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Help Me Select a Wagon

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Comments

  • My wife and I recently adopted a 14 month girl from China. We may add another child in a few years so we are looking to get a wagon to replace a very tired Geo 1994 Prizm I've had since college.
    I am very interested in the 2004 VW passat (GL or GLS) since it has gotten such good ratings and appears to have a lot of what we are searching (styling, mpg etc) for. With good preparation, being frugal with the options, and not going for the V6 I believe we can lower the price to - say low/mid $20sK. The twist is that my wife's brother works as a mechanic for a Ford dealership and we qualify for the Ford's D-plan savings. We are also therefore looking at the 2004 Ford Focus ZTW (for which we could afford a lot more options) which would likely come to the ~$17K, I believe. Although Consumer Reports likes it (but below VW Passat) and I have seen a number of other decent reviews for the Focus, I have also seen/heard a few things that concern me - past reliability and the true cost to own among others.

    I am unsure if this a "no-brainer" and I am unconsciously (or consciously) trying to not like the Focus for past transgressions. Obviously the lower price is very attractive but I also want to purchase a decent car that we can drive for a long time.

    Advice and insight from this community would be helpful.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Tough call, that pricing does make it a lot cheaper to acquire, I can't imagine your TCO will end up higher.

    So then the question is, is the Passat worth more? It is bigger and a lot more luxurious.

    The Focus has a new 2.3l PZEV engine which has had good reviews, but I have not sampled it yet. The warranty is only 3/36, but you could get an extended warranty and still spend less.

    Drive both, which one do you prefer? If you can afford both, just pick the one you like more.

    -juice
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    You should have a look at Subaru wagons.
  • I haven't done as extensive of research on the 'rus. Would you elaborate?

    Are you talking the Outback(s)?

    Or the vanilla version Legacy?

    We do like the look of the Outbacks but they have looked to be in the upper 20s and out of our price range...
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    If you're looking at a Passat the Outback is within your price range. You can get an automatic for under $21,000 at most dealers, incentives included.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They actually run a little less than Passats. You can get a Legacy L 35th Anniv. Edition for under $20 grand, and those come with AWD, ABS, and 2 moonroofs. Even with automatic, after discounting.

    A base Outback starts at about $20 grand, and subtract only the moonroof. For $24k you can get the Limited with leather and a moonroof, for $26k you can get the 6 cylinder LL Bean model.

    It would fall between the Focus and Passat in size and price. Caveat - the 2005 model is about to arrive, probably by June, so the 2004 will soon be the previous generation. That's why they're such bargains now, though.

    -juice
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    Easy on that LL Bean price, old boy! That's net-net, after holdback and incentives.
  • Now that you've re-educated me and re-expanded my options I guess I still have the same dilema(s).

    Raybear, I get the distinct impression you have a somewhat vested interest in Subaru ... and Juice your wife owns a Legacy, correct? So can I say that in *your* opinions, the Subaru is my best choice?

    Any other thoughts out there?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Um, OK raybear. :o)

    I'm sharing prices I see locally at no-haggle dealers. Cali does tend to have slightly higher prices, FWIW.

    Subaru was the best choice for us. I emphasize that because we all have personal tastes and unique needs. We wanted a good value but also extra features like AWD, a moonroof (ours is aftermarket), and room for the 2 kids and our stroller.

    Passat 4Motion had those but for a lot more money, at the time they had the V6 only and a wagon would have been about $31k. Now VW has a 1.8T 4Motion so prices would be a little closer.

    We actually looked at the Highlander and the CR-V. The Subie was in our opinions the best value, by far.

    -juice
  • I just picked up a Chevy Malibu Maxx LT fully decked out (XM,6CD changer, OnStar, rear seat DVD) for about $24.2K after rebates and before tax and extended warranty. Very comfortable and handles beautifully - nice peppy V6 and great brakes - 4 wheel discs. The back seats move fore and aft and also recline and there's plenty of room in the back for your "stuff". Very versatile vehicle for the bucks, but that's JMHO!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That DVD is cool, I've only driven the sedan, though.

    I wish Chevy had made it more of a wagon and less of a hatch...er, sorry, "extended sedan". :o)

    -juice
  • If you haven't made your purchase yet, you might stop by a Mazda dealer and look at the new Mazda 6 wagon. The 6 in its sedan version drives beautifully;its steering and handling characteristics are outstanding. If you're happy with the power, it's worth considering. Ford has a controlling stake in Mazda, so if you qualify for a Ford "D" plan, you would qualify for the Mazda "S" plan ,enabling you to purchase for about invoice price. They may also be offering 2.9% financing right now. Frequency of repair on Mazdas--in the Ford family (but Japanese designed)has been very good.

    Passat is a beautiful design, great car and always highly rated by CR, but has a reputation for bad reliability down the road, especially after the warranty period. Just something to keep in mind.
  • nelsoncmnelsoncm Posts: 103
    Why consider a Focus when you can get a Taurus wagon? It's more expensive than the Focus (about $20-$24K), but without all the options, should still be less than the 4-cyl Passat wagon. Tons o' room, and though Ford reliability can be iffy, probably better than the Focus, since the line has been around forever. And, having had a Merc Sable wagon (the Taurus Twin), can tell you it's awesome for hauling babies and baby stuff!!!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Rented one from Hertz awhile ago while vacationing and it was a good hauler for all of our baby stuff.

    The downside of owning one, of course, is that they depreciate rapidly. But, if you keep your cars for a long time (we usually keep'em 10 years), it's not a issue.

    On the third hand, you could take advantage of the depreciation and buy a used one of recent vintage.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    CR said Focus was Ford's most reliable car. Presumably the Taurus is less reliable, FWIW.

    The Focus is more nimble, efficient, fun, and of course it's cheaper.

    More importantly, I think it's a better design. The Taurus wagon uses the sedan's doors. You really have to bend over to fasten kids in car seats, for instance.

    Focus is more upright, and the rear door is more square. Plus EPA categorizes it as a mid size.

    Get the 2.3l PZEV version and it's clean and quick at the same time.

    -juice
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Both are rated average reliability by Consumer Reports. However, rated against their peers, Focus is rated best pick by CR, while Taurus is down the list a ways. I don't think CR has ever compared Taurus wagon directly against Focus wagon, though you may be able to find each wagon reviewed in different back issues.

    Otherwise I would likely agree with Juice that Focus might be the better wagon of the two, especially if you value tight handling, and perhaps cargo capacity is not much lower, if any, in Focus than a Taurus wagon, given Focus more boxy shape, though Focus likely quite a bit narrower. Both can be a good bargain based on price, new or used.

    With all the new crossovers, there are now a lot of choices, if you do not narrow your choices just to the traditional "wagon".
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm not sure, does the Focus wagon come in a 5 speed manual?

    Any how, the Freestyle is replacing the Taurus wagon, I believe, and I find that package more appealing. I snuck into one at the Philly Show, even though it was roped off, and space utilization was impressive, the 3rd row was better than the one in the bigger Cadillac SRX.

    Plus it'll get AWD, so it'll move into the Crossover category.

    -juice
  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    Yes, it's optional on both the ZTW and SE wagons. They're building only '05s now, so you may have to search to find an '04 wagon with a manual. The 2.3 l engine won't be available on the '05 wagons, or any other models than the ZX4 ST four door sport sedan. The new Duratec 20 2.0 l, a smaller version of the 2.3 l PZEV motor, is more powerful than than either the Zetec or SPFI 2.0 litres and should get slightly better mileage than the older 2 litres.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Too bad, I'd like to see the PZEV 2.3l with a 5 speed in the wagons.

    -juice
  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    Yeah, I like the idea of ZXW ST sport wagon:), 4 wheel dscs too! The 2.0 litre is more than adequately powerful unless you're regularly driving in the mountains with a full coplement of passengers and luggage though.
  • Hi,

    I currently own a Taurus SW 1993 with a 3rd seat and wnat to buy a similar wagon that is very reliable.

    What are my options and what would you reommend?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    But it does not have 3 seats and is probably much smaller than what you need.
         Although my Ford F-150 and Blazer LT burn more fuel than the Corolla wagon, each is much more comfortable for my wife and I to use on the highway with higher seating and smoother ride.
         The 2001 Odyssey EX owned by one son and the 2002 Grand Caravan Sport owned by another son are each much more comfortable than any station wagon I have been in.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not many out there any more, besides the Taurus itself or more expensive options like the Volvo V70 and M-B E class wagon.

    New comers have forward facing 3rd rows nowadays, like the Caddy SRX, Pacifica, and upcoming Ford Freestyle. But none have proven reliability, since they're essentially new models.

    -juice
  • You asked about three set wagons, but you go by vanseeker. There aren't many three seat wagons. I believe the new Dodge Magnum may be available with three seats. If you don't need a wagon, but can accept SUVs and Vans there are many. The Mazda MPV van is more car-like to drive than most vans. Have one in the family. My MDX can and has seated high school teens in the third row, but it is tight back there - as it is in most mid size three seat SUVs (Pilot, MDX, XC-90, Highlander, M-Class, etc).

    The Toyota Highlander is almost a wagon and will be available with hybrid power (for better mpg and performance) in a few months.
  • I find it easier to get a child in and out of a car seat in a 4 door configuration with higher roof. Wagons with a higher roof include Chrysler PT Cruiser, Toyota Matrix etc. These are great for commuting and for use as the second smaller car. Our PT is also preferable for most road trips where we only need to carry 4 passengers.
  • The easy of entry and exit is outstanding in the Cruiser. Older vans like my 84 Toyota van were exceptionally easy to enter and exit also. The car seat was a so easy to install and remove it became our primary kid carrier. Today's vans are not as easy. Most SUVs are too tall, though the big sliding door on the vans still makes it easy to install a child seat on an outside seat. The wide opening door on the Cruiser and the added interior height makes it easy to reach the center of the rear seat.

    Note: We find our Cruiser's fuel range rather short for long road trips. Wish it had a bigger tank.
  • jeffm2jeffm2 Posts: 16
    would be having to look at the ugly thing every day!
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Oh I could look at a Cruiser every day no problem. Still hip after all these years!

    I'm a little miffed that they never released the PT Panel they showed three years back; that was way cool. PT Panel with the turbo and a faux woodie package... just add a rack for the boards and point me to the beach!
  • joyelysejoyelyse Posts: 21
    I’m looking for my first family car. I thought this was going to be no problem, but it’s turning into an obsession. I need a car that can comfortably hold two car seats and two dogs that I insist on being seat belted in. (My mom’s old Chevy wagon would fit the bill, but nothing like that is made anymore.) I was looking at the Volvo wagon, but now I’ve heard about problems with reliability and a few horror stories about rear end collisions that smash the entire way back. I was looking forward to the new Ford Freestyle, but the second row seats fold down to get to the third row seats. Ditto with the Chrysler Pacifica. I’m not pulling the car seats out and putting them back. It’s not safe. I’d prefer something low to the ground, like a wagon, but most of the wagons don’t even come with an option for a third row of seats.

    The SUV’s I’ve found with seating for 7 are too long and gas guzzlers. I want something with decent gas mileage and low emissions. I had figured my next car would be a Prius, but then family intervened.

    Mini-vans are not good option for me, because I get car sick without an open window, and I’m guessing my kids will too. The back windows must roll down. Also, mini-vans really have no cargo carrying capacity, and I need to be able to carry groceries and a double stroller and the like. I’d be open to a mini-van if the windows all rolled down.

    I’m not looking to ever go off road. I’m looking for the quintessential soccer mom car. But I live in Boston, so it needs to have good pick-up (ever tired to merge in Boston?) and AWL would be good too. In any case, traction in the snow is a must. I keep my cars a long time…at least 10 years, so I need to be able to use the car for car pooling. Oh, and I’d prefer that the car isn’t too long (say under 200 inches) so I can parallel park, but I may need to go longer to get what I want. Other things on my wish list include: power windows, a sun roof, cloth seats > leather seats (but I’m flexible), air conditioning in the back, and heated seats would be nice.

    Does my dream car exist?

    Joy Elyse
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Define gas guzzler.

    You are not going to find wagons or SUVs with access to the third row without folding down part of the second row - unless a rear facing third row is available.

    If you were considering a Prius there is nothing in the wagon, SUV, or miniVan size that will get even half the mpg, though next model year there will be three with the same hybrid technology that will offer better mpg than the models offered today. You might want to wait for a hybrid Toyota Highlander. Three rows of forward facing seats, plenty of space for carrying (with the rear seats stowed), and better performance and mpg that what you can get today.

    You really belt the dogs in?

    If so, a miniVan is the only way to not have to deal with permanent (not have to remove) kid seats in the middle row and have a forward facing third row.

    I had a miniVan for 18 years and found it far superior in kid hauling (kids, bikes, parents) than the seven seat SUV I have now.

    BTW, seven seat SUVs are not necessarily long. Mine is only 188 inches and I can get high schoolers into the third row with no problem. However, my old miniVan was much more versatile. The big sliding side doors on miniVans makes kid (and dog) entry and exit very easy.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I sampled a Freestyle at the Philly show - the 2nd row flips and folds, up against the front seat. It gets out of the way pretty nicely, I thought.

    Dogs like to be belted in, eh? What about harnessing them in the cargo area, fastened to a cargo tie-down? Some of those are very sturdy.

    If that would work, check out the new Outback. You can get a PZEV model if you're in certain states, too. Get a dog compartment divider and you're golden.

    If that doesn't work, the Toyota Sienna and the Mazda MPV minivans both have rear windows that go down.

    Good luck.

    -juice
  • subewannabesubewannabe Posts: 403
    Joyelyse,
      While I put my lab behind a dog/cargo barrier , I get the idea of what youre looking for and you won't do better than a Mazda MPV. The size is a little smaller than the other minivans, which makes maneuvering easier. The engine is plenty peppy, the handling and ride are excellent and it gets good milage with regular gas. The MPV is the minivan of choice for folks whose other car is a sports car!
      A mini van with rear doors that slide out of the way is such an improvement over a car or even an SUV when trying to get kids and dogs in and out...you dont have to maneuver your body around the open door while simultaneously making sure you dont bang your door into the car beside you, especially with a child in your arms. Ive noticed my 70 lb. dog is rather exhuberant on exiting the car and doesnt care one bit about pushing the door open, the car next to us or my insurance premiums.
      The Mazda middle row "slide-by-side" seats move sideways to best suit your loading requirements and if you put both seats in the outboard position the kids cant reach each other from their car seats to fight. The third row bench is easy to access from either side door and the dogs can enjoy the breeze from the power rear windows built into the sliding rear doors on both sides. There is plenty of usable storage behind the third row bench seat or that seat easily stows completely into the rear storage area creating even more storage. Remove the middle row seats and you have a flat cargo floor capable of hauling construction materials or a new washer dryer combo.
       The only things Mazda doesnt offer in the MPV are a Navigation system ,AWD and 60/40 split rear bench;the first one you can do better with a portable unit and the last one you wont use unless the dogs want to sit very close together back there. Options include everything from canopy airbags to rear DVD entertainment system. The optional power moonroof is the biggest in the business, perfect for squirrel-watching by the dogs.
         To make it even easier, special financing and cash rebates make it possible now to drive away in a new MPV with very attractive financing and over $5000 below MSRP. Depending on your checkbook and your preferences, you can get an ES trim model with EVERYTHING, including the DVD system, for under $26K. If you dont want leather or power sliding rear doors, you can get an LX model, with the same engine and seating options, for MUCH less. Compare that to waiting months for a Toyota Sienna in whichever color happens to come in for $34K. I would buy another MPV myself if they offered AWD/4 x 4 like they have in years past.

        good luck and happy car shopping.

    mark
  • joyelysejoyelyse Posts: 21
    Hey, so I've now taken a look at the Sienna and MVP. On paper, aside from price (which I'll deal with), the Sienna looks like it might be the perfect vehicle. I haven't liked Mazda's in the past, but I'll test drive the MVP, because I like the smaller body and sportier feel.

    I'm definitely not going to get anything right away, so I'll probably try the Freestyle when it comes out...though I'd probably use it much as Juice described. At least it would have the flexibility to carry more passengers. I'll give the Subaru another try when the 2005 comes out. I test drove the 2004 right after the Volvo, and it just couldn't measure up in my opinion. Once I go that route, there are a lot more options. For instance, I like the Jeep Grand Cherokee Lorado that we rented. (I think that will likely be my husband's next vehicle.)

    If people have more options, please keep them coming! BTW, in every review of the Sienna, they talk about the Odyssey. Do the windows roll down in the back of the Odyssey?

    Joy Elyse
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    I can't remember the last time I drove with open windows. I think it was about 40 years ago, before my cars had A/C. If driving with windows open is important you might want to also see if the windows by the third row also open, even if it is just at the back as a vent.

    Have an MPV in the family and it has proven to be a pleasure to drive and easily carries 7, though the space behind the third seat isn't large.

    Generally, the Odyssey is quicker and corners better than the Sienna. The Sienna is more luxury oriented and tends to cost more. Honda has been having problems with transmissions for the last five model years, with the Odysseys built before year 2004 now subject to recall and repair.
  • joyelysejoyelyse Posts: 21
    If I'm driving, I'm OK. But if I'm a passenger with the windows shut, let's just say I might never be invited to be a passenger in that car again...especially in the back. :)

    Joy Elyse
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I rented an MPV in Denver for a trip into the mountains. The vehicle did well in the mountains, held all of our stuff for a week's vacation, including a stroller, pack n play, and car seat. When we searched for a new vehicle, it was neck n' neck with the Passat. We finally went with the Passat (couldn't find a MPV equipped thw way we wnated at the time we bought), but I wouldn't hesitate buying or recommmending an MPV.

    PS: Our '92 Madza Protege ran 185,000 miles without too much difficulty.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    MVP: was that a Freudian slip? ;-)

    -juice
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Both should suit your needs, though the Sienna has more cargo space.

    Also keep an eye out for a Sienna hybrid in 2-3 years. Toyota is planning to expand their hybrid drive system into more of their product line.
  • joyelysejoyelyse Posts: 21
    OK, so I finally found a Sienna to drive. What a disappointment! I thought the the drive was really soft. Parallel parking was difficult. And the back wasn't as comfortable as I was hoping.

    The MPV, on the other hand, I really liked. I love the way it drove. I found it comfortable in all three seating positions. I wish it came with a few more features/safety option. I don't like that side airbags are only available in the front seat. (Please correct me if I have that wrong!) I also wish it came in AWD.

    That leaves me with the Volvo XC70 and the Mazda MVP. I think I'm going to hold off until the Freestyle is available, and give that a try too. I really liked the Mazda, but I think the Volvo makes me feel more secure. What do you guys think?

    Joy Elyse
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    Great MPG, great safety features, luxury type interior, very good space (not minivan type space!), and moderate price. Worth checking out for wagon buyers.
  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    Back seat leg and foot room is REALLY tight on the Passat, so if you carpool, or otherwise regularly carry any tall, 5'10" or over, passengers in the back seat you really should look elsewhere. Other than that it's not bad.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    I find the backseat on Passat to be very roomy. The Jetta and Golf on the other hand, have very tight rear legroom.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you thumbs-upped the MPV, Joy. Drive the Volvo and see if you feel the same way, of course keep in mind it'll cost a lot more.

    Don't settle for anything less than the satisfaction you felt with the MPV.

    -juice
  • mjlane12mjlane12 Posts: 2
    2005 3.0 VDC Wagon vs. 2.5 XT Ltd. Wagon

    Has anyone had a chance to drive/compare these 2005 models? My biggest question is the longevity of the 2.5 turbo-charged motor vs. the bigger 3.0 with the same power. How much extra wear-and-tear needs to be factored into choosing the smaller turbo-charged motor over the bigger 6 cylinder that has the same power? Also, is it possible to get charcoal interior in the 3.0 VDC model? The cheaper 2.5 XT looks to come in either taupe or charcoal, but the more expensive model doesn’t have this option!?!

    Thanks for any info…
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Have has four turbo cars, including my PT GT. I've found no difference in engine life or need for repairs compared to my non-turbo cars.

    IF you have a concern about engine longevity I suggest you use synthetic oil in turbo engines.

    Keep in mind it is not total hp or total torque that makes for a peppy driving experience. It is at what rpm the power is available. Generally a turbo provides the power at a lower rpm and therefore can be quicker than the normally aspirated, similarly powered vehicle.
  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    I believe that the EPA gas mileage is about the same for those vehicles, but depending on how you drive you might find one preferable to the other. If you drive aggressively, you may find that the V6 is better. But if you only use that extra power once in a while, merging/passing, then the 4 turbo is probably better. If you are mostly driving without the Turbo active, then it will be running on the 4 cylinder engine without forcing the extra fuel into the mix and you will get better gas mileage with the 4T, but if the Turbo is always on, then it's probably not going to be quite as efficient as the V6. The V6 will be a little quieter and smoother. The 4T will give you a little extra kick when it's on and perhaps more of a sports car feel. So if you're not worried about gas milage and want that sports car feel, maybe the 4T is better.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The VDC is very nice, quiet and refined. It's really more about luxury than sport, though. It even handled a rock/gravel section very nicely, never bottomed out. 0-60 in about 7 seconds with the automatic.

    I drove a Legacy GT with that turbo engine and the performance will WOW you, it's amazingly fast. Torque is a lot better than the H6 and it comes on sooner, lag is nil. It's not as quiet or refined as the H6 but it'll knock your socks off. 0-60 in 5.9 seconds with the manual, about 6.5 with the auto, definitely quicker than the H6.

    I wrote a full review in the Town Hall Test Drive Team thread, under News & Views. Subaru invited me to preview these cars at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was amazing.

    Either choice is fine, but I go with the turbo. It costs less and performs better.

    -juice
  • mtv65mtv65 Posts: 45
    I'm also in the market for a sportwagon. Wife and I recently moved back to CA from CO and now she wants to get rid of the truck - understandably so with the gas prices spiralling up. Here's the list so far:

    preowned 3series sportwagons - definitely get the sport package. Price still high especially if CPO.

    preowned A4/S4 Avants - nice interior, good performance from V6...avoid 1.8T (per Audi Townhall forums).

    IS300 SportCross - have yet to drive. Any inputs here?!?

    Saab 9-5 SportWagon - have yet to drive. Any inputs?

    Mazda6 Wagon - have yet to drive. Have heard good things!!

    Am I leaving anything out?? Scenario - young couple with 1child and a dog with ~$25k or less to spend. Thanks guys!!
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    The Subaru turbo wagons (Forester and Outback) can be fun to drive too. The WRX wagon is rather small.

    Depending on how much behind the second row space you need a Cruiser Turbo might fit the bill for something fun, roomy, and well within budget.

    Have a PT GT (high output turbo). People and the 80 pound dog easily fit, but the space behind the back seat is more like a large trunk area than a wagon. My little PT can carry larger and longer objects than my wagon body MDX.

    Have two friends with Subaru wagons and they have had no trouble with them.

    Of the list that mtv65 mentions any BMW wagon would be a very nice car, but it will be hard finding one within budget.

    A couple of other nice wagons are Jetta and Passat, though like Audi they seem more prone to needing repair than others.

    To me the IS was rather tight inside, even tighter than the Subaru WRX wagon.

    Saab is apparently becoming SAABaru with Subaru clones for some models (not the 9-5) so I wonder what kind of resale a 9-5 will have.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mazda6 wagon just came out, so I guess you know that would have to be new.

    The 2005 Legacy and Outback are nice, and a Legacy GT wagon would fall in your price range, too (the Outback costs more).

    Forester XT is a little rocket and can be had for $23-25k or so, but it's more upright, quasi-SUV. Cargo space is great for its size, so your dog could stand up inside the cargo area.

    PT Turbo, Mazda3 2.3l, Focus SVT 5 door might make the cut for smaller options. Or the WRX wagon, Saab 9-2x, Matrix XRS, Vibe GT hatches.

    If you're a Mopar guy check out the Magnum, you can probably get one with the 3.5l for that price level.

    Good luck shopping and keep us posted.

    -juice
This discussion has been closed.