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THe Perfect Harp Car

  • Kirsten
    Kirsten Osborne

    I have been using a Ford Taurus Station wagon for the past four years to transport my harp to gigs.  I have loved the roominess of the car and find it really easy to get my harp in and out, but I hate the actual car.  I am getting ready to look for a new car, any recommendations???  I will be traveling long distances and am looking for something that will get decent gas mileage and will be reliable.


    replies to "THe Perfect Harp Car"
    • Briggsie B.
      Briggsie B. Peawiggle, Esq.

      I love my Outback, but it's a little tricky getting my concert grand in there -- has to go on an angle with the front passenger seat moved pretty far forward. It works. Not hard to get in, but I know for a fact it doesn't slide in as easily as the Taurus because my teacher has the Taurus and she showed me how easily hers goes in. But ooooh I LOVE this car. I had it before I started on harp, so it was just meant to be -- the harp and me.

      Elizabeth Volpe posted that her Toyota Sierra (I think that was it) van was a really great car for her harps. But I don't imagine it gets super mileage. Come to think of it, the Outback only gets about 25 mph average combined highway/non-highway miles.


    • Erin
      Erin Wood

      I loved the Taurus too for loading.  It is a good size for the harp.  I have a Toyota Sienna now and love it.  My average gas milage is 19.5 per gallon.  If you want to stick with a wagon then I hear the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe is great.

    • Michelle
      Michelle Winston

      I had a Taurus forever and loved it with my concert Venus...but with a need to seat 5 kids...that required a minivan, so we choose the Town and Country with Stow n Go seating...the seats all fold flat in the car so I can get the harp in flat, or with my new "harp seat" that we built, I can get it in between the seats with the column down, but isn't resting on the column and I can still get 3 kids in not that it happens often.  The Dodge magnums are supposed to pretty good for semi grand. I had a dealership send one over for me to try with harp and it just wouldn't work.  Volvos are great also.

    • J
      J P

      A Dodge Magnum will fit a Concert Grand quite nicely. To the poster that had issues with a Concert Grand, not sure what you were doing but a CG does fit. If you like the taurus wagon check out the Ford Freestyle, it's a cross over between a Wagon and SUV and has loads of room for harp related activities.


    • Mel
      Mel Sandberg

      I have a Renault Kangoo.  It is perfect for everything - harps, keyboards, groceries, gym equipment, anything.  Very economical, cute and EXTREMELY easy for loading.
      Cheap too.

    • Kathy
      Kathy Saffel

      We have a 2003 Chevy Astro Van. It has a bench seat behind the driver. I can fit our L&H 85CG laying down flat in the back. The column will slide under the bench seat and I can still carry 5 people, the harp dolly, stool , music stand and other gear. This is our second Astro Van and they aren't pretty, but they are perfect for hauling harps!

    • Unknown
      Unknown User

      We've been looking for something better on gas AND something good for driving to college.  Has anyone had any experience with the Honda Fit.  According to their website, it would work.

    • Sarah
      Sarah Mullen

      I saw that somebody mentioned the Toyota Matrix.   Does it actually fit a concert harp?  I was looking at it because of the flat folding front passenger seat, but wasn't convinced from the pictures that my largest harp would fit.  My current schedule really has me zig zaging around the country so fuel efficiency is a must in my purchase.   The Matrix has really good fuel economy, as does the Scion Xb.  Any experience with these cars?

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Others rave about the Matrix; I find it's adequate for anything up to a semigrand and just barely possible for a CG, but not comfortable at all Since I only move my 11 once or twice a year this works okay for me, but it's not a car I'd want if I always moved a CG. I'm sure others will disagree.

      To drive with a CG in the back, I must sit close enough to the steering wheel that I would be in serious trouble if the airbag ever went off.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Incidentally, if you don't need a car immediately, you might want to wait. I believe the matrix is due for a total redesign this winter sometime.

    • Janet
      Janet King

      Hi Sarah, I'm the resident Matrix fanatic.  What a miracle of a harpmobile!!  Although I have a semigrand (LH17), I've put a LH23 in my car, comfortably.  I respect that others find it too tight, but I'm 5'9" and fussy about comfort, and I'm fine in my Matrix, with harp and all (which tonight included an amp, bags of stuff like clothes, cables, materials for a show, harp cart, boots...).  I hear they no longer make it with four-wheel drive, which I think is tragic. 

      My best advice to you is, take your harp to the dealer and put it in and see for yourself.  Here are some pointers:  play with the position of both front seats.  Sometimes I do have to shove the front driver's seat forward, to get the harp in, but then I can push it back to a comfortable position.  When I first tried putting the harp in, I didn't realize that I needed to push the passenger seat forward, and thought the harp didn't fit. 

      Barbara has a good point about the airbag, and if you are worried about safety, the Matrix may feel like a tin can.  I probably should worry more about these things.  (And Barbara, what do you know about a re-design??)  But I still marvel that the harp fits.  Even tonight.  But it really does!

      By the way, Sarah, I loved your "idiotic comments" post!!!  Thanks.

      PS, feel free to contact me directly regarding the Matrix.  I'd be delighted to talk about it!  I should be in a commercial...

    • Sarah
      Sarah Mullen

      Thanks so much for all of your help!  I'm not in urgent need of a new vehicle so I may wait and see how that redesign comes out.  I'm just having serious guilt because the rest of the time I'm stuck driving a Ford F350 supercrew cab, extended bed, dually, diesel beast of a truck.  It gets my fifth wheel to my festival gigs, but it gets 10mpg when towing.  I dream of some day owning something that moves my stuff and gets better than 30mpg.   While my truck is far from practical for most harpists, it isn't as bad as you might think.  It doesn't fit a concert harp, but let it be known that two large lever harps will fit in the back of a crew cab Ford F series with room to spare. 

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      (And Barbara, what do you know about a re-design??


      Haven't seen it in person, but it looks like maybe you'd be better off with the current model, just from looking at the pics. (More angled rear window in the new one).

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Also looks like maybe lower EPA. Can't remember the official numbers for the 2008, but I get an average about 32.5 MPG in mixed driving.

    • Sherry
      Sherry Lenox

      My husband tells me that this car is the same body type as the Pontiac Vibe, a terrific smaller car that I rented for a while when my Subaru was temporarily out of commission.

      I do understand the sight problems, but it certainly is a nice car. Don't kn ow anything about the re-do.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      I do understand the sight problems


    • Kirsten
      Kirsten Osborne

      Wow, thank you for this post.  I love the way the matrix looks and have been so sad that it didn't seem at all long enough to fit my CG.  My major question though is can you load the harp yourself into the matrix?  I know sometimes we can fit harps into smaller cars by putting them in base first.  If that's the case I know it wouldn't work for me since I gig a lot and often have no (sometimes want no!) assistance.  Can you lay the harp down into the matrix the same as you would any other wagon?  I may try taking it to the dealer as you suggest.  Thanks again!

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Yes, it's a standard load, then swing the base around to angle it so it all fits.

    • Sherry
      Sherry Lenox

      There are a lot of "crossovers" and SUVs that are built with a rather pushed in style of upper rear corner, and because of it, it's a bit hard to see all that is needed when backing up in the vehicles. I know that the Chrysler Pacifica, a very pretty vehicle, has been described both here and by people with whom I worked that have that problem.

      Conversely, they all seem to work well as harpmobiles, whether because of the height of the rear area or the shape or both.

      When I was driving the Pontiac Vibe it was definitely necessary to use a bit of extra caution when in reverse gear, but with careful use of all the mirrors and a little extra vigilance I had no problems, and it was a very nifty little bus.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      Thanks, Sherry. I don't really notice that so much, although I find it extremely irritating that the Matrix has manual controls on the side view mirrors, so there's nothing to do but keep squinching back and forth to the driver's seat until you get them adjusted (I think the sport model had regular electric mirrors, and I know they're standard on the 2009).