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Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobile

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grantman321

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Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobile

PostSun Mar 03, 2013 10:39 pm

I have somewhat of a conundrum, and I need some hoonly advise.

I currently drive a 2004 GMC Yukon Denali. My work situation is fixin' to change, and I will be driving a great deal more miles in the future. I work in Commercial Real Estate, as an appraiser. Basically that means I've got to drive all over NC, SC and VA looking at various kinds of commercial property - literally anything from skyscrapers to farms and anything in between (with the random exceptions of hotels and assisted living facilities). Because I'm sent out to look at farms/vacant land every so often, it is likely that I will need something four-wheel-drive to access some properties.

My current ride gets all of 15-16 mpg at best, even with an intake and superchips programmer on its economy program. I can't really afford to spend more than about $9,000. What on earth should I get next? Depressingly, the holy grail of a small, diesel pickup is still not available in the US. Seems like Ram (Dodge) may have finally heard our cries, but I can't afford a new truck. What vehicles should I look at? It's gotta be at least somewhat comfortable on long hauls, get decent gas mileage (I'm not that picky, anything over 20mpg is probably good enough for me if it runs on regular gas, slightly higher to make diesel feasible), and be either reliable, or easily serviceable in my driveway/the side of the road.

Any input at all would be greatly appreciated. I'm completely stumped. In the long run I'd love to swap a 4BT diesel into an S10 or similar smallish pickup, but my current lack of a garage puts that a little out of my reach for the time being. That leaves what... Tacomas? 4-cylinder Wranglers (with hardtop for highway comfort)? Again, I'm at a loss.
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Devin

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostSun Mar 03, 2013 11:26 pm

Something like a MaVibetrix could work nicely, there are a few around here and kind things are said about them, though be sure to test the seats because it seems like they're not universally appreciated by all butts.

But honestly, I'm just going to say Subaru (any). AWD, easy to find cheap, nice mix of fun and practical.
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostMon Mar 04, 2013 12:01 am

4 cylinder Wranglers don't do all that well. The old 2.5L engines are tuned for low end torque (like the 4.0), which isn't good for fuel economy and they get the highest stock gears in the axles (4.11), which means they spin at higher RPM and end up burning more fuel to maintain RPM. The Neon 2.4L engines might do a bit better, but likely not by much. The 3.8L minivan engine in the JKs is apparently barely better than my 4.0L. None of these engines get better than 19mpg on the highway, and the EPA cycle ends up being pretty close to real world for Wranglers. The best I've done is 21-22mpg, and that was really soft pedaling it, highway-only right after I changed the air filter. The worst I've ever done is 14-15mpg, and that was driving like a complete ass up Donner Pass using fourth and WOT liberally.

Wranglers are awesome 4x4s. I love mine. But easy on gas they are not, and there isn't really a way to make them fuel efficient. They are high-riding bricks, often with a loose, flappy roof. It's the anti-ideal shape for an aerodynamically efficient vehicle. Any engine stuffed in one isn't going to do well for mileage at all, the drag of a Wrangler is just terrible. A diesel swap into a Wrangler will often only bump it into the mid-20s for highway mileage. The 4BT is a very tall engine, and needs significant modification to fit under the hood of a Wrangler. I would expect similar problems with any light truck. There is a group out there that makes 2.0TDI conversion kit for the Wrangler (but that won't solve any immediate problem).

Again. I love mine. They're great vehicles, but I don't want you to be That Guy™ on JeepForum starting another "How do I get more mileage out of my Jeep?" (because the answer is: trade it for something else).
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Stu_Rock

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostMon Mar 04, 2013 12:20 am

A 2005/2006 Jeep Liberty diesel might serve you well.
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grantman321

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostMon Mar 04, 2013 9:36 am

That's kindof a bummer about the mileage on Wranglers. I had a YJ for a short while in high school with the 258 in it, and it was one of the most fun vehicles I've ever driven, even with its host of oil leaks and amazingly bouncy 6" lifted suspension. Oh, I'm definitely not trying to be ThatGuy. Having lurked around a great many forums over the years (Jalopnik from about ~2004 through last year, Audiworld and then Quattroworld, now just getting into this forum), I know better than to show up with such a question before searching the archives.

A Liberty diesel sounds like it's worth looking into. EPA claims 27MPG on the highway apparently. For some reason I thought it was lower.

I've always liked Subarus. Unfortunately they've been kinda ruined around here. Where I live, they're almost exclusively driven by lesbians. That's not to say I wouldn't consider it at all, though. I love the way those boxer engines sound.

Not sure a Vibe/Matrix is hoonable enough for me.
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Devin

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostMon Mar 04, 2013 11:03 am

Vibetrix are actually quite hoonable, people just assume they aren't due to the association with the little man wearing a sombrero.

And I think there are worse things than looking like a lesbian. Seriously though, apart from the association with sapphic sisters they'll get you down any gravel road you're going to find. One of my in-laws bought a Forester to get to remote oil drilling sites. The guys in giant lifted F-350s mocked him, but he says it goes wherever he needs it to.
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Maymar

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostMon Mar 04, 2013 7:08 pm

Subaru would've been my answer, but I was beaten to that.

Then, knowing you prefer bigger cars, a Panther was going to be my answer (the Moab video proves they're doable on nasty roads).

But there's an AWD option that ticks many of the boxes - the LX (300C, Magnum, and Charger) cars are a decent size, just scrape by with the 20mpg mandate (looks like there's no reason not to pick the Hemi though, as it apparently gets the same mileage as the V6), and are reliable enough.
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jibduh

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostTue Mar 05, 2013 10:48 am

If the fear of appearances is pushing you away from a Subaru, would a WRX be any better? (I thought the conventionally accepted view was that the alternative set drove foresters and outbacks) You'll fall in with the boy racer crowd and fuel economy isn't the greatest, but better than a jeep, I'd think, but it could be worse, right?

I was about to suggest the STI's main enemy, the EVO, but you did say you wanted reliability...

Celica All trac? Suzuki SX4?

The tacoma is a pretty good choice, I think.
BlackIce_GTS wrote:M is a number somewhere between 53 and 75, X is between 12 and 13
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P161911

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostTue Mar 05, 2013 12:56 pm

Only a couple of more years and Trailblazer SS and Saab 9-7x Aeros would be in your price range. Maybe a 9-7x 5.3i? The 4.2L Trailblazers get about 15-16 around town and 20 or so on the highway, the V-8s are about the same.
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grantman321

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostTue Mar 05, 2013 7:19 pm

Subarus definitely aren't out of the question. A WRX or a Forester with a small suspension lift and some mild all-terrain tires would be pretty killer. I don't think that would help the gas mileage, but it would certainly eliminate any chances of being mistaken for a boy-racer-mobile.

That Moab panther video is amazing. My father-in-law has a mid-90's panther that he's put several hundred thousand miles on with very little trouble (and less than OCD maintenance). Any last-gen panther would certainly be comfortable on the highway.

I've always loved Celica Alltracs. They are incredibly hard to find though. I only see one on ebay motors, and zero within 500 miles of me on cars.com.

I've never been the biggest fan of 300C's, but I've never driven one either. Trailblazers/Envoys/Ascenders/Bravadas actually get surprisingly bad mileage. Or maybe not surprisingly. Just not as good as some similarly-sized SUVs. I bought my wife a 2006 XC90 V8 about a year ago - and even with the V8, it somehow manages 22-24 MPG on the highway if you stay below 70 MPH. Unfortunately, it isn't the cheapest to maintain, but I can't afford to buy another one anyway so it's kindof a moot point.

In general, I think older would probably be better (cheaper, easier to fix in the driveway if it breaks), which is why I was leaning towards Tacomas initially. Due to how miraculously well they hold their value, in the sub-$9000 range I'd be looking at something 10+ years old, already with 100,000+ miles. I suppose I probably prefer bigger (I'm 6'2", so legroom is at least a little important). I also have fairly low reliability standards, having had more than my fair share of basketcase vehicles in the last 10 years (the B5S4 I had in college being by far the worst... 3 coolant leaks in different places in less than one year?! wtf!).

I initially thought another diesel truck would be the ticket (I had a 2000 F250 for a little while... but it was just too big and loud. Still miss it a little all the same.), but I think the higher cost of diesel would offset any fuel savings over a similarly-sized gas truck. That said, if I had the money, I'd have sent my Yukon to these folks already and called it a day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yVrko9PhqU.

Keep the suggestions coming -- I really do appreciate any input yall are willing to give. Despite swapping out cars about every year, it takes me several months to decide on a make/model and then find what I want for the right price. I'm in the brainstorming stage right now (obviously), just trying to figure out what my options are and weigh them with what I need.
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostWed Mar 06, 2013 1:00 pm

Maymar wrote:But there's an AWD option that ticks many of the boxes - the LX (300C, Magnum, and Charger) cars are a decent size, just scrape by with the 20mpg mandate (looks like there's no reason not to pick the Hemi though, as it apparently gets the same mileage as the V6), and are reliable enough.


I'm pretty sure that the V8 versions of those cars are RWD only. AWD was only available with a V6.
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jibduh

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Re: Fellow Hoons, please help me decide on my next hoonmobil

PostWed Mar 06, 2013 2:57 pm

If it wasn't for your wanting a larger car, I'd add the 4wd versions of the tercel sr5, civic wagovan, and justy to the list too. At least one of those three is bound to be wandering around, right? How about an older (since they're just a touch smaller and hopefully easier on gas) tundra or f150? explorers and edges should be in that price bracket too, but might be less hoonable. Bronco?
BlackIce_GTS wrote:M is a number somewhere between 53 and 75, X is between 12 and 13
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