tow the trailer? Why not have a tow beast? Or, OTOH, why not have an ultra-efficient car for undemanding trips where it's appropriate?

An old full size wagon, a medium SUV, a compact pickup all are good for towing enough. Oh, and a minivan, that's good too.

Regular cab 2wd compact pickups tend to be rated for pretty decent mileage.

...or get crackin on that repair to the Escort!
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
...or get crackin on that repair to the Escort!
Yeah really I keep getting my spare time chopped into small chunks, so even though I write down all what I'm doing, it can take an hour or so to get my brain "reloaded" for working on it, so not much gets done.... getting tired of being the "adult supervision" for people who should be able to think for themselves, and seeming to pick up all the "minimum wage" type chores and errands for the family, when I'm trying to accomplish the $70+ an hour skilled labor stuff. Not to mention that 99 out of 100 of these "emergencies" that happen every other day, or "fires" I have to put out, would be totally avoidable if anyone used an ounce of forethought in conducting their affairs... so it keeps sitting there, while I get 23mpg instead of 33+... gonna start snapping on people
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I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
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