Author Topic: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?  (Read 983 times)

LoMoKo

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Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« on: December 03, 2021, 11:40:38 AM »
Hi Mustacians, as a WFH in Boulder, I've been car-less since April and loving it, but as winter approaches I am starting to get cabin fever for a wider range of mobility. I want to be able to make weekend warrior missions to the mountains ~2x/month (at that rate, owning a cheap and efficient car > CarShare), and it will be a bonus that I would be able to visit friends in Denver for weeknight dinners without weighing the cost, and have an easier time convincing myself to go for a lap swim at 6am without biking home with frozen wet long hair in the snow. These are anecdotes, but you get the idea.

In short: In this insane car market, what would be the most Mustacian car for a WFH couple (one of us might start commuting in the next few months though) with about 50% city usage 50% Colorado mountain-access usage (mostly paved roads, incl. winter mountain passes, but all-season trailhead access also nice to have)?

Thanks for the insights, you are all inspirational!

Aardvark

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2021, 11:53:59 AM »
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Britan

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2021, 01:40:03 PM »
Iím a fan of our Honda Fit. Donít let the small size on the outside fool you - Itís bigger on the inside!  Weíve fit 3-4 adults and all of their climbing/camping gear for a weekend in it. And parallel parking it in the city is easy peasy. Not sure if 4 wheel drive is a must for you, though, or if chains are sufficient.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2021, 01:58:28 PM »
Budget?
Used preferred over new, or vice versa? Budget will obviously impact this answer a lot, but in the current market, new can make more sense than gently used.
Do you have a place to charge an EV or PHEV?

For used, I'd suggest looking at a Toyota Highlander hybrid or Rav 4 hybrid. You may even find a Lexus equivalent for similar pricing if you want some more frills. They'll have a bit more ground clearance than a car for snowy travels, and the hatchback form is superior to something like a sedan. Ford Escape hybrids are another fuel efficient CUV option. They may be harder to find than the Toyotas, but likely cheaper when you do. They made a handful of Kia Soul hybrids as well that might be worth consideration if you can find one.

If you think a car can do what you need, then something like a 2nd gen Volt seems pretty great too. They'll do the daily commute and around town stuff in EV mode, while still getting decent fuel economy for your longer trips. This really only makes sense if you've got a place to plug it in daily though.

If you're considering new, or willing to wait a few months then something like a Bolt EUV, Ford Maverick hybrid, or Rav 4 Prime could be good candidates too.


caleb

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2021, 04:59:30 PM »
all-season trailhead access also nice to have)?


For those of us not from Boulder, can you clarify what you mean by all season trailhead access? 

A vehicle that just caught my eye yesterday is Toyota's small crossoverish thing they're calling the Corolla Cross.  I haven't seen one in person, but it looks like a stripped down Rav4 or maybe a reincarnated Matrix starting at $22k.

https://www.toyota.com/corollacross/2022/

Given used car availability and prices, just taking the plunge on a new economy car doesn't seem crazy to me right now.


ROF Expat

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2021, 11:11:25 PM »
If you really plan on 50% use in the mountains and want to be able to drive winter mountain passes and have all-season trailhead access, you should consider Subaru.  I'm partial to the Forester, but the Crosstrek and Outback are good choices, too.  List prices compare well to their competitors, especially if you want all wheel drive, which is standard on most Subarus and usually an option on other cars. 

jeninco

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2021, 10:06:14 AM »
all-season trailhead access also nice to have)?


For those of us not from Boulder, can you clarify what you mean by all season trailhead access? 

A vehicle that just caught my eye yesterday is Toyota's small crossoverish thing they're calling the Corolla Cross.  I haven't seen one in person, but it looks like a stripped down Rav4 or maybe a reincarnated Matrix starting at $22k.

https://www.toyota.com/corollacross/2022/

Given used car availability and prices, just taking the plunge on a new economy car doesn't seem crazy to me right now.

I'm not the OP, but usually it means "can drive on snowy/dirt/gravel roads". We usually do it with FWD cars with a bit of clearance and snow tires (in the winter). The Prius prime can be a little squirrelly on not-yet-plowed dirt roads, but with a bit of practice it's do-able...

I'd read this as "can't be super-duper-low undercarriages, and have to handle OK in the snow" which isn't a huge limitation.

FLBiker

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2021, 12:34:48 PM »
We moved last year from Tampa to Nova Scotia and we got a 4 year old Subaru Outback.  Personally, it's a bit fancy for me (way too much computer) but it drives really well all year round.  DW loves it, and she is the primary driver (I WFH).

Glenstache

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2021, 12:46:10 PM »
FWD with true studless winter tires will get you most places you want to go, but won't exempt you from chains on passes in the mountains. But, this is a much less expensive option. In the AWD category, I've been pretty happy with my Crosstrek in snowy mountain driving. On open highway I routinely get 33-35mpg. That said I am trading in for a Rav4 hybrid at the end of the month to get even better MPG and have something better for road trip sleeping in as I shift into coast mode next year. The market for used cars is crazy right now and i was offered more than I bought the car for as a trade in value (which is why I am willing to trade up right now). If you will be in Seattle, I'd be happy to sell for what the dealer has offered me, though the pricing still seems insane to me and you could get what it sounds like you need for much cheaper.

boulder3381

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Re: Part city-car part adventure-mobile?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2022, 03:22:52 PM »
My wife and I (in Boulder),  love our minivan camper.  It's our only vehicle. We typically bike commute. She's riding year-round to an area clinic or a hospital 8 miles away. I can WFH or bike + bus commute when I want to  I go to an office in Denver.   Ice or wildly strong winds are really the only things that persuade us from bike commuting. But ice normally clears up in a few days; I biked today.


images:  https://imgur.com/a/T8RDLpu

 We designed the platform to be removable so the rear seat is still able to be used as needed.  We run snow tires and can get to where we want to go in the mountains without a problem.

 In the minivan with skillful driving, I've completed driving the minivan into Arches NP via a FS road often put in Jeep guides.  https://ioverlander.com/places/23876-salt-valley-road-blm-145    Definitely some moments I didn't think I"d make, but it was a lot of fun.   

Accessing trailheads year-round is a tall order, as not all trailheads are the same. 

- e.g. In the summer, Buchanan Pass TH requires high clearance and 4WD; or I can park at Peaceful Valley and hike further. (ps. I tried to bike to Buchanan Pass TH w/ rigid frame MTB and it sucked);  I can park at Peaceful Valley year round too.


Past vehicles:

The Fit with two adults and gear was a struggle up dry passes.  With snow tires on our Fit still required roads to be cleared as the clearance was less than 4 inches but even then there were struggles to make left turns when there was a middle berm from snowplows. 

I moved to colorado with a 2004 Forester and it sucked climbing mountain passes (less power than the 2010  Fit) and without snow tires was no better at handling than any other sedan.  Maybe they have improved?

YMMV
« Last Edit: January 10, 2022, 03:32:26 PM by boulder3381 »