Good/best car for a cyclist

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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#1
Yeah, the best kind of cars are the ones that don't hit you or run you off the road...

I've driven an old Toyota Lite-Ace for about 12 years now. Simply rolling one bike into the back is a snap, and with a little more seat arranging two can also fit well. But it's old and tho I've got a year or so on shaken, I've been looking around. The choices seem to be:

1) Honda Fit. Nice, because it's also available used, tho the new ones are slightly bigger. With the seats laid flat and the passenger seat forward, it'll fit one bike in the back with the front wheel off laid on its side.

2) Prius. Really only available new since the used ones go for a premium. Better interior color choices, and a bike will fit in the back about the same as a Fit, tho the more hatchback design might make it easier to get in.

3) Honda Freed. A new model, and pretty much designed so a bike will slide in the back:
http://www.honda.co.jp/FREED/vs-interior.html
Click on example 3 at the upper right and spin the view 180 degrees so you're looking out the back window--then click on the + sign next to the silhouette of the cyclist. It seem pretty slick. This is the only regular car I know of that'll take a bike that easily.

Any other suggestions? I've looked but have decided against some big van. Toyota still makes a Hi-Ace but it's bigger than what I now have and overkill for what I need--back and forth to the bike shop about twice a year and a couple times that I might drive out of town a ways before riding. Also, it only comes as a 4-number, and the plush version costs much more than a Prius.

I've thought maybe a Honda HR-V, used only now, would fit a bike about like the Fit or Prius. Other big vehicles have so many seats that getting a bike in isn't practical (e.g., estima or step-wagon).

Suggestions? Not only what you might have, but what you've seen others using.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#2
I have a slightly older model Mazda Premacy which works well for carting bike stuff around. It's a 5-number but with a lot of room in the back. The Toyota Wish and Honda Stream are in the same category. Really, so many Japanese models are hatchbacks/vans, we have a lot of choice here.

Browsing the used car sites in categories such as ワゴン, ミニバン, ハッチバック, ワンボックス, and コンパクト turn up a lot of choices.

http://www.goo-net.com/index.html
http://cartown.jp/
http://www.carsensor.net/
 
Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#3
I used to have a Stepwagon that was great for the bikes. I traded it in last year for a Forester (Subaru) that is not so roomy on the inside but easier to throw the bikes on the roof as it's low to the ground. The new Subaru 7 seater looks good but not sure how roomy it is. I'm going to the Subaru showroom tomorrow so will check it out.

Putting bikes on the roof is always a pain but you need that option when you have a lot of people to cart around as well. Some of those little kei vans are perfect for putting bikes in the back. Low on gas, low taxes, roomy... slow...

I had 3 Hondas in a row and am now giving Subaru a try. Toyota have so many cars to choose from...they probably have an ideal car somewhere in their line up. The Estima by Toyota has a big area for bikes in the back... popular and lots of cheap 2nd hand ones around. A bit too big for me. I got tired of the size of the Stepwagon and wanted to try a smaller car. I love my Forester Cross Sports....

If you race a lot, have a lot of team mates, need a lot of space the Hi-ace is the dream bike car.
 

jdd

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#4
I should've included it in my initial post, but I'd like to get something as small as possible. The Fit has lots of inside room for its size, and the Prius does well too. Larger ones like an Estima or StepWagon will fit a bike (tho from what I can see they don't do it all that well), but another factor is turning radius. The Estima looks great, but with a 5.7m turning radius I'd have to go back and forth a time or two just to park at home. The Fit is most maneuverable (and cheapest), and the next step up is something like the Freed or Prius.

I like my Lite-Ace with a 4.9m turning radius, and that's one thing that the new Hi-Ace preserves (I also like the common-rail diesel and sitting up high). But with something like the Fit/Prius/Freed I could get away with 2wd, while the Hi-Ace would be impossible here (Kanazawa, the other side, so snow can be an issue), making the extra $ for 4wd a necessity.

I've got the roof rack for skis, and would only need the right attachments for a bike or two. The hesitation there is the parking where I live is covered so I'd have to pull out (or not in) and then deal with getting a bike on or off.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#5
The Forester is great for snow. Subarus are gas guzzlers though
Putting bikes in the boot you can get 3 frames in but need to take all the wheels off. I have 3 rails and roof racks for the top too.

Do you want new or second hand?

One of the main reasons I got rid of my step wagon was that I go up to Hakuba a lot now. The Forester can still hold as many bikes as the Stepwagon. Pretty small on space inside after having a roomy Stepwagon but the zippy sporty feel (same chassis as an Impreza). Hoons around in the snow too.

Took my Forester to Hakuba without snow tyres last winter and it went well.
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=wM6-wdd_PAM


Edit: Went to my Subaru dealer today for the 1 year inspection.
They didn't have any of the new 7 seaters and they are probably too big for what you want. (Like a Honda Oddessy I guess).
The funny thing was my salesman: He must have been googling my name or something as he told me he saw a lot of my cycling photos on the net and was surprised at my hobby). This is the second time a salesman has done this to me. Must be in the salesman hand book. Google your customers, find out what they had for breakfast...

Edit 2;
Forgot to mention my 2 big dogs. I take them up to Hakuba and they are in a large cage that fits perfectly in the back of the Forester... 3 bikes on the roof... Still room for 3-4 people. Pack all the luggage behind the driver seat to the ceiling including front bicycle wheels or squeeze it beside the dog cage.