Author Topic: High MPG Wagon  (Read 18782 times)

kudy

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High MPG Wagon
« on: March 10, 2012, 07:26:25 PM »
I am trying to narrow down a replacement purchase for my SUV - I think I want a hatchback/wagon design that isn't too short, so that I can still haul the occasional home supplies in it, but still achieve a respectable MPG.  Do any of you have cars that fit this description that you love? Anyone know of any to definitely stay away from?

Lots of people around here drive the Subaru Outback - it seems to fit my goal, but I don't know much about it.  I am diving into research now, but I hope this awesome community has some first hand knowledge to share! Thanks.

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2012, 07:46:42 PM »
A well-tuned and maintained first generation RAV4 can get a good 35MPG highway without tweaking your driving. It's not a wagon, and technically another SUV, but it might as well be a cargo spacious Corolla in reality. I used to drive one regularly back in my field support days, and it could easily haul around a lot of equipment, especially when you pulled the rear seats out. Won't do plywood or sheet rock except on the roof, but most everything else would be good. The inline four hamster wheel under the hood's relatively easy to maintain, too.
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onehappypanda

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2012, 08:29:28 PM »
Lots of people around here drive the Subaru Outback - it seems to fit my goal, but I don't know much about it.  I am diving into research now, but I hope this awesome community has some first hand knowledge to share! Thanks.

Everyone I know with an Outback loves it. The older ones seem to hold up well as long as they're cared for, and they definitely have some room in the back if you fold the seats down. If you get a manual, your gas mileage will be even better.

There are lots of wagons to choose from now, but all the ones I can think of aren't too long. Like I really like the Honda Fit and it has decent cargo room, but it won't haul huge equipment. The Chevy HHR is a crossover and it's pretty long but its gas mileage sucks compared to small SUVs like the Rav4 or Hyundai Santa Fe. Those might be an option, but you may or may not save much on gas depending on the current size of your SUV.

If all else fails, how often do you actually haul around large equipment? If most of your driving is the errand-running variety, could you just get a small hatchback and rent a vehicle in the event that you need to transport something large?  Often when you look at the fuel you save, it can fund a few yearly vehicle rentals.

kudy

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 08:33:50 PM »
You're probably right, and I shouldn't try and justify buying a larger hatchback just for future convenience - I think I'd be fine with a smaller higher MPG option.  Comparing some of the average MPG on mid-sized wagons, I wouldn't be saving a huge amount of money over what I drive now.  Thanks for the suggestions!

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2012, 07:11:56 AM »
We where going to buy an Outback, but the MPG isn't anything great. That's when my wife and I discovered the Kia Soul, but doing the math, it's not worth replacing the Trail Blazer over. Since the TB is paid for, the Kia Soul would need to provide 4yrs of gas savings to make up the trade in value of the TB. Plus we'd still have to come up with the rest of the cash.

But you might want to take a look.
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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2012, 09:06:45 AM »
The volkswagen jetta wagon with a diesel engine gets  well over 40mpg.  I don't know if they're still making them new, but you can get one a few years old for under $10 K, and they generally have a longer lifespan than a gas car.  I have a diesel Golf, which is a hatchback.  I bought it to
Replace my gas guzzling pickup, and it has turned out to be a very good decision.

BenDarDunDat

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2012, 09:30:26 AM »
Good luck. 

There's the VW TDI that get's awesome mpg.  However, the maintenance costs are significantly higher than a gas vehicle.  Go to a TDI wagon forum and the consensus is that the savings are negligible. 

There's the Subaru, but the MPG isn't very good.  It's just 1 mpg better than my current crossover SUV.  What the heck, you can get a minivan with little TVs that slide down and doors that open automatically with similar mpg. 

There's the Hyundai Touring.  This is a legitimate contender in my opinion.  However, I worry a bit about long term reliability for this and the VW though.

I've almost given up.  Maybe the Scion xB - With the MMM extension for luggage, this could be a winner.  However, I want a vehicle I don't feel scrunched up in and this sucker looks like it has a 3 inch clearance. I don't even know if it'll make it into my driveway without dragging the bottom out.   

Or wait a few more years and try the Touring or Chevy Equinox. The Equinox is a SUV crossover - however it gets a respectable 26mpg combined.  Shoot - if they made a manual, it'd probably average 30mpg!   

Kia Soul looks interesting, but again, I worry even more about long term reliability of Kia. 
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 09:34:02 AM by BenDarDunDat »

catalana

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 11:06:20 AM »
Do you definitely need high ground clearance and 4WD??  If not, then go the station wagon route (what we would call an estate car).  Every time we look at load carriers that are cheap to run, the station wagon wins hands down every time.  That is both on fuel efficiency and running/repair costs.  We currently have a Honda Accord Tourer (diesel) that is amazingly comfortable and got a HUGE boot, but not sure whether it is available in the US.

The only drawback is that it is pretty low slung, so not suitable for much off-road driving.

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nondualie

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 12:25:58 PM »
1) early 90's Honda Accord Wagon
2) late 80's Corolla or Civic Wagon
3) mid-90's Ford Escort wagon

All are 4 cyl and get great mileage, especially with a stick and eco-modder driving habits.

4) Volvo 240 or 740 wagon w/ 4cyl and stick

Those are probably some of the best MMM type vehicles..

I'd stay away from the newer hatchbacks and TDI's just out of the expense and complexity.  And remember you can nearly double the MPG of many cars just by changing driving habits.

People in the NW love their Subarus, but they seem unnecessarily complex if you don't need 4x4.

Matt K

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 12:37:23 PM »
Top tip - best source of real world mileage: Browse http://www.Fuelly.com. You can see what people are actually getting, not what the DOT says you'll get.

Kudy, just how big a hatch do you really need? There are a lot of smaller wagons out there. Not many will hold a 4x8, but they will hold a lot of ther things.

Older cars

2003-2007 Mazda wagon was only available in V6, so not much better mileage than an equal sized CUV, and similar to the Subaru Legacy with the 2.5L engine. I owned an '04 Mazda 6 sedan with the V6. I got 19mpg city and 27mpg highway. My AC was stuck to always be on, most other people got a few mpg better.

Mazda3 hatch gets good mileage, is fun to drive, and has reasonable space. I'm a fan of them.
If you need taller, the Mazda 5 is an option.

A friend has an '05 Forrester - back when it was a tall wagon with off road abilities rather than a CUV. Seems to be a good car.

The Vibe/Matrix is a great car that gets good mileage and is very reliable (don't let the Pontiac name scare you off, it was assembled on the exact same line, using the exact same parts as the Matrix, but depreciated more because it was a GM - it's a good used buy).

The Honda fit holds an obscene amount of stuff for such a small car with the seats folded down and more than 30mpg in real world driving (again, look at fuelly). The Honda Element doesn't get great mileage, but does hold a lot of stuff.

Kia Spectra5 were good cars. The Spectra5 has a huge cargo capacity with the rear seats folded. The Spectra5 was based on the Elentra, so holds up pretty well (I'd avoid any Kia  pre 2007 though). As mentioned, the Hyundai Elentra Touring is a solid car (based on the European i30 I think, it isn't actually an Elantra).

Thinking of european based cars sold here, the Saturn Astra is actually an Opel Astra. Pretty reliable by all accounts. We only got the 140hp engine (good mpg). I test drove a base model five door and it was actually a hoot to drive with a very German feel. I actually liked it better than the same year Golf.

The Jetta Wagon TDI was mentioned - they are expensive to maintain at the dealer, but independant shops aren't that bad. Family friends had (may be still driving?) a '95 passat diesel ang have no complaints (they haven't had it at the dealership since the warranty expired god knows how long ago).

Newer Cars
I have a newer Impreza (WRX) wagon, and it holds a lot (not a 4x8 mind you, but enough most of the time). I purchased mine for a number of reasons, the low and inexpensive maintenance, and excellent long term reliability were definitely things that swayed me to the Scuby (well, that is what my right-foot tells my brain anyways).
The 2008+ Imprezas are actually based on the Legacy platform, so they aren't that small. The 2012 is costly (being brand new) but gets much better mileage than the older ones.

Being a Subaru owner, I've got a natural dislike for the Mitsubishi Lancer (If you don't know, it's kind of a Mustang vs Camaro thing). But the sport-back Lancer isn't a terrible car (actually it is a fine car).

New Focus 5 door is light years ahead of the old Focus.

The Mazda3 with "skyActive" engine option gets 40+ mpg.

1) early 90's Honda Accord Wagon
2) late 80's Corolla or Civic Wagon
3) mid-90's Ford Escort wagon

...

People in the NW love their Subarus, but they seem unnecessarily complex if you don't need 4x4.

Personally, I'd stay away from all of those. While they may be cheaper to maintain per maintenance, safey and emission standards have improved considerably since then. When I'm on my motorcycle I'd take getting stuck being a new Escalade over any of those - the fumes of an 80s civic are noxious! Overall reliability is much higher today (better assembly, and much better materials). It may cost you twice as much per maintenance, but you'll have far fewer.

Realistically, cars today are miles better than they were even ten years ago. Even a cheap Korean car maintained properly will last a really long time. And the fuel mileage of some of these small (but not tiny) cars is really incredible.

I will agree that unless you have reason to want the AWD you are paying a lot in fuel costs for nothing. They are pretty solid, so repairs aren't often, but the complexity means that the potential for expensive repairs is definitely there. If you're looking for a cost efective car, FWD (with good snow tires) is good enough.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 12:43:37 PM by Matt K »

kudy

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2012, 01:16:14 PM »
Quote
Kudy, just how big a hatch do you really need? There are a lot of smaller wagons out there. Not many will hold a 4x8, but they will hold a lot of ther things.

It's true, I don't need a big hatch.  I've been looking at the Honda Fit, and I like the Mazda 3 - the fit wins MPG hands down between the two, but I like the Mazda 3 better.  Is it just me, or is the Honda Fit expensive? I can't even find any decently priced used ones with < 100K miles on them.

I have located a Mazda 3 with ~95K miles on it, but it's at a dealer and I don't know how well it's been treated - depending on how it's doing, it could go another 100K for me in the next 10 years, or it could crap out at 120K.  Also, the dealer has it priced high, and if they aren't willing to lower, I'll have to keep looking anyway.

P.S. - If I had money to burn (silly concept) I'd be tempted to buy a brand new Mazda 3 hatchback with their newly redesigned engine.
I'm interested in a TDI Golf, but there aren't any used ones for sale anywhere near me - maybe one will come up.

I'd also like to try out the Matrix, but again, no one around here seems to be selling decent ones (the dealer didn't even have a new one for me to drive!)

Thanks for all of the thoughtful discussion.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 01:23:00 PM by kudy »

nondualie

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2012, 02:04:54 PM »
I owned a 2008 Fit and generally liked the car.  We used the cargo space a lot and it always handled the loads.  I'm 6'4" and I slept in the back of it multiple times too.

BUT - the ground clearance is horrible on the Sport model; was treacherous in snow not because of traction but from not being able to clear ruts or get over humps from the plows...same with speed bumps.

AND - they are incredibly expensive on re-sale.

I'm not sure of the quality, but AVEO hatchbacks seem like they get you most of what you get with a Fit, but much cheaper...likewise the aforementioned Vibe.


I understand the comments above about early 90's cars being a pain to deal with, but it all depends on your perspective and your budget.  I have no problem with them and like that they are generally easier to maintain as they are less complex.

You could get a 1970s Datsun 510 wagon if you really wanted to.. :)

kudy

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2012, 10:25:52 PM »
Fuelly is awesome,thanks!

Going to look at a '96 Volvo 850 on Thursday :-) its not a hatchback but its so cheap i cant resist!

catalana

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2012, 04:16:07 AM »
It's true, I don't need a big hatch.  I've been looking at the Honda Fit, and I like the Mazda 3 - the fit wins MPG hands down between the two, but I like the Mazda 3 better.  Is it just me, or is the Honda Fit expensive? I can't even find any decently priced used ones with < 100K miles on them.
If you are looking at the Honda Fit, then definitely have a look at the Toyota Yaris Liftback.  I looked at both cars 5 years ago, and went for the Toyota Yaris (because the Honda was so expensive!) and have never regretted it.  I haven't done massive mileages, but it has been totally reliable and not very expensive to run for a Japanese brand.  We have made occasional use of the flat-back-seats arrangement which gives you a flat cargo area to rival a station wagon.  Downside being you only have the two front seats, but you can get an astonishing amount of stuff behind you!  [In our case, 2 large dogs and a week's worth of camping gear, and easily did 300 miles into the Scottish Highlands and back]
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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2012, 07:06:55 AM »

Kia Soul looks interesting, but again, I worry even more about long term reliability of Kia. 

They're supposedly very reliable, but here is the thing, 5 year 100K warranty on the power train is one of the best in the industry.
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Matt K

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2012, 07:24:58 AM »
I'm not sure of the quality, but AVEO hatchbacks seem like they get you most of what you get with a Fit, but much cheaper...likewise the aforementioned Vibe.

I understand the comments above about early 90's cars being a pain to deal with, but it all depends on your perspective and your budget.  I have no problem with them and like that they are generally easier to maintain as they are less complex.

I haven't driven an Aveo, but I'd still stay clear of the Aveo unless it was a really clean example. The new Spark is a whole new animal, but the old Aveos are cheaply made Deawoo's with a GM badge on them (GM bought Daewoo a few years back). They are pretty much the bottom of the quality and satisfaction lists that I've seen (I think the Calibre is worse). For the money, I'd rather get a year older Yaris or Versa. And yea, the Fit has a stupidly high resale value, so it would need to be a lot older to be priced similarly. If I had the option, I'd definitely take an Astra or Vibe over a newer Aveo.

My issues with the older cars aren't that they are a pain to work on (as you said, they are generally speaking simpler and thus easier to maintain). But the overall production quality and materials (and thus reliability) is much higher on newer cars. And seriously, the exhaust fumes from any 80s car is brutal. The safety standards and improvements in frames means that if you are ever in crash, the risk of injury is much higher in an older car. I've had the misfortune to crash test both a 1989 Mazda 626 and a 2003 Hyundai Tiburon; and let me tell you, while I love driving those old Mazdas (I also owned a '93 323), I'll take crashing in the newer Hyundai every time.

On the list of cars to avoid, add any pre 2003 Hyundai. It was the 2003 Elentra/Tiburon where their quality really started to compete with the japanese. As I mentioned, I owned a Tiburon (2004 Tuscani edition, V6 6-speed, bright yellow, awesome fun car - lost it when a taxi ran a red light and took off the front end) and I wouldn't hesitate to own one again. nor would I worry about the reliability of a post 2007 Kia. My concern with either is going to be resale value. In both cases, it is absymal. Which is great if you buy used. But if you buy new and don't plan on driving into the ground over the next ten years, you'd be better off buying a high-resale car like a Honda, Toyota, or Subaru.

BenDarDunDat

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2012, 07:39:41 AM »

Kia Soul looks interesting, but again, I worry even more about long term reliability of Kia. 

They're supposedly very reliable, but here is the thing, 5 year 100K warranty on the power train is one of the best in the industry.

But when you look at Consumer reports at the long term reliability, the brand doesn't rate very well compared to competitors for its older cars.  It's nice to know that for 5 years, I'll be in good shape, but how many cars have an issue beyond an O2 sensor and brakes in the first 5 years these days? Unless someone is abusing the vehicle, I can't think of any.

Our Corolla is 12 years old and I'd like to get a few more years out of it.  Our Escape is 7 years old and to be honest, that's the vehicle I'd like to replace first to get something with better mpg. 

 

palvar

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2012, 08:18:30 AM »

They're supposedly very reliable, but here is the thing, 5 year 100K warranty on the power train is one of the best in the industry.

But if you are looking specifically for a great warranty, why not just get a Hyundai?  10 years, 100k.

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2012, 08:38:10 AM »
 
But when you look at Consumer reports at the long term reliability, the brand doesn't rate very well compared to competitors for its older cars.  It's nice to know that for 5 years, I'll be in good shape, but how many cars have an issue beyond an O2 sensor and brakes in the first 5 years these days? Unless someone is abusing the vehicle, I can't think of any.

I can rattle off a list of cars with problems in the first 5 years, most made stateside. Kia brought over one of the top guys from Audi in 2009 and started to turn around the brand in 2010. Their quality and style has been improving by leaps and bounds.

And consumer reports as a brand itself, isn't one that's as reliable as it used to be. They've been shown to have some serious bias over the years.

But if you are looking specifically for a great warranty, why not just get a Hyundai?  10 years, 100k.

Good point, although for us personally, we found it was cheaper to keep owning the gas hog for a few more years and adjust driving habits.
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BenDarDunDat

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2012, 09:19:00 AM »
I can rattle off a list of cars with problems in the first 5 years, most made stateside. Kia brought over one of the top guys from Audi in 2009 and started to turn around the brand in 2010. Their quality and style has been improving by leaps and bounds.
And consumer reports as a brand itself, isn't one that's as reliable as it used to be. They've been shown to have some serious bias over the years.

I haven't had a problem with stateside cars.  My Taurus had 260K miles and was an awesome reliable car. The turn signal clicker was too loud and got on my nerves, but other than that, you couldn't ask for more from a vehicle. It was comfortable and fuel efficient.

My Escape is at 155K now and so far so good. Brakes, an alignment, and O2 sensor from where a motorbike got stuck underneath my front-end.  My back door latch gets stuck sometimes.  However, unlike my Taurus that I was able to get better than the rated mpg, I rarely beat the rated combined on the Escape. 

The Corolla has less miles, though it is 12 years old. The small size means it gets city driving only.  Hell, if gas prices keep going up, I may put one of those fancy MMM hitches on the back of the Corolla for our next road trip.   
   

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2012, 09:40:31 AM »
And consumer reports as a brand itself, isn't one that's as reliable as it used to be. They've been shown to have some serious bias over the years.

I have heard some criticisms that could be valid but are as hard to verify as CR's ratings. I myself am willing to buy a less reliable car as long as its total cost of ownership is still lower. Any idea how good the TCO values are at Edmunds, KBB, etc.?

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2012, 12:34:16 PM »
To add to the discussion:  Toyota Prius

  • I would categorize it as a good "in between" wagon.  More storage than your average hatch, but not as big as a full sized wagon.  Good passenger volume too.
  • We average 53 mpg for a year (less in winter, more in summer).
  • Reliability has been great so far.
  • Standard traction control.  Works surprisingly well on snow/ice (assuming your northern CO climate will include this).

Unfortunately, now is probably not a good time to buy.  I would guess that used prices are climbing with the gas prices...

Matt K

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2012, 12:59:30 PM »
To add to the discussion:  Toyota Prius
...
Unfortunately, now is probably not a good time to buy.  I would guess that used prices are climbing with the gas prices...

The less successful Honda Insight is pretty similar, and cheaper (also lower mileage).
I'm not sold on the total life cost of the hybrids yet (still limited info on battery replacement costs, but they do seem to be lasting longer than originally expected), but if you can get past the initial price, there's no question that filling one up is easy on the pocked book.

From a cargo room perspective, with seats up you get 11 cubic feet in a 2003-2009 Prius, versus the 17 cubic feet in a Mazda3. And seats down you only get 21 cubic feet, vs the 50ish in a mazda3. That high trunk floor is deceiving for total space.

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2012, 01:07:02 PM »
The Honda Insight is a hard find used. People hold on to that little car. However, I've seen online in our own researching people saying that it has cost upwards of $8,000 to replace the batteries in these cars. That's a lot of cash!!!
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Matt K

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2012, 02:06:49 PM »
$8k? where's the smily face for feeling sick? Ewwww

One thing to remember is that there are really two Insights, and each is hard to find used for a different reason. The first generation (2000-2006) was a wicked little two-seater. When they do actually get sold, they get picked up really fast. A bit of a cult car for the eco hyper-milling crowd. Technically the new CR-Z is half-way between that and the original 80s CR-X (and utterly useless to this conversation since it is both painfully expensive and highly impracticalfor moving much of anything).

The second generation of Insight (2009+) is pretty much a clone of the second generation Prius. Which is a shame because the third generation Prius came out shortly thereafter. Pretty much no one bought the new Insight. Sales for the US (according to wikipedia) were 40k units for the Insight in 2009 and 2010. The Prius meanwhile moved 280k units in the same time... But if you do want a Hybrid, and can find one, they listed for a few grand less than the Prius, so that should reflect in the used price.

Edit In a later post, MMM says that according to a local dealership, battery replacements cost between $1000 and $3000. That's actually not bad at all, and makes the prius a much better value in my eyes.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 11:36:40 AM by Matt K »

drewstees

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2012, 02:50:32 PM »
From a cargo room perspective, with seats up you get 11 cubic feet in a 2003-2009 Prius, versus the 17 cubic feet in a Mazda3. And seats down you only get 21 cubic feet, vs the 50ish in a mazda3. That high trunk floor is deceiving for total space.

Huh...sure is deceiving!  Thanks for the correction.

kudy

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2012, 01:52:12 PM »
The Volvos didn't work out... going to have to re-parse all of your great responses and make sure I didn't miss anything.

I may go look at a Yaris and a Scion xD tomorrow; both are 10,000+ which is a little more than I was hoping to spend, but I can't find much in the type I am searching for cheaper.  I guess with something older/cheaper the cost of maintenance would probably just about balance out the up front cost I'm looking at now over the next 10 years.

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2012, 08:57:19 PM »
I will 2nd the response regarding the pontiac vibe.  My dad has one with 180K and it still runs like a champ.  The running gear is all Toyota!

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2012, 10:38:41 PM »
Checking out another '90's volvo tomorrow, this time a wagon.  As far as affordable and dependable cars go, the Volvos seem to have  more inventory than anything else right now.  I may end up getting this one, because it's so low mileage (87,000).  Only downside is, it's an automatic transmission, so not as easy to learn some hypermiling techniques with.  Also, doesn't get over 30 MPG, is more like mid-20's.

kudy

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2012, 07:56:58 PM »
There just seems to be no inventory in N. Colorado for a hatchback/wagon that gets 25 MPG+, under $10K - this car search is frustrating.

gooki

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2012, 03:47:03 AM »
Not sure what models are available in the USA, but the late 1990/early 2000, 1.5 liter Nissan Wingroads wagons gets superb fuel economy, with plenty of boot space, while still being reliable.

FWIW my wife and I run between 36 and 42mpg, in our 1998, manual transmission Wingroad.

« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 03:48:38 AM by gooki »

BenDarDunDat

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2012, 07:37:35 AM »
There just seems to be no inventory in N. Colorado for a hatchback/wagon that gets 25 MPG+, under $10K - this car search is frustrating.

Hard to find in North Carolina too.  The only thing I'm seeing with low miles, 30 mpg, with some space, and doesn't ride too low are the Pontiac Vibe and Scion.  The first gen Scion has nice mpg, but the 2nd gen is near what I have now.  There's also the Kia Soul. We liked the test drive, but it's 16K.  If I could talk the wife into a manual, it's only 14K. Even for 14K, I'd be better off to keep the Ford. 

I think finding a cheaper vehicle with great mpg is going to be difficult when gas is $4 a gallon.


James

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2012, 08:41:19 AM »
I'm up in WI and needed a 4WD for winter driving, so I went with the Outback.  Certainly a solid car and working well, but I only get mid 20s in mpg, I was hoping for 28-30 average but even with good technique it's hard to keep the average up that high.
Otherwise I've been really happy, I got it with 103k miles but it's still a solid and tight vehicle.
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BenDarDunDat

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2012, 09:46:41 AM »
There's also the Ford Focus Wagon that can be had fairly cheaply.  I had great luck with my old Ford Taurus, but the build on my Escape has made me a little wary of Ford.  Stuff like...to change the plugs, you have to remove the intake manifold or that the oil pan is positioned above the exhaust so any leak will be smelled inside the vehicle.  I realize that no car these days is perfect...like the location for the rear O2 sensor on our Corolla involves removing the passenger seat.  However, for the Escape, everything is locked in there like it's some kind of gd jigsaw puzzle.   

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2012, 10:33:23 AM »
I've got a 1995 Subaru Legacy Wagon, 5pd manual.  It gets about 25mpg city, and 30mpg highway.  I like it because it can fit alot of stuff, especially with the seats folded down.  The AWD is quite useful for winter, even more so with snow tires, although I don't think its absolutely necessary as FWD with snow tires would be fine 99% of the time.

When I bought it I was in the market for a wagon, manual, for <$3k, and the Legacy was pretty much the only option.  AWD was just a bonus. 

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2012, 09:58:32 AM »
You could get a 1970s Datsun 510 wagon if you really wanted to.. :)

Ok, that cracked me up.. my parents had one of these, orange with black vinyl interior :-)

A while ago I too had been contemplating a subaru for a next wagon purchase, but the low mpg is made me look elsewhere, as others mentioned.  We settled on a  nissan versa base model (ie no air, crank windows and manual transmission) - roomy, gets 35-38 mpg, very few mech issues.  With snow tires, it does fine in a MN winter.  Perhaps a model to consider in hatcback version?

mugwump

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2012, 11:27:08 AM »
We were looking in Colorado, and we ended up giving up on the wagon.  We have a truck we can use.  We ended up with a 2003 Toyota Echo sedan, 79,000 miles, under $7000. Mileage should be in the 30's.

kudy

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2012, 08:18:07 PM »
I went for a Scion xD - not the cheapest option, but the best thing I could find, and I like it quite a bit.

Matt K

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #38 on: April 24, 2012, 06:03:38 AM »
Glad you found something you like.
:)


menorman

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #39 on: April 24, 2012, 11:39:50 PM »
I guess this is kind of late for the OP, but I didn't see the Jetta/Passat TDI wagons mentioned. Both get pretty decent mileage on highway and in town since they're the only diesel wagons that I know of (unless you want to count the Ford Excursion).
(:

kudy

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Re: High MPG Wagon
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2012, 01:02:09 PM »
Averaging 36.5 MPG on the Scion so far :)