My perfect daily driver

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
This morning I was thinking of what would be the perfect commuter vehicle for my purposes. Suddenly I had an epiphany. Before I explain the perfect new vehicle, let me explain the criteria.

1. Reasonable fuel mileage. To me this is roughly 30mpg average.
2. Must be capable of being a year round, all-weather vehicle, including unplowed dirt roads.
3. Price. Needs to be in the econo range, preferably under 20K
4. Utility. I don't plan on hauling or towing with this vehicle, but I need to be able to throw some tools in from time to time and not have it be a complete pain to work out of.

Given those criteria, most everything on the road nowadays is out. Several smaller cars, including the Sonic hatch meet 1,3,and 4, but they all sit so low to the ground, I run into serious issues in snow covered roads. That sucks. Almost all the utility based vehicles that are capable of traversing snowy roads are either uber-expensive, or gas hogs. So here is my idea, stick with me, its a little crazy, but would be a load of fun. Also keep in mind, I'm trying for cheap, so as much as possible needs to carry over from shelf GM parts

I call it the 2015 Chevrolet Animal. Start with a Sonic hatchback. Lift it 4 inches, and make it AWD. Stock rubber is 195/65/15. Replace that with 235/75/15 (basic small pickup tires) with some decent grip. Not a big mud tire, just a reasonably capable tire. Now chop the hatch off behind the front doors, and replace it with a small 4-6 foot pickup bed, extending only a foot beyond the rear tires. Interior can still be from the Sonic, as can the 1.4L turbo 4 cylinder. What you have now is a very small short wheelbase pickup. Factory Sonics have 4.9" ground clearance. The lift plus tires would lift it approx 6 inches total, giving 10.9" ground clearance. Our 360s are 7.9". Given AWD and its light weight, it would be a blast to drive, and with that short wheel base, it should be able to scramble over and through most anything. It wouldn't be a powerhouse, the 1.4 turbo is roughly 180hp, but I think for its weight, it would be fine. It would also be equipped with the bar in the bed behind the cab for roof lights, as well as a small push bar/skid plate in front.

I think given that most of this car already exists starting in the 12-13K range, I think with the addition of AWD, this could still be sold under 20K

I will follow with a sketch in the next day or two of what this beast would look like just for fun.

Let me know what you think of my insanity/idea
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
ksimm92 said:
what if you took a Subaru Baja and lifted it? :undecided: http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x90/Buck_58/DSCN0816.jpg

since it already has a small bed, AWD, and comes with a 2.4L. Might be easier to just put a lift on there. :twocents:

I love the Baja, in fact if I went with an existing car, that'd be it, however they haven't been made in almost 10 years. This would be a concept for a new vehicle to fill a similar niche as the Baja. They also started a little over 22K and up, and even today, because they are Subaru, they still hold their value very well.

Just a note for others reading, so there is no mistake. This isn't something I would want to build myself from a base Sonic, I have not even the beginning of the know-how for that, this is something I want Chevy to build.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
SBUBandit said:
Factory Sonics have 4.9" ground clearance. The lift plus tires would lift it approx 6 inches total, giving 10.9" ground clearance.
Depends on what kind of lift because lift does not necessary equate equally to ground clearance. a solid axle lift with same size tires gives zero ground clearance improvement. The ground clearance only improves by larger tires.


SBUBandit said:
I think given that most of this car already exists starting in the 12-13K range, I think with the addition of AWD, this could still be sold under 20K
Sonics are 18K around here, wher can I get one for 12K because I would likely buy one.


SBUBandit said:
Let me know what you think of my insanity/idea
I think the concept has been tried several times over the years and no one buys them. Look at the

Subaru Brat

PTDC0226.jpg


Dodge Rampage

rampage.jpg


Sounds great but they just do not work here.
 

ksimm92

Member
Apr 28, 2012
166
SBUBandit said:
I love the Baja, in fact if I went with an existing car, that'd be it, however they haven't been made in almost 10 years. This would be a concept for a new vehicle to fill a similar niche as the Baja. They also started a little over 22K and up, and even today, because they are Subaru, they still hold their value very well.

yeah, i know they stopped making them in 2006. I did however see some used 2006's in my area for around 16k.

HARDTRAILZ said:
I think the concept has been tried several times over the years and no one buys them. Look at the

Subaru Brat

PTDC0226.jpg


Dodge Rampage

rampage.jpg


Sounds great but they just do not work here.

I never even really thought about that, your right it has been done be several manufactures. :crazy: also the Chevy El Camino.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
I agree they have been tried with little success in the past, however I do think if done properly it would have a chance. The Brat was an imported vehicle from a brand with a miniscule market share, in a time before Imports were everywhere. They stopped importing in '87. Same for the VW Rabbit pickup. The Dodge Rampage and its twin Plymouth Scamp I discount to some extent, as they don't meet my requirement of being a year round all weather vehicle without some work. They ride just as low as the K-cars they are based on.

Really the Baja was the only serious and recent attempt at a similar type vehicle to hit the states. Like I said, if it weren't for the residual value of Subarus in general, I'd be driving a Baja right now. I looked a few minutes ago, and there are 2 for sale within 50 miles of me, one has almost 200K on it, the other has 75K, and a price tag over 17K. That's alot of coin for an 8 year old car with 75K miles.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
Why not just buy a base small pickup. Have a frame in case you get stuck and need a yank, I would hate to see what was left of a sonic after being buried in mud and pulled out. My buddy had a little car like that and one slide into the interstate median and the car was junk even though there was not a scratch on it.
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
I figure in your case you need a real vehicle.......
I looked at the Bajas and while they are kind of neat they are pricey.
To get your clearance I think you'll need either a small pickup or a small SUV or a lifted car.
I don't deal with a lot of snow but would a 2wd with a locker work? That would really open up your options in the small pickup world.
I understand sometimes lockers can be tricky in snow.It might be you get a small pickup and even put a select-able locker in it.
Seems that most of the small pickups (Rangers,S10 etc) get low 20s. I hear the Tacomas get good gas mileage. I expect a Tacoma with some miles on it and a locker would do the trick.

You could also go with something like an AWD Equinox.


Another thought following the Baja train of thought, maybe an AWD Subaru Outback. They have lift options available and don't seem to be as pricey as the Baja. You could get a cargo mat for the rear and working out of one would be no different than an SUV.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
navigator said:
You could also go with something like an AWD Equinox.

This is probably where I will aim with my next daily driver. Looks like the ground clearance on them is pretty close to the TBs and with some winter tires it would be more than capable, even the FWD version would be pretty good all but maybe one day a year.

As for my Chevy Animal, this is more just for fun, and to see what it would look like. I highly doubt Chevy would build something like this, but it would be ideal for my particular purpose. I'll try to get my sketch done tonight and post it tomorrow if possible.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Ok, finished my sketch. I think it came out about how i wanted, so here you go.

View attachment 22437
 

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Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
SBUBandit said:
Ok, finished my sketch. I think it came out about how i wanted, so here you go.

View attachment 8779

Ok I think two weeks ago, Yahoo had an article on cars you can't buy in the US and one looked just like your drawing. The new Trailblazer was in the article as well.
 

RZAwora

Member
Apr 15, 2012
196
I like the drawing, you did a pretty good job. However, it looks like it should be a Nissan or Toyota... :undecided:
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Jkust said:
Ok I think two weeks ago, Yahoo had an article on cars you can't buy in the US and one looked just like your drawing. The new Trailblazer was in the article as well.

Yeah, that was the Holden Ute. Much bigger than my concept, and 35-40K. The Ute is a beast, available with the 6.0L V8. More of a pavement pounder though

My concept does look alot like the new design of the Colorado coming next year or whenever, just alot smaller. I wish the scale came out better in my drawing, but this is the same wheelbase as the Sonic
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Razorback said:
Cool truck, the front end looks like our new chevy cruze.

This one is based on the Sonic, but I actually did consider using the Cruze as the base. that would look pretty slick too.

been a long time since I sketched a car, but I used to do tons of them. Forgot how much I enjoyed it. Might have to do a few more some time.
 

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