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Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 04:00 PM   #1
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Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

My spouse's station wagon will go over 200,000 miles soon which is our minimum mileage before shopping for a replacement vehicle.* She doesn't want a sedan, minivan, truck, nor SUV.* The vehicle should get decent gas mileage and have a top rated safety rating ... and seat 7.* Any ideas?

Edit: I started this thread just for Maddy, but it's a serious question.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 04:30 PM   #2
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Seating for 7 in a modern wagon -- maybe the big Mercedes. I think you're going to have to trade off the seating capacity vs. cost and mileage, or go for a minivan or suv. The Subaru's are great if you need AWD but I don't think they seat 7.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 05:56 PM   #3
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

What would you consider to be a wagon, a vehicle that's based on a unit-body design instead of a body-on-frame design? If that is the only consideration, then wouldn't a Toyota Highlander qualify? It seats 7 with the optional third-row seat. If your defintion of an SUV is what the manufacturer designates as an SUV, then nothing comes to my mind that would fit your requirements.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 06:13 PM   #4
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Looks like for new you're limited to the volvo, the dodge magnum, and the pontiac vibe/toyota matrix. Some might consider the outback and forrester station wagons. All except the volvo in your price range.

That "whats an SUV and whats a station wagon exactly?" question is a good one.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 06:14 PM   #5
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Subaru would have done it until you said "seats 7". I don't think there is a good choice in the few wagons that seat 7.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 06:23 PM   #6
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Oh yeah, missed the seats 7 requirement.

I think you're stuck with a minivan or a suzuki xl-7 or honda pilot to seat that many.

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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 06:26 PM   #7
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Yep, it's the price range. *I can't convince my spouse to go with the E55 AMG Estate wagon, the BMW wagon or the Audi wagon.

Difference between wagon and SUV: height.

We already have a Lexus SUV, so she wants something that has a lower center-of-gravity like her Camry wagon. *Subaru Outback is a good choice. *Doesn't have to seat 7 adults, but sometimes 4 adults and 3 kids. All her friends have Pilots and Highlanders, so she has to be different.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 06:38 PM   #8
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Given those parameters and exclusions, I think you're down to the Ford Freestyle, which will seat up to 7 if a couple of them are really compact.

Man do I hate Fords though...
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-03-2006, 07:48 PM   #9
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
My spouse's station wagon will go over 200,000 miles soon which is our minimum mileage before shopping for a replacement vehicle.
Ooh ooh, I'll take it!! What wagon model/year is it, and can you ship it over here?
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-04-2006, 12:00 AM   #10
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Well, if you can tolerate seating only 6, try the Mazda 5. Although some would say it's a small minivan, it's also more like a tall wagon. We were very impressed, and it is a bargain. You can get Nav, Cruise, 6CD changer, and the handling of a Mazda 3, along with good mileage, for under $22K. Even a manual transmission if you so desire. Plus you can fold the rear row of seats for a lot of versatility when you don't need to carry more than 4 people.

If you want leather and HID headlights, the 2007 version will also have these and I suspect the price will still be well under $25K.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-04-2006, 01:01 AM   #11
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

The Mazda 6 also comes in a sports wagon. Don't remember if it will seat 7, but the one I saw seemed to have a heck of a lot of space.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-04-2006, 09:52 AM   #12
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

The mazda 6 and freestyle are going to come off similar, with the freestyle being slightly larger, since mazda, ford and volvo are all in the same bucket these days. The mazda 6 is built on the mazda/ford designed cd3 platform, while the freestyle is built on the volvo/ford d3 platform. Yep, the freestyle is built on the same platform as most of the volvo products, including I think all of the wagons. The compact-d3 (cd3) platform is due to be the base for both the next gen freestyle and the mazda 6, I think next year or the year after.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_D3_platform
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_CD3_platform



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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-04-2006, 12:42 PM   #13
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

To clarify, the Mazda 6 is a conventional wagon; I dont believe it seats more than 5.

The Mazda 5 is a European-style "space-wagon" that seats six people in three rows of two.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-04-2006, 01:16 PM   #14
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Yep, it's the price range. *I can't convince my spouse to go with the E55 AMG Estate wagon, the BMW wagon or the Audi wagon.

Difference between wagon and SUV: height.

We already have a Lexus SUV, so she wants something that has a lower center-of-gravity like her Camry wagon. *Subaru Outback is a good choice. *Doesn't have to seat 7 adults, but sometimes 4 adults and 3 kids.* All her friends have Pilots and Highlanders, so she has to be different.
Hmmm, maybe you can still get the Volvo V70 with the pop-up rear-facing seats?
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-04-2006, 04:00 PM   #15
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Volvo V70 base, with an auxillary seat.
30MPG!
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-04-2006, 05:48 PM   #16
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

Hmm...carsdirect says a little over 26k for the base v70 with the 3rd seat, stick shift, yada yada...surprised they're whacking 5k off the sticker...but maybe they're having trouble moving them.

At that price point I'd forget about the other vehicles. Base pilot would be a little cheaper and has a few more niceties like an automatic tranny, but the volvos definitely more 'station wagonney'. At just a few bucks cheaper I wouldnt even look at the freestyle or the mazda options.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-16-2006, 07:49 PM   #17
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

It's getting closer to decision time. Spouse has narrowed it down to Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Outback wagon. I've seen alot of positive's about the Outback, nothing much on the RAV4, but it is one of the most popular sellers in the last year.

If you like to help buy cars vicariously (saw alot of that on Brewer's thread), now's your chance to chime in. Thanks!
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-16-2006, 07:54 PM   #18
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

I have always driven Subarus since I learned to drive at 16. I have a Forester and DH has a Legacy. He is looking at an Outback wagon for his next car. I will never drive anything other than a Subaru. I get about 30 mpg (manual shift). Of course, we really need the AWD where we live.
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-16-2006, 08:00 PM   #19
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

OK, so you are 17 years old and married at a young age?
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K
Old 07-16-2006, 08:56 PM   #20
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Re: Best vehicle (station wagon) for under $30K

DW just bought the newly styled RAV4 V6 a few months ago. Limited edition with all the toys and leather seats, but not with the 3rd row. Quite frankly, that 3rd row is not very comfortable looking - wouldn't want to put anyone there very often.

Notwithstanding that, so far I have been very impressed with its handling, features, and certainly tons of horsepower. No problems whatsoever at this point in time.
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