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Best vehicle for a cross country road trip?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by CharlieO, Sep 11, 2020.

  1. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’ve driven a bunch of different things on highways, and have come to the conclusion that a big SUV is about as good as it gets (for me). Comfortable, spacious, almost bulletproof, and good vision. Decent dynamics at 70-80mph speeds. Drawback is ~20mpg max.

    My Yukon also holds a queen-sized inflatable mattress, I used that at Sebring and Daytona races.
     
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  2. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Is it a model made before catalytic converters, so it'll run good on regular gas? How's the cigarette lighter?
     
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  3. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    I see your problem, not sure there’s a market for used mattresses where you’re headed ......
     
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  4. Lost_N_Austin

    Lost_N_Austin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've owned five or so Chrysler Minivans (like the Dodge minivan). I survived two of them being totaled. Very reliable and super comfortable. Great for the extended road trip. I'd find a used one with good Car Max history. I would plan my singular exodus with reliability and comfort in mind while considering mileage (costs) and resale as important but secondary.

    Used Subaru's are perfect for all of your needs - reliable, safe, good resale etc. It's just hard to find one because Subaru owners drive them forever and then pass them down to relatives.

    Just for fun and to stimulate your thought processes on options - go to https://bringatrailer.com/auctions/

    Prepare to have your mind "Boggled". You may even find something you can't live without.

    Lost_N_Austin
     
  5. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    I already replaced the windshield on mine. No problem next day installation and had my choice of OEM, made in USA and import.

    Mechanical parts aren't a problem, it's a global platform same as Chevy Malibu and the Chinese Regals.

    Collision parts were a problem at the beginning of the pandemic (especially for the wagon specific parts like the rear bumper, lift gate, etc.) which coincided with the GM strike. The supply chain appears to have opened up.

    There are probably less than 10,000 wagons total in the US. Most sales numbers include the Regal sedan (sportback) so it is sometimes hard to tell. All Regals were discontinued, not just the wagon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    80 isn't nearly fast enough.

    In open country, 80 mph is your base cruising speed. I routinely pick it up to 95 because folks are coming by me at 110, all the time on I-55 in Mississippi. I am not going to park there like a sitting duck and have packs coming by me, going 30+ mph faster than me. Volvo 2 series were very popular with some kayakers and I've driven a half dozen, easy. I feel super comfortable with my opinion. And I used to go to English Swedish Car Spares in Alpharetta and the number of obviously rolled 2 series Volvos they were scrapping would make any man's jaw drop.

    Segments of highway in Texas have a limit of 85. But that's just a recommendation - if you wreck at a higher speed, the hammer comes down. But I was cruising on I-20, 100, near Longview, hoping to get through Dallas/Fort Worth before morning rush hour and spaced out and this Texas Highway Patrol goes by me at maybe 125. Maybe these speeds are too high, but this is where we find ourselves. Once I was one of the fastest, and now I wish some of these folks would slow down. But I don't make the rules, and IMO vehicles that cannot run hard, are a poor choice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  7. noname_dragon

    noname_dragon Tele-Meister

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    Chevy Suburban
     
  8. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think a classic sedan is well designed for eating up the miles with much better mileage than an SUV. If it has fold down rear seats then you can usually sleep in the back, too. Having a trunk is an advantage over a wagon or hatchback because you can hide your valuables in there so there's less visual temptation for a quick smash and grab. Nobody wants sedans anymore, it seems, so something like a used Camry, Lexus, Honda, or Acura sedan is probably the best bang for the buck. I wouldn't rule out some newer American sedans, either, such as Chevy Impala, Malibu, Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse, Buick Regal.

    I've driven across the country at least 10 times in everything from little 4-banger hatchbacks up to big moving vans, from the peak of summer to the dead of winter. Our freeways are so plush that any reliable vehicle can do it. It's really about comfort as you eat up the miles. Comfortable, adjustable seats, cruise control, A/C, a good stereo, well insulated (from noise) interior, and a nice smooth, reliable, quiet drive train are what you need. If you go in winter you gotta keep a sharp weather eye for sure.

    Obviously a Mercedes sedan is the creme de la creme, made for cruising over 100 mph on the autobahn in total comfort with it being totally quiet inside the cabin. But they are very expensive. Used they are a great deal compared to new, but every time you need a repair it's going to cost you around 3x what it will cost for a Japanese or American vehicle. I loved my 300E back in the day, but I gave it up once the repair costs were starting to really hurt. But it truly was the ultimate cruiser.

    I could have died once in Wyoming with my Dad on I-80 around 1978 when the car (a '72 Ford Galaxy 500) overheated because it was so cold. The chill air actually freezes the radiator if you don't have enough antifreeze (or sometimes even if you do). The water stops circulating, and the vehicle overheats. We were stranded by the side of the freeway in a heavy blizzard in a white car around 5 in the afternoon. The freeway had officially closed behind and ahead of us, and it was 65 below with windchill. My Dad and I bundled up in all our winter clothes and took turns carrying my Labrador retriever wrapped in a blanket about a mile to a truck stop that thank God was open where we were able to find refuge for the rest of the storm. If the truck stop had been closed, or if we had remained in our vehicle overnight, or if we hadn't had decent winter clothes we probably would have frozen to death.
     
  9. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    I like my outback for a highway cruiser — 29.9 mpg on a recent trip to Puget sound and back, very comfortable seats, quiet at 85. Plus if you buy one in Florida where you really never need awd, then sell in the northwest where everybody wants it, you may turn a profit.
     
  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Camping in FL, except on unusual occasions, is problematic. And those motels off I-95 in Daytona, are rough. Kinda tempting to think of a big, high top custom van with a deep draw battery, so you can run ventilation and sometimes AC all night long. Once you see how filthy and pestilent those rooms are, you wish you could have your money back and sleep in the vehicle.
     
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  11. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Holic

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    Not this. Weather stripping was shot and the heater didn't work. Damn near froze going over the Rockies.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  12. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    Fine.... Here's your answer...

    4'x8' mattress, central air, stereo, 30mpg
    DVC Stills 670.jpg

    Picture 243.jpg
     
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  13. CharlieO

    CharlieO Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have Been licensed to drive for 52 years and have never had a need for a van, nor have I had any interest in owning one. If I bought one for this trip, I would sell it as soon as the trip is over.
     
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  14. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    No one should camp in Florida, that’s easy pickings for the gators:eek:

    And you’re right, those hotels along I-95 are only slightly safer than camping. Or maybe not. And less sanitary.
     
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  15. CharlieO

    CharlieO Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    When I started thinking about this trip I realized that I made a big mistake when I sold my 2012 Volt a few months ago. I have seen a similar setup for the Volt that could work. The mattress would be smaller but would be ok for me. The Volt is a very comfortable highway cruiser, and mine had 250 albums on the hard drive in the dash plus a CD player and a couple of USB ports. I would have been good to go, very economically.
     
  16. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Part of driving a car well is knowing its limitations, your limitations, and the limits of the road. At least a rolled Volvo usually still had a recognizable roof. Probably why they hadn't been crushed and recycled. Simple thicker anti-sway bars made mine handling animals. But that is neither here nor there. I would never CHOOSE a route across country that would require more than 80-85 mph prolonged speeds - whether my car could take it or not. I lived in Montana for two years when they had no speed limits and I rarely drove over 80 mph. I simply am not in a hurry. If US drivers were as good as German drivers, I would consider Autobahn speeds. But neither the cars nor the drivers are trustworthy at 80+ MPH. So I would choose another route where I could drive at comfortable speeds through the countryside. Why white-knuckle it across this beautiful country? Again, that would be my pick. Everyone will have their own favorite, but few have actually driven cross-country.
     
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  17. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Holic

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    1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88
     
  18. cravenmonket

    cravenmonket Tele-Holic

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    I have one of these, a 2018 XDrive (AWD), and it is the best car I have ever owned. Very comfortable to drive, the miles just melt away, and it is quiet in the cabin. Audio is acceptable, decent quality (important if you're driving alone for thousands of miles).

    Don't buy a diesel if you're intending to sell it in CA - I'm not even sure you can sell a diesel any longer here. I used to have a VW diesel (one of the DieselGate offender vehicles) but I think they're getting harder and harder to register in CA. The gasoline engine is efficient and quiet and I get 400 miles to a tank, which is pretty reasonable.

    You could conceivably sleep in the back of the 330 Wagon - with the seats down there is a slight incline towards the front as you might expect. But I keep mine with the seats down most of the time because I have my road bike in the back (fits easily - this car is roomy), and when I see the space back there I think it would be perfectly adequate for a night or two sleeping in the back.

    But I never have.

    But I'd give it a go. I would be more concerned about finding a place to park overnight where I wouldn't be bothered or arrested, but without staying at a campground (I don't get campgrounds - $100 for a patch of bare earth? You can stay in a motel for far less $$$)

    Anyway, I'm just suggesting that if I were planning to drive across the country in one of my vehicles, I would choose the BMW over the Volvo XC90 which is a big-ass SUV with (supposedly) loads and loads of space. But I always feel cramped in it for some reason? And Volvos are much less reliable than BMW and they LOVE being in the shop - my wife's Volvo obsession has cost A LOT over the years...
     
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  19. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Buy a used Grand Caravan from some southern old folks who treated it well ... put the rear seats down flat to the floor and put a comfy mattress in ... spend all of the rest of the money on great guitars and amps along the way.
     
  20. Rocky058

    Rocky058 Tele-Holic

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    [​IMG]
     
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