Best small car to put bikes inside?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby CJ » 31 Jan 2013, 2:15pm

My daughter just passed her test and got a new job (hooray) so now wants and can afford to insure a motor - but only a small one. She wants to be able to put two mid-sized TOURING bikes inside it (without removing mudgaurds and rear carriers, just wheels).

I'm told the Fiat Panda is a possibility. But is it REALLY? With guards and rear carriers remember.

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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby Si » 31 Jan 2013, 2:24pm

Depends if she is looking for old or new? If after cheap and old then I'd go for a Pug 106 diesel. I could get my tourer (galaxy with guards and rear rack) in the back with only the front wheel removed. Insurance was grp (in old money), and it'd do easily over 60 miles to the gallon on a clear motorway...but of course if it's an old one then this would depend upon how well it's been maintained.

Mine was reliable, cheap to run and comfortable to drive.

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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby Mick F » 31 Jan 2013, 2:36pm

Has she thought about a small van?
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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby freeflow » 31 Jan 2013, 2:57pm

citroen zsara picassa. Very cheap, economical and reliable if you look at 2006 models onward. recently bought a immaculate 1.6 diesel for £4000 which easily takes my bike with wheels on (back seats down). OK its not a small car, but if you were looking at small car as being affardable then look no more. currently averaging about 60 mpg.

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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby meic » 31 Jan 2013, 3:08pm

I guess for somebody who has just passed their test, the word small may be more to do with its insurance group. ... tate-2000/

That is on a scale of 1 to 50. For young and new drivers the insurance group is possibly the most important thing to consider.

You could have a large car like a Passat Estate for a similar group. So long as you pick a boring one. ... tate-1988/
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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby tatanab » 31 Jan 2013, 3:12pm

Honda Jazz. Low insurance group, 50+mpg, seats fold to give a flat platform. Need to remove front wheel just as in any small or even medium sized car. If the saddle height is low enough you may even be able to stand the bike upright - hence carry two or more.

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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby stewartpratt » 31 Jan 2013, 3:26pm

I have a Honda Jazz, and bike lugging was one of the criteria when I bought it. Bike loading options that I've used are as follows:

1. a 63cm drop-bar bike in the boot, wheels off but seat in (leaves 5 seats plus a little boot space)
2. 2-3 bikes upright down the side; front wheels out, saddles and rear wheels in for small bikes and out for large ones (leaves 3-4 seats plus half the boot)
3. 5 bikes upright in the back; most wheels and saddles out (leaves 2 seats) - I still had space for bags down the side; a 6th bike would certainly be possible
4. the tandem (!) upright down the passenger side, wheels and front saddle off; leaves 2 seats (line astern) and loads of boot space

And I've got a rear back that carries another two.

Racks aren't a massive issue but mudguards (especially front ones) are always going to be a bit of a problem unless you can get the bike in the rear fully flat on its side (ie handlebars unturned) - and for that you'll be wanting a conventional estate.

I've had mine 9 years now (from new), it's a truly fantastic car. I've squeezed 57mpg average across a full tank on rural roads, down to about 45 for urban/motorway. In 90k miles the only thing to go wrong (touch wood) has been that the bonnet catch got stuck. The back seats go up and down in seconds, it's cheap enough to insure and tax, and whilst it won't win any races it's nice to drive.
Last edited by stewartpratt on 31 Jan 2013, 4:09pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby thirdcrank » 31 Jan 2013, 4:00pm

Assuming you want secondhand and assuming you can find the right one, the previous model of Citroën Berlingo / Peugeot Partner may be worth a look.

I had one from new and it was nothing but trouble but others on here swear by them (and swear at me whenever I say anything negative.)

I'd caution against vans. Any tax advantage is long gone - anybody who can't get the VAT back is paying the same for a van as for a car. Most makes and models of van are not made to last, especially in the anti-corrosion department because commercial users tend to run them into the ground in a couple of years and then bin them. The same effect means that s/h vans are generally cream crackered when disposed of.

The Berlingo / Partner, are unusual in that as vans, they are largely driven by wannabe F1 drivers in rigger boots, but in the "estate car" verison (ie van with windows and seats) they are dodderyoldgitmobile of the Millennium. There are plenty of s/h examples in pride and joy condition after years of use. The anticorrosion treatment seems good.

They have bags of room and even more if you take out the back seats (unfortunately held in with bolts rather than some q/r but still easy to remove.)

Finally, one reason for their popularity was that the French govt seemed to use a large part of the CAP fund to subsidise their price.

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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby Swallow » 31 Jan 2013, 4:45pm

I have a Skoda Fabia estate, lovely little car with loads of room for two bikes with wheels on
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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 31 Jan 2013, 5:01pm

Car derived van, Renault Kangoo deisel, Knock spots off the rest.
Drivability, have you ever driven a woolie partner.
Not sure its big enough :?:
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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby mrjemm » 31 Jan 2013, 5:13pm

I'll vouch for both the panda and the blingo as we have both and love them both. Love cars?! Well, ok, they are cars, but brill ones. I'm rubbish at getting bikes in, so got a towbar rack for the blingo, and a roof carrier for the panda, but Madame seems to have the knack and can get them inside, even the panda. Not sure if she's done both (700c tourers), but think so.

The bling is fairly big though, albeit not as big as you imagine, just tall. Mine is 2l hdi, so a bit thirsty compared to the panda, which is 1.3 (1.4?) diesel and runs forever on a thimbleful.

Both are very easy and fun to drive- really. And I've driven many cars, albeit 'normal' ones- not prestige stuff.

Another argument against a van is difficulty in taking stuff to the tip, sorry, recycling centre, where vans need special permits, at least around our way.

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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby reohn2 » 31 Jan 2013, 5:16pm

Car derived van, Renault Kangoo deisel, Knock spots off the rest.
Drivability, have you ever driven a woolie partner.
Not sure its big enough :?:

Could you decipher that please :?
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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby Brucey » 31 Jan 2013, 5:22pm

CJ, is said daughter thinking of new or SH? I agree insurance group is a major problem for most younger drivers. What kind of budget/group is required?

A friend had a Pug 106 and it was larger inside than I expected. But two touring bikes? Hmmm. One MTB looked a tight squeeze with the front wheel removed.

Years ago I had a small car and needed to go places most weekends with my bikes. I could fit the bikes in the back without too much difficulty provided I took the front wheels out, but they certainly packed in rather better with all the clutter removed from them. It also meant they would fit in the back, with the seats up, which meant that they could be covered over and not be such a temptation to thieves. I never felt happy (and still don't to this day) parking in a motorway services (say) leaving bikes on show in the back.

I have found that the 'front wheel out, front mudguard still on' approach is not very reliable; the usual result is that the front mudguard gets bent or broken after a few goes.

To make life easier, I fitted my mudguards etc with QD fittings, which made refitting them a one-minute, tool-free job. I used captive bolts and wing nuts then, but I have ideas on how to do it somewhat better than that these days.


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Re: Best small car to put bikes inside?

Postby snibgo » 31 Jan 2013, 5:27pm

An ancient Land Rover ambulance, of course. Heaps of room and cheap as chips, except for the gallons per mile.

I currently have a Toyota Corolla. The bike goes in, with the front wheel off. The car has 189,000 miles on the clock, and still going strong.