My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

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My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby Tortoise » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 1:57 pm

I've been wondering what I might upgrade my 2005 Forester to, when I have the opportunity. From my research so far, my ideal vehicle existed 30 or 40 years ago, but probably not now.

I mainly use my car to get around locally, access bushwalks, carry bins of seaweed, manure, straw etc, and as a camper. But now and then I need to transport people, so it needs to have the option of 4 or 5 seats. Mine works fine as a camper van when it's just me, but it's a bit small for an extended trip with a friend. She sleeps in her own tent, but transporting 2 big packs plus wet/muddy gear plus car camping stuff plus my bed is a bit of a pain.

Wish list:
Decent ground clearance
Short to medium wheel base
AWD or 4wd - not for serious 4wding, but for peace of mind & to get me out of trouble on remote, dodgy rough roads.
Reasonable fuel economy & maitenance costs (maybe able to select 4wd mode; not a rare model)
ULP (advised by a mechanic not to get a modern diesel; sick of having to pay lots more for Premium)
Seats that fold down reasonably flat
Access from the back to the front still available when in camper mode
Low mileage
As few bells and whistles as possible
Automatic (ideally not CVT - more $$ repairs)
Hatch-style rear door (love my verandah)
Full size spare tyre
Towing capacity (box trailer, not caravan)

I think a small 4wd van with 5 seats, the back ones easily removable, would be perfect. But I don't think they exist anymore. I know there are some $$$ European ones, but the maintenance/repair costs would be prohibitive. It's frustrating that modern cars generally look more and more the same - lower to the ground, less internal space etc.

Why don't they make a 5-seater Jimny? That would be fun!

I was a bit excited about a 2013 X-trail, till I realised that it's only 3 cm wider between the wheel arches than my Forester, 8 cm longer to the top of the laid-down seats, and it's 'ceiling' is only 0.5 cm higher than mine.

Have I missed something? Pennies for your thoughts. Thanks.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby CraigVIC » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 2:07 pm

I think the xtrail will be hard to beat (apart from cvt). The internal size is huge due to the very square shape of it. I don't think the raw measurements really capture how boxy it is.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby ChrisJHC » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 7:01 pm

Here’s mine (with an Aus flag):
:)

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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby warnesy » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 8:55 pm

I have the 09 Forester and have been looking for a similar sort of vehicle. I’m yet to be convinced of anything better which is why I still have it. On the plus side the older it gets the more adventurous I get with it. If it were to die right now I’d probably replace it with a new forester.


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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby commando » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 9:00 pm

Reliability with high resale
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby CraigVIC » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 9:26 pm

Perhaps a simple plywood platform across the top of the wheel arches would give you the extra space needed. Obviously has down sides too.

Any SUV with a roof top tent also ticks some boxes but again some problems.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby GregG » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 11:16 pm

The only thing that is an acceptable replacement for an MY05 Fozzie is another MY05 Fozzie. I have recently driven a 2019 Forester and it was nearly as bad as driving a HiLux.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby Rai » Wed 05 Aug, 2020 11:35 pm

The Forester is perhaps the best, if not the ideal fit as per the wish list. If space is an issue, roof boxes may be worth a consideration. Although roof boxes from reputable brands such as Thule and Yakima may appear expensive, they are worth a look because they can add 300-600 litres of additional space. According to Choice magazine, roof boxes can increase the fuel consumption by around 12%, however there is no need to carry them on the roof all the time. By some accounts, some roof boxes are quite easy to put on and off the vehicle's roof racks.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby north-north-west » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 7:22 am

commando wrote:Reliability with high resale


It needs a bullbar, driving lights, roof rack and rear canopy.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby Tortoise » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 8:59 am

Interesting discussion! Thanks, folks.

warnesy wrote:I have the 09 Forester and have been looking for a similar sort of vehicle. I’m yet to be convinced of anything better which is why I still have it. On the plus side the older it gets the more adventurous I get with it.
That's something else I should have put on the list. Something I don't mind getting scratched up by vegetations.

ChrisJHC wrote:Here’s mine (with an Aus flag) :)
Takes all folks, I guess. :wink:

CraigVIC wrote:I think the xtrail will be hard to beat (apart from cvt). The internal size is huge due to the very square shape of it. I don't think the raw measurements really capture how boxy it is.
Thanks for your thoughts, Craig. Maybe I should find one locally I can get inside to check out for myself. The position of the wheel arches could make a difference.
CraigVIC wrote:Perhaps a simple plywood platform across the top of the wheel arches would give you the extra space needed. Obviously has down sides too.Any SUV with a roof top tent also ticks some boxes but again some problems.
Yep, I had a look at that, but without extra roof height, I'd be too claustrophobic, and bump my head, I reckon.

commando wrote:Reliability with high resale
Yeah, I used to dream of owning a Hilux! But it misses too many of my boxes to spend that much money on. And to be realistic, my cars are workhorses, not show ponies, so the resale wouldn't be so high. :roll: I'm more than happy to have something that's excellent mechanically, but with a dinged body. Hmm. How hard would it be to pick one up from Canberra after the hail storm...? And get it to Tassie...? :(
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby Tortoise » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 9:19 am

GregG wrote:The only thing that is an acceptable replacement for an MY05 Fozzie is another MY05 Fozzie. I have recently driven a 2019 Forester and it was nearly as bad as driving a HiLux.
Interesting! I'm not keen on the more recent ones, because less boxy = less internal space, and more bells and whistles = more $$ in repairs. What didn't you like about it?

Rai wrote:The Forester is perhaps the best, if not the ideal fit as per the wish list. If space is an issue, roof boxes may be worth a consideration. Although roof boxes from reputable brands such as Thule and Yakima may appear expensive, they are worth a look because they can add 300-600 litres of additional space. According to Choice magazine, roof boxes can increase the fuel consumption by around 12%, however there is no need to carry them on the roof all the time. By some accounts, some roof boxes are quite easy to put on and off the vehicle's roof racks.
Thanks for that, Rai. I reckon if I go on a longer road trip, it could well be worth it. I'm more after something very quick and easy - for a vertically-challenged senior. The real issue for me is combining the big, heavy, muddy packs with my bedding in the same area. Neither of those I want on the roof at this stage.

north-north-west wrote:It needs a bullbar, driving lights, roof rack and rear canopy.
Did you find a good way of sleeping in yours? I'm wondering how wide the back seat is - maybe not quite wide enough. I know someone who rigged up a simple tent that fits out the back of the tailgate of her twin cab, but I like the idea of being in the cabin itself for a quick getaway in case I'm unsettled by drunk yobos (as has happened on occasions). And not to have to get out of the car in wild weather to set up.

At the moment, my thinking is that if I can somehow rig up a folding bed (plywood base, CCF mat, downmat and bedding), that I can hook up to the top of the rear passenger door area during the day, I'll have enough room for the big wet muddy packs when we're driving to the next walk. But I haven't figured out how to keep everything else clean and dry. A tarp invariably gets mud on both sides after a couple of rearranges (with me doing it, at any rate). I've thought about rubbish bins, but not sure how to stop them toppling over. Maybe I need to get less clutsy with giant garbags.

There's a handy rail on the side near the rear door of the Forester that I might be able to attach webbing to, to stop my stacked plastic drawers from falling off on the corners.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby north-north-west » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 10:39 am

Tortoise wrote:
north-north-west wrote:It needs a bullbar, driving lights, roof rack and rear canopy.
Did you find a good way of sleeping in yours? I'm wondering how wide the back seat is - maybe not quite wide enough. I know someone who rigged up a simple tent that fits out the back of the tailgate of her twin cab, but I like the idea of being in the cabin itself for a quick getaway in case I'm unsettled by drunk yobos (as has happened on occasions). And not to have to get out of the car in wild weather to set up.


With the front passenger seat laid flat, I just fit. Never tried the width for sleeping, but the twin cab is just long enough. You're a few inches shorter so it would work even better.

I do prefer having inside access to the storage area, however. The CR-V is not perfect, but it works well enough for a single person. Don't like the new models however, because they've gone for a tailgate rather than a door. My list of essentials is different to yours, but similarly restrictive. The Forester and X-Trail aren't options for me because I insist on a rear door with externally mounted spare. Having to empty out the back to get at tools and spare is just too much wasted time and effort, and an ideal way to lose something.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby GregG » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 2:13 pm

[quote
Last edited by GregG on Thu 06 Aug, 2020 5:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby GregG » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 2:21 pm

Tortoise wrote:
GregG wrote:The only thing that is an acceptable replacement for an MY05 Fozzie is another MY05 Fozzie. I have recently driven a 2019 Forester and it was nearly as bad as driving a HiLux.
Interesting! I'm not keen on the more recent ones, because less boxy = less internal space, and more bells and whistles = more $$ in repairs. What didn't you like?


My brother bought a 2019 Forester and I have driven it a bit. Compared with my 2007 Forester I could not see any significant improvements other than that it is brand new while mine is thirteen years old. The main thing that I liked is that it has around 30mm more ground clearance. The new forester is way bulkier on rhe outside but I couldn't see that it translated into any more usable interior space. It has all sorts of fancy doodads like line departure cameras, automatic braking, self closing tailgate ad nauseam, none of which are any help when twenty kays out on Monkey Gum firetrail and are just more things to fail. Then there is the CVT, what an amazing piece of #$%&: when you plant your foot on the accelerator the engine roars, the tacho spins off the scale, carbon emissions go exponential but looking outside the scenery doesn't go past any faster, what tha'? I don't think I will be buying one any time soon. BTW, that little rail just near the tailgate on the old Forester, I have never figured out what it is meant to be for, drying the tea towel maybe haha.
If it is any help I have also had a Jeep Wrangler, it could go anywhere on bush tracks but had virtually zero storage so not fit for your purpose. I also had an early model Tarago van for a very long time, it was built like a brick outhouse and had similar handling qualities. Two people could camp in it no trouble and you could throw a months worth of gear into the back and still have room for kayaks on the roof bars, but it was hopeless as soon as you took it off the bitumen.
So, if I had to replace my Forester I would go shopping for another one up to about a 2012 model, automatic, petrol, turbo, and buy a decent set of Rhino roof bars and a pod.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby CraigVIC » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 7:32 pm

I see a few 4wd Mitsubishi Delica van's setup for travel/offroad getting around. Might be worth a look.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby Tortoise » Thu 06 Aug, 2020 7:54 pm

CraigVIC wrote:I see a few 4wd Mitsubishi Delica van's setup for travel/offroad getting around. Might be worth a look.

Thanks, Craig. That did look like one of the most interesting alternatives, especially the older models. None in Tassie, though. I'll keep an eye out.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby CasualNerd » Fri 07 Aug, 2020 2:46 pm

CraigVIC wrote:I see a few 4wd Mitsubishi Delica van's setup for travel/offroad getting around. Might be worth a look.

There's a few old 4wd Toyota vans getting around too. Very capable machines by the look of it !
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby tastrax » Fri 07 Aug, 2020 5:24 pm

I just wish they made a few more of the "Overlanders'...

https://www.whichcar.com.au/features/holden-overlander
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby Mark F » Fri 07 Aug, 2020 5:26 pm

I have a 2014 Forester manual diesel and am happy with it for car camping. Just a roof rack and side awning added and more appropriate tires. A couple of tie down points have been added in the rear foot well. It works well with one and adequately for two but we tent. We use a centre pole canvas tent about 2.6 x 2.6 which slips nicely into the rook rack and also takes the chairs. I have taken care to minimise volume for the rest of the camping gear (including 35l fridge) so that it all fits under the pullout cover over the boot area. Clothes, sleeping gear go on the back seat but could go on the roof if needed. Water (30 litres) is in the back seat foot well along with the gas bottle and battery (75Ah). I have managed to drive several km down dry river beds in Central Aus and plenty of 4wd roads but don't consider it an "off road" vehicle.

I came a cross a Dutch couple at Mt Sonder that had taken their old Delicia 4WD across the SImpson Desert with no problems.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby GregG » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 2:05 pm

Tortoise, I occurs to me that a Subaru Outback would be a good vehicle for your purposes. It has all the features you like about the Forester but is a few inches longer to make it a bit more user friendly as a car camper and has more interior volume. Like the Fozzie it has AWD and good ground clearance. Some models have the same engine and running gear too so it would be pretty reliable. Just an idea anyway.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby slparker » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 1:02 pm

I have a 2006 outback and I can sleep comfortably i the back if I have too.
Lots of room and not as SUV like as a forester so it's like driving a standard sedan wagon with a bit more clearance.

When it dies I don't know what I'll do as the new ones are like vans-much bigger and higher vehicles and spoils what made the Outback unique.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby Tortoise » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 1:07 pm

Thanks, guys. I'll have a look at Outbacks. They were off my radar, as I'd heard of too many people with water pumps that kept going, and other $$$ repairs. I do like what I perceive to be extra height inside my Forester, but looks may be deceiving.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby slparker » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 1:49 pm

My outback has done 270,000 k's and has been ultra-reliable.
Except for the catalytic convertor sensor which I've seen die in Foresters as well.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby CasualNerd » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 6:08 pm

Tortoise wrote:Thanks, guys. I'll have a look at Outbacks. They were off my radar, as I'd heard of too many people with water pumps that kept going, and other $$$ repairs. I do like what I perceive to be extra height inside my Forester, but looks may be deceiving.

I'm sure there's more room in the back of an outback with the rear seats down than there is in a forester. Mine's an '06 though, things might have changed.

FWIW I love the outback and take it to plenty of Tassie trail heads without issues.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby crollsurf » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 7:10 pm

186cm and just enough room to sleep in the Outback with back seats down and some filler between the front seat fully forward.

I wasn't going to mention the Outback because even the current base model, has a whole lot of bells and whistles I wasn't interested in. Strangely enough I've grown to like Lane departure but more so, in cruise control, it will sit behind the car in front and match speed.

Not 4WD but hasn't stopped me getting to were I want to get and drives like a car, not an SUV.

Nissan Patrol I liked, 3x the price and don't own an oil rig to run it . Land cruiser had no head room! Range Rover Discovery was nice but 2x price and once again, not enough headroom for the kids.

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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby GregG » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 9:39 pm

Tortoise wrote:They were off my radar, as I'd heard of too many people with water pumps that kept going, and other $$$ repairs.


I am pretty confident that an 06 Outback and an 06 Forester have identical water pumps, in fact they have identical engines if you exclude the few H6 engines that were sold. So reliability should be similar, ie, quite good.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby potato » Mon 10 Aug, 2020 7:56 am

GregG wrote:
Tortoise wrote:They were off my radar, as I'd heard of too many people with water pumps that kept going, and other $$$ repairs.


I am pretty confident that an 06 Outback and an 06 Forester have identical water pumps, in fact they have identical engines if you exclude the few H6 engines that were sold. So reliability should be similar, ie, quite good.


The water pump issue, like any used car, is to do with service history and not using genuine parts. In this case the coolant hasnt been replaced or it has with non-genuine coolant.

While dealer services are expensive, they know the quirks of the make. If you can find a vehicle with a dealer service history or a service history where genuine parts are used and the service schedule is followed, then you should have yourself a reasonable car... not withstanding other user errors.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby headwerkn » Mon 10 Aug, 2020 9:00 am

The ideal vehicle is a Mazda CX-5 GT with a 2" lift, locking diffs and a bit less plastic in the front ;-)

In all seriousness, if you can bring yourself to treat a $52K car's paintwork with utter disdain, they're amazingly capable offroad despite the lack of any manual control over the AWD system, and without the wishlist of mods above. I've been able to take ours to some utterly silly places, that a mum bus really shouldn't have gone :-p
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby potato » Mon 10 Aug, 2020 8:07 pm

GregG wrote:
Tortoise wrote:They were off my radar, as I'd heard of too many people with water pumps that kept going, and other $$$ repairs.


I am pretty confident that an 06 Outback and an 06 Forester have identical water pumps, in fact they have identical engines if you exclude the few H6 engines that were sold. So reliability should be similar, ie, quite good.


The water pump issue, like any used car, is to do with service history and not using genuine parts. In this case the coolant hasnt been replaced or it has with non-genuine coolant.

While dealer services are expensive, they know the quirks of the make. If you can find a vehicle with a dealer service history or a service history where genuine parts are used and the service schedule is followed, then you should have yourself a reasonable car... not withstanding other user errors.
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Re: My ideal vehicle - does it exist?

Postby swills » Wed 12 Aug, 2020 11:01 am

A Land Rover Discovery 2A 2003 - 04. Have owned a Land Rover Series 2A (rough and ready for a 20yo), Subaru 1985 station wagon (luxury, but no ground clearance), Nissan patrol (big and bulky), Mazda BT50 (electrical nightmare, Mazda couldn't/wouldn't fix the problem). I spoke to a few mechanics and their suggestion was the Disco 2A, found one in good shape for $11000 Diesel with leather seating for 5 have spent about $5000 on Suspension, Manifold Kit, Fuel Pump, Front Drive Shaft and Brake sensors, Drives well on the black top and with the rear locking diff (std) goes anywhere. 4wd friends laughed at me, but after driving it one wanted to buy it and another gave it the nod of approval after both bought new 4wds. I new I would have to rebuild some of it. After comparing the cost of new and some second hand vehicles, I think my decision has paid off. People who canned the vehicle have never driven or owned one. I'm now diving a 4wd that would have cost me $54000 in 2004, a lot of money.
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