Author Topic: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions  (Read 7535 times)

synonym

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Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« on: September 03, 2015, 05:51:22 PM »
Ok, so getting ready for all the chin slaps, but can anyone suggest a vehicle for the following use cases
- high clearance 4wd
- 2 people sleep in the back (i'm 6'2")
- carry mountain bikes in the back, or on the back
- weekend trips around 500 miles, carrying 5 people in comfort
- stay in the driveway all week (we bike everywhere else)

We've been trying hard to live the carless lifestyle in Las Vegas, but dang-it there's just too much cool stuff out there in the desert and in nearby states to simply ignore. And the cost of rentals is just always seems too high.

I know the wisdom is to buy a car for the 90% of use cases, but for us the adventure/travel side is really the only use we can't cover with bicycles.

I've been looking at 15-20 year old Toyota 4Runners for around 4-6K, but the mileage starts getting pretty high. Is 150-200K miles too much on one of these?

Any other worthy contenders? Anyone else got a similar situation?

Thanks :)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 09:08:56 PM by synonym »

JLee

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 05:53:16 PM »
I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.

vagon

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 06:03:58 PM »
How much is the rental?

synonym

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 06:09:09 PM »
Rentals with off-road capability are pretty rare
http://farabeesjeeprentals.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=129&Itemid=79
say at least $200
regular car rentals seem to come out up to $100/day with insurance and tax and taking them down the dodgier roads in the national parks seems outside scope.


Cole

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 06:09:31 PM »
I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.
I don't quite the advice to steer clear of the 3.0L V6 as it is reputed to have excellent reliability and personally my 98 Camry with the 3.0L v6 has required almost zero engine repairs

lbmustache

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 06:15:44 PM »
2 people sleep in the back: Forester or Outback.

synonym

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 06:40:28 PM »
I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.

Wow, that's pretty amazing longevity! I've looked at the Tacoma but can't see a variant that can handle sleeping in the back as well as having 2 rows of real seats (though perhaps there is a longbed full cab available.)  4runner could though. But the engines are largely common between them aren't they

synonym

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2015, 06:43:51 PM »
2 people sleep in the back: Forester or Outback.

I had a Subaru back in NewZealand (Grand Wagon, maybe a less robust variant of the Outback). They were notorious for having transmission issues some time after 100,000km. What is their reputation like here?

Left

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2015, 07:27:32 PM »
Subaru xv with trailer hitch?

Pull a camper or just a trailer
That said I am fond of my outback but it's wasted on me, I never use the extra space, I just didn't like the inside of xv

But if I had to do it over, I would get the xv

Syonyk

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 08:51:06 PM »
Crew cab pickup with a nice topper?

Seating 5 and sleeping in the back is pushing it for a Subaru. And the ground clearance really isn't that great. They're not designed for serious offroad work.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 09:48:34 PM »
I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.
I don't quite the advice to steer clear of the 3.0L V6 as it is reputed to have excellent reliability and personally my 98 Camry with the 3.0L v6 has required almost zero engine repairs

They have horrendous head gasket issues... but if the gaskets have been replaced it is a decent engine.

vagon

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2015, 12:49:57 AM »
Rentals with off-road capability are pretty rare
http://farabeesjeeprentals.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=129&Itemid=79
say at least $200
regular car rentals seem to come out up to $100/day with insurance and tax and taking them down the dodgier roads in the national parks seems outside scope.

Cool and how often per month would you be going (probably different in summer/winter I know but just average it out)?

JLee

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2015, 07:22:11 AM »
Keep in mind a well-purchased Toyota truck/SUV is likely at the bottom of its depreciation curve. I sold my Tacoma for $1k more than I paid for it two years later.

I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.
I don't quite the advice to steer clear of the 3.0L V6 as it is reputed to have excellent reliability and personally my 98 Camry with the 3.0L v6 has required almost zero engine repairs

Your '98 Camry has the 3.0l 1MZ-FE V6.  It's an entirely different engine than the 3.0l 3VZ-E in the early trucks (which is, incidentally, also very different than the 3VZ-FE in the earlier Camry).

JLee

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2015, 07:32:30 AM »
I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.

Wow, that's pretty amazing longevity! I've looked at the Tacoma but can't see a variant that can handle sleeping in the back as well as having 2 rows of real seats (though perhaps there is a longbed full cab available.)  4runner could though. But the engines are largely common between them aren't they
In the years you're considering, the 4Runner is very similar to the Tacoma. There are some differences (i.e. coil spring rear suspension vs leaf spring, and the 4Runners had a V8 option in 2003+), as the 1995+ 4Runner is based on the Prado platform.  Toyota truck drivetrains are shared among many platforms - the 5VZ-FE V6 is in Tacomas, 4Runners, T100's, and (V6) Tundras.

4Runners aren't that big for sleeping in, though. I'm 6'0" and slept in my 80 series Landcruiser (which is a fair amount larger) and I couldn't sleep full length without going diagonal unless I completely removed the 2nd row of seats (folding them forward wasn't quite enough to be comfortable).

bogart

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2015, 08:05:11 AM »
What about a Toyota SUV with something like this to increase the sleep/livability:
Sportz SUV / Minivan Tent (For Toyota Models) (that's off a quick Amazon search, I'm sure there are other options).

I've never used one of those, so can't speak to the particulars, just a thought.

We drive an extra cab (not crew cab, those have bigger cabs) Tundra (I know, the horror.  It pulls the camping trailer.), and I would not consider it adequate to be truly comfortable for 5 adults for a 500 mile r/t journey (OTOH, comfort is arguably overrated -- depends on the adults).

I don't really consider the Toyotas I've known broken in until they have about 150K miles on them.  Can't speak to particular models/years -- mine have included a 1994 small pickup (went to 200K miles while I owned it and still plugging along), and now the Tundra (but it's at 90K, so just hatched); my mom's Corolla is maybe 200K, and my dad certainly got 300K out of 1 or 2. 

JLee

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2015, 09:11:33 AM »
What about a Toyota SUV with something like this to increase the sleep/livability:
Sportz SUV / Minivan Tent (For Toyota Models) (that's off a quick Amazon search, I'm sure there are other options).

I've never used one of those, so can't speak to the particulars, just a thought.

We drive an extra cab (not crew cab, those have bigger cabs) Tundra (I know, the horror.  It pulls the camping trailer.), and I would not consider it adequate to be truly comfortable for 5 adults for a 500 mile r/t journey (OTOH, comfort is arguably overrated -- depends on the adults).

I don't really consider the Toyotas I've known broken in until they have about 150K miles on them.  Can't speak to particular models/years -- mine have included a 1994 small pickup (went to 200K miles while I owned it and still plugging along), and now the Tundra (but it's at 90K, so just hatched); my mom's Corolla is maybe 200K, and my dad certainly got 300K out of 1 or 2.

You can get some really nice rooftop tents, but you're easily looking at $1k or more ($3k+ for a high end one).

I'm a red panda

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2015, 09:25:42 AM »
Ok, so getting ready for all the chin slaps, but can anyone suggest a vehicle for the following use cases
- high clearance 4wd
- 2 people sleep in the back (i'm 6'2")
- carry mountain bikes in the back, or on the back
- weekend trips around 500 miles, carrying 5 people in comfort
- stay in the driveway all week (we bike everywhere else)
Well, I lost one- but Honda Fit :)


We have an Escape Hybrid that we have been very happy with.

Syonyk

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2015, 09:34:28 AM »
Two people, at least one 6'2", sleeping in the back of a Fit?

Uh huh.

synonym

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2015, 09:38:06 AM »
Rentals with off-road capability are pretty rare
http://farabeesjeeprentals.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=129&Itemid=79
say at least $200
regular car rentals seem to come out up to $100/day with insurance and tax and taking them down the dodgier roads in the national parks seems outside scope.

Cool and how often per month would you be going (probably different in summer/winter I know but just average it out)?
Hi Vagon. We're recent migrants to the USA and on a limited term visa. A big part of the appeal in coming, other than opportunities to practice the mustachian religion on its home turf, is to visit some of the amazing places you guys have here. In a nutshell we're here for a good time, not a long time,  so this would probably translate into 1-2 weekend trips per month, as well as a couple of longer road trips a year, over the next 3 years. None of the seasons around here would speed or slow that rate I suspect, though maybe our travel would ease up over time.

The weekend trips might look like head out after work on Friday, drive for 3-4 hours, sleep in back of vehicle, rise early, hit the trails/towns etc, sleep in a tent or motel on sat night, explore and travel home sunday or sleep in the vehicle on the way home.

Being based in Vegas we expect reasonably frequent visits from friends and family, and so far the pattern has been to fit 5 or so of us all in a mid sized rental car and hit the road. This sucks for those taking a turn n the back, which was me a lot of our recent trip to Death Valley.

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2015, 09:38:43 AM »
Two people, at least one 6'2", sleeping in the back of a Fit?

Uh huh.

The person I know who camps in their fit is 6'0" (his wife is shorter); the extra 2" isn't going to make a huge difference.

If you are the kind of person who has to sleep with your legs fully extended, it won't work- but most people sleep with their legs somewhat bent.

But since they are asking for an SUV, obviously it was a flippant suggestion.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 09:43:45 AM by iowajes »

JLee

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2015, 09:42:06 AM »
http://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/cto/5205311079.html

No way you're getting 30mpg out of it, but it has another 100k+ in it easily.

abiteveryday

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2015, 09:58:34 AM »
I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.
I don't quite the advice to steer clear of the 3.0L V6 as it is reputed to have excellent reliability and personally my 98 Camry with the 3.0L v6 has required almost zero engine repairs

Different engine.   The one in the trucks is known for having all the power of a 4cyl with all the fuel economy of a v8.

synonym

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2015, 09:59:43 AM »
http://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/cto/5205311079.html

No way you're getting 30mpg out of it, but it has another 100k+ in it easily.

True on both counts - and it if is worth 0 after 3 years, well thats not bad depreciation.

so they get about 18-19mpg freeway use. A 500 mile trip is maybe about 30 gallons. Maybe $100.  In my reckoning the extra cost over a 30mpg vehicle can be made up for in flexibility of use, if it includes sleeping and some off road capability

synonym

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2015, 10:01:52 AM »
Two people, at least one 6'2", sleeping in the back of a Fit?

Uh huh.

The person I know who camps in their fit is 6'0" (his wife is shorter); the extra 2" isn't going to make a huge difference.

If you are the kind of person who has to sleep with your legs fully extended, it won't work- but most people sleep with their legs somewhat bent.

But since they are asking for an SUV, obviously it was a flippant suggestion.

I've been looking at Honda Elements, which do some kind of internal origami to have 2 sleeping adults. Very cool, but still somewhat expensive, and maybe probably less robust.

synonym

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2015, 10:04:42 AM »
I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.

Wow, that's pretty amazing longevity! I've looked at the Tacoma but can't see a variant that can handle sleeping in the back as well as having 2 rows of real seats (though perhaps there is a longbed full cab available.)  4runner could though. But the engines are largely common between them aren't they
In the years you're considering, the 4Runner is very similar to the Tacoma. There are some differences (i.e. coil spring rear suspension vs leaf spring, and the 4Runners had a V8 option in 2003+), as the 1995+ 4Runner is based on the Prado platform.  Toyota truck drivetrains are shared among many platforms - the 5VZ-FE V6 is in Tacomas, 4Runners, T100's, and (V6) Tundras.

4Runners aren't that big for sleeping in, though. I'm 6'0" and slept in my 80 series Landcruiser (which is a fair amount larger) and I couldn't sleep full length without going diagonal unless I completely removed the 2nd row of seats (folding them forward wasn't quite enough to be comfortable).

I've seen a couple of approaches to getting that little extra length out of the rear space.
1. remove 1 of the rear seat bottoms - which sticks up in front of the rear seat back when folded down
2. build a sleeping platform (removable in this case) which puts the sleepers up above the wheel arches and the rear seat back
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 10:06:30 AM by synonym »

JLee

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2015, 10:13:51 AM »
http://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/cto/5205311079.html

No way you're getting 30mpg out of it, but it has another 100k+ in it easily.

True on both counts - and it if is worth 0 after 3 years, well thats not bad depreciation.

so they get about 18-19mpg freeway use. A 500 mile trip is maybe about 30 gallons. Maybe $100.  In my reckoning the extra cost over a 30mpg vehicle can be made up for in flexibility of use, if it includes sleeping and some off road capability

I would not be surprised if you were able to sell it for what you paid after 3 years.

I sold my '99 Tacoma 4x4 V6 with ~283k on it for $5500 earlier this year. The 5VZFE 3.4l V6 in the Tacoma and earlier 4Runner is practically indestructible.  Steer clear of the 3.0l V6.

Wow, that's pretty amazing longevity! I've looked at the Tacoma but can't see a variant that can handle sleeping in the back as well as having 2 rows of real seats (though perhaps there is a longbed full cab available.)  4runner could though. But the engines are largely common between them aren't they
In the years you're considering, the 4Runner is very similar to the Tacoma. There are some differences (i.e. coil spring rear suspension vs leaf spring, and the 4Runners had a V8 option in 2003+), as the 1995+ 4Runner is based on the Prado platform.  Toyota truck drivetrains are shared among many platforms - the 5VZ-FE V6 is in Tacomas, 4Runners, T100's, and (V6) Tundras.

4Runners aren't that big for sleeping in, though. I'm 6'0" and slept in my 80 series Landcruiser (which is a fair amount larger) and I couldn't sleep full length without going diagonal unless I completely removed the 2nd row of seats (folding them forward wasn't quite enough to be comfortable).

I've seen a couple of approaches to getting that little extra length out of the rear space.
1. remove 1 of the rear seat bottoms - which sticks up in front of the rear seat back when folded down
2. build a sleeping platform (removable in this case) which puts the sleepers up above the wheel arches and the rear seat back
Yep, that would definitely get you some more room.

bogart

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2015, 11:29:51 AM »
I've been looking at Honda Elements, which do some kind of internal origami to have 2 sleeping adults. Very cool, but still somewhat expensive, and maybe probably less robust.

Nothing of what I've seen about Honda Elements (which certainly have some coolish aspects) suggests that they'd be appropriate for off-road driving.

bogart

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2015, 11:31:58 AM »
Two people, at least one 6'2", sleeping in the back of a Fit?

Uh huh.

Fair point.  But my Pontiac Vibe folds the front passenger seat down flat which (together with the back seat being folded flat) makes it pretty darned long inside.  That said, I don't think 2 could sleep back there unless the other 1 was quite short.

JLee

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Re: Sorta frugal SUV suggestions
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2015, 11:39:25 AM »
http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/5204582523.html

http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/cto/5203784216.html

http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/cto/5187570188.html

If you look long and hard enough, you should be able to find one closer to $4000-4500. A rear locker is nice to have if you plan on doing any significant offroading.