High gas prices, what is the 'new' best fly fishing/recreating vehicle?


born and raised in the Beartooths
A little tip for you Subaru drivers. If you look under the hood you will find a tab that says FWD, and you open it and find nothing. You can put a 15 amp fuse in it and just use front wheel drive. My buddy showed me this and says you can get up to 4 more mpgs. This was on a outback not sure about the rest, but take a look.:thumb:


Active Member
Richard, I have been following this thread for several days as it has made interesting reading. I went back and reread your original post this morning to see if we had actually answered your questions. There has been a lot of good input and it is clear that many people are thinking the gas problem through now that fuel cost are taking such a big bite out of the average budget.

I asked my self the same question 3 years ago as the handwriting was on the wall then. I had wanted a new fishing rig also but already had a Ford Explorer and a Dodge pickup so it made little sense to buy another rig primarily to go fishing in. Instead I decided that I had to get something that delivered at least 30mpg to justify the expenditure on a new vehicle. We went to the auto show in Spokane to check out the crop and were particularly interested in the Honda Element. With snow and ice on the roads here 3 months of the year and the trip to the supermarket 80 miles over an icy pass the Element seemed like a great choice. But the mileage was nowhere near 30 and when we sat in it the whole idea fell apart. My wife with a 36" inseam and me with 4 bulging disc in my back each felt like we had been strapped into an interrogation chair during the Spanish Inquisition. Next we tried the new Outback but the seats were no better and it just seemed far less practical than the Element. We tried most of the Asian cars and almost all lacked decent thigh support. Some very nice vehicles out there but most were cursed with very poor seats. It amazes me that you can buy a vehicle with every conceivable-and often useless-accessory on it but the one thing that you use 100% of the time you are in the vehicle comes in one-size-fits-all and is often over styled and under developed ergonomically.

We stopped by the Ford booth and sat in a Focus and bingo-the seats fit! Plenty of head room, shoulder and leg room and a 33mpg rating as well. In July of that year all of the manufacturers were having a fire sale on their product offering employee pricing along with rebates. I used that opportunity to pick up a new Focus very well equipped for a paltry $13,400. That was less than the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa or Toyota Yaris that were just coming on line-all smaller cars with small engines but similar mileage. I ordered 4 high quality snow tires and another set of wheels the day I bought the car and have used them for 3 years now with great success. Performance in the snow is just amazing and the 4WD rig sits in the driveway now on all but the heaviest snowfall days of the winter. Although I lust for a European Focus TDCI CR 2.0 with 134hp, 251lbs of torque and a mileage rating of 42 mpg I am content with the 31-33mpg I am getting and don't drive enough to warrant anything more.

So I fall into the camp of buying something that is more efficient than just 22-25mpg and planning ahead for gas prices over $6. When I bought my car the first tank of gas was $2.31 a gallon and that was just 3 years ago this month. Today it is $4.46 and if we play that forward another 3 years 20 mpg is going to sound like pretty poor mileage. Buy something that will make sense 3 or 4 years from now as today's prices are just temporary. Should Iran and Israel get into a pissing match or some other explosive event occur, gas will be over $6 before you can pull into the next gas station.

One last thing-there are hundreds of thousands of ten to fifteen year old SUVs out there that many people are trying to unload right now. On Craigs List I often see mid-nineties Explorers with fairly low mileage for under 3K. These are dependable rigs that often go well over 200,000 miles with few problems. A 4WD rig for 3K that will haul a couple of Super Fat CATs inside or a pontoon on top, haul a drift boat, carry wet dogs or sleep two comfortably is a bargain indeed. And if it gets trashed by some tweakers at a road head the pain won't be near as great as if your Belchfire Eight Turbo just had the navigation and DVD ripped off along with the 20" Look At Me alloy wheels. Happy shopping, Ive