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Fuel efficient, biking, camping car

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


We have a 2003 ford focus wagon (manual, 2.0L). We love it. It averages 37 mpg on the highway at 75-80. City mpg is around 28. On a bad tank of gas (lots of city driving)we get 30 mpg. The cargo area is volumous! We can fit 2 mtn bikes inside, all our camping gear and the 2 of us with no issues.
The car has had no problems, but its now 14 years old and we would like something new. However, as they don't make the wagon anymore, we can't find anything that gets similiar highway MPG and has the cargo capacity.
We have looked at the CX5 2.0l manual and it would be ok, but still does worse for gas. Looked at the prius v, but we keep vehicles a long time and I don't want to spend 4k on batteries down the road. Looking at the Nero, but again it has batteries ...

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 40000
Maximum age: 5 years

Maximum price: US $ 20000

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Response from Member6055

2:20 pm January 26, 2017

Yes, sounds like the Focus wagon was great car for the day. CX5 is pretty close to best in class for fuel economy for compact SUV. You can look at the VM Golf/Jetta Sportwagon, but it will still have similar MPG compared to the CX5, but probably more usable cargo room.

We drive for the 2 of us a current gen Mazda3. We easily fit 2 mountain bikings on a added hitch rack, and keep what we need for camping in the hatch. But it can depend how much you pack and how long you are camping for.


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Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Mazda Mazda3

Response from eabpmn

2:23 pm February 5, 2017

RE: Wanting similar highway mileage and cargo

Ford FOcus wagon was rated as 22 city 28 highway -so yeah it was over-performing on mileage

Your cargo with the seat down was 55.8 cu ft

Here is the bad news. Not gonnafind ANYTHING with real cargo space that is rated as being able to get you into the mid-30s on gas mileage.

We too need a wagon-type vehicle and have been spoiled by our gas mileage averaging 30 in the winter and 34 in the summer no matter whether highway or city. About the best you will find will be vehicles rated at 28-31 on highway.

Like you we keep them forever -which knocks out the Pirus with its $4000+ labor battery pack and its $3500+ labor touch screen monitor (and around here, it sucks in the snow)

Ditto the VW wagons which are great but which - according to all my mechanics - basically go crazy at 150,000 miles and start running up 4-figure repair bills

DItto the Subarus - makes all my mechanics smile when I mention those and they say 'oh yeah I get to charge you $2000 for a head gasket and timing belt every 75000 miles"......yikes! The 2015-2016 Outbacks all have that same stupid touch screen monitor that controls even the heat - a $4500 repair when the monitor croaks. 2013 Outbacks have the words 'engine' 'oil' 'settlement' and the phrase 'class action' attached to them. 2009-12 - mechanics love those cars (sarcasm off)

List of others that have good cargo, aren't 3 ft from the ground to the cargo bed and get better mileage and don't have the repair costs of Pirus, VW & Subaru and that last

* Honda CR-V (much more cargo than you have now)
* Acura RDX (again more cargo)
*Acura TSX wagon (made 2011-2014) and about 8 cu ft more cargo than what you have

Rav-4 is a maybe as I haven't gotten to measuring it from ground to cargo floor.

If one of the Mazda hatchbacks would work for you on space, those could be good. Can't kill a Mazda engine and they run forever and all mine with those enginesonly need 1 timing belt and water pump over the car's life (and I mean between 193000 -209000+++ so far)


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Response from NormT

1:32 pm July 13, 2017

Our old 2013 Buick Encore could see 39 mpg....with AWD. I'm sure the fwd version could do better along with more break-in miles than the couple of thousand we had on it at the time I went through a tank and got 39 mpg.

The epa cargo area with seats down is 48 cu ft but the front lassengee's seat also folds flat giving close to 60 cu ft. As for the bicycles your going have to strap them on the back, mount them on a trailer hitch, or put them on the roof. I'm sure the last choice will effect fuel economy at speed faster than highway speeds.


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Buick Encore
Chevrolet Trax
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