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Help Me Select a Wagon



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That Passat must be fairly rare, as ignition coil failures were rampant (at one point VW couldn't even supply enough to replace the bad ones) as well as window regulators.

    He was lucky, basically.

    The 2.0FSI engine has been better so far but VW already has lots of issues with the stereos, and they're still fairly new cars.

    If reliability comes first, get the Honda.

  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    I'd second Juice's thoughts. VW is a great drivers car but if I were picking, I'd go with the Honda reliability. For the money I'd get the Mazdaspeed 3. Drivers car and reliability.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    2000 had good coils. The problematic ones were in 2002 or 2003.
    Subaru Legacy wagon, if you can find one, is also quite good drivers car. If you want Legacy wagon hurry up as next model year will be sedan only, as far as I know.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Legacy certainly is a blend of the two...but look at an Outback, that gets you more clearance and heated seats even on the 2.5i model.

  • wcskjbwcskjb Posts: 10
    Looking for a wagon or small SUV for the wife. Here are the criteria:

    Must haves:
    Out-the-door price <=$22,000.
    Actual average mpg >=24 mpg, assuming easy-does-it driver, mix of local and hwy.
    Room in back seat for three average-sized teenage boys for trips of up to 2 hrs.
    Room in cargo area (with back seat up) for four sets of golf clubs.
    Heated seats

    Nice to haves:
    Automatic (but manual not a dealbreaker)
    Average reliability rating: unwilling to pay for highest ratings -- we baby our cars.
    Low insurance cost rating
    ABS/traction control
    New, but would consider <=2 yr. olds.

    Don't care:
    Looks -- would buy an ugly Aztec if it was reliable.
    Performance -- 0-60 mph in less than a week is fine.
    Resale -- we keep 'em until they die. This car will replace a '91 Caravan with 220,000 mi.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think your criteria are a bit optimistic. You can get some but not all of those things.

    Greater than 24mpg is a big one. Consumer Reports' most fuel efficient non-hybrid compact SUV was the RAV4, and I think it got 23mpg in their tests. So right away, you're going to have to compromise.

    The Hybrid Escape did better, but it blows your price limit out of the water. $28k is more like it, especially with heated leather seats.

    3 teens in the back seat means you want some good leg room there. CR-V and Escape do well in that regard, but you might even consider a mid-sizer. Maybe a RAV4.

    Heated leather seats tend to go in pricier models. The Forester X Limited can be had for about your $22k price limit, but the back seat is small. It might even come close to your mileage targets, but 3 teens for 2 hours will be complaining.

    You didn't mention if FWD would be OK, that would get costs down and might help meet your mileage targets.

    We've babied our Forester, and averaged 25.1mpg over its lifetime, but that's avoiding city driving (I have a 2nd car for that). It would be close except the back seat is small.

    A Scion xB has the back seat space, price, and fuel efficiency, but it loses on the cargo space. I doubt you could fit two sets of golf clubs in there.

    Maybe a Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited? Slightly used?

    Saturn Vue Greenline hybrid? Maybe when the new one comes out you could get a deal on the outgoing model?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    Room for 3 teenage boys in the back? You need a stripped Chrysler mini-van, but then you probably won't get the mileage you want... and, if you want leather, you probably won't get it cheap enough..

    Do you have to fit the three teenagers and the golf clubs at the same time? If not, I suggest a Mazda5..

    A slightly used Freestyle comes to mind, as well..

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good suggestions.

    Mazda5 will let you fold down one of the 3rd row seats. Not sure if 4 golf bags would fit even then.

    A Freestyle would do the trick, and a FWD model might even meet that mileage (or come close).
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    maybe an '02 Volvo V70 wagon? No idea what they go for... Might even get up to an '03, now that I think about it..

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • wcskjbwcskjb Posts: 10
    Thanks for the input.
    Based on visit to Subaru dealer, I can state that four bags of golf clubs do not fit in the back of an Outback or Forester. And my three sons (average size) don't fit in back seat of either one.
    Based on suggestions from others, looking at slightly used Freestyles, Saturn Vues, Suzuki Forenza and a neighbor's 2004 Saab 9-5 wagon he's eager to sell.
    Other ideas?
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Mazda3 fits the criteria. Not the most cargo space, but has stability control leather etc.
  • wcc1968wcc1968 Posts: 17
    Personally, i dont think i would ever opt for in car navigation system. I much prefer my Garmin NUVI, which i can take with me where ever i go, and costs only $600.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have a Garmin, too, c320 model. The Nuvi 250 is about $300 nowadays, a bargain.

    I'd be considering a Tom Tom One XL, though, just $400 for a 4.3" screen! :shades:
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,088
    with good fuel economy. I had a Mazda6 which i loved except for the 18-20 mpg around town. So far I'm looking at the Toyota Matrix or the Nissan Versa. I want:
    good fuel economy
    not too boring to drive
    automatic (I know, voids the above criteria but my husband hates MT)
    occasionally has to fit my 86 year old father, so firm seats help
    room for two dogs in the back
    not as cramped leg room as my old Forester in the back seats
    under $20k

    I like the Matrix because it has the rubber/plastic back of the back seat and trunk in regard to the dogs.. Any ideas regarding Matrix vs. Versa? Anything else I should look at? We're in the country so not an abundance of brands like Subaru, Audi, etc. We looked at the Fit but it felt very narrow to me.

    And for the above poster, I would suggest the Mazda6. It's more roomy in the back seat than some of the other suggestions like Forester or Rav 4, and it holds a ton of stuff in the back. We easily carried all my college daughter's stuff.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I sat in the Versa at the car show and was impressed. I have no idea how they crammed that much space in such a tiny outer shell.

    I suspect the Matrix will be more fuel efficient, and may cost less to own, but it's just an ancient design at this point.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,088
    After a lot of deliberation, we chose the Vibe/Matrix. It may be an aging design but it sure is practical. I loved the Versa but the seats don't fold flat and the backs are carpeted (the car will often have dogs and bulky things like mulch and sometimes a bike in the back). In the Vibe the passenger seat folds forward as well and has a flat back. We got a used Vibe for much less than a new Versa.

    The Versa is a wonderful vehicle if you're mostly driving it with just passengers. The CVT is so quiet, very unusual in a small car. We just decided we needed a little more versatility as it's our around-town car.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • mh3308mh3308 Posts: 1
    We are looking for a wagon under $10,000 that has a third seat. Primary feature would be reliability. Any suggestions would be appreciated .. .
  • malcommalcom Posts: 1
    You should just visit at the Car dealers sight and there you can get the Car with your needs I know one Car dealer Web sight which have the lots of classified cars and the new and Used car dealers in all over United States .The Web sight Title sell used cars. The Web address is
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  • poolypooly Posts: 1
    I am shopping for a wagon with three rows of seats. I feel like i'm missing some options that must be out there. We've currently looked at the Chrysler Pacifica and i know the ford freestyle is out there as well (not too big on that one). Anyone know of any other vehicles i should be considering? i'm looking for a used one with less then 50k miles and around $15K. Thanks for the help.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Join the Crossovers thread, it's a really hot topic.

    Outlook/Acadia/Enclave, CX9, Tribeca, XL7, Pilot, Highlander, just off the top of my head.

    Link: ateixeira, "Crossover SUV Comparison" #2684, 2 Aug 2007 8:35 am
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Not much else out there that is considered a wagon with 3 rows of seating in that price range. Mazda 5 is a nice mini-minivan. The rest of the vehicles are considered crossovers.

    I'd take the Ford over the Chrysler. Both vehicles are a good value used since they depreciate so quickly from new.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You reminded me of the Kia Rondo, also.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    If you are looking for used and inexpensive it is hard to beat the Taurus.

    Might consider a RAV4 as well.
  • 68andy68andy Posts: 2
    Not trying to intrude but I am very new at this. I need some help very badly.

    I have a family of 6 including myself. I am looking for a mid-size SUV, CUV or Wagon that has the following features:
    AWD, seats 6, has good MPG (25+ avg - diesel would be wonderful but I've given up on that) & relatively inexpensive (late model 15+, newer 20)

    Does ANYBODY have any good ideas? Seriously, I've been looking online and asking for 2 months now with NO real stand-outs.

    Any real help is greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely (stumped)

  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    It should seat 6 and some (Toyota and Chrysler/Dodge) have AWD otion.


    PS Nobody replies because car that you specify does not exist.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think you will have to compromise, either on the AWD feature or the 25mpg.

    Two classes of vehicle come close.

    The new crop of "vanlets", the Mazda5, Kia Rondo, and the upcoming Dodge Journey and just-announced Honda Stream all seat 6 and might meet your fuel economy wishes. Mazda offers AWD in Japan but not here. Honda offers AWD but it's not here yet and who knows if they'll bring that model.

    You can get any of those for $20k new. The Kia, even less. The Mazda5 could be well equipped for that price.

    Mid-size SUVs and CUVs tend to cost a lot more than $20k new. Even a bargain-basement leftover 2007 Ford Freestyle would run $21-22k, and expecting 25 mpg average may be a little optimistic. Add AWD and the price goes up and the mileage goes down. Still, it's probably closest.

    Others, like the Highlander, Tribeca, Pilot, Pathfinder, Veracruz, CX9, and Acadia/Outlook/Enclave all cost a bunch more than your budget and also would not meet your fuel economy goals. With some you'd be lucky to average 20mpg.

    Drive a Rondo, a Mazda5, and a Freestyle, is what I would suggest. I think you're just asking for too much. 3 row SUVs and crossovers are both expensive and inefficient overall.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Chrysler discontinued their AWD vans a couple of years ago, though a used one is an option.

    Toyota does still offer an AWD Sienna, but I'd expect to pay about $27-28k for a new one. Used would be a good option, they made them since 2004.

    I'm not sure if you'll average 25mpg, but you might come close, maybe low 20s. I have a FWD Sienna and usually average 23-27mpg, with a peak of 30.6mpg on an all highway jaunt.

    With 6 kids you surely will appreciate all the space, too.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    How about using snow tires and going for FWD.

    A van/wagon with snows will do as well or better in the snow than an AWD without snows (remember AWD does not help you stop).

    I ran my light and low Integra with snows in SD for 12 years and was not once stopped by the snow. It drove like a snowmobile - a heavier taller vehicle should do even better. Our Sienna is excellent in the snow and ice with FWD and snows (also has traction and stability). Constantly drivng by all the SUV's in the ditch.
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    You're pretty much out of luck. Seating 6 and AWD in that price range is really tough. Mileage with AWD and that size really isn't an option.

    If you really need AWD...
    -used Ford Freestyle
    -used Toyota Sienna (AWD LE model might be close to $20k)
    -used 01-03 Chrysler AWD van (not super reliable)
    -used Chrysler Pacfica
    -used Subaru Tribeca (a bit over $20k)

    If you'd prefer to hit close to the 25mpg figure and can live without AWD (I 2nd the snow tire idea)...
    -new Mazda5
    -new Kia Rondo
    -used mini van with one of the smaller engines
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Andy, the best I can come up with is a late model Mazda MPV. Buy steelie wheels and winter tires. Seats seven (theoretically) and gets 25 on the highway. Your parameters are impossible to meet in the US market.
This discussion has been closed.