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  1. #1
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    Station Wagon Owners, Need Help!

    Hello,

    I'm looking at picking up a wagon in the near future, and I've narrowed my choices to a few models; however, there are a few things that the wagon has to satisfy.

    -Gas Mileage, as best as possible
    -Reliability
    -Ease of maintenance, meaning I don't have to go to the dealer every service (I'm more than mechanically competent)
    -Being able to store bikes in the back, preferably with the front tires on, 2 bike minimum, 3 bikes would be plush
    -Rear seats fold down flat
    -Price point, budged is hopefully less than 4k (2500 would be ideal)
    -Miles, hopefully able to get one in the low 100k's
    -Trailer hitch
    -Manual transmission

    The wagon's I'm looking at are first the Volvo 240, hopefully a GL with a stick. Next would be a 740, but I've seldom seen the wagons with a stick shift. The 850 volvo sacrifices some cargo space, and is pretty computer reliant, though a sweet ride. I've looked at Subaru's, but right now I don't need full time awd, and their gas mileage isn't the best. Also Passat wagons are nice, but reliability is spotty, and vw parts aren't the cheapest.

    Anyone offer some input through ownership, or perhaps those who have gone through my same problem?

    Thanks for your help!

    Pictures are always appreciated, more specifically of bikes loaded in the back of these wagons!

  2. #2
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    240! Those things rock and will last 4ever. Don't get a Vdub unless you're planning on getting something newish and a diesel. And the newer Volvos just didn't seem to have the reliability that the 240's did.

    Look for a 240 turbo wagon. Rumors are that Ferrari actually stopped producing one of their cars because the Volvo beat it in tests. oh yeah...

  3. #3
    blithering idiot jhota's Avatar
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    i'd look for a first generation Honda Odyssey. only downer is lack of a standard trans.

    but that's me.

    of what you've shortlisted, i'd go for the 240. but good luck finding one with mileage in the low 100k range for your price range. keep in mind, the absolute newest 240 is going to be 16 years old.

  4. #4
    fishologist cohophysh's Avatar
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    dude, my subi wagon gets about 30mpg
    We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. A.E.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Subaru Legacy / Outback

  6. #6
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    Like the Volvos, Saabs also make Station Wagons, Subaru's are ALL nice and usefull, and you may want to look at something like the teh volkswagon wagons.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

  7. #7
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    If you can find a Honda Accord station wagon, snatch it up.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  8. #8
    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    I would have said the Subaru, but they are kinda low slung. The Forrester might work.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Yet more proof that I'm.. well, pretty much right about everything.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Other than being suitable for pulling trailers, Ford Escorts easily match your description. They have a reputation of problems among people that don't take care of them, but among people who properly maintain them, they often go well over 200,000 miles. And they're cheap.
    Bring back the Sig Test!


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  10. #10
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    If the OP is thinking of standing the bikes up in the wagon, there's no way the Escort wagon will work. I have one, and if you like I can check it out to make sure. To the OP- to clarify- do you want the bikes to "stand up" in back, or is laying them down on top of each other okay?

    If an Escort wagon is acceptable for your use, though, they are pretty dependable cars, and when they break down they are usually easy and cheap to fix. I have a 1995 wagon and a 1998 sedan (actually a Mercury tracer) that my sons drive and they've been reliable. There is also a good forum to help keep them running- Ford Escort Owners Association (I think feoa.net).

    If you need any pics of how bikes fit in the back of my Escort wagon, let me know.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  11. #11
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    and when they break down they are usually easy and cheap to fix.
    I can't say the same for Subaru.

    By the way, about leaving the front tires on while transporting bikes, I believe that would be a job for a mini van, or perhaps a truck with a big bed. I don't think it's doable with modern compact station wagons. One of the big ass old fashion V8's, maybe.

    OR, if you live across the pond, you can get a 1.8 liter diesel escort with a huge cargo capacity.

    Last edited by Michigander; 03-10-09 at 02:34 PM.
    Bring back the Sig Test!


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  12. #12
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    Boy, doesn't that UK Escort cargo hauler look practical!
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the reply. The 240's have a cult following fr what I've found, and the turbo models get snatched up quite quickly. The na wagons are plentiful and least beat on from what I've seen, also old makes some goodies to give them more juice

    Edit,

    That escort wagon looks awesome! I think VW even made some variants of the golf with a high roof like that. When I'm talking about storing bikes, upright would be awesome, but I'm not sure that is feasible. Basically it would be great if I could carry 2 bikes without removing the front wheels (layed on eachother), or if I could engineer a convenient way to carry 3 bikes, that would be best.

    Thanks for everyone's input!
    Last edited by brendon_ak; 03-10-09 at 05:16 PM.

  14. #14
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Mmm, 240.

    After the nuclear holocaust, it's going to be cockroaches driving around in 240s for all eternity.

  15. #15
    Dumb@s$ Jarhead mrt10x's Avatar
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    How can you consider anything other than the Wagon Queen Family Truckster??
    Si vis pacem, para bellum

  16. #16
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    I have an outback with roof racks and over 333,000 miles (27 mpg) on it that I'm thinking about getting rid of.... mind you, I'm just thinking about it...
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  17. #17
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrt10x View Post
    How can you consider anything other than the Wagon Queen Family Truckster??
    You think you hate it now, just wait until you drive it Clark!

    *metallic peat is an awesome color.*
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  18. #18
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    I wish I had a picture but you can fit 3 bikes without removing wheels in the back of a Honda Element. LowCel had one, I'm sure he may be able to vouch for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    But Elements aren't really my style, also out of my price range.

    Are these Subaru wagons awd? If so I have a hard time believing 27-30 mpg

  20. #20
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    Get a 1996 Passat Wagon TDi
    Manual trans, old enough to be cheap, maybe.
    ~40 -50 mpg

  21. #21
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Oh my bad. I should have read the price point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  22. #22
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    I wish I had a picture but you can fit 3 bikes without removing wheels in the back of a Honda Element. LowCel had one, I'm sure he may be able to vouch for me.
    If the saddle was low enough it would be possible. I keep my saddle pretty high though so I always took a wheel off.

    Here are some pictures showing a little bit of bike stuff in them.



    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  23. #23
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpled View Post
    Get a 1996 Passat Wagon TDi
    Manual trans, old enough to be cheap, maybe.
    ~40 -50 mpg
    This is the first fuel efficient car in the thread.
    Rare, though. There was a Jetta TDi wagon for a while too.

    I had a Suzuki Esteem/Baleno for a while. Predated the taller Aerio. Basic but roomy and fuel efficient. I could stand two big mountain bikes in the back with the seatposts out and with the forks in a homemade fork clamp at the front. Very functional rack too. Never had a mechanical problem. Good 1.8 motor. I'd still have it if I hadn't moved away.

    Not mine but an example...

    You could probably get one for a song.

  24. #24
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brendon_ak View Post
    But Elements aren't really my style, also out of my price range.

    Are these Subaru wagons awd? If so I have a hard time believing 27-30 mpg
    I've got an 01 Legacy, yes they are all AWD and 30mpg is stretching it, but I think the '01 model is close to as heavy as they got.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    That Suzuki is interesting, though outside of dirtbikes the company doesn't really scream quality (I seem to remember the esteem being called a death trap).

    Any and all VW tdi cars command a much higher resale value, usually a few thousand over their gas counterparts, esp. in OR. I'd love to have one, and the earlier passats have oodles of room, but they sell for way too much.

    I'll have to check out some Subaru's, maybe some older legacy's, with the price being better. When did they have electronic 4wd, that is you could switch in and out of it? That would help on mileage I bet.

    I just noticed that my capitalization of brands and makes is quite erratic. Apologies.

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