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Sports Wagons - The wave of the future?



  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    while I won't disagree with most of your assessment of the Celica, its performance is better than average - it is a lot of fun to drive. That must have been what your daughter noticed.

    I suppose poorly performing was a bit harsh. In general driving I feel it's a poor performer. You pretty much have to drive it very hard to squeeze the performance out of it and six gears is hardly enough. It's a lot of work just to keep up with traffic and that's part of the reason she's ready to get out of it already. She wanted it for looks alone. Hadn't even driven it before she was determined that was what she wanted and there was no changing her mind. It's been quite trouble-prone as well which has left her quite unhappy. Lessons learned and daddy only buys the first car. She's on her own next go-around so I think she'll have it for awhile. She wants my TDI Jetta now that she's had seat time in both.

    I've never been overly fond of the BMW look. The sedans are appealing but the wagons don't cut if for me. The Audi S4 I find attractive and somewhat sporty looking. But I'm quite fond of Audi/VW designs. What I also like about the Magnum is the fact that it's a big comfy vehicle that has good performance. I'm not big on small vehicles for family use. We do a lot of long road trips and the bigger the better for comfort and space.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The BMW 3 wagon is very small, especially cargo space.

  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I avoid oversized vehicles like the plague. The smallest vehicle I can find that meets 70 to 80% of my routine space requirements is the one I'll buy. That path took me from '73 Fiat 850 Spider to '79 Mazda RX-7 to '89 Suzuki Swift GTI (needed a back seat for child) to Forester XT. While the Forester is compact to most, it's cavernous to me.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    The 3 is small, but sport often connotes small. Unless you are talking about SUV's - I have no idea why sport was put into that acronym.

    Other sport wagons that are very nice looking, but don't fit the in your face mold are the V50, Mazda 6, Passat, Focus, and even the new Subaru Legacy. To me nimble handling, nice looks, sprightly performance, and manual transmissions define sport. Gut wrenching acceleration, extra large dimensions, automatics and less than nimble handling are not necessarily parts of the equation. Hot rod, street rod, and names like that might fit better.

    Fast and bold does not necessarily mean sporty.
    Miata is the poster child for a modern sports car, and it is not super fast (until new turbo), and hardly bold. I consider a Magnum to be a full sized fast wagon, that has interesting styling. Sport wagon - not to me. I will concede that if you are coming from a Suburban, then the Magnum may seem like a sport wagon.

    Volvo P1800 defines/started the category in my book. It was literally a wagon version of a sports car.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Or as they like to say in Merry ole England: A "Shooting Brake."

  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAPosts: 116
    Any word on how the latest reincarnation of "selective cylinder shutdown" (cf. "total engine block meltdown") is proving itself? (Maybe this is being addressed in a different thread.) I well recall Cadillac's misfortune with it a decade or two ago, but doesn't it go back to some of the Caddys and Dusies of the '30s? The idea has always intrigued me because of its possibilities, realized or not.

    If Toyota still made a Camry wagon, I'd probably have bought it over my Forester, but that's about the only other one that would have gotten my nod. Yes, the Volvo's are nice, but reliability and (over)price are a concern.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Someone pointed out that the Honda Civic Hybrid has been using cylinder deactivation for years now. And it's reliable.

    So it can be done right.

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    Based on what I've seen of Chryslers 300C with cylinder deactivation, it seems to be working nicely. Seemless is the word most folks use to describe it, although I've read of a couple people that claim they can feel it if the circumstances are just right. The new models don't use the 6 cylinder portion, just 4 and 8. It's really not anything overly complex on the mechanical side to make this work, considering how far back the technology was attempted. The problem always has been controlling the system and our computers today can easily handle that. Those analog devices that attempted to run Cadillacs wasn't really up to the task.

    It appears the cars are getting decent gas mileage considering the performance. Rated for 17/25 which is the same as my A6 4.2 IIRC, but it appears to have more power and better performance. Granted I have AWD so I'll be curious to see how the AWD 300C stacks up when it arrives. The folks I've seen on the boards are getting about 24 on highway mix trips. I don't think I've ever broken 22mpg with the A6 even on long trips.

    Not sure how useful this is for most vehicles. It's doubtful a larger/heavier truck/suv could benefit because the 4cyl mode likely wouldn't propel the vehicle at all. There's only so many V8 vehicles that this could work on. Using a 6-4 deactivation has some serious engineering issues because the motors aren't balanced in that scenario. That was the other big issue with the caddy in 6cyl mode; NVH.

    I thought the Honda Hybrid turned all the cylinders off, not just some. Curious if you can run a 4-2 deactivation. Should work theoretically.
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    Thanks for clarifying your position on this. I sensed that some other folks were just using the MDS as a vehicle to kvetsch about Chrysler. Drawing a comparison between MDS and Cadillac's V8-6-4 is, at best, ridiculous.
  • bkaiser1bkaiser1 Posts: 464
    The upcoming Accord hybrid (V6/hybrid engine) will be the first Honda to use cylinder deactivation, shutting down one bank of 3 cyl. The Hybrid Civic does not use this technology merely shuts the whole engine down at idle. When that 4cly is on, it's on.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the Honda Civic Hybrid turn off three out of four cylinders? It is not the same scenario as the 300C however - I believe it just does that for deceleration or something.

    We all know that some of these wagons, the Magnum for instance, are just called "sport" wagons to avoid the stigma of "station" wagon being applied. I would not call the Magnum sporty either. With the hemi, I might call it a wagon-backed hot rod! But handling in a vehicle this big and heavy will be less than startling I am sure.

    Passat, Focus, and Legacy don't strike me as sport wagons either - they are fairly big and more designed to be haulers than to be sporty. I am sure the same would be true of the Camry wagon if Toyota made one today. I will withold judgment on the Mazda 6 and the new V50 as I haven't been in one yet and it seems like they might be more sporty than the others.

    Forester XT: DEFINITELY a sport wagon! :-)

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

  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Honda Civic Hybrid discussion is probably the best place to discuss how the engine works.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    I wouldn't say that Passat, Focus, and Legacy define a sport wagon, but they all handle very well, and are fun to drive. They are also available with manual trannies and they all have versions that are quite quick. (1.8t, SVT, GT). They are biggish, but a step down from Camry and Accord size (102 cubic ft. Vs. 95-6), and are quite nimble (especially Focus). Yes they are good haulers.

    Are they gorgeous? I think they all look fairly nice. Have not seen the new Subaru in person yet, but pics look good.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    Based on the performance of the 300C, I see no reason why the performance of the Magnum wouldn't be adequate enough to call sporty. Likely on-par with those you describe. As long as the performance is there, it's sporty in my book. Unless it's wrapped in econo-box digs. Is there something that says a sports wagon has to be tiny? There's a lot of sports cars that are not tiny. Wow, must choppy sentence day. No time to
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Depends on your definition of sport. Sport as in intimidating, macho, mud covered Sport Utility, or sport as in nimble, fun, tossable Triumph Spitfire. I would consider the Magnum closer to the former.

    I would certainly say that the Magnum is much more of a sport wagon than a Suburban (which was called a wagon a few decades ago). No real black and white in car clasification - lots of shades of grey.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    Depends on your definition of sport.

    Agree. I don't limit my sports cars to small roadsters. I can have fun driving bigger sports cars even if they aren't nimble like a go-cart. I would put the Magnum ahead of quite a few smaller wagons in terms of performance, based on the 300C anyway and not even on the same planet as a Suburban. Although my Tahoe handles/drives better than the last rental Taurus I drove so I'm not sure if the car is that bad or the Tahoe is that good.....
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Not to get into the whole "what makes a sports car" thang, but IMO, part of the equation is something small enough (not necessarily "tiny") to feel truly nimble; to be able to "toss it around".

    For my money, once you get past the compact category (IS300 SX, A4 Avant, 325iT, Subie WRX, etc.) that feeling of tossability is compromised. I tested the 540iT, back in '03, and loaded for bear with the M package, it's certainly tossable and feels great, but it's simply not the same. To be truly fair, I can't pass judgement on the Magnum without any seat time at all, but I'll be very surprised indeed if it feels anywhere near as "sporty" as my SportCross!

    Aside from that, I certainly have no need for all the extra space. Our family hauler is the wife's T&C, though we do take the IS on local (1 to 1.5 hour) trips occasionally, and are quite comfy indeed. The kids complain, but not about room; it's the missing rear-seat entertainment! If the thing is doing duty as a principle family hauler, then I think the Magnum is a great wagon choice. But consider that DCX categorizes it as a truck; I find it kinda hard to label it "sport" anything!

    The most promising new real sport design I've seen coming is the A3 Sportback. Supposedly, we'll get it here. Since the IS will not only pork out sizewise in the next gen (as will the 3-series), but will also likely drop the wagon in favor of a crossover (yeccchh), I seem fated to embrace AWD, or descend once again into that nether-world of FWD. }-]

    Don't need no mo' huge thangs out there. To quote Mary Poppins: "enough is as good as a feast..."
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    But consider that DCX categorizes it as a truck; I find it kinda hard to label it "sport" anything!

    Isn't subaru pulling this prank on some of their "wagons" now too? Your T&C is also a truck. I think pretty much any of the wagons could be classified as trucks if they wanted them to be. I think one of MB's wagons is classifed a truck too. Basically just needs a fold flat floor, and tadaa! Itz a truck! Has nothing to do with handling, performance, size, etc. PT Cruiser is a truck.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    But definitely to the point, sebring, I wouldn't classify anything you mentioned as "sport" either! ;-)

    Of course, I don't know to which Subie(s) you refer, so there might be crossover. Can you remember which model?

    My T&C is a competent hauler, certainly, but regardless even of potential mods (yikes) can't ever be sporty. I know of no MB wagon that's a truck, other than the M-series (which is a truck), but that aside, in the absence of AMG, none of them are particularly sporty. And though PT is one of may all-time favorite offerings, sport is not a word I would ever use in a description; not even the GT vert.

    Besides, if the big beastie is "sport" in your book, that's all that matters for you. In my book, it's a cool, big wagon. I think it'll be a hit, and I certainly think it's a capable anti-SUV, mostly because of the very coolness of it.

    But I don't think it's really "sport".
  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAPosts: 116
    Thanks for the info on the 4-6-8 cylinder technology and I'm glad to hear it's working. I found it interesting that the better computers apparently solved the problems from earlier times. (BTW, I'm no "Chrysler kvetcher!" :0) )

    Interesting article in today's SDiego Union-Trib re: Prius sales and some upcoming hybrid SUVs I'd never heard of: rid.html

    The Magnum has piqued my interest too, and I'm definitely going to take a look at one just to satisfy my curiosity. The best label I could put on it in its Hemi version would be "muscle car."

    Finally, gas price update from SD: cheapest 87 no-lead I could find yesterday: $2.11 CASH, and most stations at $2.27+.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I think "muscle car" is pretty good.

    Certainly it goes a fair distance in describing the very coolness of the Magnum.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Agreed - muscle car fits better than sports car. How about "muscle wagon".
    ; ^ )

    I still prefer light and tossable. My favorite car was an '80 Scirocco. Manual steering, 76 hp, less than 2,000 lbs, and a blast to drive. Excellent road feel - you could drive that thing right on the edge. As a bonus it got over 40 mpg on the highway.

    Gas is crazy right now. A Jetta wagon with the TDI and a handling package is looking real good. In Europe they have a GTD (diesel) along with the GTI.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    "Of course, I don't know to which Subie(s) you refer, so there might be crossover. Can you remember which model?"

    The 2005 Outback - just hitting dealerships right now - has been classified as an SUV.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks for the clarification, Brian.

    The 2005 Outback is indeed classified as a truck, but keep in mind it now has 8.7" of clearance, fully 2" more than the original Ford Explorer SUV.

    The 2004 and previous models were cars. All Legacys are cars, even the new ones.

    The new Legacy GT gets the 2.5 turbo engine with 250hp, so it'll certainly feel about as sporty as a sedan/wagon can get in this price range.

    Also, it's a light weight compared to the Volvo S60R.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the GT badge on the Legacy will finally mean something more than leather and +1 rims. That new Legacy looks really great - it looks the turbo will run with the best of the "sport wagons".

    Geez, there might be enough sport wagons FINALLY, after 20 years of dearth, for the car mags to have a sport wagon shootout. Would LOVE to see that, and hope they throw in the Magnum despite its huge size and weight.

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

  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986

    Yeah, personally, I'd call it "utility", rather than "sport". Imprezza/WRX yes, but Outback no.
  • goneskiiangoneskiian Posts: 381
    I don't know, I think the Outback XT with the same turbo motor that will also show in the Legacy GT will be quite sporty. Certainly not much less than the GT.

    I'm also looking forward to the C/D "Sport Wagon" shoot out. What would it include? I guess they'd have to break it up into a few shoot outs as the WRX, Mazda3, Saab 9-2X, Volvo V50, Audi A4 and BMW 3 wagons are all about the same size. Next size up they could include the Legacy, Mazda6, Saab 9-3 or 9-5, Audi A6, 5 series, Volvo V70 and the Magnum. Should be fun reading!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They could do 2 tests, one for sporty wagons, the other for crossovers.

    I'd love to see the Outback XT (2.5T) take on the Volvo XC70 2.5T and the allroad quattro 2.7T. All jacked up turbo wagons!

    Put the Legacy GT up against the Mazda 6 wagon, Passat 4Mo, and maybe Magnum or V70. Anyone want to bet against the Leg?

  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    The best label I could put on it in its Hemi version would be "muscle car."

    More like musclebound, as in some of the grotesquely overdeveloped bodybuilders.

    Over half of the cars I've owned were Chrysler products, but the current design path marks an end to that.
This discussion has been closed.