Hey all. My Cherokee has been my ski car for a long time, but is getting pretty old and I might get something new this winter. I though it'd be interesting to discuss the pros and cons of different cars, and what makes the best ski car.
Here is a list of the qualities I think make a good ski-car....
-Good mpg. Gotta keep the skiing affordable when gas is expensive.
-Must be good in the snow. Decent clearance...good ABS and stability control programs...probably AWD
-Must be comfortable and keep you fresh and alert on long, late, boring drives. This means great seats, great headlights, quiet with decent sound system, etc. Nice ride
-Must be good at hustling up mountain roads in a hurry. Nice flat cornering...sufficient power to pass the slow poke goin 15 under up-hill on a 2-lane at high altitude. A turbo is nice for this.
-Must be RELIABLE. Nothing will ruin a trip faster than a check engine light that prevents you from getting to the ski area, or worse, strands you on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard.
-Must be able to hold all the gear, preferable inside where it'll stay clean and secure
-Great crash safety. Driving long distances at night, in inclement weather, while tired greatly increases the chance of an accident.
-Extra credit: must be able to hold a fully assembled mountain bike inside.
The old Cheorkee was pretty good at these things besides comfort, mpg, and crash safety (due to being a very old design).
I'd like to keep it somwhere around the average sticker price in the US: About $30k, but less is better. This thing will be racking up miles, get battered by gravel, and be at risk of winding up in the ditch, so nothing too fancy.
I was thinking the Subaru Outback probably offers the best balance of these qualities, except the 4-cyl is pretty weak and the 6-cyl could get better mpg. They don't handle very well, either...very mushy. They newest ones also have this steering-wheel shimmy issue that isn't quite sorted out yet.
The upcoming Mazda CX-5 looks like it'll be a fantastic option, although could be a little bigger and more powerful. The RAV4 does pretty well, but is an old design. Could be a bit safer...slighlty better mpg...better awd system.
Any other thoughts on what qualities make a good ski car, and which car is best?
Edited by carve - 9/7/11 at 1:45pm