Estate v SUV for carrying bikes inside

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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Shrike
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by Shrike

Looking to get something that can take two road bikes and some luggage without having to take the bikes apart. Really have a strong preference for carrying bikes inside, just for the added security.

Initially was looking just at SUVs, but estates or 'tourers' I think some people call them might be a good option too. Though less fashionable right now :o

Any thoughts/experiences? Wondering about the length of the things, how they handle, parking them etc. They look pretty wieldy compared to SUVs, though maybe just my impression of them. That said, some SUVs do come pretty compact these days. Example lengths:

Volkswagen Tiguan: 4.486m
BMW 5 Series Touring: 4.942m
BMW X3: 4.708m
BMW X5: 4.880m

Had also looked at those mini-van type efforts that even BMW have started doing now. But just can't bring myself to do it. They do look super practical though.
Last edited by Shrike on Tue May 08, 2018 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

by Weenie


jeanjacques
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:01 am
Location: France

by jeanjacques

The Honda Element was an awesome choice for cycling life, right in the middle between SUV and familial tourer:
Image
Picture from this review: http://cyclesinlife.com/i-love-my-honda-element/

Two questions to make a choice, do you need the 4x4 option (some big space car have it like the Volkswagen Caddy) ?
And do you want to carry bikes standing or lying down ? For this second option, the choice it more easy and with a simple cardboard sheet you can bring two bikes.

Shrike
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Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

That Element looks brilliant! Never seen one of those before, going to look it up :D

Don't really need the 4 wheel drive, though the option to turn it on is a bonus. Would be okay with bikes up or down, though up would be best case scenario. Happy enough to use a blanket or something to separate the two bikes if I need to lay them on top of each other. Maybe an old duvet would stop them moving around.

How does your bike stay vertical in your Element, is it attached to something?

EDIT: just ran a search for the Element in the UK. Seems it wasn't a release here hence my ignorance! Hard to get hold of one. Occasionally an import model is up for grabs.. :cry:

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jekyll man
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by jekyll man

I'm on my second Octavia estate.
Perfect shape ie very square in the back, instead of being more like a fastback eg A6 etc.
I can get away with taking the front wheel out of my bikes and holding them upright with the seatbelts.
Occasionally if i'm giving a lift to someone drastically bigger, then i'll have to remove the rear as well.
Had 3 bikes, 3 people, and enough kit for a long weekend like this comfortably (at least for me as driver :-D ) and been as far as Belgium like that.

I know people with A6's and its a military operation to get even small bikes in.

I was going to get a stepwagon this time around, but realised theres no need, and the sloda ;-) vrs is still economical as its not shaped like a block of flats, and will do mway speeds all day in comfort.
Official cafe stop tester

jeanjacques
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Location: France

by jeanjacques

Shrike wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:30 am
How does your bike stay vertical in your Element, is it attached to something?
Not mine, I'm in France and same for you, the Element wasn't available here. I have a Hyundai Santa Fe, 7p at the begining, I took off 6 and 7 seats. Enough place for two sleepers (2m long) and two or three bikes but not in the same time... I would like to be able to sleep with my bike inside like the Element picture but a SUV has rarely an optimized cubic space.

Shrike
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Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

Yep, the Octavia. I have just recently done the mental trickery required and made the switch to considering Skoda as cool enough to own :P

I like the Octavia in grey, was looking at one earlier actually. They look well built and stylish too now so it's an option for sure if I go down the estate route. Think the 5 Series Touring is just a little too large for my liking, but the 3 Series is another possibility if going estate.

@jean shame! It's a groovy bit of kit that Element. Not what I was looking for initially but as a left field option... I could up for that.

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Asteroid
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Location: Los Angeles, California

by Asteroid

With three beemers on your initial list, driving an Element will leave you less-than-thrilled. Nice utility, but gutless.
My '14 Acura RDX takes two bikes lying down with wheels on. (Moving blanket on the carpet and one between bikes.)
With wheels on, it mostly means soft duffels laid in an open spot. Front wheels off allows more space for bulky luggage.
A new generation hits dealers in the coming months. Not any larger, though. Their MDX is more $paciou$. lol
I like these Acuras because of their powerful engines, decent mpg's, non-CVT tranny, quiet ride, and nice touches.
Oldbie

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tymon_tm
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by tymon_tm

same problem here. I'm looking for something that can both swallow 3 bikes inside (with wheels and possibly seats/bars off) and still ride like a car. I wanted and estate, but my 2nd half digs SUVs (like most of women lol) and truth be told - estates these days don't really offer much regarding boot space from the rear window line up.

vans are a cool option for a travel car, but they lack as normal day to day cars, and I'm not willing to spend that much for a car to sit in a garrage most of the time. besides they look awful... BUT if it's a 3rd car for you, just take that MB V-class and look no further.

SUVs - there's a whole bunch of options. I've recently tried out Skoda Kodiaq and it sits right in - as it's very "squar-ish" it's luggage space is maxed out and the boot is very promissing, although the salesman didn't let me pack my bike inside (I went to test drive on my bike lolz) because it's been like sold already or whatever. anyway, this is my number one for the moment. two decent engines to chose from, pretty quiet, drives nicely, has some nice extra equipment, very attractive price - only downside is I gotta wait like half a year if I order one specifically... it's 4,7 m in lenght so not that huge by today's standards, although it looks and feels inside a lot bigger.

another car I liked for the job is Peugeot 5008 - has this sci-fi vibe inside, yet it's very practical where it needs to be - contrary to most of the cars which seem to be only about the design, not usability. the boot is big enough and rides reasonably well too. If it only had a 4wd option, I'd probably buy one.

Volvo XC60 and Renault Espace are very much to my taste, but their boots are not bike - friendly at all. same goes with Skoda Superd Estate or any other mid-size estate for that matter. bigger, longer ones, like V90 or 5 series are a bit better, but then they're pretty low, and despite their rear ends don't slope as much as Superb's they don't make much sense as bike carriers either.

going premium, the Audi Q7 is probably the ultimate car, but - it's twice the price of the Kodiaq, it's more than 5m long, and it attracts to much attention IMHO. I considered getting a 2nd hand 1st generation Q7 for a moment, but servicing costs scared the hell out of me.

of course ride quality differs - SUVs need getting used to, and taking those cornsers flat out is no longer an option. on the other end, the feeling of space and lots of light inside is really welcome on longer journeys (I've borrowed a Q7 from a friend once for a weekend trip and that was a sensational ride). the economics are different as well, those SUVs just drink more, tires can cost a small fortune, every part, whether it's brake pads or a headlamp, is quite more than in an average estate (despite similar initial price tag). if you can, try one out for a weekend and see for yourself :thumbup:
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.

mattr
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by mattr

How do you mean "take apart"?
Is wheels off acceptable?
If it is, we used to be able to get 4 bikes and their wheels across the boot of a V70, plus a couple of large (80 litre) kit bags. Might struggle if you are very tall, or have longer wheelbase bikes. But we've had everything up to (i think) 56 cm frames in there with no issues. (plus 4 riders and a couple of smaller kit bags on the back seat.)
With the back seats down, you can (easily) get a couple of 29er trail bikes in there complete, plus more kit than you can shake a stick at.

With the (very solid) roof rails and our good racks, we could easily carry 8 bikes.

Renne
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by Renne

I used to drive a Volvo S40 but wanted to be able to put my bike, luggage for 2, an extra set of wheels and then some in the boot without having to drop the rear seats. As I was very happy driving my Volvo they were my first stop. Test drove the, then recently renewed, V60 and loved it. At the end of the test drive I parked next to my S40 which I had parked at the end of the dealerships parking lot, out of sight. Got my bike out of the car to see how easily I could fit it in the V60. It wouldn't go in. I'm not a small guy but that was still disapointing.
My next stop was VW, as friends of mine drove a Passat Variant (break/stationwagon/estate whatever you want to call it). Nowadays in Europe most VW dealerships have a Skoda dealership right next to it so I figured why not have a look. Saw the Skoda Octavia Combi, test drove the Skoda Octavia Combi, bought the Skoda Octavia Combi. Have been driving it for the last 3,5 years now and still loving it. Been to Spain several times now with my bike, an extra set of wheels, luggage for 2, almost a complete bike shop worth of tools, pump, all the dogs stuff,...and loads more (especially on the way back, after all the shopping and bodega visits). And I can still fit everything in the boot, close it of and have everything perfectly out of sight. Gives me a little more peace of mind when I stop for an overnight break somewhere in a french motel.
I considered buying the Superb but they were just about to introduce the new model so it seemed stupid to buy a new car only to have it be outdated 4 months later... But I can wholeheartedly recommend Skoda. I also did the comparison with VW, Audi and Seat (the other brands in the VW-group) and Skoda's warranty and life long assistance made them even more interesting.

Shrike
Posts: 1259
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:08 pm

by Shrike

@mattr, totally fine with taking the front wheels off, just can't arsed with saddle height, rear wheel or any nonsense with the headset. Really would want a throw in and pull out type affair for dawn raids on some climbs/routes I have in mind.

I just need two road bikes, some luggage - not much luggage, we usually travel light - and very occasionally a Neo trainer. Have settled on being okay with laying the bikes head to toe on top of each other with something like a blanket between them. Removing one pedal from the bike on the floor would be okay too, I could keep a spare wrench in the boot for convenience. Think I could be content enough with this sort of setup if it means I can go with a smaller vehicle.

After a lot of soul searching I'm sort of leaning towards one of the least practical options in terms of space, but an option that I would actually enjoy driving and like the look of. 3 Series Touring. It has a certain colour/trim/equipment level that I'm fond of and has a claimed extra urban 69 mpg. Tiguan R-Line also looks lovely from the outside, but I just couldn't get to grips with how basic the interior seemed compared to the 3 series and the mpg is crap in comparison. It'll be long journeys in this thing so that's why I've started focusing on the interior comfort and mpg a lot more.

From looking around the past few days, seems SUVs in general have pretty turd mpg and I'm questioning their popularity..

Do look better than estates though! :)

mattr
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by mattr

Renne wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:37 pm
I used to drive a Volvo S40 but wanted to be able to put my bike, luggage for 2, an extra set of wheels and then some in the boot without having to drop the rear seats. As I was very happy driving my Volvo they were my first stop. Test drove the, then recently renewed, V60 and loved it. At the end of the test drive I parked next to my S40 which I had parked at the end of the dealerships parking lot, out of sight. Got my bike out of the car to see how easily I could fit it in the V60. It wouldn't go in. I'm not a small guy but that was still disapointing.
We've just given a V60 back and you can get two bikes across the boot, wheels off obviously. But it's a really tight fit and proper tetris job. It's easier to just put the seats down, then they go in complete.

And i usually just roll my (clean) bike into the dealership before the test drive even starts. So far, in ~20 years of buying new and/or company leases, no one has batted an eyelid. Even the Mazda dealer when i went to look at an RX8, he spent 20 minutes trying to help.

(Bike fitted across the rear seats, but couldn't then adjust the front seats to get them comfortable.)

mattr
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by mattr

Shrike wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:40 pm
After a lot of soul searching I'm sort of leaning towards one of the least practical options in terms of space, but an option that I would actually enjoy driving and like the look of. 3 Series Touring. It has a certain colour/trim/equipment level that I'm fond of and has a claimed extra urban 69 mpg.
You'll get two in there, easily. You might not get 69mpg though ;)

spud
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by spud

For those in the states, consider a Porsche Cayenne diesel. Used ones are back on sale after the emmissions fiasco, and dealers want them off the lots so there are deals are to be had. My wife routinely gets 35 mpg on her mostly highway commute, as high as 40 mpg. Plenty of room inside, and more than addequate acceleration, and surprisingly, the best ride of all the SUVs I drove that can actually handle.

AJS914
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by AJS914

I used to have the previously mentioned Honda Element - best bike car I ever had. Unfortunately someone totalled it but I keep thinking about picking up another one.

by Weenie


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