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Station Wagon vs SUV

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Comments

  • If you want to call my 03 X Forester a wagon its ok with me. A rose by any other name....
    I bought it because it made up for the few problems I found in the 87 Subaru GL I had that went nearly anywhere. The GL was also a wagon. The kids didn't like it till I could deliver them and pick them up at school no matter what the weather conditions.
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    I have to admit that when I first saw the Forester a few years ago I really liked it and said to myself "That will be my new Subie wagon". Now that it is time for my next Subie, I took a closer look and found it not to be as practical (and cheap) as my Subaru Loyale is. That one, IMHO, is a true "Wagon". The Forester seems to have a lot of "tough look" plastic around the bumper area. The lines are too bulky. I think the model may have changed since I first noticed it (four years ago?). It is also very expensive since there is no such thing as a pure "base" model (without electric windows, mirrors, locks, etc, etc, etc). I always did fine without all these do-dads. I picked the Impreza wagon (new model coming in May this year). It is cheaper, cargo space is only 5cft less, but I still could not get a base model. Oh, well....can't have everything. BTW, if you go to the Subaru Japan website, you will see some really nice cars that are not available in North America, even a van (though I think it is not a real Subie but a GM product).
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    is an Opel, rebadged as a Subaru. They do offer AWD, however.

    Bob
  • I'll have to call it a SUGON. 8-)

    I tried the Imprezza and I liked the handling and it was fun to drive. I liked the Forester better because it had a lot more room. I'm 6'4" or maybe 6'3" now (kids make you shorter). I didnt want my head to hit the ceiling of the car when I hit a bump. There is a lot of head clearance in the Forester.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    if they called them "tall-wagon SUVs" and "truck-SUVs". In my book, it still has to have a transfer case with a low gear and a full frame to be considered a truck-SUV, and the SUV trend is towards tall wagons, since they are lower weight, less expensive to build, and more consumer-friendly for street use.

    4Runner is most definitely a truck-SUV by this definition, although I wish they had stuck with the recirculating ball steering, since it is more tolerant of offroad abuse. But of course, rack and pinion is much more street-useful and precise, so they changed over in '96. Increased maintenance and repair cost down the line...oh well...

    Wagons will never compete for the same buyer, it seems to me, because quite apart from the "image" of an SUV, the one thing that wagons cannot provide that seems to be a major buying point for SUV-consumers these days is ride height. They like to ride above the traffic, and be able to see WAY ahead down the road.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Well, the government allows the PT Cruiser to be classified as an SUV, so the interpretation is rather liberal and shouldn't be used for practical purposes.
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    Well, it's easy to get carried away with dismissing terms. Although, as discussed here, the term is used in liberal ways and sometimes is applied to vehicles that stray from the "norm", it is still a pretty valid, practical, useful term.

    When you talk about an SUV to most people, they have a pretty good idea what you mean. Likewise, if you walk into a dealership (well, other than Subaru ;-) ) and ask to see their SUV line, you'll see SUVs. Some may be car-based and not fit the definition of a "real" SUV, but the term does mean something.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    you know it when you see it!

    Sometimes the carmakers stretch it though...I have heard Subaru Outback and Volvo XC70 called SUVs, and to my mind, one gander at either of those vehicles and you know they are wagons...mildly offroad wagons maybe, and excellent snow vehicles, but wagons nonetheless. Audi Allroad is another example of that phenomenon.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jk27jk27 Posts: 244
    The definition of an SUV is ... in the eye of the beholder. My guess is most Outback drivers would say they are driving an SUV ... AWD, a bit higher than a normal car, storage of a wagon, etc. The connotation of SUV has certainly morphed with time and now includes many more types/shapes/styles of vehicles.

    I own a Buick Rendezvous and consider it an SUV. But it's really an amalgam of a mini-van, luxury car and SUV.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    but I would say it is clear with one look at the Rendezvous that it is an SUV.

    One look at the XC70, even two, and I would definitely say it is a wagon with a bit of cladding on it. Just my opinion though!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Why is this topic in the VW forum? Yeah, I know VW makes a station wagon......
  • jk27jk27 Posts: 244
    FYI, this topic is also in the Buick Rendezvous forum ... and probably many others :)
  • Just did a comparision between a BMW 325i wagon and a Ford Explorer XLT 2WD 4.0 liter. The true cost to own is within $200 of each other over a 5 year span.

    Me, I would take the BMW in a hearbeat for numerous pratical and "enjoyment" factor reasons. From what I have heard BMW and Audi wagons perform just as well or within a hair of their sedan and coupe conterparts. And if I needed more utility I would add a roof rack w/ carrier and/or put a trailer hitch on it.

    Especially for single people I really can't imagine why they would want the Ford unless they really needed 4WD and better ground clearence. I would imagine this would be less than 10% of you out there so once again I am bemused by my fellow American's taste in vehicles.

    The only thing I can think of is the stigma attached to both wagons and hatchbacks in the US, but when you own a vehicle like a wagon for a number of years I would think that its practicality and enjoyment factors would outweigh the novelty aspects of the other side.
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    Really, there's no comparison here in terms of so many attributes. But the price comparison you give is interesting. For those using an Explorer like a wagon, you give food for thought.

    But, to be fair, an Explorer can tow 5000 lbs. If the 325i wagon can tow more than 2000 I'd be shocked. I can't find that spec anywhere...not too surprised ;-) For those few SUV owners that actually tow mid/large-SUV-range tow loads (over 3500 lbs), the 325i would not suffice.
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    Since i had to talk to my insurance broker anyway, I asked her if they considered the Forester an SUV or a Wagon (lower rate for wagon). It's a WAGON folks! The insurance company is BELAIR.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 265
    I just called AAA in San Jose, CA, and they say Forester is definitely a station wagon. In fact, the insurance for a new one would be only $20 more per month than my old Kia... considering I carry high insurance (business reasons), that is truly surprising.
  • ...and I've been driving my '02 Forester S for over a year now and here's my take so far:

    SUV = Subaru Utility Vehicle

    John
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    but which is it - suv or wagon? hee hee

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 265
    Yes, Arianna is an interesting person, and she tends to do some strange (some might say outrageous) things to get her point across. She might have gone a bit off the deep end this time. It is sure to provoke a reaction, though.
  • One of the reasons I got the Forester was the reasonably good gas mileage. I remember vividly the gas "shortage" in the early 70s. People were following gas trucks to see where they would off load. People were also parking in gas lines and sleeping in their cars to top them off. Any one remember the $5. minimum to prevent people from topping off?
    I believe it was the Oregon plan that started the last number of the license plate idea and a return to sanity. Even numbers get gas on even days and odd numbers on odd days. God help you if you were on a long trip. You really had to plan.
    My wife was about to deliver our first born and I wouldnt have made it to the hospital if a gas jockey hadnt had pity and let us fill up on the wrong day. By the way he was packing a pistol to protect himself. It wasnt pretty.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The term "SUV" is purely marketing. In fact it's a mostly american term.

    For proof, go check out a 4Runner in other markets, it's not called that at all. In Brazil, Suriname, and Belize, they call it the Hilux SW4. As in STATION WAGON with 4WD. That's to distinguish it from the Hilux pickup, which is not a station wagon (the 4Runner IS a wagon).

    They're all wagons, wagon is a body style - two boxe shape? It's a wagon, period. End of discussion.

    Sure, the Forester is a wagon, they all are. At least Subaru makes AWD standard. What about a 2WD Vitara, is that more of an SUV just because it's truck based?

    SUV is a fabricated, imaginary name to justify the $8000 profit margins on these cash cows. And before you talk about the full frames and so forth, my dad's Olds Custom Cruiser had that too, and it had a big engine and huge towing capacities.

    You can get a low range-equipped Forester in Australia, AWD is standard, and there are factory skid plates available. Only Toyotas go off road more frequently in that country (so few people go off road in the US it's pitiful).

    It's pointless to categorize, they are all wagons with varying degrees of capability, utility, and sport. I happen to think the Forester is among the sportiest, by the way, much sportier than any Durango or XTerra.

    -juice
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    Actually, the 4Runner everywhere else in the world is the Landcruiser, Prado. IT IS NOT A STATION WAGON. Fully-boxed ladder frame with unibody on top does not in any way seem like a wagon.

    Just a little correction. I do agree that ALOT of "SUV"'s out there are actually just tall station wagons though. They should break the category down to "SUT" and "SUC" for Sport-Utility Trucks and Cars respectively.

    Ken
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nope, not every where, I was just in Brazil last week and I can guarantee you that I repeatedly saw "SW4" badges on the back of 4Runners. I'd noticed it before in other countries I've been too.

    They do have several Land Cruiser models, the Prado is a shorter wheelbase LC and distinct from the 4Runner, at least that was the case in Belize. The newer Prado is a GX470 clone, and while I realize they share a platform with 4Runner there are some differences.

    I knew I should have taken a photo.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, I found several sources. The 4Runner in Brazil is NOT a Land Cruiser Prado, it is the Hilux SW4, as I claimed.

    I scanned this in from "Quattro Rodas", the biggest Brazilian car mag. It's a sales ranking, where you'll find Toyota's station wagon ranked 11th among imports to Brazil that month.

    http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4290819759

    I found a 2nd source as well, this from Carro magazine, also in Brazil. The Toyota SW4 is shown even with a photo! It's the 2nd photo in that album.

    And I'm not making this up - my dad used to order Toyotas for his fleet in Belize, so I got to take a look at the whole catalog of factory-direct UN-spec vehicles. This was a couple of years ago, but they had a Land Cruiser 100 (that's our Land Cruiser), a Land Cruiser Prado (N/A in the US at that time), and the Hilux SW4 (our 4Runner).

    What's cool is that they were bare-bones, vinyl seats, diesel engines, manual trannys. I drove my dad's diesel and it was remarkably quiet inside, loud as heck outside. Excellent sound insulation, and great torque.

    Any how, the factory calls the 4Runner a Station Wagon with 4WD. And by the way prices were in the $18,000 range for these bare-bones models (plus delivery and insurance). The US gets heavily dressed up version with a bunch of gadgets that cost double, and of course the "SUV" label to help justify that price!

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    the 4Runner and Land Cruiser Prado/Colorado share a lot under the skin. Same front suspension and engine choices in many cases (3.4L V6). They are considered Toyota's mid-size SUV/wagon in what ever market they are sold in.

    And, yes juice is right in that "SUV" is primarily a marketing term. In many other markets, these are considered wagons.

    Even more interesting is the Dakar rally that is currently going on, and can be viewed on the SPEED channel. Under the "car" classification you have competing: The Mitsubishi Pajaro (Montero), BMW X-5, Mercedes ML, Nissan pickups, etc.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wish I had that channel! :-(

    Remind me to bring those magazines next time we meet up, there is plenty of interesting little factoids to discuss in there, Bob.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    You would go nuts having the SPEED channel—especially when rally events are being broadcast. The Dakar event is one I especially enjoy. Some of the scenery is beyond belief as far a beauty is concerned.

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Bob, they only consider "trucks" to be "heavy trucks" Basically Box-trucks are in the Truck Class, anything that has 4 wheels between motorcycle and "truck" is considered a car.

    -mike
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    Rant Warning

    Ok, we're warned.

    The term "SUV" is purely marketing. In fact it's a mostly american term.

    Hmmmm...do those two have something to do with one another? ;-)

    I agree that the term SUV is used loosely. But...what does "pure marketing" mean? That it has no meaning? It sure does. We know what it refers to.

    For proof, go check out a 4Runner in other markets, it's not called that at all. In Brazil, Suriname, and Belize, they call it the Hilux SW4.

    You've lost me. How does this prove anything? I don't knwo of any SUV that has an "SUV" badge on it. 4WD, SLT, and the like, but not SUV.

    The word is loose and the meaning is somewhat vernacular but it generally means a large vehicle with high ground clearance, available with 4WD, a HD suspension and large engine. Some psuedo SUVs are missing some or don't have a transfer case, but the term is quite meaningful.

    They're all wagons, wagon is a body style - two boxe shape? It's a wagon, period. End of discussion.

    If you want to define it that way, ok...but then an SUV is a very distinct variation of a wagon.

    Very few people will mistake a real SUV with a normal wagon.

    SUV is a fabricated, imaginary name...

    But so are all vehicle class name. They are all fabricated. Imaginary is kind of superflous here.

    ... to justify the $8000 profit margins on these cash cows.

    How does a name justify a price? I don't disagree that they are cash cows that they are creating an imaginary demand for, but the notion of a vehicle that functionally can perform heavy duty tasks (tow/off road/haul) and also as a family vehicle is what defines the class. The fact that most folks that own them don't need the HD functions and the fact that some vehicles called SUVs don't provide those functions does not remove the meaning.

    And before you talk about the full frames and so forth, my dad's Olds Custom Cruiser had that too...

    And pickups can tow over 5000 lbs...and cars have seats...and MVs have extra space. The point is what combination of attributes defines SUV, not whether any other class has one of the attributes.

    It's pointless to categorize...

    Huh??!?!?? You're kidding, right?

    I happen to think the Forester is among the sportiest, by the way, much sportier than any Durango or XTerra.

    No way..."sporty" is just a marketing term...no meaning at all ;-)
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    And, yes juice is right in that "SUV" is primarily a marketing term. In many other markets, these are considered wagons.

    Nah...wagon is a marketing term...they're all SUVs ;-)
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Sounds like you've been watching Dakar. :)

    Actually, they also race quads (ATVs), but those are considered motorcycles I believe. I love watching the big trucks. Some of those are actually faster than some cars or bikes.

    Ever see the movie called "The Great Race?" I think it was made back in the '60s, and it was a comedy of an early 1900s, round-the-world race. Dakar reminds me of that movie. Just about anything goes! I love it.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    *Everything* is marketing. :)

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yep been watching it! Did you see where one of the service trucks ran over a land mine in Libya? I thought that was interesting. I'd love to do the Dakar. Anyone want to ride shotty in the Troopa? :)

    -mike
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Yep. Last year, I think the race was diverted at one point because of bandits, and they could not guarantee safety for the participants (racers or support)!

    Bob
  • bkaiser1bkaiser1 Posts: 464
    I was in Nimes, France a few weeks ago on vacation when the rally came through town. It was pretty incredible: there were literally thousands of people lining the streets from the 2000 year old colliseum staging area all the way out of town.

    The cars (trucks, quads, motorbikes...) came flying through down street in front of our Novotel hotel, driving in traffic with the other cars. It was pretty cool to watch. They were spread out pretty good over a period of several hours.

    This is one of the few times I wish I had cable -- I'd like to see some of the coverage!

    Brian
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    Can anyone read the story at this link? Or does it require you to register for The New Republic's website?:

    http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030120&s=easterbrook012003
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    mike: let me up my life insurance first, then I'll take shot gun. ;-)

    When I say purely marketing, maybe I should say to the american consumer. What I meant by all that is that the term SUV has little meaning outside of the USA, and that the very manufacturer of that product (Toyota) calls it a wagon. Toyota's US marketing arm packages it as an SUV to be able to charge more for it. It's ingenious, really.

    You can't sell a wagon for such profit margins, look at all the stuff you get in an Audi S4 Avant, for instance. I'm sure their margins are much thinner than, say, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which have maybe $10,000 of rebates/fluff/margins built-in.

    That's why you can order a UN-spec HIlux SW4 for $18 grand - that's the true wholesale cost. SUVs have huge margins built in along with the label.

    -juice
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    When I say purely marketing, maybe I should say to the american consumer. What I meant by all that is that the term SUV has little meaning outside of the USA...

    Oh. Ok. So, if you want what we call an SUV elsewhere, what do you ask for at the dealership? How do you keep them from showing you a wagon?

    You can't sell a wagon for such profit margins...

    True. You can't sell a wagon for as much profit as a what? ;-)

    Maybe we should call them HPW (high profit wagons. No, maybe it should be HPP (high profit pickup) since that's the ancestry)...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In Brazil, you'd either ask for a caminhao (pickup) or a caminhonete (wagon). The latter would include the 4Runner, for instance. They might show you a used Camry wagon too, though.

    It wasn't much different here, remember the Jeep Grand Wagoneer? And the Cherokee Wagoneer? They only dropped the "Wagoneer" name when those models came into fashion.

    -juice
  • tHE TERM STATION WAGON CAME FROM THE TERM DEPOT HACK.

    pIC OF 1ST STATION WAGONS...

    http://carsinamerica.com/html/20s/cars_2022.html
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Great pics!

    Sure enough, that looks a *lot* more like a Suburban than a Legacy or Taurus wagon. Look at the ground clearance and head room! :-)

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    came from trains stations.

    Back when this type of vehicle was developed, from roughly 1920 - 1940 or so, folks would be met at the train station in vehicles like this, and then were transported, along with their luggage, to the hotel, resort, or to their country estate.

    I'm sure the term "station" wagon evolved out of this type of usage.

    Bob
  • joybelljoybell Posts: 275
    I looked over the Subaru Germany site (to see what they have that we don't), and their definition of an SUV is a vehicle that has a set amount of ground clearance...and that's all. So SUV is not just an "American term". Also looked at Subaru Netherlands but I can't read Dutch. Looks like they have the turbo Forester already.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Other countries do use the the term SUV, however, I think (?) it originated here.

    As to the turbo Forester, the 2.0L version has been on sale for a number of years in Europe and elsewhere. It's basically a de-tuned version of the 2.0L WRX engine. We're hoping to get a 2.5L version.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Some Brazilians refer to the term SUV, but they mostly call them "utilitarios", or Utilitarians.

    Still, in that case they are referring to the old-style Land Rover Defender 110s, with vinyl interiors and spare tires on the hood, that type of truck. So a Willys would qualify, a Wrangler would be borderline.

    -juice
  • I have my wonderfull 1999 Taurus Station wagon 20- and also my Suzuki 1996 X90 4X4 Auto trans 20-26MPG. I for one could never live with just one car. Havn't driven my X yet this winter...no snow..just cold...-7 today.
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