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Best Ski Cars?

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I have to replace my VW Diesel that they are buying back from me due to the scandal.

I'm leaning towards an Outback 3.6r or a highlander or maybe a CRV but would love input from Divas.

We have a 3 human family along with 1 soon to be 2 on Tuesday (so excited) Labish Dogs.

We drive over a just over 11k ft pass weekly- so performance at altitude is important.

Oh- and I'm turning in a fun car- and like to have some power.

Would like to be able to tow a trailer with dirt bikes on it and transport 3 mountain bikes - the outback roof rack does not look very robust- any experience with the newer version?

Most likely will buy new- unless I can find a recent low mileage used car.

Do like the idea of the blind spot monitoring.

Hopefully something that will last a really long time.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
#3
I'm leaning towards an Outback 3.6r or a highlander
We got the Highlander XLE last year. It's really comfortable and has power and towing capacity (the XLE has 5K towing capacity which we needed for our boat, other versions have less). It's too big to be called fun though, it's not a sports car. We too wanted something that will last a long time; we've always had Toyotas, we keep them forever and nothing ever goes wrong with them. I'm not sure if it has blind spot monitoring or not... that doesn't sound familiar but I don't drive it all that much so it's possible it has it and I just don't know. There's an optional third row so there is room for three people and two dogs. I'm not sure whether it's a better or worse ski car than anything else; I think that's just personal preference and good tires.

The things I don't love about it might not matter to you. I think it's too big for tight city spaces, so our Prius is what we use around town. We swapped out our Tacoma for it, and since it's a crossover it just feels a little dainty to me compared to having a truck with truck suspension and beefy truck tires. That only matters on bad Forest Service roads but we hike a lot so we drive long bad roads a lot.

It sounds like you really know what you want in a vehicle and have some pretty specific needs, so hopefully there's a good fit and I bet whatever you get will be just fine as a ski car.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
I still love my 11 year old CRV. Lists of trips to the mountains with enough power to make it over the mtn passes. Roomy enough to carry our road bikes, luggage and camping gear inside. I've even slept in it. Gas mileage is decent and we've had few mechanical problems. I'm short and can get in and out easily. That said, it's been changed over the years so I can't vouch for current cargo space.
 

VickiK

Angel Diva
#7
I like my 2011 Outback - it's got the 3.6 engine so plenty of power (I had a sporty car before it so I know what you mean). Great for road and ski trips--many times people are stopped on the side putting on chains and we just cruise by. Considering the 6 cyl, mileage is decent--28mpg average. It does use more oil than my other cars, seems to be a known issue with some of them, but I have 122K miles on it and no issues, so I see it as a quirk rather than a problem. Test it out for your dad. It's not what I'd call high but for example it's hard getting my mom into it. She is severely limited in mobility, wheelchair bound, and these days we just hire a van to get her to appointments and back.
 
#8
I love my Jeep Wrangler unlimited (4 door model). It's got a 3.8L engine and I have meaty snow tires on it so there's nothing I can't get over or though in the winter and often pass stuck vehicles on the side of the road. Very truck like ride and not great gas mileage. one would say terrible even but its strong like a bull and has excellent resale value. That said it's too high for what you want/need. The Outback would work for you which is also a great vehicle. I like the Subaru Crosstrek a lot. I also know several people with new Honda CRVs, my boss is on her second one. Highlander is a good vehicle also. I like the Nissan Murano. You seem to know generally what you want so I think you're off to a great start. Is it possible to bring your dad with you?
 

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I like my 2011 Outback - it's got the 3.6 engine so plenty of power (I had a sporty car before it so I know what you mean). Great for road and ski trips--many times people are stopped on the side putting on chains and we just cruise by. Considering the 6 cyl, mileage is decent--28mpg average. It does use more oil than my other cars, seems to be a known issue with some of them, but I have 122K miles on it and no issues, so I see it as a quirk rather than a problem. Test it out for your dad. It's not what I'd call high but for example it's hard getting my mom into it. She is severely limited in mobility, wheelchair bound, and these days we just hire a van to get her to appointments and back.
Interesting about getting your mom in. My Jetta wagon is too low and my dad really struggles to get in and out- but he's still pretty mobile- so I need to find a balance between too low and too high.
 

2ski2moro

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
I love my Volvo XC90, 3.2 AWD. It has a huge rear area for the dogs, with lots of head room for them. The rear seats fold absolutely flat, giving the dogs a comfortable place to ride with the seats down.

I'm going on 110,000 miles now, and the only thing I have had to do is replace headlight bulbs, brakes and tires. (plus routine maintenance and a transmission flush) It rides so smoothly and has lots of power. I often tow a small trailer (3000 pounds) and I don't even know it's behind me. It's comfortable and handles well in the snow. The other thing that I like is that the back seats (and even the third row) are surprisingly comfortable for adults.

My 94 year old mom had no problem getting in and out, in fact it was easier for her to get in and out of a higher car than the lower ones. Check how wide the rear doors open on the Subi. See if he can bend his legs enough to get his feet in the rear compartment. That was tough for my mom on some cars.

I know you all seem to be Subaru lovers, but I never was a fan. They just seem so rattle-y after a few years compared to the Volvo.

The Outback lacks tilt adjustable passenger seats. 4-way only gives you forward and backward, plus tilting seat back, but I really like to be able to tilt the seat bottom to raise the front of the seat. Maybe that's just me, but I am so uncomfortable in the Subaru passenger seat after an hour or so.

The Subaru has factory installed crossbars that are hinged to cross. It's supposed to be a selling feature, but it doesn't work for me. All summer, I carry 2 kayaks on Thule Hullivators. It's probably 200 pounds with the Thule racks, the Hullivators and the boats. There is no way for me to put the Hullivators on the Subaru, as the cross bars have to extend beyond the roofline. The Subaru rack was not wide enough for our 2 boats next to each other on side by side. The other thing about the rack is that the cross bars are on fixed points. Will your ski box or bike racks work at that specific distance? Will the rear hatch open when your ski box is in place?

Granted, not everyone is as picky as I am. I had a list of needs in addition to skiing, and the Subaru didn't work for me.
 

Gloria

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
I like my 2011 Outback - it's got the 3.6 engine so plenty of power (I had a sporty car before it so I know what you mean). Great for road and ski trips--many times people are stopped on the side putting on chains and we just cruise by. Considering the 6 cyl, mileage is decent--28mpg average. It does use more oil than my other cars, seems to be a known issue with some of them, but I have 122K miles on it and no issues, so I see it as a quirk rather than a problem. Test it out for your dad. It's not what I'd call high but for example it's hard getting my mom into it. She is severely limited in mobility, wheelchair bound, and these days we just hire a van to get her to appointments and back.
That is the one thing I didn't like about the Outback, the front door is hard for anyone bigger than average sized or older etc to get into. I think it's the door openings - the backseat was horrible for kids even. The Volvos do have large door openings and moderate height off the ground though. That is a tougher category though because I think the door openings on some of the smaller SUV types are modest also. Which body style is the 2011? The newest ones may have better clearance? The honda crossover thing might be an option. I can't think of what it is called but more sedany with a hatchy back, AWD and from recollection seems between jetta and truck off the ground.
 

Olesya Chornoguz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
I have 3.6R 2016 Outback with Eyesight (blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control with some other safety features) and I love it. It's plenty powerful for me and has a lot of space for ski gear on ski trips. I carried 12 ft long SUP board on the roof rack many times this summer.
 

VickiK

Angel Diva
#14
easier for her to get in and out of a higher car than the lower ones
Actually that's exactly what I thought when I was buying my Outback. It didn't work out that way, that was disappointing. With the Outback seat, she would need to exert some effort to get in and sitdown, and we (my sister & I) did not have the room or physical strength to manuveur her in. The point about the door opening didn't occur to me... With a lower seat, for example a Toyota Corolla, we would help her out of the chair and down into the car.

p.s. the 2011 was the first year they introduced a bigger body style, more interior room, slightly more clearance.
 
#15
Another Subaru owner here - I have the 2015 Subaru Crosstrek, and I love it. I wish it had a little bit of a more powerful engine (especially when there's 2 adults, 2 kids, all of our camping gear and 4 mountain bikes attached to the back!), but the mileage is fantastic, and you can't beat how well it handles in winter. I love the Subarus - and with your requirements, the Outback would be perfect!
 

Tvan

Angel Diva
#16
Another Subaru Outback owner here. My love for this car and this brand are well-documented elsewhere in the threads that @DeweySki listed above. Subaru saved my husband's life in a crash, and we are now driving our 3rd and 4th Subarus.

I have the 2015 outback with all the bells and whistles. It is by far the most comfortable car I have ever owned and it is a mountain goat in the snow. I don't have a good perspective on the door openings, so I can't comment on that. My only complaint is that the distance between the roof rack bars is about 2 inches too short to hold my husbands snowboard when we also have my skis on the rack. If we were both skiers this would not be an issue. Because his board doesn't t fit, it rides inside the car when we travel.

Other than than, I love this car and foresee additional Subarus in our future.
 
#17
@2ski2moro I forgot about the XC90, nice vehicle. I love love love cars and am always thinking about my next car. I may get another jeep down the road, I may get a crosstrek, may get a Murano but that XC90 is pretty nice, hmmmm.. I think OP has a lot of good choices. So many capable 4x4's so little time :smile:
 

Gloria

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Actually that's exactly what I thought when I was buying my Outback. It didn't work out that way, that was disappointing. With the Outback seat, she would need to exert some effort to get in and sitdown, and we (my sister & I) did not have the room or physical strength to manuveur her in. The point about the door opening didn't occur to me... With a lower seat, for example a Toyota Corolla, we would help her out of the chair and down into the car.

p.s. the 2011 was the first year they introduced a bigger body style, more interior room, slightly more clearance.
Bucket seats with the higher edges on the sides can be tough helping people in and out of too. The volvo used to have an nice big flatter seat but I haven't been in the newer ones to know if they still make them that way.
 

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
Thanks! Another requirement (can you tell I'm picky) is a dealer with in 30 minutes and I lean towards in town- so I can drop the car and walk or bike home. So Volvos are out- but all other major brands are available (with my VW I was at the dealer way too much when it was new...)
 

Gloria

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
Thanks! Another requirement (can you tell I'm picky) is a dealer with in 30 minutes and I lean towards in town- so I can drop the car and walk or bike home. So Volvos are out- but all other major brands are available (with my VW I was at the dealer way too much when it was new...)
Yes, why I live vicariously through ski diva's and push the Volvo's. I think the nearest dealership to me is 4 hours away. No way could I do that either.
 

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