notyper wrote: Long range is awesome, isn't it? Even on cars with relatively poor mpg, a big tank really gives you a sense of freedom. ...
Personally, I think I've come to value range about as much as absolute fuel economy. Of course, as I get older, I find myself less capable of going 5-6 hours without stopping...;)
I find long range very very useful on long drives. As you say, it gives you a sense of freedom. And so long as the fuel economy is reasonable, range is more important. (however, note that to drive even a Fit from Irvine to Tacoma is going to cost 124 for gas, plus food, plus wear and tear and more if you spend the night in a hotel... so at that cost even seat 31C on Alaska Airlines starts to look better).
And safety too during winter drives on the mountains because you never know when you will run into storms. The Internet and my G3 (soon a G4 when my Verizon Samsung ships) phone help a lot too to plan when to stop for gas..
...but long range is the most useful factor when planning a drive. Sometimes you have to haul to avoid rush hour drives ( our I5 drive goes through LA, Sacramento, Portland, Olympia-Tacoma-Seattle.... so rush hour avoidance is important.
...and oftentimes you want to stop only when you eat... so you don't want to stop in the middle of nowhere to gas up when you know that you really want to eat 100 miles down the road.
Body range wise, I think I've solved it.
We normally go try to go five hours between stops. This means, NO WATER during the first 3 1/2 hours. Then during the last 1 1/2 hour we drink up lots of fluids. At the stop, we flush it out and off we go. This way we stay hydrated -very important- but we don't have to worry about stopping for Number 1 all the time.
This also means no coffee. If anything, I'll stock up on Diet Monsters and go on.
Our Seattle-Puget Sound (Bremerton some times... yes) drives are just about 1200 miles. In good weather this is about 17 hours with four brief breaks.
In the California side, the normal breaks are at the 300 mile range (LA->Los Baņos) and 370 mile (Los Baņos->Weed). This gives us the option of stopping at Andersen's Pea Soup and gives up the chance to top off so we can avoid stopping in Oregon.
After than, with long range we can make it clear across Oregon without stopping. We get excellent range there because of the low speed limits (I seldom go over 74 on cruise control nowadays). Weed to Centralia is about 375 miles. And you can get espresso in The Puget Sound.
Or, we might want to drive straight to Medford, so with the long range tank we go right up there and go right by Weed. But from Medford to Seattle we need another stop... and going to Medford from Los Baņos is a bladder busting extension. Which we avoid in the winter because I want an almost full tank over the Shiskayou Pass. But Medford to Seattle is doable, again with a bladder busting drive (my son and tried in the Fit but we had to find a convenient spot off the I5 in the dark...).
From Weed we might stop in Roseburg at Casey's... so if we do that we can top off the gas tank there and go non stop to the Puget Sound (350 miles).
So, yes, long range is fantastic. You can go from Irvine to Seattle with theoretically two stops, but as you say, you get there dehydrated and with an enlarge bladder. :-P