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    View Poll Results: Wagons on the Cheap (Sub $10K)

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    125. You may not vote on this poll
    • Audi A4

      33 26.40%
    • Saab 9-5

      14 11.20%
    • Subaru Outback

      42 33.60%
    • Vokswagon Passat

      24 19.20%
    • Volvo XC70

      12 9.60%
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    Thread: Wagons on the cheap

    1. Member That1njguy's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 12:41 PM #1
      What say you mighty TLC? Which wagon would you choose on the cheap? The goal is a cheap wagon with 25+ mpg's.

      All of these choices are 03 or newer. Any ownership comments are welcome.

      Audi A4 Avant


      Saab 9-5


      Subaru Outback


      Volkswagon Passat

      Volvo XC70
      Last edited by That1njguy; 04-12-2012 at 12:59 PM.

    2. Member R-Dubya's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 12:44 PM #2
      Wouldn't an Outback be considerably cheaper than the rest of the cars you posted up?
      Seems sort of out of place among the rest of the choices.

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      04-12-2012 12:58 PM #3
      All the above are decent except VAG cars, simply don't trust older used VAG. One incident away from major fix bill.

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      04-12-2012 01:03 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by R-Dubya View Post
      Wouldn't an Outback be considerably cheaper than the rest of the cars you posted up?
      Seems sort of out of place among the rest of the choices.
      Saab prices have a good chance to drop fast now. I still haven't heard of any possible buyers. To make things worse I read in Motor Trend how China is trying to cut down on the number of automobile companies now. Why I don't know. All I know is that could make it tougher for Saab to find a Chinese savior.

    5. Member VW1.8Tsunami's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:04 PM #5
      protoge5?
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    6. Member CodeMan's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:04 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by Vision33r View Post
      All the above are decent except VAG cars, simply don't trust older used VAG. One incident away from major fix bill.


      Our Passat has been great. In 5 years of ownership I've replaced 3 CV boots and done a timing belt job. It hauls an 8' countertop, handles reasonably well with summer tires, and gets along just fine with the 170hp 1.8t.

      It does seem to hover just below 25mpg during city driving. On the highway, low 30s are typical.
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    7. Member Heffernan's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:15 PM #7
      Outback w/ Baja suspension swap.
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      04-12-2012 01:16 PM #8
      Based on your list I'd choose the subie. Outside of your list I'd look at the BMW 325iT

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      04-12-2012 01:23 PM #9
      I would go Passat if you get a stick. The auto's they had at that point are expensive, and not known for longevity.

      Outback? Reliable yes, but almost as bad a mpg as a suv.

      SAAB interesting, and quite reliable from what I hear, but parts would scare me now.

    10. Member GolfTango's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:25 PM #10
      What's the price point?
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      04-12-2012 01:29 PM #11
      Inside your list, I'd go with the Passat or the Subaru.

      Outside your list, you can probably find a 525iT or 530iT, and if you don't mind getting your hands dirty every now and again, they'll run 200k easily, and are a blast to drive.
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    12. Member zaYG's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:32 PM #12
      I'll be the ballsy one and take the Saab.
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    13. Member clutchrider's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:33 PM #13
      I picked the V70. My parents have a newer one and I love it. I didn't pick the Outback cause that's the wrong version. Needs more Legacy B Spec.


    14. Member jepva's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:33 PM #14
      Any reason you're limiting yourself to the XC70, instead of the V70?

      Based on you options, and the fact you're probably looking at older and higher mileage, your best choice is Volvo or a Legacy/Outback wagon.

      I trust Volvo's with even 200k miles on them, and they're a remarkable value at their used selling prices. There's plenty of well taken care of 100k+ mile examples under $5-6k, and can also be found in manual fairly easily. The T5's can get around 30 on the highway, and also offer decent performance. Subaru stuff won't get decent mpg's because of the AWD.

      Only old high mileage Passat I would trust the TDI. Problem with the Legacy or Outback wagons, even though they're cheap to fix and hold up decently, is the Subaru used prices are a joke. People with their 200k wagons think they are still worth $10k, which is why I recommend Volvos.
      Last edited by jepva; 04-12-2012 at 01:37 PM.

    15. Member bikerboy's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:35 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Spatzle View Post
      I would go Passat if you get a stick. The auto's they had at that point are expensive, and not known for longevity.

      Outback? Reliable yes, but almost as bad a mpg as a suv.

      SAAB interesting, and quite reliable from what I hear, but parts would scare me now.
      I get 28 MPG on the highway with my 2000 Outback. Our 2002 H6 Outback gets 26. I'd hardly call that as bad as an SUV. The both do about 20-21 MPG in the city, which is pretty consistent with the rest of the cara in the poll.

      If it were my decision, it would come down to the Outback and 9-5.

    16. Moderator Oliver@triplezoom's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 01:38 PM #16
      I'd say Mazda 6 but 25 mpg might be a stretch. I only ever got two tanks over 25 MPG.

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      04-12-2012 02:19 PM #17
      I vote V70

    18. Member patrickvr6's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 02:25 PM #18
      Do you need or want AWD? If not it opens up the options some, if you require it that is going to make it harder to get 25mpg in town.

    19. Member Omnilith's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 02:26 PM #19
      03-04 Ford Focus ZTW with a 2.3L and a stick.

    20. Member That1njguy's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 02:31 PM #20
      The Mazda's. BMW's are worthy considerations, however there just aren't many in my area. I reason why the XC70 was chosen over the V70 is for the more powerful motor and all wheel drive. The 2.4 is a bit of a slug. I consider the V70R or Subaru B Spec, but you're not touching those under $10K. The 3 series is too small as a tendacy to do some people carrying. So that takes out Jetta and Focus wagon.
      Last edited by That1njguy; 04-12-2012 at 02:33 PM.

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      04-12-2012 02:33 PM #21
      I vote E39, which isn't on this list.

      Otherwise 9-5 wagon fasho, 2.3t Aero with a manual.
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    22. Senior Member Aonarch's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 02:34 PM #22
      Subie and that is coming from a VAG guy.
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    23. Member digraph's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 02:39 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Aonarch View Post
      Subie and that is coming from a VAG guy.
      Passat, and that's coming from an ex-VW, new Subie guy!

      Provided
      a) it's a 5 MT FWD
      b) you can work on the car yourself.

      That Passat will go 250K, trounce the Outback in MPG, and you'll have access to cheap, new parts that are easy to find.
      Not an enthusiast.

    24. Member Tiny Voices's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 02:48 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by That1njguy View Post
      The Mazda's. BMW's are worthy considerations, however there just aren't many in my area. I reason why the XC70 was chosen over the V70 is for the more powerful motor and all wheel drive. The 2.4 is a bit of a slug. I consider the V70R or Subaru B Spec, but you're not touching those under $10K. The 3 series is too small as a tendacy to do some people carrying. So that takes out Jetta and Focus wagon.
      Can you get the 2.4t in a Volvo wagon? My mom dailys a 2001 fwd s60 2.4t and with the t5r turbo SHE installed and a tune, the thing flies.
      It also has 260k on it and it never has given us a problem. I'm sure that if you could get the stock 2.4t in a wagon it would be more than quick enough for what you want. You might can probably get 25 mpg out of a stock one. Volvos are pretty cheap and go forever so I definitely choose the Volvo.

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      04-12-2012 02:58 PM #25
      Most of the euro models would be rattling/squeaking by now.

      I'd go for the Outback H6 VDC. The economy would be comparable to most of the choices you've listed. The 1.8T in a Passat/A4 wagon is dog slow, and anyone that claims they are reliable are beyond delusional/fanboys.

      The McIntosh system in this thing will make your ears bleed, offering very very good SQ.
      I'm not sure if the Volvo offers the Dynaudio or a Premium Dolby system on this generation.

    26. Member Rockmonky's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 03:05 PM #26
      I'm a big fan of the Swedish ones =) i love driving the 9-5 wagon, and i really like that generation of Volvo.

      if you can find a passat wagon with v6 4motion, that would be my top choice, but not the best gas mileage..

      (did you exclude e39 bmw wagons because of mpg? my all-time favorite wagon)

    27. Member Live-Wire's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 04:12 PM #27
      V70... they were really designed to 'go the distance'. I've got good friends with a battle-tank of an 02' (first year of the P2, maybe 01'). V70 2.4T... almost 500k kms on it. No work done to the engine aside from a minor rebuild to the turbo at around 400-450k kms... the culprit was the blowoff valve was stuck open. While it was being fixed they reconditioned it for the sake of it burning oil slightly thru its seals (maybe 1/2 a liter every few tanks of gas... not bad, but not going to get better). Their transmission is original - benefited from the software updates since new to turn into a reliable unit - the first few years, there were some transmission issues on the V70 due to poor choices in how it was programmed. Suspension lasted till around 350k kms, then it was re-done completely (this is phenomenal for a luxury car in Canada... our roads are horrible on ball joints and bushings).

      They get roughly 25mpg, maybe a hair under when driven in town... but on the highway you'll hit your target. All of these cars will struggle with a continuous 25mpg tho. The Subaru and Audi especially, with AWD.

      I'd avoid the XC70 unless you want AWD. The added weight and complexity might not be worth it at the pumps, or your wallet in terms of repairs (the AWD system has one or two weak points, they don't usually show up on 2.4T's, but you might see the angle gear go on a T5).

      Another vote for Volvo!

      Quote Originally Posted by too_slow View Post
      Most of the euro models would be rattling/squeaking by now.

      I'd go for the Outback H6 VDC. The economy would be comparable to most of the choices you've listed. The 1.8T in a Passat/A4 wagon is dog slow, and anyone that claims they are reliable are beyond delusional/fanboys.

      The McIntosh system in this thing will make your ears bleed, offering very very good SQ.
      I'm not sure if the Volvo offers the Dynaudio or a Premium Dolby system on this generation.
      The Volvo did have a premium sound option... Dynaudio branding came a bit later. Volvo has always used high quality speakers and stereo systems as standard.

      The 1.8T isn't any slower then the 2.5i in an outback... takes the H6 to make it feel anything but completely gutless.

      As for squeaks/rattles... I think any older car might have them. Test and be sure. My A4 with 200k kms on it made no noises. My friends V70 only rattled after they got into an accident with it. When they finally got their suspension done, the door panel re-attached properly, and the one blown speaker replaced (mom, dad, and 3 kids learned to drive in it, and abused the living crap out of that car... what do you expect) the car was rattle-free. I've been in a few B5.5 Passats that are drum-tight too. The Subaru shown in the OP's picture is a pretty solid car, but the interior is dreary, the headlights seem from about 1985 in terms of output, fuel economy wasn't great for a 4-cylinder, and it had no more/less noises then any other higher quality older car I've driven (was a 2002 Outback sedan that I drove).
      Last edited by Live-Wire; 04-12-2012 at 04:18 PM.

    28. Member zaYG's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 04:27 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by Wanganrunner View Post
      I vote E39, which isn't on this list.

      Otherwise 9-5 wagon fasho, 2.3t Aero with a manual.
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    29. Member stascom's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 04:36 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by Oliver@triplezoom View Post
      I'd say Mazda 6 but 25 mpg might be a stretch. I only ever got two tanks over 25 MPG.
      This.


      Quote Originally Posted by Omnilith View Post
      03-04 Ford Focus ZTW with a 2.3L and a stick.
      And this.

    30. 04-12-2012 06:22 PM #30
      Why no hemi Magnum? You guys have somehting against man-wagons? Nothing personal, but these all seem kind of sissy town.

      Carry on.

    31. Member R3Drew's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 06:31 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by That1njguy View Post
      What say you mighty TLC?


      I don't think they'd have much to say about wagons, however I'm almost positive they'd advise against the pursuit of falling water.

    32. Member patrickvr6's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 06:54 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zero View Post
      Why no hemi Magnum? You guys have somehting against man-wagons? Nothing personal, but these all seem kind of sissy town.

      Carry on.
      When I bought my wagon I ruled them out because they aren't available with a manual an they are boats. I just don't need a car that big.

    33. Senior Member A.Wilder's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 06:55 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Vision33r View Post
      All the above are decent except VAG cars, simply don't trust older used VAG. One incident away from major fix bill.
      This is my feeling too. Volvos have been extremely cheap to own and operate in my experience, VW's not so much.
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    34. Member Volvo_D's Avatar
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      04-12-2012 07:00 PM #34
      V70, not XC.
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    35. 04-12-2012 07:04 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by patrickvr6 View Post
      When I bought my wagon I ruled them out because they aren't available with a manual an they are boats. I just don't need a car that big.
      All wagons are boats. The magnum is just a bit bigger.

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