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Help Me Select a Wagon



  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    Now THAT'S what I call a Corolla wagon. And I think you have to be an Australian to get one. Looks line a longer 9th generation body. Why they decided this won't sell enough in America is beyond me.
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    The Versa is a good contender, actually. The better looking beige interior comes with the blue and the black model, surprisingly, and the stereo has an iPod jack. I hope to drive one in the next couple weeks, then be on the lookout for secondhand ones.

    Between the Vibe/Matrix twins, I find the Vibe better looking. Surprisingly, it's larger than my '98 Corolla (parked next to one), but I can see some wallpaper going in to dress up that stark gray interior!
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    Love the Pacifica. It has 5-star crash ratings, built like a tank, rides like a road cruiser, minimal reliability questions from the people I ask about it who own it, but the one very important dealbreaker is the absolutely dismal gas mileage. 17mpg just is not acceptable for a daily driver with gas over $3 now. If it weren't for that, I'd get one in a heartbeat. Domestic depreciation works in your favor in looking for one with less than 10K miles on it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It probably would sell, but Toyota can make more profit selling a RAV4 for a higher price tag.

    The upcoming Dodge Journey may be a more fuel efficient alternative to the Pacifica.
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    Hm, I dither at any notion of buying a Dodge. They tend to make their cars far too masculine for my taste. Be interesting to see what they come up with, though.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's an astute observation, actually.

    Note that they recently shortened their tag line, which used to be "Grab Life By the Horns", and is now just "Grab Life".

    They did that in concert with the 2008 Grand Caravan launch.

    You can't sell a minivan to moms with the "By the Horns" part.

    I used to joke that Dodge was catering to the Neanderthal Male. :D
  • dulesdules Posts: 37
    We are looking to replace a 93 Saab in the next month or so. Needs are safety, reliability, relative environmental consciousness. Have one child in carseat, potential for one more.

    We are looking at the Outback 2.5 i Limited and Passat basic wagon. Love the AWD (we live in Boston suburbs and have a Forester) but love all the car we'd get in the Passat. Love the PZEV engine in the Outback and the fact that it takes regular gas.

    Realistically I want to pay at/under 25K, husband wants to be closer to 20K.

    I'm really not sure how to decide, and would appreciate feedback or suggestions of other cars we should consider!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was going to say, PZEV Outback, but you already mentioned it.

    To me it's the obvious choice.

    Passat is also very nice, but it'll cost a bit more, especially if you want 4Motion.

    The Outback is made at the SIA plant in Indiana, which is extremely green. They were the first plant in the US to be certified as zero waste (everything is recycled) and even grow a beautiful green lawn on the roof (!) of the facility.

    Meanwhile, the PZEV status probably leaves the ambient air cleaner than you found it.

    Go for it. I'd buy one if the PZEV models were available in MD. :(
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:
    We are looking to replace a 93 Saab in the next month or so. Needs are safety, reliability, relative environmental consciousness.

    Hmmm, based on this little bit of info, I'll assume you keep a car a long time. You may want to read up on the VW's reliability before casting your vote in that direction. Getting ten years or better out of the Passat will not be an inexpensive experience. Even an oil change will require special oil. You've already noted that the Saab using regular gas while the Dub really wants premium.

    You might want to read up on the VW dealerships in the Boston market, as far as service is concerned. I seem to remember reading on other forums complaints about the quality of VW service there (could be I'm wrong, or that it has improved, but better to find out before you buy).
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I mis-spoke myself - I meant to say the Subie uses regular gas, not the Saab.
  • dulesdules Posts: 37
    Thanks so much! We picked up our 08 2.5i Limited Outback with VDC this weekend. A couple of people have asked me what kind of car it is and commented on how good looking it is. :blush: Subaru has come a long way, lol.

    Thanks again for all your help!!!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Congrats! :shades:
  • dadoninedadonine Posts: 1
    Here's my dilemma: my daily driver is a 2001.5 VW Passat 4Motion wagon (a.k.a. variant), which can move 4 passengers. Four of my children (plus myself) race bicycles, and a 5th will be starting soon. I'm quickly running out of room!

    I've started thinking about selling the VW to buy a more accommodating vehicle that meets the following:
    1) Carry up to seven passengers
    2) Has a factory-installed roof rack (to attach my 6-place Yakima bike rack)
    3) AWD (like my 4Mo) not mandatory
    4) Relatively economical and reliable to own
    5) Doesn't have to be new

    What are my options? Any experience(s) and/or guidance would be appreciated!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    AWD Toyota Sienna minivan will best meet your needs, however if you really want a wagon you may have to step in to the crossover class.

    Then you've got a lot of choices. Economy may not be part of the equation, though.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    You could also try a Highlander Hybrid. Do you really need the AWD? FWD will get better mpg and cost less, while offering more options.

    One niche that is really ignored is a large efficient people mover. I have a Sienna and it is a nice vehicle, but I don't need 4,400 lbs of vehicle. A Camry or Accord wagon with room for a third row would weigh 1,000 lbs less and would do fine with a 4-cyl engine. (I don't count the Venza - crossovers are just too heavy).

    The old Taurus wagon had three rows and weighed less than 3,400 lbs with a V-6 engine. A modern take on this would be very attractive to me.

    Gas must still be too cheap.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Venza also doesn't get a 3rd row in the US. I believe it's called the Mark X Zio in other markets, where a 3rd row is offered.

    Like you I wanted space+efficiency but nothing carries a significant efficiency advantage over the Sienna that isn't a lot smaller, so I got that van.
  • yumadonsyumadons Posts: 3
    I'm looking for a new wagon with a plastic cargo area and smooth leather seating (easy to keep clean with dogs). Needs to be towable 4-wheels-down behind an RV without modifications, less than 3200# curb weight, and gas efficient (~30 mpg). Heated seats almost a must, cost no object for a car I love.

    So far the only prospects I've found are the Pontiac Vibe sport model and Chevy HHR. Don't like the Vibe's leather, it's mixed with perforated material that collects dog hair. The HHR is perfect inside, just don't like they way they look (may buy one anyway). Don't like the Element's looks. Have I missed any candidates? I live in a small town where it's hard to get a look at many models. I truly appreciate any input.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I immediately thought of the Vibe/Matrix as well.

    It's easy to get a cargo liner for a wagon so you may want to focus on finding smooth leather seats.

    Some Subaru Foresters are under 3200 lbs, but I'm not sure about models with leather. Cargo liners were standard and are readily available for those.

    You could also have aftermarket leather installed on just about any car, something like Katskins.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Jetta TDI gets 40 mpg, is right at 3,200 lbs and has heated leather available - or leatherette if you really want easy to clean. Diesel is also cheaper than regular now. The diesel VW's have also always been more reliable than the gas versions.

    Hyundai Elantra Touring might also meets the the qualifications, but only gets 31 mpg hwy.
  • yumadonsyumadons Posts: 3
    The solution ended up being a new 2008 Kia Sportage EX. There is not one inch of carpet inside - entirely plastic and leather, a dog person's dream. KIA's sister brand, Hyundai, makes the Tucson which is essentially the same but for some reason is not available in white. Although the manual (LX) Sportage tows 4 wheels down, LX is not available in leather. So for $1500 I can have a pump installed to enable towing my automatic EX behind the RV. 3200# and 17-24 mpg, heated seats, and a back window that opens without having to open the cargo door. Perfect dogmobile ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    A friend of mine was shopping luxury SUVs for a dog-mobile and ended up with a Range Rover Sport for the same reason - the rear window pops up seperately. His dog can stay inside but get fresh air with the top half open.
  • Hey guys,

    I'm looking to buy a used wagon and could use some help.

    First of all I'm looking to spend less than 10k, preferably a lot less.

    I need a wagon because I have a small t-shirt business and need the cargo space for fairs and shows. I live in CA, I'm usually in either SF or LA so I don't have a particular need for AWD.

    At first I was thinking subaru because of what I've heard of its reliability but if I don't need AWD then I'm not sure if its worth the limited MPG.

    Then I was thinking volvo, but I know parts can be really pricey and that quality went downhill after 1999.

    Passat is an option but I've read alot about reliability issues and high maintanence costs.

    Finally, maybe a large hatchback like an impreza or a matrix might just be enough space for me with the back seats down and get better milage. I'm just not sure.

    I'm totally overwhelmed! Please help with any insights!
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Late model Focus has lots of room good mpg and is inexpensive. Corolla wagon is extremely reliable and cheap, but I think they stopped in the late 90's. Vibe is an excellent choice and since Pontiac is going under they are real cheap - could almost get a new one.

    Mazda 5 has a ton of room for a wagon gas mileage starts to suffer.

    I would probably stay from a VW that is old enough to be under 10k.

    Unfortunately small wagons are shunned in this country despite being the most practical of all body styles. Otherwise something like an Accord Wagon would be a perfect choice, but they have not made those since the mid 90's - might find one in good condition though.
  • thanks for the response!

    I was just starting to lean towards a small wagon-maybe a matrix or a vibe. ive read horrible things about focus. going to see a matrix in person to make sure the cargo area with the seats down is big enough for me.

    Anyone know if the matrix/vibe is a reliable car? How many miles is too many?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Should be, they're basically a Corolla hatch.

    Newer Mazda5s get better mileage, the ones with the 5 speed auto. New they're $17-20k so that might actually work. They have big room for a small wagon and were rated highly by Consumer Reports.

    Small crossovers might be an alternative. You get more space, but less mileage. I mean a CR-V, RAV4, Forester, etc.

    Or go small - Honda Fit would be nearly new at that price.

    What else?

    The Lancer came as a wagon, the one with the really boxy back end. Saturn L series had a wagon, or Legacy/Outback (AWD). Suzuki Aerio was cheap and had a transferable 7/100 warranty.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    edited October 2010
    This thread doesn't seem like it gets much traffic lately, but here goes. I'm considering downsizing from a minivan to a larger wagon, mostly for affordability. Not that the Odyssey I have now is expensive, but if I can save a little more, I might. Lease is due in 5 months. Problem is, there aren't many "affordable" wagons out there now, they are all crossovers, suv variations, etc. I remember when Honda made an Accord wagon, now it has the Crosstour which is like $34k. I have a 2011 Camry which is nice, but the closest thing is the Venza, which again is quite a bit more.

    So, do I stick with another minivan (I have 3 kids, 2 elementary school 1 in middle schoo), or look for something else in the $25k or under range, that leases well? For example, my Camry LE is $230/month, nothing down. I'd be happy with the equivalent Camry wagon in the same price range. Maybe a Subaru Outback?

    What else?
  • We have a 1996 Toyota Carolla wagon and we LOVE it. However it has turned 200k and my husband wanted something newer, so just last week he bought the Hyundai Touring wagon. He got the 2010 model.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Kia dropped the Rondo, but check out a Mazda5. They've improved it a lot since it came out.
This discussion has been closed.