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Help Me Select a Wagon



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Five Hundred's sister, the Freestyle. Pick up a demo or a slightly used one, the values drop quickly. You can probably find a base model for about that much new.

  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 849
    but it is a car, aka crossover, aka car based SUV.

  • luvmbootyluvmbooty Posts: 271
    Would like Freestyle, only gas mileage is average. After the summer's increase in gas, I think will not be even reasonably economical. I would try to find combined MPG at least 25. I think Malibu Maxx is best alternative, though I wish I had a more choices. Why do manufacturers make compact wagons and hatchbacks? :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the FWD model gets 20/27, that's close.

    What about a RAV4, or some other car-based sport/cute?

  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    My combined mpg is about 23 with my Freestyle FWD. And I don't see how you can compare the 7 pass Freestyle with the 5 pass Malibu Maxx?
  • 2007 Honda CR-V
    Iam in the market for a 2007 CR-V EX-L With Navi. Based on my research during the last few days, Understood
    that CR-V is going MSRP (The Max i could come up with is MSRP - $500) and Still Wait for a few weeks to
    actually get the car delivered.
    Here are my questions..
    (1). Do any of the NEW CR-V Owners feel that the low end torque is little less?? (I felt it when i was test
    driving yesterday -- Propably because its a 4 Cyl Fuel Efficient SUV and we never owned a SUV before).
    (2). I also felt that the engine noise was little more particularly when the CR-V starts accelarating?
    Are (1) and (2) -- something that is expected from a Fuel Eff 4 Cyl SUV??

    VW Passat Wagon 2.0T --
    After my initial impression with CR-V (Particularly MSRP on the CR-V).. Iam starting to think towards
    07 VW Passat Wagon 2.0T with Package # 2 and NAVI
    My driving impressions were good on this, However i might loose some space for the rear seats compared to CR-V
    Liked the EPA Mileage and Truck Space.
    With all the gadgets this is just $2k over the CR-V (I was offered below invoice).
    However iam concerned about the reliability of VW and Any feedback on the VW NAVI(Could not see one yesterday
    on the dealers lot, Does it do Voice Recognition?)

    Comments are welcome and Thanks in Advance..
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    See my responses in the CR-V thread, but a few things I brought up:

    * VW needs premium fuel
    * VW has less clearance, no AWD on that model
    * should handle a lot better, though
    * listen for noise levels, I bet the wagon is quieter

    Finally, in my experience with Audi NAV, they are not easy to use at all. Perhaps they've gotten better, but I bet the Honda takes you less than half the time to learn.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    What about the RAV 4. If you are concerned about the power the RAV has a very strong v-6 that gets pretty good mpg 21/28 for the AWD and V-6 vs 22/28 for the CRV 4-cyl with AWD.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 179,901
    I'd pick the VW, hands down...

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    If it were me I would also pick the VW - not crazy about SUV's in general and I require a manual transmission. I just felt the RAV was a natural match for the CRV.

    As far as VW reliability goes, all cars are better now than they were 20 years ago. An average car now would have been very reliable back then. My Father has a 2000 Passat wagon with the 1.8t and a stick shift. He has 175,000 miles and has had no issues besides routine maintenance. He still has the original clutch.

    Another fun car with VW like handling is the Mazda 3 hatch. Smaller than the others, but I can sit behind myself comfortably (6'-0). It is very affordable and has stability control readily available.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That Passat must be fairly rare, as ignition coil failures were rampant (at one point VW couldn't even supply enough to replace the bad ones) as well as window regulators.

    He was lucky, basically.

    The 2.0FSI engine has been better so far but VW already has lots of issues with the stereos, and they're still fairly new cars.

    If reliability comes first, get the Honda.

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    I'd second Juice's thoughts. VW is a great drivers car but if I were picking, I'd go with the Honda reliability. For the money I'd get the Mazdaspeed 3. Drivers car and reliability.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 849
    2000 had good coils. The problematic ones were in 2002 or 2003.
    Subaru Legacy wagon, if you can find one, is also quite good drivers car. If you want Legacy wagon hurry up as next model year will be sedan only, as far as I know.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Legacy certainly is a blend of the two...but look at an Outback, that gets you more clearance and heated seats even on the 2.5i model.

  • wcskjbwcskjb Posts: 10
    Looking for a wagon or small SUV for the wife. Here are the criteria:

    Must haves:
    Out-the-door price <=$22,000.
    Actual average mpg >=24 mpg, assuming easy-does-it driver, mix of local and hwy.
    Room in back seat for three average-sized teenage boys for trips of up to 2 hrs.
    Room in cargo area (with back seat up) for four sets of golf clubs.
    Heated seats

    Nice to haves:
    Automatic (but manual not a dealbreaker)
    Average reliability rating: unwilling to pay for highest ratings -- we baby our cars.
    Low insurance cost rating
    ABS/traction control
    New, but would consider <=2 yr. olds.

    Don't care:
    Looks -- would buy an ugly Aztec if it was reliable.
    Performance -- 0-60 mph in less than a week is fine.
    Resale -- we keep 'em until they die. This car will replace a '91 Caravan with 220,000 mi.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think your criteria are a bit optimistic. You can get some but not all of those things.

    Greater than 24mpg is a big one. Consumer Reports' most fuel efficient non-hybrid compact SUV was the RAV4, and I think it got 23mpg in their tests. So right away, you're going to have to compromise.

    The Hybrid Escape did better, but it blows your price limit out of the water. $28k is more like it, especially with heated leather seats.

    3 teens in the back seat means you want some good leg room there. CR-V and Escape do well in that regard, but you might even consider a mid-sizer. Maybe a RAV4.

    Heated leather seats tend to go in pricier models. The Forester X Limited can be had for about your $22k price limit, but the back seat is small. It might even come close to your mileage targets, but 3 teens for 2 hours will be complaining.

    You didn't mention if FWD would be OK, that would get costs down and might help meet your mileage targets.

    We've babied our Forester, and averaged 25.1mpg over its lifetime, but that's avoiding city driving (I have a 2nd car for that). It would be close except the back seat is small.

    A Scion xB has the back seat space, price, and fuel efficiency, but it loses on the cargo space. I doubt you could fit two sets of golf clubs in there.

    Maybe a Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited? Slightly used?

    Saturn Vue Greenline hybrid? Maybe when the new one comes out you could get a deal on the outgoing model?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 179,901
    Room for 3 teenage boys in the back? You need a stripped Chrysler mini-van, but then you probably won't get the mileage you want... and, if you want leather, you probably won't get it cheap enough..

    Do you have to fit the three teenagers and the golf clubs at the same time? If not, I suggest a Mazda5..

    A slightly used Freestyle comes to mind, as well..

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good suggestions.

    Mazda5 will let you fold down one of the 3rd row seats. Not sure if 4 golf bags would fit even then.

    A Freestyle would do the trick, and a FWD model might even meet that mileage (or come close).
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 179,901
    maybe an '02 Volvo V70 wagon? No idea what they go for... Might even get up to an '03, now that I think about it..

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • wcskjbwcskjb Posts: 10
    Thanks for the input.
    Based on visit to Subaru dealer, I can state that four bags of golf clubs do not fit in the back of an Outback or Forester. And my three sons (average size) don't fit in back seat of either one.
    Based on suggestions from others, looking at slightly used Freestyles, Saturn Vues, Suzuki Forenza and a neighbor's 2004 Saab 9-5 wagon he's eager to sell.
    Other ideas?
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Mazda3 fits the criteria. Not the most cargo space, but has stability control leather etc.
  • wcc1968wcc1968 Posts: 17
    Personally, i dont think i would ever opt for in car navigation system. I much prefer my Garmin NUVI, which i can take with me where ever i go, and costs only $600.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have a Garmin, too, c320 model. The Nuvi 250 is about $300 nowadays, a bargain.

    I'd be considering a Tom Tom One XL, though, just $400 for a 4.3" screen! :shades:
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,677
    with good fuel economy. I had a Mazda6 which i loved except for the 18-20 mpg around town. So far I'm looking at the Toyota Matrix or the Nissan Versa. I want:
    good fuel economy
    not too boring to drive
    automatic (I know, voids the above criteria but my husband hates MT)
    occasionally has to fit my 86 year old father, so firm seats help
    room for two dogs in the back
    not as cramped leg room as my old Forester in the back seats
    under $20k

    I like the Matrix because it has the rubber/plastic back of the back seat and trunk in regard to the dogs.. Any ideas regarding Matrix vs. Versa? Anything else I should look at? We're in the country so not an abundance of brands like Subaru, Audi, etc. We looked at the Fit but it felt very narrow to me.

    And for the above poster, I would suggest the Mazda6. It's more roomy in the back seat than some of the other suggestions like Forester or Rav 4, and it holds a ton of stuff in the back. We easily carried all my college daughter's stuff.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I sat in the Versa at the car show and was impressed. I have no idea how they crammed that much space in such a tiny outer shell.

    I suspect the Matrix will be more fuel efficient, and may cost less to own, but it's just an ancient design at this point.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,677
    After a lot of deliberation, we chose the Vibe/Matrix. It may be an aging design but it sure is practical. I loved the Versa but the seats don't fold flat and the backs are carpeted (the car will often have dogs and bulky things like mulch and sometimes a bike in the back). In the Vibe the passenger seat folds forward as well and has a flat back. We got a used Vibe for much less than a new Versa.

    The Versa is a wonderful vehicle if you're mostly driving it with just passengers. The CVT is so quiet, very unusual in a small car. We just decided we needed a little more versatility as it's our around-town car.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • mh3308mh3308 Posts: 1
    We are looking for a wagon under $10,000 that has a third seat. Primary feature would be reliability. Any suggestions would be appreciated .. .
  • malcommalcom Posts: 1
    You should just visit at the Car dealers sight and there you can get the Car with your needs I know one Car dealer Web sight which have the lots of classified cars and the new and Used car dealers in all over United States .The Web sight Title sell used cars. The Web address is
    And also You can find out The Car Dealers From the Car Dealers Directory at
  • poolypooly Posts: 1
    I am shopping for a wagon with three rows of seats. I feel like i'm missing some options that must be out there. We've currently looked at the Chrysler Pacifica and i know the ford freestyle is out there as well (not too big on that one). Anyone know of any other vehicles i should be considering? i'm looking for a used one with less then 50k miles and around $15K. Thanks for the help.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Join the Crossovers thread, it's a really hot topic.

    Outlook/Acadia/Enclave, CX9, Tribeca, XL7, Pilot, Highlander, just off the top of my head.

    Link: ateixeira, "Crossover SUV Comparison" #2684, 2 Aug 2007 8:35 am
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Not much else out there that is considered a wagon with 3 rows of seating in that price range. Mazda 5 is a nice mini-minivan. The rest of the vehicles are considered crossovers.

    I'd take the Ford over the Chrysler. Both vehicles are a good value used since they depreciate so quickly from new.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You reminded me of the Kia Rondo, also.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    If you are looking for used and inexpensive it is hard to beat the Taurus.

    Might consider a RAV4 as well.
  • 68andy68andy Posts: 2
    Not trying to intrude but I am very new at this. I need some help very badly.

    I have a family of 6 including myself. I am looking for a mid-size SUV, CUV or Wagon that has the following features:
    AWD, seats 6, has good MPG (25+ avg - diesel would be wonderful but I've given up on that) & relatively inexpensive (late model 15+, newer 20)

    Does ANYBODY have any good ideas? Seriously, I've been looking online and asking for 2 months now with NO real stand-outs.

    Any real help is greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely (stumped)

  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 849
    It should seat 6 and some (Toyota and Chrysler/Dodge) have AWD otion.


    PS Nobody replies because car that you specify does not exist.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think you will have to compromise, either on the AWD feature or the 25mpg.

    Two classes of vehicle come close.

    The new crop of "vanlets", the Mazda5, Kia Rondo, and the upcoming Dodge Journey and just-announced Honda Stream all seat 6 and might meet your fuel economy wishes. Mazda offers AWD in Japan but not here. Honda offers AWD but it's not here yet and who knows if they'll bring that model.

    You can get any of those for $20k new. The Kia, even less. The Mazda5 could be well equipped for that price.

    Mid-size SUVs and CUVs tend to cost a lot more than $20k new. Even a bargain-basement leftover 2007 Ford Freestyle would run $21-22k, and expecting 25 mpg average may be a little optimistic. Add AWD and the price goes up and the mileage goes down. Still, it's probably closest.

    Others, like the Highlander, Tribeca, Pilot, Pathfinder, Veracruz, CX9, and Acadia/Outlook/Enclave all cost a bunch more than your budget and also would not meet your fuel economy goals. With some you'd be lucky to average 20mpg.

    Drive a Rondo, a Mazda5, and a Freestyle, is what I would suggest. I think you're just asking for too much. 3 row SUVs and crossovers are both expensive and inefficient overall.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Chrysler discontinued their AWD vans a couple of years ago, though a used one is an option.

    Toyota does still offer an AWD Sienna, but I'd expect to pay about $27-28k for a new one. Used would be a good option, they made them since 2004.

    I'm not sure if you'll average 25mpg, but you might come close, maybe low 20s. I have a FWD Sienna and usually average 23-27mpg, with a peak of 30.6mpg on an all highway jaunt.

    With 6 kids you surely will appreciate all the space, too.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    How about using snow tires and going for FWD.

    A van/wagon with snows will do as well or better in the snow than an AWD without snows (remember AWD does not help you stop).

    I ran my light and low Integra with snows in SD for 12 years and was not once stopped by the snow. It drove like a snowmobile - a heavier taller vehicle should do even better. Our Sienna is excellent in the snow and ice with FWD and snows (also has traction and stability). Constantly drivng by all the SUV's in the ditch.
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    You're pretty much out of luck. Seating 6 and AWD in that price range is really tough. Mileage with AWD and that size really isn't an option.

    If you really need AWD...
    -used Ford Freestyle
    -used Toyota Sienna (AWD LE model might be close to $20k)
    -used 01-03 Chrysler AWD van (not super reliable)
    -used Chrysler Pacfica
    -used Subaru Tribeca (a bit over $20k)

    If you'd prefer to hit close to the 25mpg figure and can live without AWD (I 2nd the snow tire idea)...
    -new Mazda5
    -new Kia Rondo
    -used mini van with one of the smaller engines
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Andy, the best I can come up with is a late model Mazda MPV. Buy steelie wheels and winter tires. Seats seven (theoretically) and gets 25 on the highway. Your parameters are impossible to meet in the US market.
  • 68andy68andy Posts: 2
    To all the great suggestions - thank you very much.

    I live in the desert Sb so snow & ice aren't really problems. I was looking for something that would do light off-road duty to take the family camping & such.

    I REALLY wish that someone (GM, Ford, Saturn, some freakin' body) would come out with a ULSD engine in an AWD here in the States. For crying out loud the Europeans have embraced and in large part perfected small vehicle diesels with really low emissions.

    I was just hoping that somebody might have found or seen something that I hadn't.

    Sincerely (still stumped)

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    In the 80's there was an AWD Camry and also a diesel Camry, and there was a wagon Camry for quite some time. That combo would have filled the bill - but they were not all available together.

    Some progress since then huh.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How about a small trailer with a 4 wheel ATV? That might be the best option.

    Disconnect the trailer and you're not compromising mileage when you don't need 4WD.
  • Hi, my husband has already done a bit of research - but thought I might ask for a bit of help myself. We currently have a 1997 Toyota Carolla wagon and love it! However, it is getting time to either invest some serious money into it or look at getting a new car.
    New car criteria is:
    very good gas milage
    safety package (side airbags)
    anti-lock brakes
    good warranty
    good ratings/feedback
    automatic transmission
    under $20k

    He has given me his choices of: Ford Focus, Toyota Matrix (29/34 milage), Kia Rio5 (29/38), Kia Spectra 5 (27/35)

    I have only seen them on paper and have not gone out to the dealerships yet, but on paper they seem so SMALL compared to our Toyota wagon. Is there a true "WAGON" (vs. a hatchback) that fits the above criteria?

    I also asked him about small minivans and he said yes there are such things, but they don't get good gas milage.

    Thanks in advance MUCH for your advice.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    He has most of the choices. Yes wagons these days are really closer to hatchbacks. A true wagon is the same lenth as a sedan. The Matrix is shorter than the sedan (Corolla) etc.

    I would love a Corolla wagon if they still made one.

    Hyundai is coming out with a 5 door Elantra wagon/hatch. I would probably put that near the top of my list. ABS and TCS are standard, tons of airbags and good mpg.

    Might want to also look at a Honda Fit. Remarkably roomy inside (same amount of passenger room as your Corolla and very expandable). It is small, but with airbags ABS etc, it is much safer than your old Corolla. My mother is considering one.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,677
    The Matrix/Vibe does not feel small inside at all. It has a ton of room with both seats folding flat and the front passenger seat folds as well. We chose it over the Fit because it felt much roomier inside than the Fit. If you liked your Corolla you will probably like the Matrix. You have to sit in them -- paper won't do it. For one thing, most of them have higher up seating and very tall rooflines so they don't feel as confined as their dimensions appear on paper. Yes, there are still true wagons but they will get much worse fuel economy, and these smaller wagons hold a lot and are very comfortable inside. Give them a try and report back!
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Actually true wagons get the same mpg as sedans. It is the new "crossovers" that guzzle. For example the corolla sedan and wagon got the same mpg.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,677
    Not in my experience with the Mazda6 wagon, which got very poor fuel economy compared to the sedan. Of course you could get the sedan in 4 cyl and the wagon was only V6. I guess it depends on the weight and whether they put a larger engine in the wagon to compensate.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • Just discovered that Ford did a wagon that ended production in early 2007. I have been calling around a bit to see if someone by chance still had one on their lot, but haven't had any luck.
    Thanks for the information and feedback to date.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would love a Corolla wagon if they still made one.

    In some countries Toyota does market a Corolla Fielder, which is a true wagon.

    The Matrix is closer to a 5 door hatch.

    Check out how the Fielder is indeed bigger:

This discussion has been closed.