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  1. #1
    pop Guest

    Default Wagon / Hatchback choices

    I've been looking to replace my vehicle and have been frustrated by the lack of choices in modestly priced mid sized hatchbacks / wagons. There's no Camry or Accord version, Subaru makes some nice wagons, but the AWD uses more gas.

    I'd like something very comfortable that is very reliable and gets very good gas mileage. Any thoughts on these tradeoffs?


  2. Default Volkswagen?

    Doesn't VW make a wagon version of their Jetta or Passat TDI? That would get excellent mileage (diesel). About 45 if I remember correctly. (Welcome to the forum!)

    [EPA estimate is 36-47 for the Jetta TDI.]
    Last edited by Robert Schaller; 10-06-2005 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Added EPA fuel mpg estimate

  3. #3


    Those are tough constraints to work within. I think you'll be hard-pressed to find something modestly-priced that has everything you want. Typically very comfortable = higher price and lower gas mileage. And very good gas mileage = less comfort.

    Can you quantify "modestly-priced"?

    How about a Scion XB, which is made by Toyota, starts at about $14k MSRP, and gets 35 mpg highway?

    There's also the Toyota Matrix that gets 31 mpg and starts at about $15k MSRP. The RAV-4 is in the same range as well I think.

    The Honda Element starts at about $17k MSRP, but gets 25 mpg highway, which is the same as my Subaru WRX Sport Wagon.

    The Mazda 3 starts at about $18k for the hatchback and gets 31 mpg highway.

    Of course there's choices between manual and automatic transmissions, front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Jetta TDI

    I have a 2003 Jetta TDI (5 speed) that gets about 47-50mpg on a typical road trip, loaded with all my gear. If I'm solo with minimal gear, it goes up to 55mpg (and I don't necessarily feather it, either.) EPA estimates are strange things. In city driving, I get about 43mpg. We also have a Subaru Forester (automatic) XT that gets about 25mpg on road trips, fully loaded. A non-turbo version would probably do better than that.

    For a mid-size, there is a Passat TDI that would have more room, but less fuel mileage.

    It looks like the only other mid-size wagons are the Subaru Outback/Legacy, and then you move upmarket to Audi and Mercedes. The closest thing I can think of, to a new, affordable wagon, is the Chevy HHR, but that's smaller. Perhaps if you search for a two or three year old vehicle, you'll have better luck.

  5. Default

    Have you looked at the small SUV crossover category? There are plenty of mini sport utes that are really just wagons with an offroad look. Honda CRV, Rav-4, Subaru Forester, Element, etc. I know some of the subarus can top 30 mpg when driven conservatively. I wouldn't rule out AWD, a lot of those systems have advanced enough that there isn't too much of a gas penalty compared to a 2wd.

    There's also my friends Buick Roadmaster, you could probably haul another small car in the cargo space of that monster.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default some ideas

    Have you tried looking at Mazdas? The Mazda 6 comes in both hatchback and wagon versions, and would be pretty comparable to a Camry or Accord. There's also the Mazda 3, which is smaller, but would be cheaper and have better gas milage. My first roadtrip vehicle was a 1990 Mazda 626 hatchback, and I've been sold on them ever since - I'm currently driving a Tribute.

    Subarus are also nice, and while the AWD uses more gas, they also use a different kind of engine where the cylinders sit in a square insead of in a row that helps get more power from a smaller engine, thus somewhat better milage.

    The Scion, which someone else mentioned could also be a good option. They look ugly, but they have good space, good mpg, and they're made by Toyota so reliability should be quite good.

    You might also look at some of the 2wd compact SUVs. The RAV-4, and CR-V are both glorified station wagons that get reasonable gas milage for 20k or less, or for a little more money you could try a Ford Escape Hybrid.

  7. Default

    Volvo also makes some wagons. The V50 & V70 are good and if you believe the hype coming out of Volvo, very safe. They're a little expensive, but something to consider.

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