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Old 08-25-2007, 12:10 AM   #1
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Forced to cross the line

I just bought an SUV. I didn't go out looking for an SUV and as an avid cyclist that does long distance riding I find the drivers of these vehicles and pickups tend to be the most aggressive and threatening. Last year a big Dodge Quad cab tried to run me down, I got shot by a pellet gun from a passing pickup in Mojave and a CUV in the greater area had a driver actually get out of the vehicle actually try and ambush me with a thrown rock. Anyway, some <> all.

I used to ride motorcycles so I've always been in the habit of resetting the trip ODO and having a good idea of what the mileage has been. The obvious dividing line for me in a metric world here (at least as far as kph speed limits and distances, Celcius, and litres are concerned) Gas was around a buck a litre here earlier this year - that's nearly $4 a gallon.

The key dividing line for me has always been 10 litres per 100 kms / 28.2 MPG Imp. or 23.5 MPG US. When I'd have 525 KMs on the trip ODO, ideally I want to be putting in less than 52.5 litres.

This Santa Fe could fit 3 car seats in the back, store cycling shoes, helmet and pump under the rear floor, u-turn like anything on the road and actually have enough legroom for someone with a 38" inseam. The Rabbit also had good leg room but little room in the back. The Vibe/Matrix was a bit tight across and a bit too small for my legs, and clutches really magnify that - it was also not nearly as quiet.

The tough part was the rating was slightly over 10 LPH for the 2.7L Auto. Tried the manual but the gearing was terrible for highways and the mileage ratings were quite a bit worse than the auto. So we ordered one. Then I read that the 3.3s were chain cam drives, much better tech, that the 5 speed was worth it all by itself. No probs, test drive the 3.3L. Luckily it was raining. I triggered the spin control. Nope... I didn't like that happening. I have to pull onto a major street at the end of the road, in the winter with the kids and its slushy and you don't get many chances to pull in. I was also coming from a RWD van so I disliked the torque steer. I've had a Fiesta, 4WD Chevy Stepside, Horizon, 1500 Civic Hatchback (great legroom), 6G Accord (my current car but I don't fit in it well so my wife drives it normally), a couple of Aerostars (dream vehicles for tall cyclists with high seats - new van tailgates are too low to easily roll in a tall bike like an Aero). Anyway I just lost my '97 Aerostar because the insurance company could write it off for $4400 instead of repairing it for $5400 - I was blind tagged at low speed from the right at a 4 way stop sign. I tried to get them to repair it because it was an out of province no rust model with low mileage but no go. I just plain needed to replace it.

In hindsight a low miles Le Sabre would have been the best find but I didn't have time to wait for the right used car to come along and then have my mechanic bless it. I was forced to cross the line and buy a new vehicle and that made me hesitant to anything that I couldn't drive with my legs relaxed. We drive to Florida every other year a least over or near the holidays.

Anyway, started thinking about everything and realized my Chevy was the most drama free winter machine ever. The Accord is very good as well but it's not comfortable for my legs. Still, if things get too white this winter I'll swap her if she's more secure driving it. It is in her name. ;-)

Unfortunately it was just too big to feel right as a FWD so I went AWD and it feels so much better as an AWD. Same space and better mileage than a full sized Audi (not far off most bigger Subaras either) and uses the same AWD system that Porsche uses on some of their cars. Helped me cross the line into automotive debt payments - I never had any intentions of financing. The Aerostar was paid for and only had 60,000 miles and was perfect mechanically, no rust - interior was just a bit rough in the back when I bought it so it was nice that it didn't need babying.

Anyway, I ended up crossing that efficiency line. This AWD is rated 21 MPG US combined (converted from Cdn Ratings), I'm averaging 22, 2 best tanks were 27 - all easy freeway close to posted speeds, AC cycling but no hard pumped tires, P&G etc.

My goal is to exceed 23.6 MPG without shutting the engine off, excessive rolling stops, tight drafting (that really helped the Aerostar because it wasn't new so fewer worries about stuff flying up) but it a truck tire carcass hits you, you;re at fault here. That said, you also might jeopardize the drivers time and paycheck if anything were to happen and you touch.

Anyway, I bought a ScanGauge and decided that it's a bargain at half the price of a Nintendo set. I want a second one in fact. I'm dying to see what the Accord can do. It's a 2001 2.3L / 5 speed manual and it stays well under 10 but my wife seldom checks it. I'd like one for it that I could also use on the JellyBean as a second gauge or see just how much gas the neighbour's Avalanche ingests... ;-)

My trip from where I drop the kids off until I park at the train station has become a test course. Lots of room for improvement based on the scores I'm seeing so far! Not even 20 mpg for very low speed bit of driving LOL

I'm trying to learn everything I can here. Great resources... each and everyone of you.

If it weren't for the kids I'd have spent $22K for a Smart Car instead!!! ;-)

Not all SUVs are as wasteful as Hummers and Navigators so I'm hoping to make this one's fuel efficiency somewhat more acceptable.

23.5 should be an easy goal... 25 even harder!

The paradox is that hypermiling less FE vehicles yields far bigger savings from doing it. How much fuel can you save over a year by hypermiling a car that aleady can easily get 40 mpg like an Accord. I drove my Chevy 50 MPH on long trips at 45 PSI just to get 20MPG Imperial... divide by 1.2 and that is 16.7 or take 282 and divide in 20 and you get 14.1 LPH.

Hopefully my SUV purchasing sin will reduce in severity if I can get under 10... how far, will be up to me! That is until someone out here comes up with one heckova EcoPilot control add-on to do all this optimization for us, using learned routes, GPS profiles, front and rear tarffic sensors, learning traffic light schedules - as long as we can give the parameters and control the urgency of getting there some way. Computers could do this way easier than us... then more people would at least decide to take the savings and be spared the extra effort and focus.
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Old 08-25-2007, 12:24 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site!
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Old 08-25-2007, 01:06 AM   #3
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2TonJellyBean -

Welcome to GS! I'm trying to think of another GasSaver that has your engine, but I can't. New drivetrains mean new discoveries!!!!

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Old 08-25-2007, 06:38 AM   #4
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Sharing the road

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2TonJellyBean View Post
I just bought an SUV. I didn't go out looking for an SUV and as an avid cyclist that does long distance riding I find the drivers of these vehicles and pickups tend to be the most aggressive and threatening. Last year a big Dodge Quad cab tried to run me down, I got shot by a pellet gun from a passing pickup in Mojave and a CUV in the greater area had a driver actually get out of the vehicle actually try and ambush me with a thrown rock. Anyway, some <> all.

[<snip>
Welcome to the site! I guess the Highlander Hybrid was out of your budget? Also, the regular Highlander gets very good gas mileage as well. (22/27 I believe by old EPA)

Anyway, something kind of off topic, but I just started road riding this summer (only 40 mile rides) and have experienced a few drivers. The rides I do are with like 20+ people so we often take up the whole road and cars sometimes have to wait awhile to pass. Now I have the perspective from both sides of the coin, as a driver who gets annoyed at cyclists, and a cyclist who can't understand why drivers can't have a little more respect for people who are doing a very healthy activity. Not to point the finger at you or anything, since I have no idea what your riding style is on the road, but I sorta have noticed that the more serious people are about road riding, the more they think they own the road. The reason I'm bringing this up is because of the serious offenses against you from aggressive drivers not respecting your right on the road as a cyclist. It's a fuzzy line not easily discernible when it has been crossed.... "Share The Road" signs tell drivers to share the road with cyclists... but how much sharing are they expected to do? Do you do most of your riding solo or in groups? Anyway, look forward to your contribution to the site! I'm also a newbie here. Hope I haven't offended you.
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:29 AM   #5
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Thanks Red

cfg83, thanks, the 4th Gen. Sonata V6 2006+ has the same powertrain. The rest of the world offers a nice 2.2L CRD engine for this vehicle but for us North Americans - even more torque than the 3.3L. :-/

93VX, the Highlander doesn't have comfortable legroom for me and the Hybrid version would have cost as much as the Santa Fe PLUS a well equipped Smart Car. Toyota didn't have good financing which was why I was looking at the Vibe which like the Matrix was pretty close to ideal package for my needs. I'm very much aware of how everyone needs to share the road. When the group of cyclists is the majority of traffic, drivers need ti respect that and vice versa but everyone can coexist. Cyclists that cut through traffic and create a bad rep for others annoy me just like drivers that feel they need to use their horn the whole time they are passing. Things are improving, but there are still was too many drivers that don't understand the rules of the road and how easily they can kill a cyclist. It's kind of weird but riding in a really straight line wearing a helmet gives car drivers even more confidence to drive closer to you than they ever would a fixed object like a parked car. Parked cars never have to avoid potholes. I ride solo and in groups and do quite a bit of night riding which outside of drunks driving home hour can be extremely calm since cars give you way more space - why some oncoming cars need to use their high high beams for the full approach when they have 50x the lumens even on low beams... but we digress. ;-)
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:03 AM   #6
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I know what you mean with the straighter you ride the closer cars pass you--and of course they are clueless to the potholes we need to avoid. I find a flashing tail light helps. BTW, the Toyota Previa really looks like a jellybean.
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Old 08-26-2007, 04:39 PM   #7
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It's not like you went out and bought a Hummer...those 'lil SUVs like yours are actually pretty efficient for what they are.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:27 AM   #8
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JellyBean, welcome, but your post is WAY TOO LONG, sir....any chance you can give us the ReadersDigest version next time? ;-) again, welcome.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:42 AM   #9
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MG, I just went back and re-read what I said and (12 minutes later) I have to agree with you completely! ;-)

Thanks for the welcome...
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:20 AM   #10
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MG, I just went back and re-read what I said and (12 minutes later) I have to agree with you completely! ;-)

Thanks for the welcome...
As to your SUV "sin", well, the way I see it is if you need the utility, the space, the capabilities that only an SUV can give, and need it frequently, then the best you can do is get the SUV that meets those needs, and also gives the best MPG. Of course price comes into play too, so the calculus is not so linear...regardless, hypermile the best you can, enjoy your SUV and sleep tight! ;-)
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