Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Help Me Select a Wagon



  • 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: 4,111
    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: 4,111
    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:

  • 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 ;)
This discussion has been closed.