Thinking of a new ride: wagon edition

Let’s face it, I’m too cheap to buy a new car, but I have been thinking about it. I want a kick arse wagon. Very disappointing offerings though.

Criteria: $10k-$20k budget. FWD or AWD. Between 2-5 years old (used).

Here’s the pathetic list that I’ve assembled:

Elantra Touring Sport. Highs: A Ford Focus carbon copy that is far more reliable. Lows: It’s an Elantra.

Subaru Outback. Note, it’s lowered. That adds maybe $1500 to the price, but it’s worth it because SUVs are lame and wagons that are only sold with raised suspension are even worse.

Highs: AWD. Great 6 cylinder engine. Reliable. Lows: styling. Not nearly as quirky as the previous generations of Subbies.
Volvo V70. Highs: Big. Lows: handling, reliability

I write the BMWs and Mercedes off. Too much cash, not reliable, somewhat cramped seating. I’d like to add the TSX (euro Accord) wagon, but it’s not available in Canada. Any thoughts?

More to come later, as I have a bit of a thing for wagons, but off the top of my head one you’ve missed is the caddie cts :

Edit now that I’m free from work:

couple things no one has mentioned so far:

-mkv+ vw jetta wagon (even in tdi form)

-passat wagon

-mazda 6

-saab 9-3

and while it may not fit any of your requirments, here’s a personal favorite:

I also second or third the audi a6 avant for what it’s worth, they’re not THAT bad to work on…

A6 avant? Probably hits you in the unreliable department though.

Ray, you got me stuck!

IF a Beemer or a Merc are not reliable enough, a Hyundai isn’t stylish enough and the Volvo doesn’t handle…
(which I all find true to some extend) There is nothing left but a Corolla or an Audi.


There are just not enough Wagons on sale at your part of the world:


My 75-year-old mother rocks the A6 wagon. If that isn’t a turn off, she’s got 80K on it without any problems.

Not a lot of wagons. What about a 4-door hatch?

my car is a 2005 Mitsubishi lancer wagon. We wanted a four cylinder wagon with room for a pram in the back when kid car seats were fitted (previous car had the mounting point in the middle of the floor of the boot, effectively taking up all the bootspace). At the time the $ $Au was about half the value it is now, so it was effectively $20k cheaper than all the other 4 cylinder wagons. Red book value is about $8k, only problem we’ve had is air conditioning in nearly seven years. Previous lancer shape they did an Evo wagon, but I’ve never seen one in the flesh- it would be a beast to drive, a glorious expensive service every 3000k beast.

How about a pre Mk5 VW GTI? I say pre Mk5 because they started severely cutting into the rear fold-down space with the later models. With a Mk3 you can fold the seats down and fit gobs of stuff when needed. Two mountain bikes plus camping gear, for example.

I think you’d do much better with a bit older and car that was better to start with like a BMW or Audi. I think if you find a 10 year old wagon in good condition it’ll go for another 20 no problem with little investment and be worth something later. These newer cars will have more expenses and be worth less due to depreciation. Not to mention none of them are cool looking or that fun to drive.

I’d go with a BMW e39 wagon. Then you don’t even need the e30. Fun + practicality all in one.


Right here, dude.

Total stoplight sleeper.

Anything older will require me to import it from somewhere else. Anything beyond 5 years old will have the irreversible beginings of rust in salt-laden Montreal/Quebec.

VW Jetta/Gulf wagon is also on my list. I’m angry with them for only having crappy engine choices (2.5L SOHC 5 cyl. tractor engine and the boring TDI diesel). Great optional sunroof though and I can toss some proper Koni shocks on it.

Saab 9-3 is also interesting, but hard to find and over priced. I think every owner thinks it is now a classic.

I don’t like German cars (for the rest). The Jetta is only on my list for it’s overwhelming good value in this company. The CTS is impossible to find, and not reliable either:/

Mazda 6 is at the limit of my 5 year rule. They are the worst rust buckets on the road though. Unbelievable that they are as popular as they are here in Quebec.

mo-i: I would so buy an Alfa. Used, they are supposedly dirt cheap in Europe (from what I read in the UK mags). If the German cars dropped in price that fast, I might be more interested…

fair nuff, I get what you mean about the mazdas though, a few years back I was looking at the protege5 and while it was a fun to drive, I couldn’t find any that didn’t have rust by the rear wheel arch :confused:

would five door hatchbacks be of interest to you? (thinking mazda3, imprezzas, astras and the like)

I’m looking to see if there are any decent 3rd seat wagons out there that don’t look horrible and have decent mileage/reliability. Of course, a brand new Ford Flex would be awesome, but I don’t have $35K and don’t want a huge monthly payment (if any)

Was surprised to find this, but also have heard that Audi’s go downhill fast after you hit the six-figure mark. The rear-facing seat is fun though. Any better ideas (that look roughly as good)?

I used to have a V50 T5 AWD (manual even!). Had pretty crappy cargo space, but it was quicker than the 850R it replaced, and handled much better. Gorgeous modern interior, and I think the exterior looks better than the V70. Never had a single issue with it.

Ray, I see you going SAAB 93 or Volvo T5. Jetta wagon is a good way to go. A couple of my friends have them. Going to have the same issues as any Audi wagon.

How about a vintage VW Squareback? You’d be the coolest dad on the block! Only 2 doors though …
1968-Volkswagen-VW-Squareback-Wagon - 3.jpg

Here are some other suggestions:

Prius V (don’t hurt me, just throwing it out there!
Mini Countryman
Ford C Max
Kia Soul (kind of a wagon)
4 door VW GTI (just one kid right?)

Lancer Evo Wagon anyone? anyone?

No wonder I’ve never seen one. There is one in the country:

If you just need an occasional wagon Infiniti EX35 could fit pricepoint for recent model with AWD, reliability and performance.

I had a 97’ 850r I loved it. It was peppy in traffic too. V70r >2000 are good. 3.0r and 2.5gt subies are fun. You should take half of that $10k buy a clean 240 dl and get it restored. Maybe throw a ford 302 in it that would be cool.

Got it Ray.

Lexus IS 300 sport cross. Tough to beat Lexus on reliability, and there’s enough mods out there for these to make it a decent ride.

love my 2012 JSW TDI. Low end diesel torque + turbo = good times.