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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2003
    Location
    Celina, TX
    Posts
    2,440

    Default Best Horse Friendly commuter vehicle?

    Ok....I commute about 40 miles one way to work. And I am currently doing self care board. I love my current vehicle. It's a Mazda 3 and it's paid off But it's not very handy when it comes to picking up hay/feed/shavings. I am coming to the conclusion that it might be time for me to research new car or small truck options. I would ideally like to be able to seat myself and 3 other adults comfortably. And I am very cheap and not very particular about what I drive as long as it works. I am not looking for a tow vehicle at this time because I probably can't afford the gas with my commute Not that I wouldn't love one

    Any suggestions?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Rochester,NY,USA
    Posts
    7,518

    Default

    Would you consider getting a very small trailer (not a horse trailer size) to use to get hay and shavings? You might be able to get a hitch for your current car. Talk to a place that sells hitches. You might even be able to rent a U-Haul or buy an old used one that's enclosed so you don't have to worry about wet weather.

    Also, consider having hay and shavings delivered. It might cost a bit more than getting it yourself but cheaper in the long run.

    I rather imagine that any vehicle large enough to get hay and shavings would be lousy on gas. I remember when I looked at the smaller trucks, like the Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger, etc and the milage difference between it an a full sized truck was not great enough to warrant the smaller vehicle. Things may have changed since then.

    Also keep in mind General Motors new option of being able to return a new vehicle in 60 days if you don't like it. I don't know what vehicles that option includes but what the heck, it's worth looking into.

    Good luck.
    Sue
    Back in my day, we didn't have as many warning labels because people weren't so dang stupid!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    I was in a position this winter where I needed 4WD and the ability to haul some hay but no towing capacity. mileage was of concern as I was going an hour each way.

    I ended up with a manual transmission, 4 cylinder Kia Sportage (2008).

    I get good mileage, it's roomier than the Escape (took 4 adult women and all their stuff to Rolex this year just fine), and I can fit 4 bales of hay in the back.

    You can get the basic model--which still includes power windows/locks and a good stereo for quite well under 20k.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2007
    Posts
    250

    Default

    I've always been a fan of small, 4 cylinder station wagons. My '02 Ford Focus (which is no longer made, so I'll be keeping mine for a good long time) gets 30+ mpg on the highway, can seat 5 (not very comfortably, but it's better than walking) and has a rear seat than can fold down for lots of carrying capacity. It's rated to carry 827 lbs, which means I can easily carry 15+ forty pound bags of pine pellets. I've managed to fit 12 bags of pine shavings in it, and can carry 2 x 4 x 8's without any problem. My hay is delivered, so I can't comment there. The truck is rarely used for hauling anything other than the trailer.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    fyi, the kia sportage is considered a station wagon which is why my insurance rates are so freaking fabulous! Whoot!
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    509

    Default

    I can get a ton o crap in my Scion xB. They're about 16K brand new, and the back seat, which folds totally flat BTW, is actually comfortable for human passengers! I get over 30 mpg on the highway - decent for a commuter vehicle. Plus, they're way cute, IMHO.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2006
    Location
    At the back of the line
    Posts
    4,016

    Default

    Yup on the xb. I dont haul hay in mine cause its still new but I can see others doing so. It hauls 5 if their friendly and a weekend worth of crap. And it will flat get up a hill to!

    The older modles are cheap and a touch small but you may find one used. Mebbe.
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 5, 2004
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    1,240

    Default

    The newer Toyota Rav4s are great



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 17, 2001
    Location
    Bryan,Texas
    Posts
    2,261

    Default

    I have a Nissan Murano. I can haul 20 bags of feed at one time. Or 4 bales of hay, in a different load. I have put 4 bales of shavings in the back with seats up and grain on top of the shavings.
    Fuel mileage is 28 on the highway and 24 in town which is better than my truck at 14 with or without the trailer. But I love both my vehicles for their own purposes.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    2,302

    Default

    Possibly outside of your price range, but you can get a surprising amount of stuff into a Prius with the back seats folded down, and it fits five adults reasonably comfortably. (Not at the same time as having the seats down, though, obviously. )

    Loading and unloading might be a pain, though, since it is a car and not a truck with an open back. (You'd have to put some stuff in and then push/pull it forward to make use of all of the space. Depends how much you're carrying at a time, I guess.)



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2008
    Location
    Region 1, Area 2, Zone 3
    Posts
    632

    Default

    I have a 2007 chevy equinox that I LOVE!
    I've had up to 8 bags of shavings and 6 bags of grain (at the same time). You could probably fit more if you packed it differently... the guys just kind of threw it in there for me.
    I get about 21 mpg but I don't do a whole lot of highway driving. I did clock it going to a show one time and it got 28 mpg. Plus the new ones (which are REALLY nice looking!) are advertised to get 32 mpg, better than a Ford Escape Hybrid. Yea, I really do work at a Chevy dealership
    BDC



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2007
    Posts
    585

    Default Kia Rondo

    I wanted to not like it, but it's really been a good car - it's not a 'crossover', it's a wagon - plain and simple. VERY roomy. The back seats fold flat, doors open extra wide and the back area was plenty big enough for my two huge dogs, with some room between their 'bed' area and the front seats to carry stuff.

    The first snowstorm I drove it in was not fun - all season tires just do not cut it, but with snow tires on it's like a little tank. And it was cheap. New I paid about 16k, under warranty for 5 years, the whole time I'm paying for it. Gets about 25-26 mpg

    The other car I was considering, more $$$ was the Mazda 5 - it has minivan type sliding doors so it might be more accessible for carrying things like hay.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2007
    Location
    Upstate, NY
    Posts
    713

    Default

    Ford Flex, rides great and very comfortable. Seats fold flat for hauling and seats 6 easily.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,495

    Default

    I think my old trainer had the box, the Scion xb, as well. It wasn't very sporty but it held lots of stuff and got good mileage, and was a comfy drive, not a truck drive like her old Bronco.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,932

    Default

    Any sort of hatchback/wagon is going to serve you well. Lots and lots of space with the seats folded down, but they're also not giant vehicles, so the gas mileage is going to be great.

    I have first hand experience both with a Subaru wagon and a Pontiac Vibe. (Identical to the Toyota Matrix) Eight bags of shavings/bales of hay, loads of stuff for dump runs, eight foot pieces of lumber, they handle them all with ease. It's probably not much of an issue for you, but here in Western Mass where we get lots of snow, the fact that both of those cars come in AWD is a big plus.

    I've also taken long drives in both those cars, and they were both comfortable. I think the subaru got around 25mpg, and it was a 90-something, and the Vibe gets over 30. (I don't own either, so I don't know exact facts!)

    An older 2000's subaru wagon will run you maybe $3/4/5k; you can get a Vibe for an absolute steal right now due to the...err....financial difficulties of Pontiac.

    But pretty much any hatchback/wagon is going to be just what you need. I find the xBs/Elements absolutely hideous, but you cannot deny that you can fit a lot of crap in them! And everyone I know who has one loves it!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2003
    Location
    Celina, TX
    Posts
    2,440

    Default

    All good suggestions. My Mazda 3 is the hatchback and I can get 8 bags of shavings in it but I really only feel comfortable putting about 6 bags of feed in it because it doesn't handle the road I have my horses on when it's heavily loaded. I could probably put 2 bales of hay in it but don't really want to. I usually have my hay delivered but this last week there were some scheduling issues and I can't get my hay until this Monday.....and I was out last Tuesday. Luckily I was able to get some from the neighbor to hold me over. I am at least a half hour from the nearest feed store so delivery fees start getting a little big.

    Keep the suggestions coming



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,844

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by imapepper View Post
    All good suggestions. My Mazda 3 is the hatchback and I can get 8 bags of shavings in it but I really only feel comfortable putting about 6 bags of feed in it because it doesn't handle the road I have my horses on when it's heavily loaded. I could probably put 2 bales of hay in it but don't really want to. I usually have my hay delivered but this last week there were some scheduling issues and I can't get my hay until this Monday.....and I was out last Tuesday. Luckily I was able to get some from the neighbor to hold me over. I am at least a half hour from the nearest feed store so delivery fees start getting a little big.

    Keep the suggestions coming
    If it's a question of handling, the Subaru Outback has some serious shocks on it and has AWD. They don't call it the Outback for nothing--it's designed to go offroad. I've personally driven mine through 14 inches of snow with a layer of ice underneath it, through soft rainy mud that was worthy of a demolition derby, and slimy gravel. One guy on subaruoutback.org talked about towing a truck out of beach sand with his Subaru. If you slapped a transmission cooler and a Class II hitch on it, it would easily pull a small trailer in addition to ample cargo space (back seat folds down).

    OTOH, mileage is mediocre at best--mine gets 25 mpg in the summer and 23 mpg in the winter. They're also not the cheapest car on the block; I bought my 2000 Subaru Outback with 105K miles on it in 2006 for $11K. The Forester, which is not heavy-duty enough to tow something but does have the AWD and the good shocks, is usually a bit cheaper that that.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    We just bought two Pontiac Vibe's. I'm getting 27 MPG around-the-town, about 30 hwy. (much better than my previous GMC Envoy!). I can fit two large dogs (75 & 85 lbs) in the back with room to spare (with back seats folded flat). I have hauled feed & bedding pellets with no problem.

    Seats are very comfy as well.

    As a previous poster said, you can get a Vibe for a steal right now - we did! We paid about $12K for a used Vibe with 6767 miles on it.

    ETA: My Vibe is front wheel drive so should handle our minimal snow etc. without a problem although it does come in an AWD model.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2007
    Location
    Beyond the pale.
    Posts
    2,957

    Default

    I like the Mazda 3- its a great economical car. If yours is paid off, why not buy a second vehicle to use for moving stuff? Full size used trucks are going cheap these days and won't kill you on gas bills if you only use as needed. Then the Mazda will still happily commute. (PS- if the car doesn't handle well when loaded heavily, you can easily upgrade the shocks and springs and fix that problem).

    I used to drive a short box F150 for everything, thinking one vehicle is all one person should own. It got 15 MPG city and 20 hwy, loaded or not. Pulled my trailer or a load of 30 bales easily. The short box looked nice too and was easy to park, for a truck.

    Then I got the SMART. It holds 2 adults and a lab retriever(or $350 in groceries or 4 feed bags) comfortably. It gets 50-60 mpg in the city and 75-80 mpg on the hwy. Won't tow a thing. But the savings in fuel over the F150, made it pay for itself completely in 4 years. So then I picked up a 2 year old dually F350 for a little more than a new SMART and use it for all the real heavy duty work. It is insured as a recreational vehicle- can't go to work, for example, and that cuts the insurance cost in half.
    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2006
    Location
    The Very Brink of Insanity
    Posts
    393

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GoForAGallop View Post
    Any sort of hatchback/wagon is going to serve you well. Lots and lots of space with the seats folded down, but they're also not giant vehicles, so the gas mileage is going to be great.

    I have first hand experience both with a Subaru wagon and a Pontiac Vibe. (Identical to the Toyota Matrix) Eight bags of shavings/bales of hay, loads of stuff for dump runs, eight foot pieces of lumber, they handle them all with ease. It's probably not much of an issue for you, but here in Western Mass where we get lots of snow, the fact that both of those cars come in AWD is a big plus.

    I've also taken long drives in both those cars, and they were both comfortable. I think the subaru got around 25mpg, and it was a 90-something, and the Vibe gets over 30. (I don't own either, so I don't know exact facts!)

    An older 2000's subaru wagon will run you maybe $3/4/5k; you can get a Vibe for an absolute steal right now due to the...err....financial difficulties of Pontiac.

    But pretty much any hatchback/wagon is going to be just what you need. I find the xBs/Elements absolutely hideous, but you cannot deny that you can fit a lot of crap in them! And everyone I know who has one loves it!
    Yep, those are my cars. And I loved Sub, and love my current Vibe.

    I really, really, really recommend getting a Vibe. My girl gets 34 mpg on average, comes in AWD, is SUPER roomy (anyone who ever had to ride in the back has commented on how much space there is). If you get the right guys at the Farmers' Supply you can easily fit 10 bales of shavings in the back (and two in the front if you so desire!). The back is really versatile and tough- plastic coated, and has a lot of tie rings to secure things with. I still haven't bought anything that didn't fit (large steamer trunks, kiddie pools, etcs.... actually it was GoforaGallop who bought those..... hmmm). The best part- there's an electrical outlet in the car!!! I have long lost all of the car chargers for anything, so being able to use my regular chargers is amazing! Plug in an electric kettle and make tea or a hot mash on the way to the barn, it's great! Basically I love my car, and if I could I would buy backups now as they don't make them anymore!



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