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By Tradoholic
Feb 26, 2012

Anyone have experiece with a lift for the Element? I think that would make it the prefect vehicle.


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By rogerbenton
Feb 26, 2012
Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible.

element lift:

www.ccmoffroad.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=18

but the stock element (with awd) will get you down unpaved roads, two track, basically any trail that looks like it was at some point intended for a vehicle.

my element does way better in the snow than my buddy's nissan pickup, which is a V6 4x4.
the pickup has open diffs front and rear while the honda is entirely computer controlled and sends power to the wheels with the most grip.


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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
Feb 26, 2012
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place to stay for the night before doing a day of wine tasting and heading to Buoux.

Trad Ninja wrote:
Seriously 28mpg?!?! I think that's a winner. That seems high for a 4x4 truck, do you swear to god on that? I've got a 96 2wd Jeep Cherokee that only gets 20mpg and I thought that was pretty good for a truck.


I don't know for sure, but a friend of mine also had a '99 or '00 2.7 tacoma, don't remember if it was an extended cab or not but it got 25+ mpg. Though you could double check me by PM him, brian k sohn
At Hawksbill parking lot
At Hawksbill parking lot


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By Bob Dobalina
Feb 28, 2012

Honda Element. Yes!!!
Honda Element. Yes!!!


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 29, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

Damn nice Element!


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By Cody M
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 29, 2012
Another view of the Hootgoat window from the walk-off.

I own a 4WD Nissan Xterra and absolutely love it. 20mpg average (not highway) and I've taken it all over the place, mostly for camping, climbing, and mountain biking. Plenty of room for gear and so many camping perks built in (standard roof rack box for muddy gear, power outlet in the back end, hard plastic coatings on floor/sides that let you literally hose down your back end, etc.).


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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Feb 29, 2012
OTL

OP:
Well, look at what gas prices have been doing lately. Under 25mpg sucks if you have to road trip anywhere. Last summer I was looking for something in the $4-5k range and mpg was a high priority (ga$ in CA and most climbing destinations 4-7hrs from me).

I narrowed it down to CRV, Rav4, Tribute/Escape, Forester. I was fine with a stick shift and FWD for more mpg too. Looking at my price and those vehicles, left me with options from '97-'02 and mostly 150k mile range. Stumbled into researching a Saturn Vue - never crossed my mind before. Found you can get a 2.2L 4cyl 5spd and get up to 29mpg. Best thing - depreciation. After searching a bit, I found an '05 w/ 80k miles and got them down to $6200. More than I wanted to spend, but its years newer and half the mileage of all my original options. It also has side-curtain airbags, which was an unexpected plus. Even better, no timing belt to change every 60-90k miles. No issues thus far. Think of it as a station wagon with a bit more ground clearance - which is all I needed for occasional dirt roads w/o any real 'offroading'. Haven't tried sleeping in it yet, but should be plenty of room for me at 6'.

If you want to find the best deal you have to look for something that not everyone else wants. Tacomas are great - but expensive as hell used. CRVs and Rav4s also.
my $0.02



edit: I saw you mention hatchback as well - Pontiac Vibe (Toyota Matrix clone) - should pull 34mpg easy and has decent room and fit in your price range...


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By steve lindsay
Feb 29, 2012
Lone Peak

4Runner!


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By Cody M
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 29, 2012
Another view of the Hootgoat window from the walk-off.

Matt N wrote:
I narrowed it down to CRV, Rav4, Tribute/Escape, Forester.


OP: Figure out where you want to go. These are all great suggestions, but would cross off half the places I go climbing and biking (good luck getting to the homestead in one of these). If you're not ever going to use the 4WD, then don't go Xterra.


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 29, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

A few months ago when I was deciding between a Rav 4, Honda CRV, or a Honda Element, I asked some mechanics at a shop what they'd choose, and they all said (four mechanics) that the RAV 4 would be the better of the three choices. They informed me that they've seen a lot of CRVs in the shop, one problem being "ghost locks" where the doors automatically lock, and unlock by themselves. Ghost locks would totally suck as a road trip vehicle feature.


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By coreylee
From Sacramento, CA
Feb 29, 2012

X2 for Toyota Previa. I bought mine in 06 for $4k. At the time of purchase it only had 75k; It now has 140k and runs like a champ. Plenty of space, mobs through all terrain, and super reliable.

Let us know what you get!


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By Dan Carter
From Las Cruces, NM
Feb 29, 2012

Seems these threads always turn up the same results. I've had several vehicles and have now settled on one for an indefinite road trip. So, here's my two cents.

Ford Ranger with shell - 4 cylinder - Nice truck, no power but gets 24-29mpg. Good if you need clearance but not 4wd. Would be nice for weekend trips. The bed has plenty of sleeping room if you're under 6ft.

VW rabbit truck with shell - Diesel - no power, usually have to tinker with it a lot. But it gets 40mpg and one can sleep in the bed. It gets lots of looks and a good conversation piece.

Subaru Forester - 5 speed, 4 cylinder - I drove a friends. Really fun to drive with plenty of get up. Probably not big enough to sleep in. My friend pulled a vanagon up an icey hill with his forester over the weekend. Very impressed by these little cars.

Jeep Cherokee - 4wd - These things can go anywhere. Not big enough to sleep in though. That's why I sold mine. Could easily haul a trailer though. 18-23mpg.

Toyota Van - 4 cylinder 5 speed - Settled on this van for my trip. Fun to drive and a suprising amount of room for sleeping/living. Not much clearance but cruises down washboard roads with no problems. Gets about 23mpg. Since they are old, they probably will a little work but are reliable toyotas.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 29, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Toyota Landcruiser FJ80!

approach vehicle
approach vehicle


my fold-down platform in the back has room for two Dreamtime thermarests, with room to sleep up to 6'5" i think. Gas mileage not the best though ( < 20 mpg)


caughtinside wrote:
At some point 'dirtbagging' became a synonym for a weekend climbing/camping trip.

that's hilarious. i will add car-camping to boot.


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By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Feb 29, 2012
Wall Street, Moab, UT

Matt N wrote:
If you want to find the best deal you have to look for something that not everyone else wants.


That has really proven true where I live. As a mechanic, I can also verify what Dirty Gri Gri said- although each manufacturer has it's own set of shortcomings, the Toyotas are in the shop less than the other vehicles he mentioned.


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By Lee Green
Feb 29, 2012

JulianB wrote:
I currently drive a Toyota Prius which I am very happy with, but my wife and I need to buy a "new" (used) car so both of us can commute to work next year, and so she's going to use the Prius and I'm going to get the new purchase. I'm looking for suggestions for a good car for climbing-related trips...


My wife and I have a Prius and a Subaru Forester. Contrary to comments up-thread, the more recent Subs are intended for off-road use, and we've certainly tested that claim. I'm a whitewater kayaker. Some of those river access "roads" in Appalachia are not much more than rapids with somewhat less water on them than the ones we're paddling. I've pulled a Jeep Cherokee out with the Forester. Don't let anyone tell you it's not an off-road vehicle. The Jeep owner won't say that, at least not any more.

That said, my previous Sub was my favorite: my Outback wagon. 267,000 miles, and only gave up on it because it needed a transmission rebuild and the body was rusting where it had been banged up from a combination of my kids learning to drive and me driving it in some places I might not have taken its predecessor, my GMC Jimmy.

You see a LOT of Subarus in whitewater paddling circles, and for good reason: they are reasonably priced, they run forever, and they will deal with anything that can even be laughingly called a road. Today's so-called SUVs tend to be overweight, over-engined mall-to-mall missiles designed to appeal to suburbanites who want an outdoorsy image. If you opt for an SUV, choose carefully; mud is unforgiving of weight, and horsepower matters nothing when your effective speed limit is 5 mph anyway. Light weight and high ground clearance count.

The 4-cylinder engine is all you need. Our Forester pulls, and the Outback before it pulled, our 2200 lb pop-up camper with no trouble. We get an honest 20 mpg pulling the camper with boats and bikes on the roof. 28 mpg without trailer or roof load.

The Subs do have enough room to sleep in the back if you want, depending on your height. I'm only 5'8", so it's no problem.


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By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From Phoenix, AZ
Mar 1, 2012
Belay

Cody M wrote:
I own a 4WD Nissan Xterra and absolutely love it. 20mpg average (not highway) and I've taken it all over the place, mostly for camping, climbing, and mountain biking. Plenty of room for gear and so many camping perks built in (standard roof rack box for muddy gear, power outlet in the back end, hard plastic coatings on floor/sides that let you literally hose down your back end, etc.).

As soon as I'm finished buying my house this year I'm going to be looking to get an Xterra. They are one of the only true SUVs left, and everyone I know who has one raves about them.

We currently have a 1998 Subaru Outback, and while it isn't the most luxurious or off-road-capable machine it definitely gets the job done. It is a solid car with plenty of room, and you can pick 'em up cheap. Just make sure that you have a good mechanic look at the head gasket before you buy it!!

A lot of my surfer friends swear by Elements-- if it weren't for the low clearance I'd put it high on my list as well, right up with Scoobys.


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By Princess Mia
From Vail
Mar 1, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks

The Element is nice, but the low clearance is an issue IMO. If you want a true climbing rig, I would look for a 4x4 truck or larger SUV. It sure is nice to be able to load all gear and the dog (if you have one) and be able to sleep in the back.


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By Erik Hatlestad
Mar 2, 2012

If you are looking at subs, as a few mentioned briefly before, the 2001-2003 models have been known to have gasket issues. Not a cheep fix. I love my sub though, gets me through anything with 27mpg. Right now in CO it is about $37 to fill up a tank, and I get about 300mi to one tank. I love my sub and have put 191000 on it with only minor repairs (excluding gaskets and maintenance). Truly love this car. I have slept in it comfortably and had no issues. Plenty of room for skis, gear, etc.

Happy Shopping


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By germsauce
Mar 2, 2012
Hippos kill people

What you need.
What you need.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 5, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

is that to go back in time and beat everyone to the FAs?
(may have to go waaaaay back to beat beckey though)...


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 5, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

johnL wrote:
An awd gmc safari would be a great choice except that it's a GMC product. I've never owned such a shitty repair prone vehicle and I've had some shirt vehicles.

i have had the same experience with my safari. (minus the shirt thing)


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