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Sports Wagons - The wave of the future?



  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    I don't agree that a Pacifica is a minivan with hinged doors. It is a minivan with hinged doors, cramped third row seat, and negligible luggage space behind the third row seat.
  • twoof1twoof1 Posts: 308
    Let's keep it in perspective here. A Pacifica is not a minivan. It does not claim to be a minivan. What it is is the best combination of features from a minivan, station wagon and SUV all rolled into one nice tight package with Mercedes E-class suspension and very nice upgraded interior components.

    If you want a vehicle to constantly use the 3rd row seats to haul a bunch of kids to soccer, or if you are a family with many kids, then maybe a minivan with floaty boat handling and the stigma that goes with it is for you. If on the other hand you want a vehicle with style, great handling & innovative features that can also haul 6 people in comfort then maybe you should look at the Pacifica.

    If you are shopping for a minivan, then you are in the wrong forum.

    Have you even driven a Pacifica yet?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    From what I read it's a different platform and shares basically nothing with the vans, including the powertrain. Doesn't it get some Mercedes parts? (E-class, thank you.) I think it has more in common with a Benz than the vans, FWIW.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply the two would be cross-shopped. They were just the two topics being discusses when I posted.

  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    Just because the Pacifica doesn't share a van's platform doesn't mean it's not a van.

    Everything about it screams minivan.

    What SUV qualities does it have? Other than size, (something it also shares with minivans) nothing. The Pacifica's proportions, ground clearance and family hauling abilities place it amongst minivans. Floaty boat handling is your perception of the minivan, obviously it's not a pre-req for being a minivan any more than sliding doors are.

    The Mazda MPV isn't floaty boat, but it's a minivan.

    The Pacifica is not a sport wagon.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think you could call it a wagon, yes, but not a van. No sliding doors, which are the calling card of van-dom.

    "Sport" wagon may be a bit optimistic, but again I'll reserve judgement until I drive one.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    To me the Pacifica just looks like a large station wagon - no matter what Chrysler calls it. I don't mean that in a bad way either as I like station wagons (just not the Pacifica because it is too small to replace our minivan - Ironic since it weighs 1,300 lbs more, and too large, and heavy to be a nice nimble wagon) I am sure there are others who will find it fits their needs though.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wide and tall wagon, yeah.

  • buddhabmanbuddhabman Posts: 252
    Sport Wagons are basically the new name for Station Wagons. There are some true sporty ones out there though. Pacifica is just not one of them. It's nice though, I like the way it looks on the road.

    Like everything else Sport Wagons are getting bigger. The Pacifica, the new Dodge Hemi Wagon, Audi is making a wagon to compete with the E-Class MB. Luckily they are also getting sportier in handling with AWD.

    The true Sport Wagons are those based on sedans, and have at least a chance of running with sport sedans. For example Audi's A4/S4/S6 Avant; BMW 325/525/540 Wagons; Lexus IS300 Wagon; MB C240/320 E320 Wagons; Saab Aero Wagon; Subaru WRX / Legacy GT Wagons; Volvo S40/V70 R Wagons.

    My favorites are the S4/S6 until the new STi Legacy comes out or the AWD 9-5 Aero : ). These will rock.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    No sliding doors, which are the calling card of van-dom.

    Not of the early MPV and Odyessy. Or most current full size vans. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just that it has almost all of the characteristics of a minivan. Just because people want to be cool doesn't mean it's not a minivan.

    How about this, if it had sliding doors, would it be a minivan?

    BTW, I LOVE wagons. they are so darn practical.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The early MPV and Odyssey failed miserably for that exact reason, i.e. they didn't have the right ingredients to become mainstream, popular minivans.

    Yet they were not sporty, so you could not call them sport wagons either. They were in no-man's land.

    A Honda flop, what a rarity.

    If Pacifica had sliding doors? Good question, that gets tough to draw the line. I'd lean towards calling it a minivan, maybe. But I might change my mind if a test drive impressed me.

    BTW, I have a Ford Windstar service loaner right now, and I seriously doubt the Pacifica handles this badly.

    I don't consider the Expo LRV a minivan, it was an early crossover that came before there was a name for that class.

    Also, look at the PT Cruiser. I consider that a wagon, but the feds call it a minivan just because the seats come out.

    Hey, do the Pacifica's middle seats come out? If so, add sliding doors and yes, it's a van. If not, wagon. Sound fair?

    This game of categorizing is getting tough! :-)

  • ms_mayorms_mayor Posts: 113
    In any van I've seen/been a passenger in the second row is either a bench for two with a clear space to the side for third row passengers to enter/exit, or the second row is two 'captains' chairs with a space in between for the third row passengers to pass.

    The Pacifica had a console in between the second row space for passengers to walk crouched to the third row. Second row seats tumble forward for third row access...never saw a minivan do that.

    No way is it a van. Not even close.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Uh Uh Uh - sounds like someone is trying to avoid mommy-mobile syndrome!! :-)

    It's your car - call it what you want.

    IMHO, it ain't no sport wagon. NOPE NOPE NOPE. In my eyes, it's a crossover.
  • ms_mayorms_mayor Posts: 113
    You make me chuckle!

    Yes, I am absolutely one of those ABAM's (Anything But A Minivan)and proud of it! I've always hated the idea of driving a box on wheels. Of course, that could have been said about me driving a Volvo wagon for almost 14 years too...but back when I bought it if you were going to drive a wagon, make it a Volvo.

    I bear no ill will to those who love their vans. Everyone in my family has either owned one (my sister, who traded hers for a Mustang convertible once her kids grew up) or owns one now (brother and parents both own Honda Odysseys), and I'll gladly be a passenger in one. Just don't ask me to drive one.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    LOL - My DW and I said we'd never get a minivan. Now we have the Ody and love it!!

    Now I'm shopping for a real sport wagon to supplement it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We just had a mininvan loaner, and my wife and I both had to admit it was nice to have that kind of space. The catch is neither of us is willing to make it our primary car.

    Our 3rd car is a Miata, so it would have to be a fourth vehicle, which is getting ridiculous.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    I've told you before - get rid of the Miata and you'll be able to join us minivanners.

    The space really is nice.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have more head room! :o)

  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    This is a true sports wagon. 450 hp twin turbo V8, it can carry a lot of stuff, less domesticated than the Pacifica. Emphasis on sports for the Audi, but pacifica is more of a value and little less prestige.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd love one, but why no manual tranny? That's a sin. The S4 and S6 come in manuals.

  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    I saw a Dodge Magnum on the road last week in camoflage. It looked mean and powerful. Not too sporty though like handling would be cumbersome. Actually, it looked just how the SUV crowd would want it to look, IMO intimidating.
  • smashersmasher Posts: 31
    Wow. Ugly.

    And I would not call that a "sport wagon."
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    To boggse - Thanks. ;-)

    Also, for those interested, check out our Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Wagon discussion.

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    The only drawback is that the Lancer Sportback is available with an automatic. I WANT A STICK!! :-(
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    IMO it's ugly.

    What's with the taillights? We're Mitsu but, we'd like to be Volvo.

    I'll stick with my P5 thank you very much.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Magnum is a sport/brute. ;-)

    I like the shape of the Lancer wagon, but the styling isn't really sorted out. Cargo space should be good, and at least they put a better engine in there.

    Now what about that manual...

  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    I have a Dodge minivan and I've test driven the Pacifica. Granted, a test drive isn't the same as owning it, but the Pacifica is a much nicer ride than the Grand Caravan. I like my GC - it's been great, for what it is. Frankly, it's been much better than I thought it would be. It isn't "boaty" at all - at least not as "boaty" as the true American boats of the 70s - after driving a late 70s Cadillac Coupe deVille, the late 90s GCs are not boaty.

    It's not really fair to compare the Pacifica to the Audis or BMWs or any of the "sport wagons" - I think the Pacifica will carry more people and/or more stuff. I agree it is NOT a performance vehicle, but is anyone really saying it is? It seems like a decent alternative for folks who don't want/need an SUV or a minvan, but need more room than they'd get in a sedan/coupe. I'm not saying it's better than the Volvo V70 or Cadillac SRX, but I am saying it is DIFFERENT than the Audi, Lexus, BMW.

    I drove it and the XC90 recently, and I have to say I liked the drive of the Pacifica more, but they are apples and pears, if not apples and oranges.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Lexus RX330 doesn't have a 3rd row, though I heard it might get one. If it does, that would be a direct competitor.

    The Caddy SRX is going to cost more, though it will compete somewhat.

    The others don't offer roomy enough 3rd rows to be taken seriously as a 6 passenger vehicle.

  • Well the matter here is what you like :but what you need and it is worth$$$$.or do you have the $$?. I saw the pasifica and foe the price and all of the standard that come with it it is a nice buy, but like some one said the space behind the third sitting is close to nothing. Right now it is me and wife "expecting " so I might go for it
  • Yes, the pacifica is big.
  • I understand that the 6Wagon is coming out the first quarter of 2004. I guess it will handle and feel exactly like the 6 Sedan. Also,I wonder when the 6 Hatchback will be out.I'm uncertain if that is supposed to be a 4 door or a 2 door.Does anyone have this information at this time? Thanks,Martin
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Hi meyerlevin - Have you had a chance to check out our Mazda6 Wagon and Mazda6 Hatchback discussions? If you don't get a response here, you should post your questions in those discussions. Good luck. ;-)

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • Hello everyone.
    I'm considering the Pacifica but still have some concerns about it's current power on that 4600lb frame. It reminds me of "The little engine that could". I'm sure it's adequate but imagine what a hemi would do to it. I'm surpriesed DC didn't consider adding one as an option. A 5speed auto borrowed from Mercedes would be nice as well. I guess they felt it would raise the price too high. DC did a pretty good job of buiding a car w. a better perception of quality than before and priced it reasonably lower than the competition.

    I wasn't too thrilled w. the overall look of the Dodge Magnum. Don't ask me why because I can't pinpoint what it is just yet. Cars in pics can look different than one driving past you on the highway. However, the New 300C touring wagon, for some odd reason looks better than the Magnum. It offers what I feel the Pacifica should be offering in the 30g price range. 5 speed auto (prob. borrowed from Mercedes) and Hemi power. I would seriously consider that if they were to build it here instead of abroad.
  • Don't expect the current DaimlerChrysler hemi to be put in the current generation Pacifica. The Pacifica engine bay only has enough room for the 3.5L 250hp engine. However, Chrysler has said that the 3.5L engine will undergo a major over-haul by the time the Dodge Magnum and 300C reach show rooms. The Pacifica may get the re worked 3.5L engine in the future.
  • It would be interesting to see how much more horsepower and torque they can bump up the 3.5L. Bummer about the hemi. The Pac. is still one of my top 3 choices for a family vehicle to replace my Intrepid. I'm curious to see what the initial or first year quality data shows.
    I just read that the 300C sedan is going to be priced in the 40's. DC wasn't kidding when they said they wanted to take the Chrysler brand "upscale".
    I'm not eliminating the Magnum. I have to see it in the metal. One thing that sort of irked me a bit in the spy photo was that they separated the hood from the front grill. The concept hood had a much cleaner appearance. Many a Chrysler product has been marred by that gap between the hood and grill due to poor fit. You end up w. these gaps that you can almost slide a finger into. I think wagons, if designed nicely, would sell in the US. There may be a market out there of SUV drivers tired of poor gas mileage and inadequate power.
    I'll say this, as much as I'm intereseted in the likes of the Pacifica, I'll take a good "tall" wagon (about 60" tall) w. all-wheel-drive option, adequate power (ie 0-60 in about 8.5sec...I'm not greedy), and reasonable gas mileage (ie about 25mpg highway)over it in a minute. But someone has to build the damn thing.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Magnum's windows seem small for its overall proportions, for a beefy, muscular look.

    I saw it at the NY Auto Show, there were crowds around it. Thumbs up.

    FWIW, the H6 Outback meets all your criteria and it's available now. The turbo Forester XT exceeds those criteria, including height (about 65").

  • ateixeira
    The styling on the Subie. isn't for me. Not that it's an ugly car, it's just been out for a while. If I'm going to jump into a wagon, I would like something fresh and exciting.
    I think DC may start something here w. the likes of the Magnum and 300C Touring. But, if a sport wagon is going to succeed in the US, I think it would have to be a tad taller than what Chrysler has done w. the Magnum. Those small windows may look nice, but that may result in poor visibility. My feeling is that the styling may be a tad too out of this world for the buyer seeking a wagon albeit a cool one.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Check out the 2005 Legacy, improvements are worth waiting for IMHO. Turbo engines, too.

    Were you going to comment on the Mazda6? They've been slow to get the hatch and wagon out. I saw them both at the NY auto show back in April 2002! What gives?

  • What a nice improvement on the Legacy, especially in the front end. They kept it conservative and somewhat generic (a little Acuraish in the front)but nice overall. I did a double take on the hp/torque....165hp/ on the 2.5 Legacy GT? Seems a little low, especially on a car that will probably weigh in at about 3200lbs? A 5 speed auto. w. be nice too.
    The Mazda6 wagon is pretty nice too. It just seems a little on the small side in a few areas. I have to see what the cargo capacity is back there. At 186 in length and 57in high, I can't imagine it being that roomy for say a family of 4 w. cargo. But I could be wrong since I have not seen all of the specs.
    In my opinion, not sure if these 2 cars are the case, if you're going to build a "sports wagon" it should have more power or at least the option. I mean you want to be able to put the kids in the back, fill it up w. stuff and be able to merge or pass w. out someone in a Ford F150 gobble up your rear end.
    Maybe the automaker feels that the average wagon driver would not want that much power. That's okay but don't call it a sports wagon.
    It's nice to know that there are more options coming our way. If you ask me to pick between the 2, I would probably go w. the Subie on overall look and cargo space. It seems like the wagon is making a comeback. Thanks all
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 165hp 2.5l will probably stay in the base Legacy, which will be about 120 lbs lighter than now. The GT should get a turbo, with about 250hp. Look at the Forester XT engine, add boost, that's what you'll get.

  • 250hp should give you some decent acceleration times.
    What about that Dodge Magnum concept. states the hemi will dish out 430hp/ torque. That is some serious power. Granted the car will probably weigh in the 4000lb range. Give me some good fit and finish and muffle the road/engine noise and I'll consider it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yowsah. That's good and bad, though. I'm sure it'll get about 12 mpg, that's the real problem.

    I prefer lighter, more agile cars. The Forester XT has 210hp but easily outruns a Chrysler Pacifica, with more than 250. You gotta look at power/weight ratio I guess.

  • Are you kidding. I think I can outrun a Pacifica....just kidding Pac. owners. Well you figure the Pac. gets about what...17/22mpg? The Mag. will probably be in the same ballpark w. the hemi. DC is really emphasizing crash safety w. these new cars. With that comes weight. If the Magnum can't meet or top the Pac.s fuel economy, then I'll probably pass it by.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, if so Magnum will be way out of my price range anyway. Oh well, at least it looks good.

  • the 2004 Mazda 6 Wagon and 2004 Audi A4 Avant comparison. Not a 6-cyl-vs-6-cyl comparo (because I think they're $10k apart with that setup), but a 6-cyl Mazda vs 1.8T A4 comparison (from what I've read on the 6 Wagon they would be priced similarly).

    I drove the 2003 A4 Avant 1.8 w/tip and it was slow off the line but once the turbo spooled up and once moving it went very well. Handles great, has awd and beats up on the 6 as far as exterior and interior design and materials (IMO).

    I also drove the 2003 Mazda6 sedan 6-cyl w/auto and it was a great ride. Better spread of power and the handling is also fantastic - though it definately has a front-wheel drive feeling to it.

    Front seat space in both feels similar. We'll have to see about back seat and cargo space.

    I'd like to think that the Audi is my first choice - I certainly *want* it more than, well, a MAZDA.

    But my family has owned (japanese-designed-and-built, not FOMOCO designed-and-built) Mazdas and they've all gone WELL over 100k miles with no major problems (my '85 626 went almost 200k miles and my mother's '92 MPV did the same). My experience has been that they're tough cars that last a long time and are inexpensive to own. And that weighs heavily on the practicality thought process as I usually buy, then keep cars about 8 years/150k miles.

    So I'm doing the waiting game, but am curious as to others' thoughts and opinions about these two cars...
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Wow. Totally different leagues in luxury content and cost.

    My take:

    Mazda 6 wagon: Less costly, more reliable, cheaper interior materials, regular fuel, maybe handles better (not sure how much effect weight distribution makes the wagon's handling differ from the sedan's), not sure if AWD will be offered in NA, more rear passenger room.

    Audi A4 Avant: More "luxury" gadgets, nicer interior materials, less reliable (including interior features like cupholders breaking, but mostly electrical), premium fuel, more money to buy and maintain, thicker sheet metal, more sound insulation, can get AWD (which may make it handle better the the 6 wagon).

    Both look good. Both drive well. I know from previous experience that sheetmetal in the Audi A4 (previous model) is fairly thick (driver caused a 4-car accident that damaged my rear bumper...her A4 looked a bit wrinkled, the Pontiac LeMans in front of her was totaled), but I hear too many complaints from my friends and coworkers who have Audis about extra visits to the service dept. The previous A4's front suspension required the replacement of an expensive component every 30k miles (ball joints wore prematurely, and you had to replace the entire arm at about $500 each...really bad design), but I think this doesn't apply to the 2003/2004 A4 models (except the 2003 cabriolet, as I think this was based on the previous A4 platform).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just keep in mind Ford has had more and more influence over Mazda. That's a Duratec block for starters. Reliability has dropped lately on platforms shared with Ford (626, Tribute). The MPV and Miata are still quite good, so it's hit or miss.

    FYI I still own a '93 Miata and got rid of an unreliable '95 626. Mazda parts are pricey, $28 for a gas cap for the Miata, $220 for an 02 sensor for the 626. Though I doubt Audi is cheaper.

    I drove the 6S with auto and liked it mostly. Nit picks include side mirrors that don't break-away, no toe room under the front seats, and torque steer. But for FWD it's about as good as it gets IMO.

    The A4 1.8T now gets a standard 6MT, you sure you can't drive stick? That would be a sweet combo. An auto 1.8T with Quattro won't be too quick, I suppose. Tiptronic on the Passat I tried was too slow for me.

    Doesn't Audi include scheduled maintenance? Also, resale may be better, so the overall cost of owning for 3-4 years might not be any more.

    Drive them both, maybe a couple of times. That's the fun part.

    Bless them both for offering wagon versions, the A4 Avant and the Mazda 6 wagon are both very handsome IMHO.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Q: doesn't Mazda recommend premium for their V6 6s? I think they do. In fact I think I checked that out during my test drive.

  • A choice like this depends on how much emphasis you place on image. That's what Audi does well. Audi does an excellent job of giving the perception of quality and luxury, but looks can be deceiving. I've always liked the Audi. Do I like the Audi so much that I would not mind a couple of extra trips to the dealer for silly quality issues like cupholder malfunctions as mazdafun mentioned above? No. Not that the Audi is an unreliable car, I just think Mazda seems to have a better overall reliability history. But that can vary somewhat from car to car. There may also be a price difference as well, but I'm not sure about that. Good luck.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Any more will only lead to less money in your wallet (and maybe more carbon on your plugs).
This discussion has been closed.