Best cars for mountain bikers

Whether you’re looking to transport a mountain bike in the boot or on the roof, here are the cars that will get you to the best trails

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Sep 17, 2020

If you’re a mountain biker, your car might be of secondary importance to your bike. But unless you’re fortunate enough to live on the doorstep of the country’s best red and black trails, you’re going to need a set of wheels to transport your bike.

The easiest option is to stick a bike rack on your roof or tow bar and head for the hills. Alternatively, some cars are large enough to transport a mountain bike in the boot, although we don’t take any responsibility for the mess this makes of your pristine plastic trims.

To help you avoid all the dramas of trying to squeeze your bike into the boot, or struggle with a roof rack, we've pulled together this list of eight cars that we think are perfect for mountain bikers, with prices that mean you can afford to spend your money on what really matters - your bike.

Whether you fancy something basic that's cheap to run with plenty of space in the boot for your bike, a tough off-roader that can take you deep into the wilderness for the best biking experience, or a tough pick up that you can get filthy and then hose down, there's a car here to suit you.

Best cars for mountain biking

1. Ford Focus Estate

Used deals from £14,500
Monthly finance from £215

Why spend a fortune on a fancy estate car with a posh badge when there's enough space in the back of a Ford Focus Estate to house a mountain bike without removing the wheels? The Focus Estate could be all the estate car you'll ever need and it's pretty decent value, too, if you go for a used one.

The wide boot opening reveals 575 litres of space, but fold the rear seats down and your mountain bike should slide into the cavernous space with ease. You'll have enough free space for your helmet and any other bike paraphernalia as well, and you can hide your dirty gear underneath the boot floor until you get home.

Although the standard Focus Estate is more than capable of fulfilling mountain bike duties, you might want to consider the rugged Active model. The raised ride height and wider track might come in handy when you’re heading for one of those hard-to-reach trails. Sat-nav is standard on Active trim, so you’ll be able to find your way home again at the end of the day - provided you can find your way back to the car, that is.

FORD FOCUS ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Vauxhall Mokka

Used deals from £6,475
Monthly finance from £114

If you want to spend the least amount of money on a car, but you’re after some clever kit for transporting your mountain bike, the old Vauxhall Mokka is worth a look. It might not be particularly exciting, but it’s one of the most affordable cars on the BuyaCar website, and with plenty of models to choose from you'll be spoilt for choice.

When new, the Mokka could be ordered with an integrated 'FlexFix' bike carrier hidden away in the rear bumper, which was ideal for mountain bikers. If you find a Mokka with one of the adapters fitted, you can add a FlexFix carrier extension, which allows the transportation of two additional bikes.

It’s easy to fix and, best of all, the tiltable design allows the boot to be opened without removing the bikes. Note: the two-bike adapter can only be fitted to a Vauxhall Mokka with a factory-fitted FlexFix carrier.

VAUXHALL MOKKA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Skoda Superb Estate

Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £177

If you watched the Tour de France cycle race over recent years, it won’t have escaped your notice that Skoda is heavily involved in the event. The fleet of Skoda Superb Estate support vehicles is a familiar sight at the annual event.

In 2014, Skoda even launched a Superb Tour de France edition, complete with bespoke badges, an internal racking system and waterproof seat covers. But you don’t need the Tour de France edition for your mountain bike (although the seat covers might come in handy).

Fold the rear seats down and it’s possible to load a mountain bike into the back without removing the front wheel or lowering the saddle. Alternatively, a lockable bike carrier is available from Skoda for £110.

SKODA SUPERB ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports

Used deals from £16,995
Monthly finance from £260

In 2019, Toyota teamed up with a well-known bicycle manufacturer to create the Corolla Trek. Based on the Corolla Touring Sports estate car, the Trek features a 20mm rise in ride height, protective body cladding, two-tone textile upholstery and bespoke badges. It certainly looks the part.

We’re not suggesting you buy the Trek version, but the Toyota Corolla Touring Sport is an excellent choice for mountain bikers. The 581-litre boot provides ample space for a mountain bike, or you can put a pair on the roof by using a bike rack.

We’d recommend the optional Essential Protection Pack, which comprises a plastic bumper protection plate, boot liner and full mud flaps set. The Essential Protection+ Pack adds a set of rubber floor mats and aluminium scuff plates.

TOYOTA COROLLA BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volvo XC60

Used deals from £21,490
Monthly finance from £360

You wouldn’t throw yourself down a terrifying black run without some kind of protection. The same principle applies to the car you drive to the mountain bike trail, so you’re going to need something safe. Which is where the Volvo XC60 comes in.

This is one of the safest SUVs you can buy, with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating to its name. With scores of 98% and 95% for adult occupant protection and safety assist technologies, the XC60 is no less terrifying to drive than tackling a blue run on a Sunday morning.

There's a wide range of accessories available for the XC60 to tailor it for use as a transporter for your bike, including a roof-mounted bike carrier for one bike, or tow bar-mounted carriers for two or three bikes. Alternatively, you can order a tow bar cycle pack comprising a retractable tow bar, bike carrier, load compartment mat and front/rear mud flaps.

VOLVO XC60 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Used deals from £21,199
Monthly finance from £326

The Allspace is the Volkswagen Tiguan for those who demand a little more space. Many buyers will choose the Allspace over the standard Tiguan for the seven-seat versatility, but that’s not what makes it suitable for mountain bikers.

It’s 215mm longer than the regular Volkswagen Tiguan, which means you can fit a mountain bike in the back. Simply fold the rear seats by using the levers in the boot, then the bike should slide in. If it’s a tight squeeze, you might need to slide the passenger seat forward.

An optional retractable tow bar is available if you want to carry the bike on the back. Press a button inside the cabin and the tow bar appears from underneath the car. Some models also allow you to open the electric tailgate by waving your foot under the boot.

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN ALLSPACE BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Land Rover Discovery

Used deals from £30,809
Monthly finance from £488

It’s hard to believe that four years have passed since the current Land Rover Discovery was unveiled. This is good news, because it means the highly practical and supremely capable SUV is becoming increasingly affordable. Take a look on the BuyaCar website and you might be surprised to discover that prices have dropped below £30,000.

Predictably, few cars can rival the Discovery when it comes to venturing off the beaten track, so you’ll be able to access those remote and otherwise inaccessible mountain bike trails. On the way back, the standard-fit air suspension will smooth away the long journey home.

If the huge boot space isn’t enough, it’s possible to buy a range of accessories for your Discovery. From a tow bar carrier capable of carrying three bikes, to a choice of roof carriers, you’ll have your Discovery kitted out like a mountain bike support vehicle in no time at all.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Nissan Navara

Used deals from £11,990
Monthly finance from £294

When you stop to think about it, a pick-up makes perfect sense for mountain bikers. These vehicles are built for the tough commercial vehicle market, so they should have little problem coping with a mountain bike or two.

Grab a Double Cab version of the Nissan Navara and you’ll enjoy a pick-up with a car-like cabin, the ability to haul 3.5 tonnes of weight, and a go-anywhere spirit to rival most SUVs. Then there’s the load space at the back, which can be configured in many different ways.

With a load cover on the rear bed it’s possible to mount a couple of bike carriers. Alternatively, you can stick a bike on the roof or on a three-bike carrier that’s attached to the tow bar. Few things look more ‘lifestyle’ than a Navara with a pair of mountain bikes on the back.

NISSAN NAVARA BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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