Advice: best car/van for paddling?

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ajm
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Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by ajm »

I recently bought a car, a 9 year old Ford Focus C-Max 1.6l petrol.

Last weekend I drove 280 miles with two boats on the roof (either two big creekers, or a creeker and a play boat), two people in the car (including myself) and all our kit. Most of the driving was on the motorway, usually around 70mph. I near enough filled the tank (just over £60 at £1.35 a litre) and I managed to get back home with about 20 miles to spare. I droppers the speed for the last 50 miles of the journey to around 60mph and the fuel economy improved, but it was still getting around 29mpg.

Driving around the houses for much of this week £10/7.4l of petrol has got me 56.4 miles, which is just under 35mpg.

What sort of MPG do you get with your car with boats on? Or with your van with boats inside or on the roof?

Is it time to get a new(er) car or is this simply the cost of driving, which I'm not used to!

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Poke
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Poke »

I reckon I get ~40+mpg on a boating trip with a similar amount of kit. 2.2 TDiesel vectra estate, X-reg, so ~13 years old, not driving particularly slowly...

Pretty happy with that given the age of car and size of engine.

A brand new car you might get ~60mpg.

I've found that putting boats on the roof doesn't affect the fuel ecomomy that much, but bikes on the roof destroys it...
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mpooleman
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by mpooleman »

Diesels generally better than petrols with boats on the roof in my experience, something to do with torque at lower revs or something??

Ive got 1.6tdci focus estate:
-No boats but loaded up going to south of france with 3 ppl got 70mpg @ 65mph
-4 boats 3 people fully loaded going to austria got 38mpg @ 95mph
-2 boats 2 people normally gets about 50mpg @ 80mph

If you want to camp in it get a van, otherwise get a decent diesel estate car in my opinion. Very much depends how you drive it but in your situation at 70mph I reckon you should be looking at getting at least 45 out of a decent estate.
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by garya »

No unfortunately its simply the cost of driving.

Speed and driving style helps economy a lot. I use a manual with cruise control which is great on long journeys especially on the motorway and stick to 60mph. With 4 boats on the roof and 4 passengers with kit I can still get 35mpg out of a Big Pathfinder 4x4. Dropping to 60mph really makes a difference and faster drivers only seem to save 20 mins on the overall time from London to north wales.

Driving at night or very early morning also means the roads are clearer which helps with timings and fuel economy.

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Adrian Cooper »

mpooleman wrote:-No boats but loaded up going to south of france with 3 ppl got 70mpg @ 65mph
-4 boats 3 people fully loaded going to austria got 38mpg @ 95mph
-2 boats 2 people normally gets about 50mpg @ 80mph
My statistical analysis determines that you drive faster the more boats you are carrying and that the consumption is as much related to your speed as it is to the number of boats carried.

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by TwoHats »

I have a VW Passat TDI with cruise control. I've done St Davids and home (700 ish miles) on one tank with two boats on the roof.
Recently did a week in Austria on 5 tanks of fuel. Great car.
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by axeman »

Our new (ish ) 2000 honda civic estate 1600 vtec mangaed 30 mpg with 5 boats and paddles on the roof and 5 people with kit , on the m4 to cardiff . it does about 40mpg with 2 people and 3 boats on the usual weekend run to bala from south wales . it's also big enough for a giant like me and the girlfriend to sleep in the back of comfortably .

we used to have a 1L 1990 vw polo breadvan that managed an amazing 15 mpg tops with 2 boats on ! but it did have loads of room to camp in . and attracted loads of positive attention :)

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Lancs_lad »

Citroen c5 estate 2.0 Hdi. I get on average about 65 miles per £10. I might drop this to 60 miles if carrying boats. I could probably get more if I drove at 60 mph on motorways, but that would be soul distressingly boring!!!

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by yabbadabba »

Van - LDV Convoy 400
Engine - 2.4 Turbo Diesel
Van kitted out as a full camper.

Last years trip around Cornwall covered over 600 miles.
Including flying down the A30 and motorways at an average of 70mph then lots of single track, uphill & downhill work exploring Cornwall.

Worked out the fuel and the van gave 32.5 MPG.

To me that sounds pretty awesome compared to some of the figures given so far.

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by 66quinny66 »

Nissan Navara pick up (auto). Seems to be 29mpg with or without boats and passengers. It is quite handy for shortish shuttles though ;)

AHPP
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by AHPP »

The best thing I did for my driving, my fuel economy and the ease and pleasure of going boating was buying a van. Nothing special; a 2001 SWB low roof Transit with very modest stealth camper fitments (a bit of plywood and carpet). It's got whatever bog standard diesel engine they put in them at that time (mine being chipped for the lowest power (75PS) in the range) and one of the lowest axle ratios available. This means not much grunt but low rev cruising.

Driving a van makes you a far better driver all round. Coming from driving a car, you're acutely aware of your size, sweep, overhang and lack of visibility. This makes you plan everything in advance and drive carefully (slowly), which is in turn good for fuel. It's also made me a boring bastard (because that's what you need to be to save fuel). I'm not quite at they hypermiling, taping panel gaps up stage but I do keep a spreadsheet of fills and mileage.

My recent motoring:
MPG - Notes
33.8 - All local journeys under 10 miles. Being purposefully a bit feckless to establish a benchmark. Bars but only a few miles with boats.
44.1 - Same local journeys but trying to drive super efficiently. Bars but only a few miles with boats.
40.0 - 2 open boats. A lot of motorway and then bimbling through the North Pennines sightseeing.
35.3 - 2 open boats. Driving around the Lake District (including Honister and Hardknott passes and other very small roads), some motorway and then some fairly average country lanes.
39.1 - 2 open boats. Almost all a motorway. Includes a traffic jam.
35.7 - 2 open boats. Lots of 15 mile duel carriageway blasts, some town and a long motorway run.


I cruise between an indicated 52 and 57MPH (GPS tells me that indicated 52MPH is actually 49MPH). Just drive like you're carrying loose eggs and nitroglycerine and your fuel economy will get better.
As an aside, I swear the boats (open canoes, gunwales down) actually help the aerodynamics. The bars are very square and you can hear and feel them at 50MPH with nothing on them. Put boats on and there's no real noise until 60/65MPH ish. I'd be interested to know how much more drag kayaks on edge give than open canoes gunwales down - kayaks certainly look more draggy in that orientation to me. You can put kayaks inside of course.

Anyway, having a van for boating is bloody great. Loads of space for stuff, no paying for accommodation, nice place to sit and have a cup of tea. Great incentive to get away more.
Downsides are 3 seats and expensive commercial insurance unless you start modifying and maybe going the motor caravan reclassification route.


Happy motoring!

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by AHPP »

To summarise, drive slowly and you'll get better fuel economy. Imagine that...

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mpooleman
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by mpooleman »

Adrian Cooper wrote:
mpooleman wrote:-No boats but loaded up going to south of france with 3 ppl got 70mpg @ 65mph
-4 boats 3 people fully loaded going to austria got 38mpg @ 95mph
-2 boats 2 people normally gets about 50mpg @ 80mph
My statistical analysis determines that you drive faster the more boats you are carrying and that the consumption is as much related to your speed as it is to the number of boats carried.

Haha looks that way. These are just a couple of recent examples I've had, other factors determining how fast I decided to drive. Driving slower makes a massive difference but driving long distances with more people to split the fuel money means mpg isn't always the biggest factor for me.
Mark Pooleman

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Jwprobinson »

My 2008 Mondeo Esatate 2.0 TDCI got 44mpg for my two weeks in the french alps averaging the whole trip

Trip down - 4 people 4 creekers ,
While down there due to a breakdown 5 people 6 boats
Journey back - 5 people 4 boats

Have just invested in a trailer and tow bar, so im hoping ill keep fuel above 35mpg but taking many many more boats will up the economy of my mates cars to average out a much cheaper trip for all involved :)
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Jim »

Poke wrote:I reckon I get ~40+mpg on a boating trip with a similar amount of kit. 2.2 TDiesel vectra estate, X-reg, so ~13 years old, not driving particularly slowly...

Pretty happy with that given the age of car and size of engine.

A brand new car you might get ~60mpg.

I've found that putting boats on the roof doesn't affect the fuel ecomomy that much, but bikes on the roof destroys it...
Very similar experience with 2.0l DTI Vectra hatchback, 51 plate, 12 years 206000 miles.
I think I got a little less this weekend using my new boat cradle but that's probably because the uprights and J bars were still fitted to the opposite side with no boat against them to fair them at all.

Without boats I can get around 45mpg (10 miles per l) on a good run, but driving around town takes it way way down. It has a 60l tank although I try not to use the last 10l too often so generally get 450-500 miles out of a tank depending on how low I let it go before filling. Using it in winter for a short commute where I spend as long warming it up as driving it can go down to 200 miles per tank.

I haven't done enough trips in my van to really get a feel for the fuel consumption, I think I was getting around 30mpg out of it, it's a 2.9l turbo diesel with 205000 miles and 17 years old, it's also massive, you would get a lot better from a modern T5 or something, but less room to put boats inside.

My driving terrain is pretty mixed, a lot of my driving is on A-roads rather than motorways so doing 60 rather than 70, trouble is 60 is just about the point where 5th gear becomes useful, but drop below 55 for a hill or bend and you need to go back down to 4th, and the roads here are all hills and bends. I still haven't worked out whether I am better off sticking to 4th for more revs and less strain on the engine, or if I should keep trying to get back into 5th. I thnk the best metric I have come up with though, is that I can do about 8 hours on a tank of diesel. So I can do Kent or Dorset on the motorway, or Carmarthen 50% Motorway 50% cross country, just about on one tank of diesel, filling up is first priority when I get there though! Alternatively I can drive to Wester Ross and back, which is lots fewer miles but takes just as long, and uses a full tank.

Don't forget the cost of owning a car is not just fuel, buying a cheap older car allows one to spread the cost over a longer time, but you do need to be aware that some parts will need replacing - suspension springs and bushes, brake pads and discs/drums, if high mileage maybe the clutch, most petrol cars need timing belts every 60000 or 70000 miles, and don't forget about changing oil and filters at the appropriate intervals.

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RichA
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by RichA »

I just scrapped my old 306 diesel estate. I had done 120k miles with it, and scrapped it at 190k. Commuting (50/50 town motorway) it would average 49/50mpg on every single tank. Fully loaded with people and boats and it would still do 45mpg, whilst not exactly dawdling. An excellent car, and seeing as I picked it up for £1500, did 120k miles and got £180 scrappage, it did me proud.

I've recently 'upgraded' to a V50 1.8 petrol. The same commute and I get 39-42mpg (which is quite good for a petrol I think), but fully loaded it drops down to 30-32mpg straight away. The percentage change for the petrol seems a lot larger than for the diesel.

I think I'll be selling and getting another old diesel. Vectra/Passat/Octavia etc. Cheaper to run, older means it's all mechanical and I can fix that myself, and nowhere near as expensive to buy in the first place as a newer car. As someone else said, you could get a new diesel for lots and lots of money and get 60mpg from it (and all the service bills and DPF/flywheel problems that go with them it seems), or pay about £1-2k and get one that does 50mpg all day long that most people can service themselves.

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Randy Fandango »

I have a Land Rover Discovery TD5 and with 4 boats on the roof driving at 70mph it....
Why am I bothering?? It's not my car's best point :-)
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by AHPP »

You can get 7 people in a Discovery and I reckon 7 kayaks on the roof (3 bars, 4 boats on the front half of the roof in the normal manner and 3 boats biscuit-jointed inbetween the front 4 on the back half). Fuel bill split 7 ways as opposed to 4 ways.

Of course, chances are, that with a Land Rover, you'll only have to buy fuel for half the trip anyway ;-)

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Performance Kayaks »

My 2.0L T5 BiTurbo does 35mpg at 130kph in Europe and 34mpg at 100kph in UK. Masses of power and it doesnt matter how loaded it is either. Usually it's 2 people, 3 boats, 2-4 bikes, camping kit and dog.

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by DaveBland »

Any old Subaru. I'm not even sure you can be considered a 'proper' paddler without one?
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having said that, always ben a bit jealous of my mate Jeff's truck...

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by ajm »

I need a new car!

Thanks for all the advice and Land Rover puns!

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Mal Grey »

My (company) Skoda Octavia 1. TDI always gets better then 50mpg with a canoe on the roof, unless I drive stupidly. On a recent trip to southern France, I averaged 54 mpg with one open canoe on top and a full boot. I actually averaged the same, but on slower roads, with 2 canoes on the roof. Without canoes, its would do 60-65mpg in theory, but I hardly get the chance to test that!

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by freddie »

I think you'll find the best paddle wagon is the Ford Galaxy.

Image

Big enough to get 5 people/boats/kit for a month comfortably, small enough to drive/insure like a car, with good fuel economy.
Or you can take all the seats out, and sleep 2 comfortably (3 if you're friendly) in the back no problems, and still have space for kit. Add on swivel seats and you've got a great little camper.
Ex-police 1.9 TDI, runs reliably and forever, pimping blacked out windows and alloys. What more could anyone desire?
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Poke »

freddie wrote:What more could anyone desire?
A numberplate...


...judging by the picture?
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Mark R
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Mark R »

Debate over:

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;-)
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by davebrads »

No it's not :-)
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Stolen from a friends Facebook page

The only trouble with this van is the paintwork is too nice. Loading up is much quicker if you don't mind people walking on the roof.
it's not a playboat, it's a river runner

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Mark Dixon »

http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/totnes ... 64071/view
Not sure if this will work but worth a look, we went to Treweryn last year and I looked after the boats as there were a lot of thefts at the time, managed 13 in the back of my transit with easecould have done about 5 more inside and loads on the roof. No contest really.
Photo shows them lined out from smallest to largest.
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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Performance Kayaks »

Nice one Mark R, but you are both obviously in excess of 9ft tall!

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Mark R »

Rich, a friend who also owns a Berlingo carries a plastic beer crate with him everywhere, so he can reach the rack; he is Welsh and therefore very short.

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Re: Advice: best car/van for paddling?

Post by Mark Gawler »

Performance Kayaks wrote:Nice one Mark R, but you are both obviously in excess of 9ft tall!
The tall person who put the Diesel on the top is out of shot, Mark is actually quite short, its just an illusion of the camera angle.
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