04 November 2010

A very sick car.

Team Small Dog lives part time in a car. We have a nice house and everything, but a lot of days, we live in our car. We love our car. It's a 1999 Honda CRV with 200,000 miles on it. It is the perfect car.

It was the perfect car.

It got VERY sick today, and Rusty the car doctor might have to put it out of it's misery. Unless I want to buy it a shiny new engine.

Uh oh.

I drive a lot. I commute about 50 miles every day to work. I like having good gas mileage. I drive over the mountains a couple times every week. I drive to Los Angeles. The Central Valley. Northern California. A lot. Always with dogs. And their dog crates. And lots of stuff. So much stuff. I like having some room in there. Sometimes with one of Gary's bikes on top. I like having 4WD for some of the bumpy, gravely rainy places we go. Many days I am gone from my house house for 14 hour days. It's nice to have a car house that you love on days that like. My car is a pretty important piece of my life. I didn't even realize how much until it suddenly expired.

What car do you like, friends of Team Small Dog? And do you think Team Small Dog would like one?

I may be selling A LOT of drawings coming up. Shirts. Who knows what else. A bake sale? We gots to get mobile again!


corinne said...

I drive a 2-wheel drive 2005 CRV and I love it. If I were replacing it right now, I'd get a Toyota Rav 4. It has more room than the current CRV. Of course, I have 2 (hopefully soon to be 3) Aussies and you have 3 small dogs, so maybe the little space difference isn't so important.

Elayne said...

I love my Honda Element. I can fit a husband, 3 large-ish dogs, 2 bikes, an EZ-Up and all the crap you need for an agility trial and a week of vacation. I even came home from Nationals one year with a pair of collapsible jumps on top of all else. I get 23-25 mpg on average though sometimes as low as 21 if I'm going 75 mph on the highway. The high profile causes bad wind resistance that's made worse at high speeds.

It doesn't have the high clearance of an SUV so you can't take it off-road on serious 4WD roads but it does have AWD and it's been great for me on steep rutted, rocky dirt roads that I take to get to trail heads or people's houses in the mountains.

No carpet and stain resistant seats so it's great for wet, muddy, sandy dogs.

Though if I was worried about gas mileage and had small dogs like yours I'd look at a Honda Fit.

Liz said...

We have a 2005 VW Jetta TDI Wagon, which I "imported" from Utah when I moved back home, it rocks my world. The only thing that could make it more perfect would be if it was AWD. You could get 3 small/med dog crates in the back with the seats down, but that wouldnt leave a ton of room for other stuff.

Its a diesel, so I like to brag about the gas mileage--low 30s around town and up to 40 on the hwy. I take okay care of it so it will prob be around for a lot longer, so I havent even looked at other cars. Maybe if I could find a Passat TDI wagon? with AWD? That would be my next choice, if I could find one. The TDIs are elusive here in CA though not as bad as they used to be.

I bought it with the intention of running it on biodiesel, but those damn stations are so few and far between I still never have 5 years later...

My horse training BFF has an Element too, she loves hers as well.

Anonymous said...

I have a Toyota Matrix. With organized packing, I can take my 2 small dogs in crates plus all the stuff needed for an agility trial (EZ-up, chairs, tarps, etc.) plus 1 passenger. It gets around 30 mpg. It's on a car (corolla), not truck, base so can handle dirt roads but doesn't have great clearance and can't really go off road. I like it; it's comfortable and quiet.


vici whisner said...

Honda Element. You can get them used as well as new. My understanding is 2011 will be the last year for the toaster, but I don't know if that is true.

I have tried alot of vehicles. I LOVE my Element.
-no carpet...love the rubber mats and floor boards
-took out the seats and I can fit 2 medium crates (small BC size) and one large crate, all my trial gear (canopy, xpens, etc)
-if no dogs it fits home improvement supplies (dry wall, molding, etc)
-easy care
-runs well
-no frills but still feels like a good vehicle
-ok gas
-I have the 2 wheel drive and it has not let me down yet
-stain resistant seats
-dogs love it

Hope this helps. Did I say, that I love my car!

Monica Marley's Mom said...

I have a 2008 Toyota RAV4 4WD and I totally love it. On our last road trip I discovered it fits 4 large adults, 2 small dogs and 1 giant dog and still has room for stuff.

On a day to day basis It drives smoothly and has a ton of places to store stuff.

Now if only I could figure out how 1 small dog takes up so much space?

Elf said...

I hate when that happens! I like my Toyota Sienna. If I pull out the crates, I can sleep in the back very comfortably. If the weather's nice I can leave the doors open a few inches and leave the crates in and still sleep in the back. Mileage on mostly freeways (which is about all I do, no commute) is maybe 25 mpg. Bought it used at a huge discount from new and it's lasted from about 20K miles to now, 150Kish with no major problems. Good cup holder capacity. I've taken two people, 4 dogs (3 BCs and Tika) in their crates and all their gear to nationals. Nice built-in car-top carrier that lots of things have fit on, plus I just recently brought home a 20' extension ladder that fit inside mostly, the back door open just a little bit. But as others note maybe you don't need quite as much for small dogs as for bigger ones. I bought excellent sturdy matchin seat covers for the fabric seats; I think from a site that caters to dog owners and I probably have hte URL around here somewhere. Not 4WD, though; not suer whether it comes with that option.

Unknown said...

I have a 2006 Subaru Forester. I love it. AWD and 26-28 MPG. Before that I had a Toyota Matrix, better MPG (low 30s) but not enough room, I only kept it for a year. Before that was a 4Runner, enough room...crappy MPG, but I drove it for 200K plus before I sold it. The Subaru Forester is a keeper, I will drive it until the wheels fall off. It's a fun car to drive too.

agilityfoot said...

Dog friendly cars

The Element looks appealing.

ViewFr4Inch said...

I have a Hyundai Tucson. Not the most glamorous, but it offers a nice sized space for trialing with my small dogs. I have fit three papillons and a yorkie, plus two agility ladies.
Plus lots of agility stuff, and we are not the type of ladies to scrimp when it comes to packing agility lady gear.

Also hyundai vehicles are developing a reputation for reliability that is edging up to Honda and Toyota at a lower price. Nissan vehicles would be similar in terms of maximizing your cost/value ratio.

Also recommend using Internet car buyer tools such as those found on aol.com and cars.com. You can input the features, years and mileage you want and search available vehicles in within a distance you select.

What I did was look for vehicles of a certain brand and model of a recent year with very low miles.

That way, you can find a next to new vehicle for thousands less. A co worker just bought a next to new 2008 ford Flex all tricked out with giant sun roof, leather etc, this way and I totally thought it was brand new.

Great vehicle, btw. I used to work in car advertising in a former life and Ford and Buick were the American brands that were really coming up in quality.

Let us all know what you come up with for your next car/home.

Ariel said...

Up here in Oregon, we like our subaru wagons. Mine got sick on the way home from Power Paws camp, but it was a minor illness. All better now.

Leanne said...

I have a Renault Clio, no back seats and a beautiful custom fitted cage means I fit 1 giant collie, 1 medium collie, and a bitchy crossbreed in there. Roof box on top during the summer solves space issues! Fab mpg, of course, as it's twee!

But you might get squashed in it if you tried to drive it in America, you all seem to have enormous small-car-eating trucks. (Am I allowed to say that?)

Anonymous said...

I have an element and agree it's a great dog vehicle, but I've had a yearning for the new ford transit connect.

Jen Lindsay said...

I love my 2009 Jetta Sportwagen. Easily fits three small dogs in crates buckled in, my large canopy, cart, mat, and other trial paraphernalia. I've actually had people comment at dog trials when I'm unloading that they couldn't believe how much I could fit in that car. Gets decent mileage, is easy to see out of (unlike the Toyota Matrix & Pontiac Vibe) and you get a lot of car for your $ - I couldn't afford the TDI version, but I wish I could have. You probably also should look at the Subaru Forester/Outback. My mom has a new Forester - you can fit a lot in, but I don't really like driving it. I've heard the Element is a very uncomfortable ride, but have not driven it. I liked the new CRV when I test drove, but decided on the Jetta sportwagen instead.

team small dog said...

Yes, here in American we tend to favor those little car crushing big trucks! Although when the gas prices went to a million dollars per gallon last year we started to favor smaller ones. We're fickle here in America.

I think what my car doctor is going to do is rebuild just part of the engine with a valve job and give me a little bit longer with my beloved car house so I can figure out the next car. So hopefully that works for a while, it is a much smaller bucket of money than the new engine or the whole new car, although new car looms heavy on the horizon. This gives me lots of good cars to think about and sit in next time I see all of you and your various cars!

Thanks everybody! What a great expert team!

Alaska said...

Element all the way. I got the AWD version, put an Ecamper on it, and now I have a car that can go almost anywhere, haul almost anything, sleep me and my dogs inside without having to move my stuff, is one of the safest cars on the road, and gets 23 mpg. I don't know any other way to combine all those things in one vehicle.

Ecamper: http://www.ursaminorvehicles.com/

Amis said...

LOVE my Element! Here in Nebraska when we get awesome blizzards, it handles great in the snow! No carpeting, I can haul everything from dogs, to bikes standing upright, snowblowers and flat screen TVs for my loser friends! It's not a smooth ride by any means, but it gets the job done! Cleans up quick n easy and I gotta love the lime green color!