Mid Week Match-Up: Room For Two Canoes

is Wednesday, so that means time for another episode of our reader’s favorite game of read life match-making —  Mid Week Match-Up!  This week’s MWMU request comes from John who currently has a ’94 GMC Safari and ’00 Camry that he wants to replace with a single vehicle that has the utility of a van and economy of a Camry while keeping his wife’s ’01 Forester.  From John: Criteria for our new vehicle:  1) Somewhat more cargo capacity than the
Subaru,  2) Able to safely carry 2 canoes
on the roof (~100lbs),  3) Able to tow 1500lbs of sailboat or trailer,  4) Able to occasionally carry
canoes plus sailboat plus a full load of camping gear for a weekend trip of a
few hundred miles,  5) AWD/4WD for
Wisconsin winters, dodgy boat ramps, and light off-road use,  6) Reasonably common so we don’t end up
stranded in bumf*ck Idaho waiting 3 days for a part to be delivered to a
mechanic that has never seen one of those before,  7) Reasonably reliable so that #6 doesn’t
happen in the first place,  8) Decent gas
mileage – low 20’s or better on the highway, upper teens or better in the city,  9) $10,000 or less, maybe up to $12,000 for an
especially reliable model with low mileage and a well documented service history,  10) Responsive, comfortable, and fun to drive
(compared to a Camry and a Safari – a low bar, I’ll admit).

We have always bought older low mileage vehicles and have
had great success with that strategy.  Here
in central Wisconsin our choices are rather limited, but the logistics of
buying in the Milwaukee, Chicago or Minneapolis areas would not be unreasonable.

Our plan is to sell both the Toyota and the GMC and get something
with most of the van’s utility and much of the Camry’s economy.  This vehicle will be my daily driver (~75
miles/week), plus utility vehicle for frequent weekend canoeing/camping/sailing/
trips, plus 1 or 2 annual car-camping trips of 5-8000 miles total.

DT E-i-C Vince:  In 2009 Ford released the Focus based Ford Transit Connect into the US market in a limited production capacity for small business/fleet use.  Production continued through 2013 and these are now prime on the used market.  You get a 2.0 liter Duratec inline-4 that returns decent fuel economy, a car-like ride, and tons of room for your stuff.  For example, here is a 2010 Ford Transit Connect offered here on eBay for $9,995 buy-it-now located in Riverhead, NY.


What do you recommend for John? Comments below.