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Old 10-23-2007, 02:17 AM   #1
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The really little cars on road trips, Are mountains gonna pose a problem?

I was wondering if any of you take your really little cars on road trips. Im talking Metros and Aspires or any car under 100 horsepower. The slow guys basically.

I take a 500 mile road trip every month or 2 and each time I take my Regal. The trip is from San Diego to Fairfield and its all flat except for the grapevine. The Regal is good for 33 miles per gallon if I drive sensibly but I really want to try taking my Metro. If it can pull off 40 plus that would be really nice.

My concern of course is safety. Im not concerned about other drivers because when I leave I leave at around 11 pm (8-10 hour drive) so for the most part Im not afraid of getting ran off the road.

I did say for the most part because 1 stretch is intimidating. The grapevine, california members probably know it and if your not a Cali member its basically a mountain that goes 4000 feet up or so, something like that.

I never thought a car can struggle from a slight incline or having the A/C on or having a passenger but any one with a ss then 100 horsepower car should know all about it.

Anyway is it just not a smart Idea taking a car like a Metro on a road trip? Would it over heat climbing a mountain? Can it maintain the proper speed so you dont piss everyone behind you off?

I've taken the trip in a 04 Corolla once and it was not a problem. I couldnt rocket up the mountain or anything but it didnt struggle there either. That car did about 36 miles per gallon in that trip kinda dissapointing.

1994 Geo Metro

1998 Buick Regal GS

1999 Chevrolet C2500

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Old 10-23-2007, 02:26 AM   #2
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There should be a semi or few climbing it so as long as ya have more than ~25hp per ton I think you'll be o.k. Worse case scenario just tuck in behind one of 'em and hit yer flashers if ya feel so inclined. That being said, even at ~50hp, ya also only have ~1600lbs to pull around, so just make sure ta rev it up and you should be able to head up the hill at ~55-65mph. It shouldn't overheat unless something it wrong w/ it.

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I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 10-23-2007, 04:19 AM   #3
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one thing demonstrated on these forums is the excessive air intake designs on cars. So unless you have a grill block, I really wouldn't worry about it. But you have to know the shape your car is in. I really wouldn't worry about your car "making" it. That seems really kinda silly to me. It's more a matter of comfort than anything else. All cars are overpowered these days, even the little snot nosed ones (err.. that is, the ones the size of your pinky.)
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Old 10-23-2007, 04:28 AM   #4
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i took a road trip from seattle to philly, pretty much went thru montana and many many mountains. it was on a 102 hp civic with tons of stuff in it, all i did was hit the flashers and go to either 2nd or 3rd gear and go up the pass.
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:06 AM   #5
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I am getting ready to take the Metro on a trip to Illinois (700 miles each way).

In my trips with the Metro, the only problem I have had is going over the mountains between Tennessee and North Carolina. I can only manage about 35 MPH going up the mountain.
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:39 AM   #6
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Some vehicles go slow up steep grades, other drivers are taught that as part of getting a license. I drove through tenessee too and there were only a couple spots where I had to downshift (in a 3 cyl metro w/two adults in it). I didn't feel particularly unsafe.
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Old 10-23-2007, 06:05 AM   #7
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In colombia I drove a little Renault 4 ( 4 cylinder, probably around 50 hp) up what was literally an Andes mountain, and you'll be surprised how well a little car can make it up very steep grades. Just make sure your coolant system is good b/c if it isn't, your car's temp gauge might me rising by the top of the mountain.

On a similar note, I've driven my VX up some very steep inclines with a motor in the back of the car (around 300 lbs), a few tool boxes, and two people in the car, and I've been able to keep up with traffic on the highway before ( though not in 5th...).

Good luck on your small car roadtrip.

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Old 10-23-2007, 08:44 AM   #8
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I've taken my civic - 105 hp - back and forth over the rockies with no trouble. That's fully loaded with people and luggage - just barely any view out the rearview mirror.

It was July. No problem with overheating.
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Old 10-23-2007, 10:07 AM   #9
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Small cars have less horsepower because they don't need more for acceptable accelleration and climbing ability.

We "blasted" over the grapevine in July with our '95 4cyl 120hp 4000lb Caravan passing overheating SUVs, pickups, and other cars. I knew the vehicle was in good shape so just ran it pedal to the metal for the several mile incline, turned the AC off just for a larger margin of error. - No problems, temperature climbed just a little. Changed critical fluids after the trip.

If your are concerned about the condition of your vehicle (whatever it may be) don't take it on a long trip. It was designed to run many, many miles if it is taken care of. You can trust the engineering.
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Old 10-23-2007, 10:29 AM   #10
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As long as your cooling system is in good order, you shouldn't have any problem with the grapevine. Don't expect to be in the fast lane, but be patient and get behind one of the slower vehicles in the slower lanes and cruise up the grade in 4th or 3rd gear.

I ended up "racing" (if you could call it that) a Metro XFi up one of the grades north of San Diego on I-15 in my CRX HF. I was cruising at about 75 and here comes this guy at about 85 in an XFi. We hit the bottom of the grade and I thought I'd see how the CRX compared. The 15-20hp difference was pretty evident here as I could easily maintain 75 up the hill and the XFi was pinging badly trying to keep up. Don't know what the guy was trying to do, but he did make up up at over 70. Keep in mind, the XFi has alot less HP then the standard Metro.

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