Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:38 am

Wanted to get some feedback on what specific vehicle might fit the bill for these driving conditions. 54 miles one way about 12-13 days a month. In Colorado where winters can be harsh. Have to drive to work in ALL conditions, no matter how bad. Drive on highway and narrow dirt back roads. Want comfort/luxury since so much time spent behind the wheel. Also need ability to drive in deep snow and mud. Dependability is a must with 20k+ miles a year in remote areas. Would love to get decent mpg too. Current vehicle is 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Like it but has had a few recalls for electronic issues. Not sure how dependable it is overall. Have 90k miles on it now, so thinking might get 2 more years out of it before needing a replacement. Thinking of paying cash for a low miles used vehicle. Budget of around $30-35k max. Or would it be better to have a nice weather car and a bad weather back up? Hate to have another vehicle as we currently have 3 and 3 active drivers in the household.

PFInterest
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by PFInterest » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:41 am

so something with good ground clearance, and a set of winter tires.
that list is long.

cue the colorado subaru fans..........now.

stan1
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by stan1 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:44 am

PFInterest wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:41 am
cue the colorado subaru fans..........now.
The original post was pretty much a set up to lure them in.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:47 am

PFInterest wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:41 am
so something with good ground clearance, and a set of winter tires.
that list is long.

cue the colorado subaru fans..........now.
While Subarus have good ground clearance (Crosstrek limited would be a reasonable choice), they don't match Jeep. Forester would have more room and Outback would be the most comfortable.

When you get down to it, however, tire size is what's going to give you clearance. It's what Jeep guys do to go offroad to get over boulders. Perhaps slightly larger snow tires on the Outback of Forester. Crosstrek tires rub as is so you'd want to look into raising it if you did tires (forester suspension is the common way).
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Watty
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Watty » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:54 am

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:38 am
Or would it be better to have a nice weather car and a bad weather back up?
The need to be able to drive in mud even in nice weather would likely make that unworkable.

PFInterest wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:41 am
cue the colorado subaru fans..........now.
I doubt that a Subaru would be a good choice for true off road driving driving like they will at least occasionally need.

ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:01 pm

We actually have a Crosstrek that our son drives. Have only got stuck once in 5 years so far. It is not the most luxurious vehicle though. We used to have an Infinity G37 X which was all wheel drive. Had a set of winter wheels and tires and it actually did fairly well, even with the low ground clearance. Unfortunately got destroyed in a rear end collision. Jeep replaced it. Thinking maybe we should keep the Jeep for real bad days and get a nice AWD sedan since weather is nice most of the year. My wife is the one commuting and she is not a huge fan of Subaru styling (at least the Outback or Forester). She has the option of driving on all paved roads, but adds a few miles to the commute. She used to drive the G37 on the dirt road in winter and get it covered in mud. What other nice AWD sedans are out there?

tindel
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by tindel » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:12 pm

Honestly, in a situation where I was in the CO mountains (not the front range) I'd try to find a late 90's early 2000's Cherokee with lowish miles. 4.0L inline 6 with 4x4 and working ABS. Something like 150k miles or so. Prefer a manual transmission to an auto, but an auto would be okay too. It won't have bluetooth or power locks and doors - sorry. It will get you to work though. You'll also be wondering why everyone else is going so slow.

I've had one of these cars for 10 years and it has never let me down. Not once. I've easily driven through 2 ft of uncleared snow. 3 ft+ the steering starts to get a bit loose, but still doable. I've bought it at 135k miles - it now has 230k miles on it. It's now my weekend and heavy snow car. I will admit that some regular maintenance will be needed in this mileage range to replace alternators, radiators, power steering pumps, etc. But it's an excellent vehicle when you need something to get you from point A to point B in silly amounts of snow and mud.

These things are still used all over CO for a reason.

A low mileage that hasn't been parked outside forever can still go for decent money in this state.

tindel
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by tindel » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:23 pm

Here's one: ETA: I just realized it's down the street from me. Tempting!
https://boulder.craigslist.org/ctd/d/20 ... 37740.html

And another (although it's been personalized more than I'd like).
https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/98- ... 63559.html

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Alexa9
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:39 pm

Toyotas are bulletproof. I'd go with a RAV-4 or Highlander.

ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:41 pm

tindel wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:23 pm
Here's one: ETA: I just realized it's down the street from me. Tempting!
https://boulder.craigslist.org/ctd/d/20 ... 37740.html

And another (although it's been personalized more than I'd like).
https://denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/98- ... 63559.html
Those are some rugged vehicles and might be worth a look. Was the last year for the 4.0 around 2003? I used to have a Wrangler with a 5 speed and 4.0. Think it was an 03. Got around 21 mpg highway and could go anywhere. Had to get rid of it as it was impractical once our daughter was born.

quantAndHold
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:43 pm

Some of your requirements are mutually exclusive. The only vehicles able to handle unplowed roads and rough terrain within your price range are Jeeps, which fail on reliability and luxury. And ride.

Silver Bullet
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Silver Bullet » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:07 pm

Tacoma. And they hold their resale very well.

bubbadog
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by bubbadog » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:16 pm

Toyota 4 Runner or Lexus GX460

srt7
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by srt7 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:26 pm

Toyota: 4Runner, Landcruiser
Lexus: GX, LX
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Watty
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Watty » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:33 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:01 pm
We actually have a Crosstrek that our son drives. Have only got stuck once in 5 years so far.
I would suspect that your son drives a less demanding commute and is rarely in remote areas with no cell phone service.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:32 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:38 am
Want comfort/luxury since so much time spent behind the wheel. Also need ability to drive in deep snow and mud. Dependability is a must with 20k+ miles a year in remote areas. Would love to get decent mpg too.
Tough to get all of that in one vehicle. I drive a MB ML-350 with good quality M+S tires (Cooper Discoverer RTX). Mine is full-time 4WD, but a 4Matic would do as well. The equivalent current MB model is the GLC line. In your case the tires will be all important to you.

A Toyota Lexus SUV would likely have fewer visits to the maintenance shop.
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focusedonwhatmatters
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by focusedonwhatmatters » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:40 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:38 am
Or would it be better to have a nice weather car and a bad weather back up? Hate to have another vehicle as we currently have 3 and 3 active drivers in the household.
Keep in mind that in the mountains of Colorado, you can go from a forecasted nice weather day to a sudden bad weather day without warning, even in the summer. Or a prediction of a dusting of snow can turn into a foot. With a commute like yours, I'd go with one reliable, high-clearance SUV, and always keep survival essentials packed.

LMBFlorida
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by LMBFlorida » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:55 pm

bubbadog wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:16 pm
Toyota 4 Runner or Lexus GX460
We had a couple 4Runners and now have a gx460.Both are great options for you but the Lexus has much nicer finishes.

B4Xt3r
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by B4Xt3r » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:03 pm

Four door Jeep Wrangler rubicon with the nicest interior you can afford. If you are doing unkempt roads in the winter, you want a real 4x4. (I have done winter off-roading in such conditions.)

For backroads in Colorado winters, I suggest a winch of 2x vehicle weight, a 100' winch line, a 100' extension line, a tree saver, and a pulley.
Last edited by B4Xt3r on Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

btenny
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by btenny » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:09 pm

HI Chin I do not think you need another winter car. I live in Tahoe and everyone I know has at least two cars, one for winter and one for summer. SO I think you need to buy a second car for summer and spring and fall. Buy something like a Lexus RX350 that you can use when the weather is nice or even a little tough but not full on winter. Then you can use your current Jeep Cherokee when it snows big in the winter. This will let you keep and use your Cherokee for winter driving for 4 years or more and still have a nice car all summer.

By the way I have three cars, a old Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Subaru Outback and a nice Lincoln sedan for summer. I use the Jeep to go skiing before the snow plows come when the snow is really deep. I have never gotten stuck. But I like my Lincoln for summer and long trips and the extra comfort.

Good Luck

oldlongbeard
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by oldlongbeard » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:28 pm

The Volvo XC Series ticks a bunch of your boxes.....if you are looking for a “not so obvious” suggestion.

Regards,
Greg in West Mitten

gold99xx
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by gold99xx » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:28 pm

Toyota Land Cruiser or Lexus Eq. ( LX470 or LX570 depending on year etc.)

Buy a used one with 60-80K

Get the correct tires for your terrain and weather conditions.

Change oil

You are good to go for 200k plus miles.

These 2 Models are MADE IN JAPAN.... None of the other cars compare.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by WhyNotUs » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:37 pm

No longer own a Suby as I went electric but it is the perfect CO Mtn Car according to your criteria and many other people's criteria in similar setting.
Outback would increase your mpg about 20%.
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JMacDonald
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by JMacDonald » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:50 pm

Except for gas milage, I would go with a Ford Raptor.
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five2one
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by five2one » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:42 pm

Used land cruiser.

longleaf
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by longleaf » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:52 pm

Considering being stuck in the snow is a possibility no matter the vehicle you select, have you considered a winch for the winter season? Perhaps this is overkill... Would definitely narrow search to 4wd or awd and high ground clearance.
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TLC1957
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by TLC1957 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:58 pm

Unimog the ultimate do anything vehicle... :D

https://trucks.mercedesbenzmena.com/en/ ... les/unimog

SurferLife
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by SurferLife » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:13 am

There’s a reason you see 4Runnners everywhere you go in CO, and old ones at that. That vehicle is home in that environment, and with the limited model you are always in 4WD. It may not be luxury enough for you, but the Lexus GX is a fine alternative. If you want a bit more off-road capability, you can get the trail or TRD 4Runner models. I wouldn’t look at anything else simply for reliability. The Highlander is a step up in luxury, but also a step down in off-road ability and is AWD and not 4WD, so I don’t see it being a fit for you. It also has lower ground clearance, though it sounds as if you may lift whatever you get so that may not be an issue.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by WhiteMaxima » Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:42 am

Toyota landcruiser, 4runner.

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Bogle7
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in CO mountains - Subaru

Post by Bogle7 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:42 am

Colorado state law CRS 102.67 requires all newcomers to the state to have a Subaru.

B4Xt3r
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by B4Xt3r » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:37 am

JMacDonald wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:50 pm
Except for gas milage, I would go with a Ford Raptor.
This is also a "not wrong" suggestion, but spoken as someone who has off-roaded in all kinds of terrain and also with both Rubicon's and Raptors - for the kind of off-roading OP is needing, a Rubicon is a "better" suggestion.

B4Xt3r
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by B4Xt3r » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:40 am

longleaf wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:52 pm
Considering being stuck in the snow is a possibility no matter the vehicle you select, have you considered a winch for the winter season? Perhaps this is overkill... Would definitely narrow search to 4wd or awd and high ground clearance.
I was going to edit my above post, perhaps still will. A winch with a 100' synthetic line, with a 100' extension, tree saver, and pulley is a must. Whatever vehicle OP goes should set the winch weight of 2x vehicle curb weight.

OP, please understand that I'm reading into your statement of "HAVE" above. If there are a few days per year you can simply not go to work because the weather was poor, many of the other suggestions above will work.

If you simply must beat mother nature everytime, buy a jeep wrangler rubicon. There is not another vehicle that I know of that is truly off-road ready.

onourway
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by onourway » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:56 am

I would want to know exactly what the distribution between road types is. 'Narrow dirt roads' likely means fire-road types which may not have been plowed recently, but are not likely to mean actual off-roading. If the highways comprise the majority of the driving, I'd choose something better handling than a Jeep Wrangler or a pickup truck. A Subaru or other 'car-based' SUV with excellent winter tires will provide much more confidence on snow and ice at speed, where the risk of a fatal accident is at its highest.

noco-hawkeye
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by noco-hawkeye » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:09 am

Outback or Forester. Drive around Colorado and count how many Subarus you find - it's like that for a good reason. It's a dependable car that can handle what you are looking for and is moderately comfortable. Some of the larger SUVs would work too, but you mention comfort being a priority and the budget is inline with a Subaru.

folkher0
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by folkher0 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:26 am

If you want mileage, comfort/luxury, and winter traction and dirt roads, a Subaru is the best way to go. A Jeep Wrangler or 4 runner outfitted for the apocalypse makes sense if you are truly going off-road, but otherwise is probably a bit overkill and you will sacrifice comfort and mileage.

Get one used. Put on 15”EDIT 17” wheels and get some snow tires for the winter, all terrains for the summer.

If you want nav/Bluetooth, consider upgrading the stereo with an aftermarket head unit from a maker like pioneer or alpine with CarPlay/android auto. You can do it yourself. Find one on crutchfield.com

Whtether you go cross trek, outback or forester will depend on your personnel and cargo needs.

Check out this bloggers outback mods for an idea of how versatile these cars can be:

https://gizmodo.com/how-i-turned-my-sub ... 1716068985

Edit: 15” may not be possible. 17” still better then 18”
Last edited by folkher0 on Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:33 am

folkher0 wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:26 am
If you want mileage, comfort/luxury, and winter traction and dirt roads, a Subaru is the best way to go. A Jeep Wrangler or 4 runner outfitted for the apocalypse makes sense if you are truly going off-road, but otherwise is probably a bit overkill and you will sacrifice comfort and mileage.

Get one used. Put on 15” wheels and get some snow tires for the winter, all terrains for the summer.

If you want nav/Bluetooth, consider upgrading the stereo with an aftermarket head unit from a maker like pioneer or alpine with CarPlay/android auto. You can do it yourself. Find one on crutchfield.com

Whtether you go cross trek, outback or forester will depend on your personnel and cargo needs.

Check out this bloggers outback mods for an idea of how versatile these cars can be:

https://gizmodo.com/how-i-turned-my-sub ... 1716068985
Why 15" wheels? Don't all three Subaru models you suggest come with larger wheels as standard equipment?

ponyboy
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by ponyboy » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:40 am

I dont live in CO...im in PA. When our driveway gets anything over 2 feet on it...I fire up the wifes subaru forester and plow the driveway. Not with an actual plow...with the car itself.

I have a tacoma and its a joke in the snow compared to her subaru.

HMdocinPA
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by HMdocinPA » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:41 am

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:33 am
folkher0 wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:26 am
If you want mileage, comfort/luxury, and winter traction and dirt roads, a Subaru is the best way to go. A Jeep Wrangler or 4 runner outfitted for the apocalypse makes sense if you are truly going off-road, but otherwise is probably a bit overkill and you will sacrifice comfort and mileage.

Get one used. Put on 15” wheels and get some snow tires for the winter, all terrains for the summer.

If you want nav/Bluetooth, consider upgrading the stereo with an aftermarket head unit from a maker like pioneer or alpine with CarPlay/android auto. You can do it yourself. Find one on crutchfield.com

Whtether you go cross trek, outback or forester will depend on your personnel and cargo needs.

Check out this bloggers outback mods for an idea of how versatile these cars can be:

https://gizmodo.com/how-i-turned-my-sub ... 1716068985
Why 15" wheels? Don't all three Subaru models you suggest come with larger wheels as standard equipment?
My outback came with 18” rims, my snow tires are on 17” rims. Tirerack.com recommends thinner tires with higher sidewalls, so usually you go down a size from stock rims. Bonus is the smaller tires are also usually cheaper. My blizzaks were awesome last year in the snow and ice, totally worth it.

ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:56 am

Narrow dirt road is actually a 2 lane dirt county road. We have lots of county roads that are actually just Jeep trails that are one lane. We only drive on those in Summer to see mountain flowers etc. The road is about 8 miles and gets some maintenance, but gets very muddy in winter with large ruts and potholes. We do occasionally drive on an unmaintaned fire road too. Biggest issue is deep snow. Sometimes we have to drive out in 2-3' of unplowed roads. Believe it or not I have driven my Porsche Carrera 2 (911) convertible in 1.5' of snow with no problem! I put on Yokohama Ice Guard tires and it will just plow through everything. I'm liking the idea of having a nice weather car and the Jeep for winter more and more. Would love a Rubicon but they bring an extreme premium around here. The only vehicle I see more is Subaru. 3 out of 4 people seem to have one. How about a Volvo S60? Aren't those AWD? Have a fiend that has one and he seems to like his. If the snow gets deep he drives his F150.

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RootSki
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by RootSki » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:05 am

oldlongbeard wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:28 pm
The Volvo XC Series ticks a bunch of your boxes.....if you are looking for a “not so obvious” suggestion.

Regards,
Greg in West Mitten
+1 to this suggestion. Haldex AWD has never left me stranded. Great CPO warranty. Comfortable for 8 hour drives.

onourway
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by onourway » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:32 am

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:56 am
Narrow dirt road is actually a 2 lane dirt county road. We have lots of county roads that are actually just Jeep trails that are one lane. We only drive on those in Summer to see mountain flowers etc. The road is about 8 miles and gets some maintenance, but gets very muddy in winter with large ruts and potholes. We do occasionally drive on an unmaintaned fire road too. Biggest issue is deep snow. Sometimes we have to drive out in 2-3' of unplowed roads. Believe it or not I have driven my Porsche Carrera 2 (911) convertible in 1.5' of snow with no problem! I put on Yokohama Ice Guard tires and it will just plow through everything. I'm liking the idea of having a nice weather car and the Jeep for winter more and more. Would love a Rubicon but they bring an extreme premium around here. The only vehicle I see more is Subaru. 3 out of 4 people seem to have one. How about a Volvo S60? Aren't those AWD? Have a fiend that has one and he seems to like his. If the snow gets deep he drives his F150.
I think Volvo is a good option for an up-scale Subaru, although somewhat depending on what servicing looks like in your area. I don't think the comparatively small differences in reliability between a new Toyota and a new Volvo are worth driving something you're not happy with, but it could be a real pain if the nearest Volvo shop is 100 miles away or something. The S60 probably would not be the best choice for that road in winter. Look at the XC series if you want to be able to drive it confidently year-round. The newest models are incredible if a bit pricey!

randomguy
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by randomguy » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:12 am

noco-hawkeye wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:09 am
Outback or Forester. Drive around Colorado and count how many Subarus you find - it's like that for a good reason. It's a dependable car that can handle what you are looking for and is moderately comfortable. Some of the larger SUVs would work too, but you mention comfort being a priority and the budget is inline with a Subaru.
The question is how good are Subarus (or Volvos or pretty much most SUV crowd) with 3' of snow. 18" or so and I wouldn't blink an eye say they are more than adequate for the job. But double the snow and I would want to talk to some people with actual experience in the model under the conditions I drive. Thats starting to be a lot of snow and you might find that the heavy wet snow and inclines you are driving on are not the same as the person posting a video of their car going through 3' of powder on a flat road.

Personally I think the 2 car approach is the way to go. Make the summer car able to handle bad weather (i.e. something like the subaru) but that are more optimized for highway cruising and keep a car designed for the really bad weather. You just can't find a car that does everything and having to optimize for that last 1% of worst weather is likely to cause a lot of trade offs that will effect you every other day.

And while Land Cruisers are great but nobody is going to say they get decent (much less good) gas mileage and 85k cars tend to be pretty pricey to run.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:29 am

It sounds like any Jeep with an aftermarket front air locker and with rear limited slip might be the budget way to get what a Rubicon would get you without the Rubicon premium. In a JK Wrangler, the front Dana 30 isn't as strong as the Rubicon Dana 44, but for just getting through snow, you're not going to be breaking axles. You could also buy used and go with a "traction package" with front and rear lockers, controllers, compressor and air up kit for about $2k and figure another $1k to install. That's way cheaper to do with a used Wrangler Sahara or a Grand Cherokee than a Rubicon costs. You don't need the electronic sway bar disconnect that a Rubicon brings. There are tons of aftermarket things for Wranglers. JK Wranglers fit 35" tires without a lot of lift. If you're not doing true offroading (crawling over big rocks), a 1.5" spring spacer lift back, 2" front will give you the clearance you need.
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folkher0
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by folkher0 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:23 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:33 am
folkher0 wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:26 am
If you want mileage, comfort/luxury, and winter traction and dirt roads, a Subaru is the best way to go. A Jeep Wrangler or 4 runner outfitted for the apocalypse makes sense if you are truly going off-road, but otherwise is probably a bit overkill and you will sacrifice comfort and mileage.

Get one used. Put on 15” wheels and get some snow tires for the winter, all terrains for the summer.

If you want nav/Bluetooth, consider upgrading the stereo with an aftermarket head unit from a maker like pioneer or alpine with CarPlay/android auto. You can do it yourself. Find one on crutchfield.com

Whtether you go cross trek, outback or forester will depend on your personnel and cargo needs.

Check out this bloggers outback mods for an idea of how versatile these cars can be:

https://gizmodo.com/how-i-turned-my-sub ... 1716068985
Why 15" wheels? Don't all three Subaru models you suggest come with larger wheels as standard equipment?
After looking again, I don’t think you can put 15” wheels on the Subarus. But smaller wheels give you a lot more tire choices. Big wheels are stylish but not nearly as versatile for the conditions you describe. For instance you can’t find AT tires that fit the stock 18” wheels on some of the 2018 outbacks.

The point is you could probably do fine with a number of different vehicles if you choose your tires right. The right tires will probably make a bigger difference than the actual vehicle under most circumstances.

Edited to fix some errors regarding 15” wheels on Subaru’s.
Last edited by folkher0 on Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:58 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Toons
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4 Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Toons » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:24 pm

4 Wheel Drive
Mercedes Sprinter
:happy
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BolderBoy
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Re: in CO mountains - Subaru

Post by BolderBoy » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:48 pm

Bogle7 wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:42 am
Colorado state law CRS 102.67 requires all newcomers to the state to have a Subaru.
Standing joke in the 1980s was that the "Colorado State Car" = Subaru.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

MtnTraveler
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by MtnTraveler » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:09 pm

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:56 am
I'm liking the idea of having a nice weather car and the Jeep for winter more and more.
+1. That's essentially what I do. I have a more comfortable car that I drive most of the time and then this time of year I make my daughter bring back the 4Runner and make her take her Chevy Malibu. She lives on campus so I'm not worried about her driving in bad conditions and I don't really care that she doesn't like the car she picked out with her grandma. I bought the 4Runner specifically for bad driving conditions as I've got a 70 mile roundtrip commute on non-plowed roads in an area that blizzard conditions often occur in during the winter.

randomguy
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by randomguy » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:22 pm

MtnTraveler wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:09 pm
ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:56 am
I'm liking the idea of having a nice weather car and the Jeep for winter more and more.
+1. That's essentially what I do. I have a more comfortable car that I drive most of the time and then this time of year I make my daughter bring back the 4Runner and make her take her Chevy Malibu. She lives on campus so I'm not worried about her driving in bad conditions and I don't really care that she doesn't like the car she picked out with her grandma. I bought the 4Runner specifically for bad driving conditions as I've got a 70 mile roundtrip commute on non-plowed roads in an area that blizzard conditions often occur in during the winter.
The question is how often will you get caught by something unexpected. Imagine you secondary car is something like a volvo s60 with AWD and all season tires. You are getting good gas mileage, very comfortable driving and decent traction for things like mud or a couple inches of snow. It might not work out if you get an surprise 2' though:). The better the worst conditions you expect the 2nd car to face, the wider you can expand. I am guessing that dirt road might make some type of AWD (thinking mud as much as snow) desireable but there are tons of options in that category these days.

Sandi_k
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by Sandi_k » Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:42 pm

Toyota FJ Cruiser. Not great mpg, but meets all your other criteria. A blast to drive, as well.

btenny
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Re: Vehicle recommendations for long commutes in CO mountains

Post by btenny » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:53 pm

Most of you guys/gals are missing why Subarus work so well in snow. The car is light and has wide big tires and has lot of road clearance. So it gets up on top of the big snow and runs shallow so it does not bog down like most other cars. Likewise the big tires let it go over big snow berms and big ruts with no issues. So putting smaller or narrower tires on the car partially defeats the design.

Same thing happens with my Jeep GC (or a Jeep Wrangler). The Jeeps have BIG tires versus the car size so they sort of float over the top of big snow and big berms.

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