Ask the Best and Brightest: Wagons Under $25k?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Reader chris (who apparently missed Farago’s declaration of the end of wagons in today’s podcast) writes:

Hi, I’m looking to purchase a used wagon for under $25K. It should have good reliability/quality, be full size, meaning good back seat room. I don’t like SUVs for their poor handling ang gas consumption. I’ve looked at volvo V70 (back seat too tight), Saab 9-5 (reliability is questionable on pre 2006 models, the later models are a bit more money). I’ve looked at the VW Passat, couldn’t stand the around town throttle control/drive-ability. The 2005 or so MBs E320 have issues with relieability and goofy electronic brakes that are defect prone after a few years. The Suburu Outback is too small in the rear seat, (and gutless). The Audi A6, is too exensive and reliablity is again questionable prior to 2006 models. VW Jetta, too small. What else is there??

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Mr. Sparky Mr. Sparky on Jul 30, 2009

    Ford Flex. It is the master of the large station wagons (CUV my arse, more like Wagon Queen Family Truckster). You should be able to get a new SE for $26117 (invoice less $1500 rebate) + 0% financing for up to 60 months. Yeah, its over 25K by just a smidge, but if your going to finance much of your ride the free interest will easily cover the difference. If the Flex is too much wagon to love, the Taurus X is a great choice. You can wrangle a similar deal on a new one or clean up in the used market.

  • Gfen Gfen on Jul 30, 2009

    Mazda calls the Mazda5 a "space wagon." As an owner, it is, for all intents and purposes, a station wagon with sliding doors. If you have, or are planning on, children, sliding doors make the car. When I went hunting for a family car, I specifically had the goal of no minivans (wife's rule) or giant SUVs (my rule). My choices were limited to.... the 5 or the Magnum. No affordable VW or Saab, or any Subaru, was big enough for the job. There were some large sedans (the 300 and Charger spring to mind) that would've worked, though we wanted a wagon's cargo payload. My wife made the final call, it was her car. If it was my car, it probably would've been the other way. At the time, there was no Flex. I'm not sure her standing on it, but a Flex might outrank a Magnum if I could afford it. Might.

  • Saracen Saracen on Jul 30, 2009

    "I’ve looked at the VW Passat, couldn’t stand the around town throttle control/drive-ability. " Uh..wat? I have an A4, same mechanicals...I've Never had an issue with "throttle control/drive-ability". Put this guy in a Buick Roadmaster or something..

  • Skor Skor on Jul 30, 2009

    I remember the '72 Ford Country Squire that was owned by friend's parents -- piss yellow, with fake wood glued to the side. What I remember the most was the industrial strength A/C unit -- mid-July, New Jersey, wagon packed with kids, and it was cold enough inside to hang meat. Why don't station wagons have hip features like this anymore? "Unique options and features: With certain versions of the Country Squire one could install an AM/FM-Cassette stereo with a combined and fully-integrated Citizens' Band (CB) two-way radio, and replacement dual-purpose automatic antenna (with only one visible difference that the aerial mast was a larger diameter, and black-band at approximately half-way up). The radio would then have the appearance of an original equipment, factory radio. Optional were opposing side-facing rear seats, which could be folded down to make a durable cargo surface. Available for use with the side-facing rear seats was a folding table with integrated magnetic checkers board. Magnets under the plastic checkers pieces would keep them from sliding on the board while the vehicle was in motion. Behind a rear fender well was a hidden, lockable compartment, not visible when the rear seat back was in an upward position. GM, Chrysler and AMC would adopt a similar configuration by the end of the 1960s. An advanced version of this was the 3-way tailgate which permitted opening the door sideways with the window up."