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Sports Wagons - The wave of the future?

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Comments

  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I was mostly of a mind like you, having owned a first year cloud car and having thought the LH's were about a good as big sedan styling gets.

    The front end still doesn't work for me, and won't until it gets softened quite a bit, which I'm predicting will take about three to five years. This industrial idiom is merely a pendulum swing. Remember the K cars? Same kinda thing but shorter lived, I'm thinking.

    Other than the cartoony truck grille and lack of smoothing over the front edges, I like most of it. Certainly the back half is pretty damn sleek, thanks to A) being a wagon, and B)that delicious rear screen rake. I coulda sworn I read someone commenting that the rear screen limited utility or something like. Yeah, and who cares? ;-) It looks way cool!
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    having owned a first year cloud car and having thought the LH's were about a good as big sedan styling gets.

    Now you're talking. The 1st-gen LH bodies (like my '97) were smooth, clean, sophisticated, spacious - nearly everything I seek in a big sedan. I wondered, how will they ever top this? Then came the fabulous, eye-popping 2nd-generation (especially the Intrepid). How they can go from that high-water-mark to to the 300C and Magnum defies all rational analysis. The whole retro look thing is being stretched far beyond the breaking point.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Well, don't take it personally, ballistic, and don't forsake Walter's baby. It's an insustry thing.

    If you'd like to abate your anguish, albeit slightly, just think about the segments of which we're speaking and try and think of mfrs with product you find overwhelmingly more attractive. It's pretty hard, if you ask me. You either have to go outside the segment or the price point or both to find delicious (as opposed to trendy) styling.

    Since this is a digression from topic, I'll end with this thought: the concept drawings for the LH replacements that made the rounds on the net prior to the merger (300N, Intrepid) were substantially more sophisticated, balanced and cohesive than anything we've seen post-merger, IMO. But none of that really matters. The litmus test is public acceptance. Just remember A) John Q. knows what he likes, even if he don't know squat about design, and B) money talks!
  • subewannabesubewannabe Posts: 403
    are a definite trend these days,,,,even Audi has gone that way, after several years of truly stylish cars.
      I am certain a Magnum would handle well, much better than the 4000 lb Big 3 station wagons of years past.With enough investment in suspension components,maybe it would be comparable, in terms of "sporty" handling and performance, to the Infiniti FX 45, for example. I just dont think DM has made that investment...they are not marketing the car to driving enthusiasts...they are marketing it to horsepower enthusiasts. I applaud DM for investing the R&D $$ to develop a smooth functioning 8/4 engine ...it will make trips to the beach a lot less expensive at $2.25/ gallon.
        Does Jaguar make a wagon? Have they ever? Their current crop of sedans would make very stylish wagons... maybe not "nimble" but stylish.

    mark
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Jaguar has introduced the X-type Estate in Europe, where folks don't have their collective head up their bum when it comes to wagons!

    Bad news? We'll never see it here. :-(
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Wale,

    The DC "merger" (indistinguishable from a hostile takeover) will probably pay dividends in the transmission- and chassis-engineering areas. But the body designs are horrific, with no end in sight.

    Mark,

    Early first drives and road tests of the 300C appear to indicate that the chassis is better than expected and not far from "very good".

    My main beefs aren't with the underpinnings, they're with the brutish neanderthal bodies and to some extent with the throwback iron-block pushrod 16-valve engine. It should have been at least SOHC and at least 24-valve.

    Finesse, efficiency, and light weight (gasp!) impress me far more than the get-a-bigger-sledgehammer approach. Which no doubt explains why I'm driving a Forester XT instead of a Magnum or 300C.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    it's just as well we won't get this car here. Have you seen the awful pictures? This thing looks like it carries 3/4 of its weight in its butt. The worst-looking Jaguar in quite some time.

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

  • kartraitkartrait Posts: 3
    How about calling Magnum a "Power Wagon"? Even with a 3.5 V6 it's still a strong machine.
    Now, it does have a unique "sledgehammer" design - but even though I'm used to Europen designs (hence my car is a Mazda 6 wagon), I like the way it looks...
    And one more thing - in Europe most of the wagons are considered "sport" cars - not because they handle like sport vehicles (although that's quite common too - take Alfa Romeo wagons for example) but because they fit active livestyle - they're marketed as cars for young, active, sport-oriented couples or young families. So even Magnum could be called a "sport wagon"... :)

    Voi
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    How about calling Magnum a "Power Wagon"?

    You may be too young to realize just how fitting that would be. In the years following WW2, Dodge built and sold an incredibly rugged, heavy-duty 4WD pickup truck with a very military-style body called, you guessed it, the "Power Wagon". I pumped a lot of gas into one owned by one of our customers during the '50s and early '60s.
  • goneskiiangoneskiian Posts: 381
    I don't think you have to be too old to remember those. At least I've seen them quite often out and about even today. I always chuckled when I saw that moniker. Maybe that's why I remember it so well. Imagine that! A truck called a "Power Wagon"! ;-)

    -Ian
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Obviously, the idiotic negative stigma that a lot of shallow people currently attach to the word "wagon" was nowhere to be found back then...
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    I've enjoyed the discussion about the Power Wagon and Magnum styling and other opinion-based miscellaneous ramblings. Fans of the original Power Wagon can find aspects of it's styling in the current Dodge Truck line--specifically the Durango. One or two SUV and pickup concepts mentioned this in their descriptions several years ago.
       The so-called "large front ends" have some necessary basis in crash worthiness for both offset and frontal crash tests. If you'll recall, there were discussions of how the current Intrepid (I own one) was limited by it's cab forward design and sleek styling in crash tests. Frankly--I had no problems choosing a "4 star" car over a "5 star" car if the styling and other features suited me. But I don't succumb to the histrionics of crash testing like some folks do. Perhaps "large flat" front ends is a more accurate description than just "large".
       One aspect of this discussion I do take issue with--as I have in other venues when the LH's cars were discussed--is this. When observations about the styling, engine choices, handling etc. are made about the Magnum/300C they rarely, if ever, make a comparison. Some folks are making comparisons to Jaguar, BMW station wagons, etc. Once again it seems that the only way to adequately categorize these products is to compare to vehicles which they soundly trounce in features and cost. Not a bad deal I'd say...
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    There is one engine from the MB parts bin that would absolutely transform the Magnum. The 3.2 CDI. With just a shade less torque than the hemi (369 vs. 410, but at a lower rpm), and EPA 27/37 in the E-class. It goes to 60 mph in about 7 seconds (again in the E-class) and goes well over 130 mph. That would transform a somewhat brutish vehicle into a paragon of efficiency per volume. A vehicle that the torque lovers and tree huggers could both crave.

    With gas north of $2.00 in these parts (diesel is $.25 cheaper) it seems like a way to have your cake and eat it too, and no development to speak of as the engine is already here in the USA. When we finally get low sulpher diesel, it will be certified for all 50 states. Right now it is not available in CA, NY et al.

    Or course it makes too much sense to ever see the light of day.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Or course it makes too much sense to ever see the light of day.

    The Sprinter is gaining a fast-expanding following here under both Dodge and Freightliner nameplates, and its terrific CDI diesel is a big reason. I also think these powerplants would make great boat engines with appropriate marine conversions.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    The Sprinter is gaining a fast-expanding following here under both Dodge and Freightliner nameplates, and its terrific CDI diesel is a big reason. I also think these powerplants would make great boat engines with appropriate marine conversions.

    Also due to the fact that you can actually stand up in one, unlike any of the other domestic vans. I'm sure those who drive Sprinters for FedEx et al, really appreciate that fact.

    Bob
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    you can actually stand up in one, unlike any of the other domestic vans

    True. That regular-production high-roof option, plus the terrific fuel mileage (22-25 in actual driving, for a big, roomy van) and relaxed 5-speed automatic make the Sprinter an ideal platform for camper/mini-motor-home conversions. We at Freightliner are selling a ton of them for that purpose.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I see Dodge is now offering a chassis-cab version of the Sprinter, as I have brochure that shows it. All they need to do is to offer it in a pickup version too.

    If that thing had dual-range AWD, even as an option, it would be high on my wish list of trucks. I do wonder about the 2.7L 5-cylinder turbo diesel in a 3/4-ton or 1-ton truck though. It's probably fine for city use, but I wonder about how it is on the highway. I kinda wish they would stick one more cylinder on that engine, bringing up to 3.2L.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Uh-oh, pretty soon we'll see cheap Dodge conversion vans built on Sprinter chassis.

    -juice
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Fear not. Sprinters are anything but cheap. Airstream is offering a very nice conversion. Driveaway price is in the vicinity of $80,000.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I do wonder about the 2.7L 5-cylinder turbo diesel in a 3/4-ton or 1-ton truck though.

    You would be amazed - go drive one just for grins. Several road tests have reported 0-60 times in the neighborhood of 13 seconds. That is highly competitive with domestically-built full-size vans that can come nowhere near 23 MPG. The Sprinter never really feels underpowered.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Several road tests have reported 0-60 times in the neighborhood of 13 seconds. That is highly competitive with domestically-built full-size vans that can come nowhere near 23 MPG. The Sprinter never really feels underpowered.

    But what about when it's a carrying a load? I'm sure empty the power is ample.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Doesn't the much more powerful Dodge/Cummins diesel produce similar performance and fuel mileage as the Sprinter?

    Bob (playing devil's advocate)
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    If you can live with the racket. The Sprinter's CDI 5-cyl is remarkably quiet.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    C&D's as-tested fuel economy was superb, very impressive for such a huge vehicle. It was $30k plus or so, IIRC.

    -juice
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    http://autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_cod- - - e=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=02323283

    This is a sportwagon that I like, allthough it is kinda close to being a hatch, but it is squared off in the back like a wagon, and the rear windows are full sized. The VW Fox wagon only had two doors, and it was definately a wagon, so I think 2 doors does not disqualify a vehicle. No matter how it is classified I think it looks great. Love the backside.

    Stretch it a tad, and put in a couple more doors, and it is definately a wagon.
  • enygma6enygma6 Posts: 35
    After having test driven the Magnum RT a week ago, despite it being an excellent all-around vehicle, I don't think I could honestly classify it as a "sport wagon." Though I do not have a clear definition of what a sport wagon really is, to me, a sport wagon is a smaller, nimble wagon with somewhat firm suspension, good road holding and a decent amount of power, along with a distinct look that sets it apart from a bland ordinary car.
    I currently drive a '97 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, which meets my classification of "sport wagon," but is beginning to show its age and I'm looking to upgrade to something more powerful.
    The Magnum does have a good suspension setup (no noticeable difference in terms of body roll compared to my Impreza -- that's a good thing). I did not intentionally cover any rough roads on the testdrive, but I did not feel any unnecessary road roughness going through the cabin.
    It holds the road quite well, and with the available traction control and ESP systems stability is awesome. Even launching from a dead stop, there was hardly any wheel spin before it gripped on and took off.
    And for power, the Hemi engine has plenty to spare. Easily capable of moving it's 2-ton bulk, the engine was never left wanting.
    The drawback to the Magnum is the sheer mass of the car itself. This does impact handling, as during tight turns, especially when carrying speed, you feel the full inertia of the car. I was caught a bit off guard by this the first time I tried accelerating out of a corner, something I can easily do with my much lighter Impreza (2800lb vs. 4100lb). I had no problem controlling the Magnum on highways or through normal suburban driving, but it just doesn't have the the nimbleness of lesser cars. To me, that is the one drawback for the Magnum, it will force me to change my driving style a bit (though removing a bit of reckless abandon on my part probably wouldn't be a bad thing as far as insurance and legality is concerned).
    The final, and arguably most important aspect of a sporty car is the look. The Magnum definitely has a distinct and polarizing look, one which I personally like, but others very much do not.
    All in all, I find the Magnum to be a very capable vehicle, which offers more than what my current car does (especially in refinement of the interior -- leather seats, much better noise insulation, navigation system), but the massive weight of it detracts enough where I do not feel comfortable classifying it as a "sport wagon" against such vehicles as the Subaru Impreza, Lexus IS300 wagon, and BMW 3-series. I would classify it as more of a Touring Wagon or even Muscle Wagon given the hemi engine and 18" wheels.
    (I really wanted to test out the IS300 wagon, but the local Lexus dealer told me he hadn't seen one in over a year and immediately tried selling me an RX330 after I'd repeatedly told him no SUV's, I'm only looking at wagons.)

    For those who do not like the look of the Magnum, you don't have to worry too much, since the Magnum design is the absolute limit for as far as Daimler-Chrysler is going in the direction of high belt lines, chopped roofs/windows, and flat-sided cars according to one of the design leads they had on Autoline Detroit last sunday. He also mentioned that "cab forward" is not dead, they just wanted to try the opposite end of the spectrum for their first cars on the new rear-drive platform, and that future vehicles will not likely be nearly as extreme as the Magnum in the styling, though I suppose only time will tell.
  • altsuvaltsuv Posts: 53
    The VW Fox wagon only had two doors, and it was definately a wagon,

    I had a Fox wagon! That was a great car - ugly, boxy - but so versatile and economical. You couldn't call it a sport wagon, though. I sold it to my father-in-law about 6 or 7 years ago, and he's still driving it.

    I like that little Volvo in your link. No way, 2 doors doesn't disqualify a vehicle - if anything, it makes it more 'sport'.
  • subewannabesubewannabe Posts: 403
    I think of the Magnum as a sport wagon for those who dont live in the mountains. DC engineers have done breakthrough work, IMHO, in tuning a suspension and creating an engine that will move that 2 ton vehicle quickly, safely and with surprising economy. The only time that bulk becomes a liability is in the roller-coaster turns where your accelerating, braking, climbing, descending and turning in a constant flux of combinations.

    Mark
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    I got some wheel time in both the 3.5 v6 and the 5.7 v8 Magnum. The v6 has a lot more get up and go than I thought. The Hemi version is more of a highway cruiser than a sporty car/wagon. I personally feel confined within the Magnum. The roof is so low and the windshield so vertical that you have to crane your neck forward to see traffic lights. Visibility to the rear is also poor. The gas mileage probably wont hit EPA numbers for city driving. I reset the computer on a portion of my test drive and was averaging 7.2 MPG going with the flow of traffic stop light to stoplight. I think it is a little too small for my taste. I'll probably keep my Hemi Ram for a while longer. It gets better city mileage and has much more headroom. Maybe when the new charger arrives next fall.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Saw my first Magnum in person today. It does look pretty nice (growing on me), but it is still nothing I would ever buy - just too bulky. You don't really get much for all that bulk either. The rear seat does seem roomy, but the cargo area (with rear seats up) is smaller than what my old '90 Corolla Wagon had by quite a large margin. It seems to me a gussied up Taurus Wagon with a Mustang engine and some better suspension bits would sure have a lot more "utility". Still wouldn't be my cup of tea though.
This discussion has been closed.