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Sports Wagons - The wave of the future?

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Comments

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    I looked at a Passat TDI wagon and a Magnum on the same lot. I see a big difference in the bulk, the Magnum has tons more room. The biggest benefit IMHO is the width. The Passat is rather narrow and three adults would not be comfy for long. The Magnum is much wider and would accomodate adults or car seat much much better. Cargo space looked to be a tie. Magnum is lower quality fit/finish/materials, but still not bad for a domestic, whatever that is. Not comparable to a VW though. Now that I bought a new truck for towing and we've dropped to five passengers being the norm, I might be able to replace the Tahoe with the Magnum AWD. It was a pipe dream to think the Passat could work, but I absolutely love my Jetta TDI so I was really wanting the Passat to work.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    I just read an article in Autoweek that says how hot sportwagons are. The only problem is they are defining sportwagons as small car based SUV's. They cited the Ford Escape and CRV as examples.

    Give me a break!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    AW has held a minority view, and sort of refuses to call these true SUVs.

    Of course they labeled these as Sport Wagons well before a new crop of sport wagons arrived - WRX for example.

    -juice
  • damish003damish003 Posts: 303
    Agreed, Dudleyr. I find nothing sporty about the CRV, and have no experience with the Escape. Now the Magnum, OTOH, much as I hate to admit it, that is one hot-looking sport wagon. I think I'll go test drive it, just for fun.

    -Dan-
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Among the sporty ones...

    S4 Avant (do they still make one?)
    WRX wagon
    Dodge Magnum Hemi
    Volvo V70R

    etc.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Dan, start with a 5-speed WRX sport wagon, or a 5-speed Forester XT, or a Legacy GT (5-speed manual or 5EAT SportShift). The only problem, other than picking a price point that you're comfortable with, is you may have trouble wiping the grin off your face once you're finished. :)

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thought of a couple more:

    Mazda3 2.3l 5 door
    Volvo V50R
    Matrix XRS/Vibe GT

    -juice
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Juice,

    What about the Legacy GT?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Duh, and I've driven a few.

    Passat W8 4Motion wagon...

    -juice
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Can you get a manual tranny in the Volvo this year? Also Mazda6 and Passat. There are plenty out there without having to start adding SUV's to the category.

    Really like that Mazda3 - wish they made a true wagon - the 5 door just has so little room behind the rear seats.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, call that a Sport Hatch. ;-)

    -juice
  • damish003damish003 Posts: 303
    Bob - Well, I'm not in the market for anything now, since my lease on the Subie isn't up for 2 years. I just like to test-drive things sometimes. I have driven the WRX 5-speed, and you're right, it was hard to get the grin off my face. I haven't tried the FXT yet, but would love to. My dealer just got in some of the 05 OB's and Legacys, so I'll try them too. I like the look of the Magnum, but it looks from the outside as though rear visibility might be compromised with the design. Have you been into one yet?

    -Dan-
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I like the look of the Magnum, but it looks from the outside as though rear visibility might be compromised with the design. Have you been into one yet?

    I sat in one at the Detroit Auto Show IIRC. I haven't really looked seriously at one. Maybe when the AWD version debuts this fall...

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They put $500-1000 on the hood already.

    -juice
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Uhh, IS300 SportCross.

    Not because I own one you understand... ;-)

    BTW, yes Virginia, there is an S4 Avant. Furthermore, as of this weekend's test drive, SWMBO has given her unconditional seal of approval should I decide to pursue one at the end of the Lexus lease! What a babe!

    Re Magnum: I took the opportunity to tool around in an SXT this weekend. I think this is a winner. A serious winner; even without the Hemi.

    It ain't no sport wagon. But a winner, and no two ways.
  • tzoomertzoomer Posts: 18
    What do you think: a sport wagon is either a sports car with a real back seat and cargo space (remember the pioneering Volvo, what, P7?, their finned sports car with a square tail; WRX, Legacy XT, Passat W), or a hot sedan with the lengthened tail of a wagon (like the old Chevy Nomad surfer wagon; Mazda6, Saab). I'd put more emphasis on nimble handling (high g's in the corners and quick transients, light weight) and sweet shifting (not even Jim Hall could make an automatic go fast) than pure straight-line "muscle" power, plus pizzaz that sets it apart from dullsville wagons (sleek styling, turbos, C-posts, 2-doors, styled wheels, special colors, or stripes, or etc.). No 3-row seating, no hiked suspension, no truck frames or tires, no Freightliners [sorry]). Still a driver's car, for people who like cornering at speed without rolling over. Some of the hatchback models have the right spirit, too, like the VW GTI's. While the Magnum is certainly distinctive enough, it seems to me to have too much of a Teutonic retro-hoodlum look for a "sport" vehicle, more in the "muscle car" vein, don't you think? (But it will surely "pump up" our wagon image.)

    OR do you think a sport wagon is not a "sporting car" but rather a car for outdoor sporting people with gear to haul, like the AWD Outback or Honda Element (washable interior!)? But that's what an SUV or mini-SUV is for, right? Or those Van people with more people to haul, sorta grown-up family wagons of yore.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    P1800!

    I posted this earlier, but why not again. I love how the back reflects the old P1800, though it is probably more hatch than wagon.

    http://autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_cod- e=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=02323283

    To me sports car is an MGB convertable. Nimbleness trumps accceleration. Add a rear seat and cargo area and you have a sport wagon. Earlier the term muscle wagon came up for the Magnum. I think that fits.
  • ozman62ozman62 Posts: 229
    tzoomer, you're one funny guy. That's right on.
    Owen
  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    You have Sports Cars, and you have Sport Utility Vehicles, but neither really fit the bill if you want both in one vehicle. So finally sports wagons are getting more respect. Many cross-over SUVs are getting closer to what everyone really could use, but for most of us the wagon still fits the bill if we just admit it. I have a Mazda Tribute and a PT Cruiser GT. Both of these could be considered sports wagons. For general city/highway driving, the PT is much more fun, since it has manual, 20 more HP and better handling (as long as you're on a good quality road). We have two kids so it's sometimes a pain to take two cars when we have guest riders, but that's not common. Someday we may get a minivan, or wagon that has 3rd row seats.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good question, does the Sport in the name refer to the vehicle itself, or what the owner does with it?

    In other words, does it have to perform well on a track or off road competition, or is it just a matter of being able to haul kayaks and mountain bikes to that decathlon you've just entered?

    To me, it's clearly the former, the vehicle itself has to be sporty. That's why, IMO, the SUV label is misleading - they're not the least bit sporty, really.

    If we did allow the latter, then every VW Bus out there with a surf board would qualify as an SUV.

    So, Sport Wagon means it hauls in BOTH ways, the gear, sure, but it has to handle and accelerate well above the norm.

    So, S4 Avant or Legacy GT, yes, absolutely. Sport wagon.

    I'd call the Audi allroad quattro and Outback just a utility wagon, minus the sport part. Almost all SUVs are really just UVs.

    -juice
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    To take it one step further. The minivan or full sized van would be the ultimate sport utility as they have the most room inside for gear and people.

    As far as getting to where the sport is. Most vans do just fine. I was going up the tetons once in a friends 4WD and at the top there was a stock VW bug. I used to go all over the blue ridge in western Virginia (not to be confused with West Virginia) on fire trails in my Scirocco - even had to help push a jeep that went off the road up near the top on a snowy day.

    Vehicles are capable of much more than they usually are asked to do.
  • enygma6enygma6 Posts: 35
    I seem to recall the term "Sport Activity Wagon" being used to classify the Subaru Outback a few years back when comparing it to SUV's or normal cars (before the term "crossovers" came into popular terminology).

    There are two common definitions to the term "sport" being used in connection with vehicle classification. One being that the vehicle itself is "sporty" in some way, be it lots of power, nimble handling, etc.
    The other is that the vehicle aids in sporting or sporting related activities, but is itself not asked to participate directly therein.
    To me, if there is an adjective in the name (Sport Activity or Sport Utility), it implies the vehicle is lending assistance to the ability of the driver to partake in a sporting activity, hence SUV's with horrendous handling and speed are still "sport" somethings as they allow the driver to haul whatever sport-related materials they desire around.
    Pure "sport" vehicles (sport cars, sport wagons) imply the vehicle itself is the focus of the particular sport, wherein the vehicle is specifically tuned to be very fast, have exceptional handling, or able to handle twisty roads better than a normal basic passenger car.

    Thus I would classify the Audi S4 and Subaru Impreza WRX (possibly even Legacy GY) as "Sport Wagon" as they are geared more toward typical sport car performance characteristics, despite their ability to haul extra stuff.
    The Subaru Outback and Audi Allroad I would call "Sport Activity Wagons" (or "crossovers" if you don't like the antiquated term) in that they are set up more for an all-terrain type of hauling experience, not pure street-racing performance.

    Now as for the Dodge Magnum, while I do love my new toy, I am still uncertain as to which of these categories it really fits under. With the 5.7l Hemi v8 and RWD powertrain, it is more than capable of high speeds and ridiculous acceleration, yet it's sheer bulk keeps it from being as nimble as say a Subaru Impreza wagon (an older model of which I traded in for my Magnum). The styling and suspension are not really set up for more than the most minor of off-roading (or at least I'm too chicken to take mine away from the pavement any time soon, it still has the new car smell).
    It doesn't really fit the predefined definitions, similar to the Porche Cayenne or Infinity FX being much more performance-oriented than say a Ford Expedition in the SUV category.
    I'm partial to the term "Muscle Wagon" to decribe the magnum, but I don't want to go about creating a whole other classification of wagons, I'm having enough trouble keeping things straight as they are.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    now there could be pony wagon.

    Krzys
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree for the most part, with one exception. Why doesn't Toyota call the RAV4 with just FWD the RAV2? The 4 was meant to indicate the number of drive wheels.

    Allow me to elaborate, why are 2WD SUVs still called SUVs? Quite often those 2WD models lack the skid plates and even the ground clearance of their 4WD counterparts.

    So IMHO those vehicles don't qualify under the "vehicle aids in sporting or sporting related activities" clause.

    -juice
  • tomsr1tomsr1 Posts: 130
    Why not call it a totaly real utility car kinda. Think truck will catch on? Come on off roaders lighten up. If I am having fun in my junker to me it is sport.If I haul manure in my corvette it is utility.Probably the most versatile vehicle is a Subaru Baja but it is so ugly.If they would redo it along the lines of the old SVX maybe it would sell better.Maybe true off road vehicles are meant to charge your low testerone since they rarely see dirt.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    you made me laugh. I have a friend with a 2WD 4Runner, and I am forever referring to it as the "2Runner". He doesn't like that very much when I do so! :-P

    And BTW, he and I have both have the 1990-95 generation, and there is no "sport" in that "SUV", believe me. It is so old school trucky, I say what's the point if you're only going to have 2WD?

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

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    If we simply call them "sporty" wagons. Anyone that has driven a S-2000, Porsche Boxster, C-6 or any number of sports cars will find very little sports to many wagons. Sporty yes, but with 4 doors and a rear storage compartment for the luggage it doesn't inspire visions of winning Lemans.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    S2000 and Boxster are roadsters, Corvette is...sorta hard to pigeon hole, but a sports/muscle car maybe.

    I don't think those would stop me from considering an S4 Avant a sport wagon.

    -juice
  • tzoomertzoomer Posts: 18
    That's good. "Sporty" meaning it's not the real thing. "Pony car" (krzyss #391) meant pretty much the same, I think, all those cars that emulated the original Ford Mustang, like Chevy Camaro/Pontiac Firebird, and Plymouth Barracuda (= original Trans-Am road racers), then the Pontiac GTO transition into Muscle Car drag racers. The pony/sporty cars were all defined by the revival of the Classic 1930's sportster look, the long hood + short trunk proportions (Duesenberg, Mercedes SSKurz, Morgan), best seen in the contemporary extreme Jaguar E-Type (once described as a "motorized p-----s"). (Between them were the equal-proportioned cars where you couldn't tell "whether they were acomin' or agoin'," initiated by the late 1940's Fords and Raymond Lowey Studebakers, aka Chrysler's cab-forward design.) Anyway, no can mistake any wagon for a "Mustang-style" pony car, so "sporty" seems to better catch the right tongue-in-cheek spirit, an imitation without all the creature discomforts of a jarringly real 2+2 sports car? Hmm, now that reminds me of the old concept of Grand Touring cars, big sporty cars with room for lots of luggage...
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    In this weeks Automotive News, they had stats for trade-ins of other vehicles on the Dodge Magnum. 28% of new magnums had pickup trucks traded in, 19% were SUV's, and around 18% were sedans. 77% that purchased the Magnum were male, compared to Dodge's overall male average of 71%. Says they have standing orders of 40,000 and will be several months before production can catch up. There was also a stat on the number they were producing with Hemis, but I can't recall it. If anyones interested let me know and I'll look it up.
This discussion has been closed.