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  1. #1
    sumnerjake Guest

    Default Best car for xcountry trip?

    My wife and 14 yr old daughter and I are driving cross country this summer, to and from the West Coast, seeing many sights, for five weeks. We have a reliable but older Volvo wagon which would work o.k. but need to buy another car for after the trip anyway. Should we consider buying the car for the trip and what car should we buy? The Honda Element sounds good but doesn't get the best mileage. What's your opinion and Thank You!

  2. Default

    Are we most interested in romance or utility? Sounds like you've been doing "practical" but I'll ask the question anyway, just in case!

  3. #3
    sumnerjake Guest

    Default

    We want to be comfortable (lots of miles ahead!) and be able to see the country...so windows and flexibility are key...hence the look at the Element...but it sure sounds noisy and a rough ride

  4. #4

    Default

    Subaru Foresters have excellent visibility and they ride quite comfortably.

  5. Default Forester is good, but...

    I've got no beef with a Forester or Outback, have even considered purchasing one of those myself, but I've been looking for other suggestions for you to consider -- with large windows and good seating positions, and with an eye toward reliability.

    I did not consider economy in this quest -- some of these are rather expensive vehicles to operate given today's petrol prices. However, others may be more reasonable -- a Ford Explorer 2wd with the optional 4.0 Liter engine, for example, is not too bad (17 to 22 mpg, my experience over 150,000 miles), and still offers more than adequate power.

    These are not listed in any order of preference, but are simply for your consideration.

    1. Honda Odyssey

    2. A NEW (or newer) Volvo Wagon -- I have no opinion about reliability, but they have an unmatched safety record. Fatal crash investigators I have known say this is the vehicle they'd put THEIR families in, given the option.

    3. Ford F150 4-Door, with hard cargo cover
    (or Chevy or Dodge of the same ilk)

    4. Ford Explorer

    5. Ford Explorer w/short bed, and hard cargo box cover

    6. Chevrolet Trailblazer (Reliable, comfortable, fairly economical, great view out LARGE windows).

    7. Late model Toyota Sequoia or Isuzu Trooper

    8. Nissan XTerra or 4-door pick up (again, with a hard tonneau).

    9. Toyota 4-Runner, or 4-door Tacoma (see number 8).

    I chose these (mostly SUV-type vehicles) for the reasons you stated in your request -- my own choices for my needs would be different -- probably a two-door vehicle like a new Mustang convertible or T-Bird, or in a perfect world (meaning money is NO object), a Jaguar roadster (XK-8, I think?).

    I also REALLY like high-performance American road cars like the Chrysler 300 and it's Dodge brother, or the Cadillac STS/El Dorado with the Northstar engine (or whatever the latest version of that platform is called). If my lottery numbers would just come in, along with my "ship." :)

  6. Default

    Sounds like you want something practical with good gas milage. Subaru's are a pretty good choice, very reliable, and on the open highway get's high 20's mpg (sometimes in the low 30's). For 3 full size people the Forester might be a little cramped in the back seat, so the outback might be a better choice.

    If you don't plan on taking it off the beaten path, I'd probably avoid the truck based SUV's because of ride quality and fuel economy. And depending on how much gear you are going to carry (camping or hotel?) a 4 door sedan, wagon or minivan would probably be a much better choice, a lot of wagons and most minivans actually have more interior room and passenger room than an SUV, plus get better milage, and a more comforatable ride. And unless you plan on hauling something large across country, a pickup truck probably isn't practical because you stuff will be exposed (unless you get a cover, which cuts down on space) and you can't get to it while you're driving.

    Other choices I would recommend are a toyota highlander, or possibly the honda CRV. Both are slightly larger than the element, get about the the same mileage, and are in a similar to the vehilces that you have and are looking at. Overall, I would tend to look at the import cars mainly because of reliability. From personal observation and research, domestic cars just don't give me a whole lot of comfort if I were driving across country.

    That being said, if I had the money and weren't concerned about practicality, I'd be looking at a dodge magnum V8. I test drove one last month, bad visibility, bad mileage, unknown reliability, but it's an cool looking car.

  7. #7

    Default I Agree

    Quote Originally Posted by LA Native
    And depending on how much gear you are going to carry (camping or hotel?) a 4 door sedan, wagon or minivan would probably be a much better choice, a lot of wagons and most minivans actually have more interior room and passenger room than an SUV, plus get better mileage, and a more comfortable ride.
    I'll second the minivan. We have made a number of cross-country trips - two (Sigh) in a 1969 Camero Convertible , the rest in various Grand Voyagers or equivalent. Although at the age of 25 we thought the Camero was more fun, the minivans allowed far more stuff, and the longer wheelbase provided a better ride.

    Jon Vermilye http://lakeshoreimages.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Cool is a factor of the road

    .. if I had the money and weren't concerned about practicality, I'd be looking at a dodge magnum V8. I test drove one last month, bad visibility, bad mileage, unknown reliability, but it's an cool looking car.
    We have an overall practical road car -- a Blazer S-10 (4-wd) but the one I really enjoy is our V-8 Infinity Q-45 (again, poor visibility, it gets stuck just looking at sand, high mileage and zero ground clearance) but darn cool -- plus it drives like a rocket!

    Mark

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