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Help Me Select a Wagon

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Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I believe the EPA consider the 5 a compact. I read that in Automotive News a while back. The 3 series is tiny, though I think it's still a compact (rather than a sub-compact).

    -juice
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    Not exterior size. Slight differences for wagon vs. sedan bodies of course.
  • ymillerymiller Posts: 10
    Hi all,

    Thanks for all the feedback and advice about my possibly taking the plunge on a new Ford Focus wagon. The frustrating thing I've discovered is it's virtually impossible to find one with ABS and side airbags! Most of the ones sitting on dealer lots have no options, or they are loaded with stuff like sunroof, 6-disc changers, etc. and still no ABS/side airbags.

    So, I'm back at square one, thinking about used VW or Volvo wagons. Or Subaru, but they seem to be hard to find around here. I'm not in a great big hurry to buy, so I have time to look around and try to find a good deal.

    Thanks for everyone's helpful advice...
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    ...perhaps you should consider ordering a Focus dressed the way you want it. I don't know how feasible this is, but you should be able to make a case with a dealer that an ordered car will go right off the lot as soon as it's prepped, no loss of interest, full holdback to the dealer. Just a thought...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Or ask a dealer to find one with that equipment for you.

    The Forester has ABS and side air bags standard. in fact the side air bags also protect the head. So that purchase would be a no-brainer, all you have to worry about is the color. ;-)

    -juice
  • xccoachlouxccoachlou Posts: 245
    My brother and I were at a Ford dealer a few weeks ago, and he noticed 02 Foci were selling used for slightly over 50% of their original MSRP.

    If resale value is a concern to you, that's something to think about.

    When I started looking, I noticed the same thing as you, there are no Foci available with side air bags or ABS.

    It's standard on the Forester. The XS edition comes standard with 4 wheel disc brakes, too. And the Forester just received an NHTSA quadruple 5 star rating.

    As soon as I can get rid of my old Ford Contour, I'll be getting a Forester.

    - Lou
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    Hey folks! I've been reading some of the recent discussion and had particular interest in cabbatan's test drive post (#290). I have been doing online research for a new vehicle for a couple of months (an hour here and there). I have decided to go with a wagon for the versatility.
    Currently I have a Miata (purchased before my wife and I had kids (only 2 so far!)) and the wife has a Mazda MPV minivan. We swap out every once in a while but the wife has a long commute and doesn't like the Miata's 5-speed manual in stop and go traffic.
    Here's my dilemma: I am stuck between choosing from the realm of "sporty, fun to drive" cars and "mature, sophisticated, and luxurious" cars. I've done some analysis on the specs for the following vehicles: Subaru Impreza WRX wagon, Audi A4 3.0 Avant, VW Passat Wagon (6 cyl), BMW 330xi, and the Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

    I compared price, warranty, horsepower/torque, drivetrain, amenities, gas mileage, and overall roominess (again, all spec info from Edmunds.com) and rated each vehicle as first, second, third, etc. After averaging the scores on all the categories here's how things came out:
    Audi 2.375
    Subaru 2.625
    VW 2.75
    Lexus 3
    BMW 3.375

    Sooo... now I'm down to the Audi and the Subaru. I've test driven the Subaru and the BMW (and was surprised that the BMW scored lowest) but not the others. I guess I'm down to the point of trying to address the point of do I want "fun and cheap" or "sophisticated and expensive"?

    Anyone else been through this and have some life experience to share?
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    Brady,

    Not to confuse you, but based on your preferences you seem the ideal candidate for a Forester 2.5XT!

    More amenities (leather and huge moonroof available), a bit more space than the WRX wagon, more low-end torque, faster than any of the above (except perhaps the WRX wagon, and except around tight corners), and radiating a more mature image.

    I feel with you though, since I have the Passat wagon (4Motion), and the Audi and Forester XT are on my short list to replace my aging second car.

    - D.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Interesting that you were able to quantify based on your criteria.

    I say go drive the top few and then make an emotional decision. "Liking" your car should weight heavily in your decision.

    Do you want a luxurious cruiser to transport clients and the in-laws? Audi would seem natural. Or a car you use hard and put away wet, to transport muddy bikes and skis? Subaru.

    -juice
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    I really like the look of Audi wagons, but what prevents me from going that way is the reliability concern.

    You might want to wait until the redesigned Legacy is unveiled. It'll probably be here in the US for the next model year (2004). There are some links to some actual photos over at the Subaru Crew Future Models topic.

    Ken
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    Brady

    Apparently cargo room isn't much of a concern to you, based on your field. Other than the Passat, the rest aren't much more than hatchbacks.

    The two biggest differing points in your finalists are reliability (Subaru is, Audi isn't) and driving use. As Juice said, the Audi is the refined road machine while the Subaru is the "mudder." If you don't intend to leave the pavement and don't mind a little more time in the shop, the Audi is the way to go.

    Another point to consider is something I don't know about first hand, and you've probably already got a better feel for this yourself after test drives. The Car Talk guys recently reviewed the Subaru WRX, and found that for all of it's massive horsepower, it felt very sluggish in normal driving. They said all of the power came in great bursts at high RPM's, meaning you wouldn't feel the boost until you floored it and kept the pedal down till you hit about 4000 RPM's or so. I really don't know if this is true or not, but that certainly didn't sound like a very practical way of driving to me.

    Good luck with your choice.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    How about one of the Volvo V70 variants? More refined than the Subaru, more reliable than the Audi, and cost in the same ballpark as the Audi and BMW.

    BTW, you said you only have 2 kids. I thought there are 6? Greg, Marsha, Bobby, Cindy ..... :)
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    Wow! Thanks for all the responses guys. I wasn't sure what to expect but I do appreciate it. My replies below.
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    allhorizon,

    Forrester? Hmmm... seems more like an small SUV than a wagon. I'll have to give it a look-see at the dealership. Thanks for the heads up.
    Looking at specs it seems quite a bit underpowered compared to the other vehicles I was considering (all above 200 HP).
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    Hey! :)

    I don't have to transport clients OR in-laws (thankfully on both!) but I have wanted to check out something a bit "classier" than what I have had in the past. My first car was an '80 Pontiac Bonneville (the boat), then a '77 Grand Prix (the bullet), then a '78 Trans Am (the beast), then the '94 Miata (the baby). Weird about the "B" nicknames... I just now realized that.

    I went and test drove an A4 Avant 3.0L today and was very impressed by the power (good acceleration even with the AC on... it was 101 degrees today...whew!), the amenities, the communication I had with the vehicle via steering, and the smoothness of the ride. All in all I was left with the impression of a very refined vehicle but the vehicle seemed "chubby" up close and in person. It was (and forgive me for being crude and superficial with this) like taking a well mannered, wealthy, but somewhat chubby girl to the prom. As much as you like her, she's not the rowdy, sexy, fun to be around "Mary" that Cameron Diaz played in "There's Something About Mary".
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    I have heard bits and pieces/ anecdotal stories of reliability issues with the Audi wagons but nothing consistent. Most of the customer opinions (e.g. eOpinions.com) and consumer reports kind of stuff online seem to show good reliability for the A4s.

    "You might want to wait until the redesigned Legacy is unveiled." I checked out the photos and the vehicle looks SaWEET! I wonder about the specs, though. Ah, well... it's not like I've gotta buy a new vehicle TOMORROW or anything... I'll wait. :)
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    I have had cars that were functional but not as luxurious or classy. I REALLY enjoy my Miata but it is no longer practical with two kids. (BTW, Cindy, Bobby, Marsha, and the others may be on the way eventually... no telling... hehehe).

    I enjoy getting a little sideways as I drive home (when it's safe) but I don't have to drive 90 down the highway to have fun. I'm more of a SCCA SOLO II kind of guy than anything else (like off roader). Interesting side note: the car the SCCA website uses under the SOLO I/II heading is an Impreza WRX (not a Porsche, Mustang, Viper, etc).

    I don't particularly need a lot of cargo room but would like to have more than just a trunk. My hobbies tend more towards music and online death-matches rather than outdoorsy kinds of activities so space (other than passengers) is not a huge concern.

    Reliability hasn't ever been an issue with any other of my cars (or if it has, I just took care of the problem without worrying about it much) so I may have neglected to look at that very closely... good point. These newer cars you can't just put up on jack stands and fix them yourself as much as the older cars. :)

    ncvol said:

    "They said all of the power came in great bursts at high RPM's, meaning you wouldn't feel the boost until you floored it and kept the pedal down till you hit about 4000 RPM's or so. I really don't know if this is true or not, but that certainly didn't sound like a very practical way of driving to me."

    Nah... just shift gears from where you are to a gear that will put you in the power range. The turbo boost on the WRX starts at around 3K RPM which gives it a power curve similar to the Miata (e.g. no low RPM power). I very much like the sportiness of the WRX I just am not thrilled with the cheap-o plastic interior parts. I guess that helps reduce overall vehicle weight.

    I looked at the Volvo options and the price and horsepower were good but the exterior styling does not appeal to me (but the Audi does? go figure).

    Thanks again for all your input and responses!
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    Brady,

    The Forester I was talking about is the turbo Forester, the 2.5XT. It has the same engine as the Subaru WRX STi, just a bit detuned. More low-end torque than the WRX. Perhaps you won't go for its exterior styling, but it's really just a tall wagon, and inside it is quite a bit nicer than a WRX wagon. Which is why I mentioned it. Details are available at http://www.media.subaru.com/ - just follow the Forester link and then look at the specs. Or go to the Canadian Forester microsite: http://www.subaruforester.ca/ . 235 lb-ft at 3500rpm, 210hp max at a modest 5600. Definitely faster than the A4, still AWD.

    On the other hand, if the chunky or "chubby" look is almost all that you don't like about the A4, just take another look in a few weeks. It may grow on you. As Juice said, at this level, it is important that you like the car and will have fun in it. I wouldn't worry any more about its reliability than you have worried about that stuff in the past. It has a great warranty and I am sure you'll love it.

    - D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Brady: hold out for a hot prom date. You're spending enough that she should be an all around knock-out.

    I have a '93 Miata, torque peaks at 5500rpm. So compared to that, the WRX has *extreme* low end torque. Relatively speaking.

    Try a WRX, it may be a good compromise, half way between a Miata and the A4.

    The Forester XT is maybe half way between the Miata and an FX45. They're actually pretty fun to drive, more than you'd think, even with just 165hp.

    See if you can own both. I do, they complement each other wonderfully. The Miata handles light duties, short errands, and sunny weather. The Soob handles my towing/hauling needs, trips, and rain/snow perfectly.

    -juice
  • Rosie21Rosie21 Posts: 1
    Does anyone have any advice on whether I should buy a 2003 Saab 9-5 wagon or a used Mercedes (1998 or 1999) wagon. My biggest concern is safety, then reliability. I want something that will last. I'm still driving my '84 Volvo. Wish I could find something that would be as good an investment as that was. Even with worthless AC, it was a good car, without much in maintenance costs. Also, please let me know if I am off track and should look at other wagons. Thanks.
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    Just when I thought my indecision couldn't get any worse...

    I went and test drove a 2004 WRX sedan (they didn't have a 5-speed wagon on the lot) and now I can't decide if I still want a wagon or a sporty looking little coupe.

    I'm leaning a bit more towards the WRX again. I'm a practical kinda guy and I just can't see spending an extra 10 grand on some of the "nice to have but not required" kind of features I'm seeing in the A4. Don't get me wrong... it's still an excellent car... just probably not for me. :)

    Now it's just a matter of timing and finances... hmmmm... where's my piggy bank? :)
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    The WRX can corrupt one's thinking, no doubt... ;)

    Bob
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Lol, well that would certainly be an interesting topic for a new discussion here. Good luck with your decision. ;-)

    Revka
    Host
    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • petersjfpetersjf Posts: 8
    Rosie-
    I would go with the new Saab, but I'm biased since I just purchased one.

    Re: Safety- they are definitely 2 of the safest made. I would also include Volvo v70 on your list since the reliability has reportedly improved.

    Re: reliability - always hard to assess. With available data (JD Powers, Consumer Reports, new 9-5 should be better than used Mercedes wagon. Mercedes reliability dipped in the 90's so not all their cars are as bulletproof as previously. All European wagons are expensive to fix out of warranty (I would factor in a 3rd party warranty if you go the mercedes route).

    Have you driven both? With it's turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Saab is going to drive differently - less 0-30 pick-up, but more sensation of acceleration from 30 mph on up.

    Good luck with your decision
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Get the wagon, it's a guilt-free sin, because it's still a practical vehicle. The roof rack will help carry whatever doesn't fit inside. There are 4 doors, decent room, plus it's fun.

    I've seen them cheap, too, just under $22k at fitzmall.com for a left over 2003. The 2004 got a face-lift but it's mostly the same.

    I bet a new 9-5 would be more reliable than a used E, easily. Neither will have low running costs, though, you gotta pay to play in the luxury arena. They're arguably worth it, though.

    -juice
  • fauxpawsfauxpaws Posts: 11
    Funny, I just had the same choice: Black/Black '01 MB E320 4-matic wagon for US$34,400 or White/Beige '03 Saab 9-5 Arc wagon with touring package for same price. Drove each several times.

    Both are great cars. I won't start a flame war by listing my tolerance for pretentiousness/cost of maintenance/handling, etc. It's your choice.

    I need a wagon to get to and from AKC dog show judging assignments on the East coast and feel good after the drive.

    I just put my 1000th mile on the Saab. No regrets.

    You can't go wrong with either. It's America. Take your choice. Enjoy.

    Best,
    Greg
  • K9LeaderK9Leader Posts: 112
    Brady:
    Picture this: You pick up your refined and be-leathered brand new Audi (or Lexus or Saab or whatever), and, on the ride home, you are starting to get over the shell-shock of the check you just wrote and the loan papers you just signed and really enjoy the luxury of your new ride.

    Then, one of the kids barfs up everything he has ever eaten in that random spray pattern that kids save for yacking in enclosed spaces. Your big-bucks ride just depreciated . . . a lot.

    Repeat after me: I cannot own a nice car until they turn 18. I cannot own a nice car until they turn 18. I cannot own a nice car until they turn 18.

    No matter how scrupulously you monitor what they take into the car with them, no matter how infrequently they ride in that particular car, no matter how often you glance back to check on them, your children will trash your car every chance they get.

    You need a daily driver? Get something inexpensive enough (gently used Legacy, Outback, Forester, etc.) that you can keep the Miata for a weekend, sunny-day ride. When the kids redecorate the inside of your daily driver, you won't go crazy. Instead, you clean it up as best you can, go put the top down on the Miata, and go find a twisty road.

    --Rob G.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You know something? You really have a point there.

    My 3 year old absolutely trashes my interior. Muddy shoes against the back of the front seats. Food everywhere. Spilled drinks almost daily.

    On the outside, her cousin took a Power Ranger doll and decided to give me some nice custom pin stripes! Thanks! At least they came out.

    My wife kept that in mind when we went car shopping. I was partial to a nice LL Bean H6 Outback, with two-tone leather and a real wood steering wheel. She preferred the base Legacy L for $9 grand less, figuring it's the family car and is just gonna get trashed.

    Depends on your kids a lot, I guess. We did add a 6CD changer, a moonroof, and a cargo cover (great investment for changing diaper on top of). So it's still nice enough, but it represents a very small investment, about $19k total.

    I commute in my older Miata. It's pretty clean since the kids are too small to ride in it.

    -juice
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Then, one of the kids barfs up everything he has ever eaten in that random spray pattern

    Oh boy. That's one dose of reality to this new father.

    So, for kids -- leather or cloth?

    Ken
    (weighing in barf into his new car purchase)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I doesn't matter that much. Leather is easier to wipe up, but we just put a towel under the infant and booster seats.

    Actually, it's the seats themselves that take the biggest beating. We wash the covers often. The fabric under them is spotless. It's the carpets, doors, and back of the front seat that take a beating.

    Buy leather if you like it, not for the kids.

    -juice
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    No, try to clean 2-week old, dried-up, fermented milk from a cloth seat. Or chewing gum. Or ... "wait - I don't remember what that was ... but it looks disgusting". We have both, leather is much, much better with kids (and I like it better in hot and cold [when heated]).

    The outside, I agree. With an expensive car, you need some protection from bicycles, soft plastic turned magic marker, and whatnot. The inside: can be cleaned & vacuumed; plastic thingies can be replaced.

    I use a large towel or sheet in the back under the child's seat. Helps some.

    - D.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No gum allowed, guess ours are too young for that. The milk gets on carpets anyway, so you still have that problem.

    My wife had leather on her 626, and when we traded up she didn't want it, mostly because she prefers to sit on cloth.

    Later I found a Katskins leather kit cheap on E-bay, she still turned it down. Oh well.

    -juice
  • K9LeaderK9Leader Posts: 112
    Actually, my kids are pretty well-behaved in the car, but they are still kids and tend to leave debris in their wake, and tend not to think about things like muddy shoes or "Gee, maybe I'm sitting on that malted milk ball I think I dropped and may be mashing into the fibers of every layer of fabric and foam on the seat."

    One of the best was when I was on a business trip and my wife tells me that the passenger side sliding door on the six-month old Toyoyta Sienna will not open. "Oh, boy," I think, "the door demons have hit us and we're going to go through dealership door-alignment torture." When I got home, I investigated. It was glued shut with orange soda. Fast-food cup with orange soda in the door cup holder, left there several days, cup eventually was soda-logged and no longer contained that sticky liquid, which ran down the door into the well and dried, securely gluing it shut. Tugging and pulling, warm soapy water and I finally pried it loose. That's why there is a little "bottles only, no cups" symbol on the cup holder!

    One very large storage space that most people overlook in their cars is the area under and behind the rear seat. The number of petrified french fries that can be stored there is truly amazing. Pens, pencils, permanent markers with missing caps, toys, candy, peanuts, Cheerios, cheese sandwiches, mommy's driver's license, that mortgage payment that was supposed to be mailed but somehow never got there -- all things that can be conveniently stored in that forgotten storage cubby.

    Leather is easier to wipe up for most liquid and semi-liquid spills, but it is more heart-renching when major damage -- punctures, cuts, rips, tears, scrapes, etc. -- occurs.

    My kids are 12 and 15 now, so we are movin' on up to leather -- have it in 2 of 3 cars.

    --Rob G. aka K9Leader
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    When I bought my '63 Studebaker from the estate of the previous owner, I removed the rear seat cushion to find about a dozen crayons - some of them melted together - a dog collar and some dog hair, and an envelope containing children's school pictures which looked to be circa the mid-1970s. I returned the pictures to the seller, who was the daughter of the deceased owner. Her son answered the door and I handed him the envelope and told him about the crayons and the dog collar. He told me that his grandmother would often give them coloring books and crayons to entertain themselves while she ran into stores on errands. He also said she often brought her dog along as passenger, clipping his leash to one of the springs on the underside of the front seat.

    Funny stuff.

    Ed
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    I've been debating over those two as well. I've heard wonderful things about both. I like the Saab's reliability history, as well as several technical features, but the biggest drawback for me is the lack of AWD. $34k sounds like a great price for a 2003 9-5 Arc, considering they list at right around $40k.

    I really love the huge space of the MB E320 Wagon, but I'd probably be looking at a three to four year old car to get in the price range of the Saab. Unfortunately the 2000 MY, when they added a bunch of standard features, seems to have been a bad year for technical glitches. I'm probably going to put 200k miles on it, so the MB resale advantage doesn't mean as much. I have seen more than one review, however, calling the E320 wagon one of the best cars that the reviewer has ever tested.

    Tough choice.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My brother-in-law bought a used Caddy Biarritz and found old drug needles under the rear seat! Careful and clean up any used car you buy thoroughly.

    -juice
  • fauxpawsfauxpaws Posts: 11
    Tough choice, and you really can't lose in terms of getting a nice driving experience. If you see The One, buy it. There just aren't that many around. MB doesn't send that many E-320 wagons to the US. With the very aggressive incentives GM is offering it's dealers, the '03 Saabs are disappearing.

    Re AWD. I'm 52 y/o. Have driven all my life in midwest and northeast (Sales job:30000 mi/yr). NEVER have I gotten stuck in the snow, even when I had rear drive rep cars (Sable/Century). Front drive with today's all-season tires (Pirelli P6) is pretty good for 95% of foul weather conditions. The other 5% I stay home or slow down to avoid getting creamed by the nervous nellies out in search of candles and batteries.

    Saabs/Volvos are engineered in a country not know for its sunny climate. Swedes know a thing or two about snow.

    If I lived in VT, Rochester-Syracuse, etc, AWD would be a consideration (Subaru is the official state car of VT).I'd also heard good things about the AWD Volvos. Nice cars. When I test drove them, I thought it would be simply be a choice of which color.

    Then my 17 y/o daughter talked me into driving the Saab. Honestly, I didn't know that one of their marketing slogans states something to the effect that people that test drive them end up buying them.

    Bottom line, I think I'll get more utility out of the actively ventilated seats in the Saab for nine months out of the year versus AWD for a few hours in January until the roads are cleared. MB with rear drive is a non-starter.

    I test-drove the Linear and Arc, but not the Aero. I'm *afraid* of what would have happened if I'd have taken one of those puppies out for a spin.

    Happy hunting!

    Greg

    PS: Drug needles in used cars: Dispose of those sharps properly, so that they end up in their proper place...on our New Jersey beaches.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    There is a misconception out there that AWD is strictly a "winter" benefit. Not so; it works for for you 365 days a year. AWD is better on all driving surfaces, and especially in the rain.

    I've owned many FWD and RWD vehicles, now own two AWD Subarus; so I'm speaking from lots of experience. No way am I going to go back to FWD or RWD. I think you'll find my response common among those who have lived with AWD. It's the best driving system out there, period.

    Bob
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    I agree about putting down a towel on the leather but there is something about liquids getting into the stitching that just doesn't come out. I never allowed my kids to ride in my Miata until they were over 5 because of the seatbelt size/ airbag power issue on the passenger side. Now they are old enough to know better but not always do the right thing.
    My wife's Mazda MPV minivan is the daily driver for the kids and the kids area gets all KINDS of stuff on the floor and under the seats... it's really amazing. I think I'll stick with cloth seats even though the dealer had some custom leather seats in their floor model WRX.
  • brady_bunchbrady_bunch Posts: 21
    How important is it to buy from the dealer where you will have the vehicle serviced? The Subaru dealership in San Antonio isn't coming close to the price or perks (free window tint, VIN etching, and gas for a year) that other dealerships in Austin are offering. I want to get the best deal on the vehicle but I am concerned that the SA dealer might get a little, uh, less than completely honest when it comes to the scope of repairs or repair costs.

    I don't have any particular reason to be worried about the local Subaru dealer... I'm concerned about that type of situation with ANY dealer.

    Thoughts/ suggestions/ personal experiences? Anyone? :)
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Thanks for all the leather vs. cloth responses. Sounds like it's a divided camp so I guess juice was right -- get whichever one you like.

    As for the dealer service question, no -- it should not matter where you bought your vehicle. Service departments make quite a bit of money from warranty work so there's no reason why they should look down on vehicles not bought at that dealership. Also, most service departments are run separately from sales.

    Some dealers will offer vehicles bought there free oil changes for life or some other small perk, but it's in no way discriminating against customers from a different location. I've never had a bad experience in that respect.

    Ken
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Do you think it makes a difference when you go for servicing if the car was purchased thru a broker? Or perhaps more important, the "after-sale" service where for the first 12 months the dealer will fix a lot of things normally considered wear and tear -- ie. light bulbs, alignment, tire rotation. Can you still expect these if the car was not purchased directly from a dealer?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    More profits come from service than from new car sales. Any place should be happy to service your car. I haven't gone to the dealer I bought from.

    Also, the manufacturer reimburses the dealer for all warranty work, so they're getting paid no matter where you bought it. Take off the other dealer's tag or sticker and they probably won't even know where you bought it.

    -juice
  • nelsoncmnelsoncm Posts: 103
    I have a 02 Arc wagon. And while it has many great features, the lack of storage space (cubbies, cupholders, pockets to put all your crap) drives me buggy! Anyone know if Saab is ever going to address this issue? Someone said they went to the NY auto show, and said AWD was coming soon. I could care less about that, give me better cupholders and a decent place to put my change!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, the 9-2 is going to be Subaru-based, i.e. a WRX platform. So maybe they'll get some positive influence from Subaru, who tends to have lots of storage cubbies.

    I'd count the number of them in my Forester, but it would take quite a while! Though some are small, there are still plenty - for coins, cell phones, radar detector, glove box, 2 sun glasses, ash tray, 12 pack cooler in spare, umbrella holder, two small compartments, 3 cargo nets, roof rack, etc.

    GM owns part of both so it's likely they'll share some ideas. I for one hope Subaru copies Saab's wonderful slide-out cargo floor on their 9-5 wagon.

    -juice
  • maurcedesmaurcedes Posts: 38
    I'm close to retiring the old 95 Mercedes wagon with 180,000 miles on it. Maybe. What I love about the car is that it has a good spirit. Not only super comfortable on long trips and able to haul around a tremendous amount of crap, but it is just funky enough to be fun. I thought I wanted a Jetta wagon, even ordered one, but didn't take delivery. You just can't drive a toy car after a MB. I've had a Forester and it was OK, had nice leather, but the 4-cyl over-rev'd to make up for the under-power and got awful mileage. I sure loved it in a heavy rain, though.

    The Volvo XC caught my eye, but I rented one and drove it 650 miles and it was actually kind of boring. It was too plush and felt like driving a couch down the road. I like the exterior styling, but the ride and interior belong to a less aggressive car. And I hated the key. I like the remote entry and all that, but when it's built on to the key it's a pain in the neck. What if I want to go about scantily clad? Where do I stash the damn key?

    The BMW 325 wagon is gorgeous IMO, but the rear seats don't fold flat, which is silly. If a Jetta can have a flat cargo area, a BMW should. That's what makes it a "station wagon", folks. And the 5-series is just out of my price range.

    Should I look at the Passat as a compromise between MB and Volvo? Is it boring?

    Are all new cars too plush and boring? Are all new keys like that? Should I just suck it up and put another 50K on the old Maurcedes?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Go drive a Forester XT, they just came out. I sampled a 5 speed recently and it took me 2-3 days to get the grin off my face. With the manual tranny, the thing feels like a V8, with good low end torque, even.

    The automatic was not nearly as satisfying, though.

    -juice
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Well, instead of a Volvo XC, did you consider a V70 T5 or even a V70R?
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Reading the latest results on small SUV's crash tests I wonder the reason that anyone would even consider buying a huge SUV. Not only are they expensive to buy, maintain, cumbersome to handle in the city, and not that all easy to parallel park, but also the effects on the environment, and the gasoline consumption are staggering.

    In America we have choices and the freedom to drive anything. Car manufacturers give a distorted if not wrong sense of invincibility to the public when they market these trucks. These high wagons were not proven to be safe, and can cause tremendous damage to people and to other vehicles.

    For those who want or need a high wagon, there are other good alternatives. Subaru Forester offers safe, affordable,economical and a very reliable alternative. There are others of course.

    Every Summer I vacation in South America, and get shocked at the prices of gasoline there. When a Toyota Tercel is considered to be a gas guzzler, when filling up a Honda Civic it costs U$30.00 I return to the States with perspective. How great the American economy is that some can afford and maintain a Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navegator, Dodge Durango, etc. The way we waste resources here is appalling to me.

    Some SUV owners will react defensively about my comments. I didn't make them with the intention of insulting anyone or putting down any vehicle maker. I don't have loyalties to any of them. But I am against wasting resources to purchase a high wagon to drive through the "mountains of paved highways" to enlarge my ego needs.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    to those small SUV tests. Those with side airbags got good or acceptable, those without got marginal or poor. Subarus, Volvos, Bimmers, Saabs all come with good side and often head airbags to boot. Seems to be the key to that test, especially with the pickup-truck sized/shaped barrier.
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