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Help Me Select a Wagon



  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Unfortunately I don't think VW has any of those test drive incentives right now. I know what you mean though - makes it easier to get permission, though I still have to take the kids ; ^ ) . They give away some nice things sometimes. Gotta send in my form to Subaru today!

    From what I hear the Passat is quite peppy with 44 more hp and 98 more ft-lbs of torque than the last generation TDI. I convinced my father to test drive one for me and report back. He said it felt as lively as his 1.8t with a stick shift in normal driving - yes some retired people drive sticks. Dying to try one out for myself though.

    The vehicle that I find to be truely stunning though is the new MB 320 cdi with 350 ft lbs of torque. It is faster than the gasoline version and gets EPA 27/37. Very impressive, but not cheap.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm "wowed" by that engine as well.

    And in Europe, can you believe it's $1000 cheaper than the E320 gas version?

    I'm not sure that's true in the US, though.

    We're supposed to get low sulfur diesel by 2007, right? If so we'll see more and more diesel options.

  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    "It feels like a 2.5l off boost, because that's what it is."
    Well, sort of. You still have to reduce compression on a turbo engine, so when your off boost you have less power. So, at low RPMS it feels like a smaller engine.

    "But Mazda's V6 needs revs to produce power, too. The numbers don't lie - 192 lb-ft at a sky-high 5000 rpm."
    Yes, but the power delivery on the 3.0L Mazda engine is more linear. That's my gripe with all turbo engines - the non-linear behaviour (sort of a slingshot-like feel) of the power build-up.

    "The Subie produces 250 lb-ft at just 3600 rpm."
    Yes, it looks good on paper. but driving is what matters.

    "Heck, the base 2.5i boxer engines produces 168 lb-ft at 4000 rpm, so it's almost a match for Mazda's V6."
    Yes, the 2.5L Subie is nice for a 4cyl. However, the performance is about the same as with the 2.3L in the Mazda6 due to the extra weight of the Legacy and energy required by the AWD drivetrain.

    "The turbo makes a lot more torque a lot sooner for the Subie, basically."
    Yeah, I keep reading this about this turbo engine and others, and it sure looks good on paper. But like I said, the driving is what matters.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Is this lag in the XT with an automatic or manual transmission. Usually it is far less noticeable in a manual transmission. Added benefits are faster acceleration, better gas mileage and more precise control.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Compression is only down slightly, to 8.2:1. And the turbo engine has AVCS, while the base 2.5l doesn't, so that compensates. It quicker than the base 2.5l boxer even off boost.

    In the manual you don't feel any lag at all, just pick the right gear.

    I've driven a model that was broken in, and I felt the adaptive tranny worked wonders to minimize lag. You should try one at the Subaru event that it touring around the country, because you could then get your hands on one that had a few miles on it.

    I drove the Mazda6 with an automatic, and at low revs is has the same problem, only more so. It's flat below 4000rpm. If peak torque is just 192 lb-ft at 5000 rpm, it's making less than that everywhere on the tach below 5000 rpm.

    Anyone have the torque curve handy for the Mazda 6s? I'd be willing to bet the 2.5T blankets it every where on the rev range.

    Perhaps when the turbo kicks in you feel such a surge that it seems relatively slow off boost. But there is still more torque than the Mazda offers, at any rpm.

    I'll go try to find some torque curves for the Legacy.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    To be honest I think you're focusing on the wrong thing completely. Torque is not a strength on the 6s, it's a weakness. Virtually every competitor produces more, sooner.

    Look instead at the value pricing. The sharp styling. The fact that it runs on regular fuel. The wide array of body styles, and the availability of manual trannies of almost all of them. The neat seats that fold at the press of a button.

    It's certainly quick enough, but it won't win any races vs. a Legacy turbo.

  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    When I was shopping, I thought the Outback was too expensive. Mazda6 is one of my favorite vehicles for value, design and options. I ended up buying the PT GT 2.4L turbo and my wife and I are very pleased with it. It's theoretically her car, but I drive it the most. I don't know what Mazda did to their transmissions, but I liked the old transmission in my 626 2.5L V6 much better than the new Mazda6. It provided significantly more torque at about 2500 rpm even though it was only rated at 160 HP (I generally drive manual transmissions). I'm interested in the Subie 2.5T and will definitely drive one when I'm in the market in about 5 yrs (to replace Mazda Tribute 3L V6). It's my experience that the Turbo is less consistent in gas mileage. The way you drive has a greater impact on it. You can get better mileage than a V6 with similar power if you never rod it around, but generally get worse gas mileage when driving with a heavy foot. In my opinion, the PT GT performs better than the Mazda6 V6, both rated at 220 HP. The PT has better torque, which is probably what I'm noticing. But I think the Mazda had a smoother quieter ride and took potholes better, but I do have 17" performance tires on the PT. The main things I liked better about the Mazda6 wagon are more storage capacity, smoother ride and better speakers, but the PT is more fun to drive. I like the new Outback design and the Turbo Forester, so I may consider Subaru again (I didn't like my last Subaru).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We also had a 626 V6 5 speed. IMO that engine also sorta needed revs to get going. But peak torque did occur at lower revs than the Duratec-based 3.0l in the new 6s.

    It was geared very short, maybe that helped it get up to speed. It was sorta quick, but I think the 6s feels quicker overall.

  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    I pretty much agree with you, but I guess I just don't like the surge of power when the boost comes on. That's what I mean when I refer to the non-linear feel of a turbo engine, which is especially pronounced with the AT (they didn't have a GT w/MT in stock). Yeah, the Legacy GT would win the race for sure, but there's a compromise there. FWIW, I wouldn't buy either the Mazda6 or Legacy with AT, though the 6-speed AT in the 2005 Mazda6 s sounds interesting.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Gotcha. Turbos are not for everyone, I guess.

    The boost effect is less noticeable in the 210hp version of that engine, the one in the Forester XT. It's more of a light-pressure setup.

    With the manual trannys, you barely notice, with either engine. But the turbos do match up better with those manuals.

    Subaru does have an H6 in the Outback, but it's slower and costs more than the turbo. I guess those looking for the linear power delivery can opt for that. It's not offered in the Legacy in the US, though it might come later on.

    6 speed auto? Is that made by JATCO? I know they make the tranny in the MPV (my guess is the 6s also).

    HUGE improvement over the lame and unreliable Ford CD4E that went in to the 626 4 cylinder automatics.

  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    And then there's the Premium fuel issue ...

    The 6-sp AT offered on the Mazda6 s is new for 2005, but I don't know if it's from JATCO.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I think Mazda and Honda are among the few that don't require premium fuel for their upgrade engine, isn't that right?

    Technically Subaru only requires 87 octane, but they recommend premium and so would I.

    I believe Toyota's 3.3l and Nissan's VQ prefer premium as well.

  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    I do agree that the Mazda6 is a big improvement over the 626, but it doesn't feel as peppy at low rpm which is fine, since it really kicks in once it gets going. My old 626 had so much torque that I couldn't coast along at 10-20 mph without it jerking so I had to ride the clutch more than typical.

    One thing that's kind of interesting about my PT GT is that if I'm in first gear at 20 mph, which puts it around 3200 rpm, I can floor it (without touching the clutch) and often it will burn rubber. I've never had a car before that would burn rubber while moving unless I popped the clutch. I usually use mid-grade fuel. It runs on regular, but premium is recommended. I don't really notice a difference when I use regular.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I really think that was due to the short gearing. The engine's sweet spot was still above 4000rpm on that 2.5l V6.

    Then again that was my wife's car, so you drove that model a lot more than I did.

    How long does your PT take to spool up in that situation? Does it spin the tires right away, or is there a second or two delay to build boost?

  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Have PT GT automatic. Very little turbo lag and wheel spin easy to get while starting out, and even at speeds as high as 20 or so when cornering. The traction control allows some wheel spin. Without T/C on there is a lot of wheel hop.

    Have not tested the PT GT for mpg with different octane gasoline. I have on another vehicle that recommends using premium and found that mpg dropped enough that it actually cost more per mile for gasoline to use regular instead of premium. Performance also dropped a bit by stop watch, but felt the same when driving.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, it'll basically retard the timing and cost you a couple of horses, though most people won't feel the difference.

  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    At 3500 rpm there is no lag at all on the PT, and most of the power is there by about 3000 rpm. With the Mazda6, it didn't really kick in until 4500 rpm.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Turbo lag is perhaps a bad name for it. You really have throttle lag. Basically the turbo needs a load to develop boost. It's not necessarily rpm-dependent.

    Even if you're cruising along at 4000rpm, if you hit the throttle is has to build boost.

    I think that's what they mean.

    If at idle you hit the gas, the turbo kicks in well before most engines power bands do, even with VVT. It's just not called VTEC lag, it's simply outside of the power band.

    But a VTEC engine, cruising at that same 4000rpm, will have quicker throttle response, immediate, really. It doesn't have to wait for boost to build.

    So that's what they mean by more linear power and quicker throttle response.

    Turbos are so much better than they used to be, now you get light-pressure boost systems with higher compression ratios for quicker throttle response. Subaru's 2.5T engine also has AVCS (their VTEC) to help it off-boost.

  • Trying to make a hard decision here... Mazda and Scion (Toyota) seem to be more trusted names than Chrysler...

    was looking for a wagon, but if Scion tC is as great as protrayed, I can make the satisfaction for the 2dr too. Please help...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Let your needs narrow it down between the coupe and the two hatchbacks you like.

    Do you carry loads a lot? Hatchbacks are pretty practical. In fact the Scion xB is closer in terms of utility.

    Coupes are trendy for a while, but then they look old fast. So only get the tC if you love the performance and that will keep you happy long-term.

    Otherwise, the more practical hatches will serve you better.

  • Not always. I agree practicality should be number one, but fun to drive counts too. Reliability is important and some brands tend to be more reliable than others.

    Chrysler reliability isn't bad, especially with the Cruiser. A few years ago Toyota was having problems with engines and now Honda is having problems with transmissions. One can't count on past reliability reputations as a for sure predictor.

    Juice gave good advice. I'd add that it is sometimes possible to get practical utility along with something that is fun and economical to drive, with a high probability of reliability.

    I have a PT GT that is a blast to drive, very easy to get in and out, holds four full size people with room to spare, is the best assembled car I have ever bought (better than my Acura, Toyota, Mazda, and Nissan), and has been very reliable. The only downside is lousy mpg.

    A Mazda 3 isn't as roomy, but gives great mpg by comparison and is fun to drive too.

    I find the two Scions (A and B) to be underpowered and not much fun, but utility is good. Haven't seen a tC yet
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What I mean is that in the long-term, when the newness and romance fades, what are you left with? A cramped 2+2 or a roomy hatch? Which is more likely to meet your needs in 5 years?

    For example, if you ran out and bought the first New Beetle, now you're stuck with a cramped Golf and poor resale, and it's not even all that fun to drive.

    If you bought a PT Cruiser, at least it's still practical. So when the honeymoon ends, it's still a useful tool to keep around.

    So if you buy, say, a Mini Cooper, fun-to-drive had better be very, very high on your priority list.

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    you probably shouldn't buy. Your post would indicate that you have serious doubts about the PT Cruiser and its reliability and that it would be a deal breaker for you. I would suspect that, going in with that bias, that you would never truly be happy with the car, that you would always be waiting and expecting something to go wrong with it.

    Consumer Reports has rated the PT Cruiser highly for reliability and most people that have owned one are very happy with it. It seems as though they are very reliable, though those people who DO have problems with them seem to have multiple problems.

    My two 2002 PTs have been very reliable so far, in addition are very comfortable and flexible cars. I have had no regrets with either car, in fact my happiness with my wifes car was what encouraged me to get one of my own.

    Unfortunately, no matter how many positive posts you see, there is a very good possibility that you would still "hear the footsteps" and never be happy.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd have to agree. The folks I know are either cult-like fans of the PT or pursuing lemon law cases.

  • there are only two wagons to choose from ,both made by Ford--the focus or the sable/ taurus. All others are suv's[sport utility vehicles] or sedans with a fifth door added usually in the sedans trunks space, so-called hatchbacks. Hopefully will not contain to bastardize the english language so that no common understanding of words will continue. Thanks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not really - the Passat has a very squared off back and is clearly a wagon and not a 5 door hatch. Even the Mazda6 and Legacy are true wagons, look how much more rear headroom there is vs. the sedans.

  • tom21769tom21769 Posts: 63
    And what about the Volvo V70?
    Or the VW Jetta "Wagon"?
  • volvo is Ford. VW wagon is as you qualified it ""wagon""? I am just perplexed why we have a word which is descriptive and we bastardize it. What's wrong with saying sport utility vehicle? Thanks for listening
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    "What's wrong with saying sport utility vehicle?"

    Because typically, "Sport Utility Vehicle" denotes a truck based (or, recently, a raised car-based) platform with four or all-wheel drive. See: Toyota 4Runner, VW Touareg, FOrd Explorer. Wagons are almost always variants of a sedan platform (or sometimes the sedan is derived from the wagon; either way, they share common underpinnings)- your aforementioned Taurus/Sable, Legacy, Volvo V50 and V70, Mazda6 wagon, Passat and Jetta wagons, Mercedes C and E class wagons, BMW 3 and 5 series...the list goes on.

    I'm trying to figure out by which criteria the Taurus and Sable can be considered "wagons" that excludes all the other models I've mentioned.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I usually look at the roof line and the D-pillar. If the roof is longer than the equivalent sedan, and there is a D-pillar (and an extra window), then it's a wagon and not a hatchback. Passat, Volvo V70, etc.

    Hatchbacks are usually sedans with a back pack. The roof line is similar but it has a lift back instead of a trunk. Protoge5, Spectra5, WRX, etc.

    And yes, the WRX is to me more of a 5 door hatch vs. a true wagon. The Forester is based on the same platform and that's more of a wagon, though it's raised up a bit.

This discussion has been closed.