|MikeCanada ||01-30-2014 11:38 AM |
I strongly recommend you take not just your bass, but all of your "worst case scenario" gear with you when you go car shopping. For me, that included a double bass, an electric bass, a 4x10 cabinet, a stool and a gear bag, and then I evaluated the remaining space to see if I could get passengers, more gear, overnight bags etc. all in there. I looked at almost every car company (available in Canada) with the two requirements that everything fit in it, and after taxes and everything it (new vehicle) stayed under $30 000.
I took all of that gear, and a passenger on my car shopping excursion in a two door Honda Civic. I would walk into most dealerships, explain what I had with me and what I needed for space, and almost every single sales person said "minivan" or "7 passenger" and looked at me like I was nuts when I suggested their small SUV, station wagon, or hatchback. Then I pulled everything out of the Civic and these people who's entire day job rests on knowing vehicles couldn't believe it came out of there.
It isn't about the amount of space, but how it is configured. A lot of small SUV's (Huyndai Santa Fe, Honda CRV, Mazda CX-5, etc.) Have a decent amount of space, but aren't very long. They would be great for hockey bags and suitcases, but not double basses. You can definitely fit basses in all of them, but you end up with an instrument touching the back of the vehicle with the scroll resting on the centre arm rest, diagonally across the whole back of the vehicle seriously eating up any remaining space, or you have to have the front passenger seat forward, with your potential passenger sitting directly behind you. YMMV. My bass isn't small/short, but it isn't a monster 4/4 with a B extension sticking out the top either. Hatchbacks typically have a longer passenger/cargo area than small SUV's, and are fantastic for just a double bass. Since I had a ton of other gear that I could potentially have to take with me, so I wanted more space. You might not.
7 passenger vehicles are either tanks, minivans, or trucks that happen to have seats instead of a bed. If that doesn't bother you, that's your call. I didn't want my first new car to be a minivan, even if the Mazda 5 was trying really hard not to be a van. It drove like one and had sliding doors. Nail. In. Coffin. Likewise, a Truck/El Camino/Ranchero/Sprint/Caballero was out of the question for me. Being in Southern Ontario, even with a cover on it, there was no way I was exposing my bass to the elements like that. If you live in a climate where rain/snow/extreme temperatures aren't as much of a concern, I would still be worried about the safety of the instrument. If you tie it down (which I would recommend inside whatever vehicle you are using) you could be ok, but it wouldn't be my first choice.
I purchased a Volkswagen Golf Wagon. I can fit my double bass, electric bass, 4x10 cabinet, gear bag, over night bag, a front passenger (with slightly reduced leg room) and a rear passenger. Loading and unloading is significantly easier than it was in the Civic, it's great on gas, and still drives like a car. I haven't exactly had the ladies lining up to say "wow, what a sexy car" but once they see how big my instrument is... they start making "bet you wish you played the flute" comments. Not the ones of the euphemism variety.
Sorry for the novel. As has been said, you can get a bass in almost every vehicle, but that might not be your only requirement. If you double on electric, want to travel in one vehicle with a small ensemble, have a frequent passenger, and/or really want it to come in cherry red, you have to take all of those things into consideration as well.
Have fun shopping.