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Ok obviously the best dive vehicle would be a van with a rack system for diving, but I am talking compact, good on gas and plenty of room/storage. I have been using an older scion xB (my dads) for going to the keys which fits 5-6 tanks, 3 BC's and other basic dive gear, spearguns, and clothes for the keys for the weekend with room for 3 or 4 passengers crammed. Was wondering what other vehicles were like this for room and got about 30mpg.
Im shopping for a new vehicle to hopefully buy at the end of the year and want something that looks decent, the scion is somewhat emberrassing (Im a 25 year old guy) but I know its going to be a hatchback, mini-SUV or a sporty station wagon i end up getting.
I drive an Audi A4 Avant wagon. They don't make them any more, but you can probably find one used. It EASILY accomodates dive gear for two people, including scooters. I get 28+ mpg, and the car is comfortable, low to the ground, and has 4WD.
My husband has a Toyota Tacoma, and if I were going to pick an ideal dive vehicle, I think that would be it. It's a small pickup, getting 25+ mpg. The bed is composite, so it doesn't rust when exposed to salt water. The bed capacity is amazing, and we bought a very cheap aluminum canopy to allow us to lock stuff up. The seats are very comfortable for long distance hauling, and you CAN accomodate four, although the two in the back are going to be lobbying to trade places fairly often.
My friend NW Grateful Diver has a Honda Element. It's also a car with an amazing capacity for dive gear. Three people, and three people's worth of gear for two dives, fit neatly in it. I don't know what mileage Bob gets. The interior has no carpet and can be hosed out. He HAS rusted out a couple of tailgates, though.
I know my dive-mobile does not meet your mileage requirements so I won't suggest it. However whatever you use do get some heavy rubber sheeting, like the EPDM rubber roofing you see on my floor, flopping down over the back bumper. The vehicle is in it's 6th year of mostly salt water dive duty and it shows no signs of it when the rubber is flipped back.
I use a Ford Raptor as my dive vehicle, and love it...but as for economical, with gas heading to $8 per gallon.....I can think of a better direction.
I would choose a small car that I like....this could be a Mini Cooper or maybe even a sport version of a Honda civic..and add a reciever hitch to it, then get a small trailer for your dive gear....When you think about it, espeically for ocean divers, getting salt water on your trailer is way better than getting in your car, or even your truck. You can fit all dive gear into a treiler that is easy to pull for the small car, some people could even park the trailer in their garage with the gear inside it--as a kind of storage locker that you can pull around with you via the small car :-)
With the trailer. maybe 25 mpg...without more like 40 mpg.... My Raptor, driving no faster than 55mph is getting 21 mpg without any accelerations or stop and starts....with "normal driving" it is getting 13 to 16 mpg, which will be more and more ridiculous as we head to $8 per gallon and higher ( like the rest of the world already pays). It's not "if"..it is "when".
It sure as heck ain't a motorcycle (which I have used, just have to rent tanks on site)
If one had the resources I would say some sort of RV. Seeing as that isn't always practical I would have to say just make do with what you have. There will always be some trade offs (mpg vs. room for example)
It was just below freezing and snow was falling steadily. As we stepped toward that portal separating a cold and dreary world from the tranquility and wonder of another dimension teeming with life and color a passer-by shook his head and muttered "crazy". Poor fool. If he only knew. (Airsix)
I'm kinda looking around for similar, but it's a tag-team match in my head between no payment & 14mpg vs. another car note & better fuel economy. So far no payment & higher mpg seems better as I telecommute so the only driving I do is to dive & go to the gym every day.
Anyway, my new car contenders: Honda CRV - Plenty of room, good value, good on gas. No offense to those that have them, but this vehicle is horribly boring to me. It does nothing to excite me at all while driving it.
Mazda3 (hatchback) - I really like this one too, but my buddy has one. It's even the best and fastest color (white). I don't think I can jack his style that much haha
Audi A3 TDI - Handles great, fantastic fuel economy, enough room for two divers' gear. It's pretty freakin small and would be a big change from a Nissan Titan for me...not sure I can do it!
BMW X3 - Handles a lot better than the CRV, typical BMW great feel which, to me, is a good thing. My gf would steal it and I would end up driving her car (not a bad thing either - she has a nice BMW coupe). Good deals out there on CPO vehicles. Fantastic dealership & service here.
Audi Q5 - I really like the Q5, but same deal as the X3 - it would get jacked by the gf for sure.
BMW X5 - Would for sure buy CPO, no way I would buy one new. Unless diesel, would get about the same fuel economy (or lack of!) as my Titan. The diesel is pretty cool, though! Tons of torque and 26mpg hwy...not bad, and I really like the vehicle overall.
BMW X6 - Uh yeah, too much $ for what you get and crappy fuel economy, but I am in love with this vehicle! I wish I had never driven one haha
It is with great interest hat we've watched, over the last year, a baffling trend in Northern California: apparently, the prefered Technical Diver's vehicle is the Prius. Dubs, stages, scooters, X-table and all.
Oh, and a little edit, you might as well buy one new. I looked for some used ones initially, but they hard to find, and nearly as expensive as new ones. People just don't sell them. These cars are known to go well into the 300,000 mileage.