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Touring Musician needs a new ride, suggestions?

Hey guys,
So my wife is a touring musician, and her 2001 Ford Explorer is about to hit 400,000 miles, and the old gal is gettin a little tired (my wife informs me that I’d better make the distinction I’m talking about the Explorer, not the Wife there…)
Neither of us has been car shopping in over a decade, and only have kind of a basic idea about cars, so we’re looking for suggestions for things to research.
We’d like something around the same size as her explorer, maybe a little smaller (we looked at a Ford Edge today) but with better gas mileage for certain and full time all wheel drive like my Vibe (which is too small for when we’ve got the whole band) if we can get it- though anything that does well in all weather conditions, and won’t get easily stuck in a muddy festival site would be just fine. (as we’re both short, something that you can see over the hood without having to hug the steering wheel would be good as well lol)
Any thoughts on the subject?
Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Chevy Equinox might fill the bill.

Look at the Subaru Forester.

400k … wow! Any hints on how you got it to run that many miles?

faith, trust, and pixie dust I’m pretty sure :wink:
(and my wife is real good about regular maintenance)

  1. get a Consumer Reports New Car Preview at the local bookstore.
  2. test drive all those that look interesting.

New or used? How much do you want to spend? The Toyota Sienna is still available with AWD, and has been for several years if you want a used van. SUVs can’t come close to the space for people and cargo offered in a minivan.

How much gear do you tote ?
Inside the vehicle or a trailer ?

As my dad ( 86 yrs ) and I ( 60 yrs ) get older it gets harder ( or less desireable ) to do all the lifting that we have for all these years. Today I just hefted my guitar, amp and 4x12 speaker cabinet up into my 08 Expedition. Seems it’s getting higher every weekend.
Dad is looking for an easier way to load/unload his 1955 Epiphone bass fiddle into hi 07 Focus.

Consider all these other factors when vehicle shopping.
Space, towing and weight capacity, accessability, and . . for the all weather aspect shop carefully for the right . . tires .

Yet the minivan still sounds good for interior space and lower deck loadability.

new or used doesn’t much matter- 20 or less would be nice for a pricerange but that’s not hard and fast.
As far as gear, full band is pa, 2 guitars, a fiddle and a cello (in a roof box fortunately) plus all the Stuff. 4 people, in car. I prefer not to have to have gear packed on top of me (which has happened, and wasn’t pleasant)
Usually on long tours it the two of us in the Explorer, or short ones in the Vibe, and we’re loaded enough that we can’t see out the back.

With that much gear, a minivan, or a full van seems the best.

that is indeed on our list, though my wife doesn’t like them.

Actually I rented a Jeep Renegade and it was kind of fun. A little slow on the take off and smaller but reasonably cheap and think they can come with 4wd. Otherwise I think everyone will say Honda or Toyota.

Renegade? Tiny!

If a Forester isn’t big enough how about an Outback? A new Explorer would be bigger, maybe a bit better mpgs.

One of the usual lurkers on this board ferries his chamber orchestra around in a Sienna minivan.

At $20,000, you are looking at a used vehicle. The Chevy Equinox is on the large end of the mid-size SUVs, and you can get it with AWD. The AWD Sienna is still a good bet. Every auto purchase is a compromise. In this case, your wife will have to decide whether her dislike for minivans outweighs their significantly higher suitability for transporting instruments and people to the next gig.

This is the second thread I have seen recently where the wife did not like minivans. It just seems that with the sliding side doors and rear lift door it would be so much easier to load and unload bulky items. If the vehicle is to be used for your income what works best should be first on your list not what you wish you had.
We have a friend who has an Odyssey (HONDA) and with kids and scout troops just don’t even try to take her van away.

We have had a few minivans, none now, but they were fine.

Sorry, a bit out of it, don’t get that joke at all.

Many full size work vans on CL for $1500. V8, solid trans. Full frame. What’s too go wrong? $1500 new trans? Still a great hauler.

I’m the lurker on this board that ferries a chamber orchestra around in a Sienna minivan. In my case, I never know what musicians and instruments I need to transport. I may have a string bass. Often, there are a couple of cellists. I also play in a community band. There are a group of us that make the 15 mile trip and back. We have three horns, a bass clarinet, and a tuba, five passengers, and for a performance we have to take five music stands and five folding chairs as well. With careful packing and folding down part of the rear seat, we all fit in. In the case of the OP, if she isn’t transporting other people and not carrying a variety of instruments, then a minivan, while useful, is not essential. We occasionally have a composition we play in the chamber orchestra that requires a harp. The harpist has a Taurus wagon to get the harp and herself to the gig. I helped our concertmaster out when he gave a recital of baroque music and had a harpsichord accompanist. I was able to fit the harpsichord in the Sienna. For our last concert with the chamber orchestra, I moved three timpani to and from the concert site. However, if it was just me and my Feench horn and I wasn’t ferrying others I would have a Mazda Miata.

Joke: It’s the little guy, accountant type that has the mini van. The other hero types have more macho vehicles. That’s the way I see it anyway.