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I'm a little weird I realize but I like station wagons and hatchbacks, both of which have almost disappeared from American roads in the last 20 years.

So when the time came to replace Mrs. Kong's well used 2003 Audi wagon I began my lonesome quest to find another wagon.

I knew this was going to be a difficult task. Go to Europe and every other car is a station wagon or a hatchback. Not so here.

Hatchbacks were plentiful in the 1970s and 1980s but the term came to be synonymous with "cheap car". Americans generally won't buy them. For example, the VW Jetta and Golf are almost the same car. The Jetta sedan far outsells the hatchback Golf in the US. In Europe it's the exact opposite.

I mostly blame people my age for the loss of station wagons in the US. You see, our parents drove station wagons and the last thing most of us want is to look like our parents.

So Detroit in their infinite wisdom invented the "Sport Utility Vehicle" and the rest is history.

How Americans view station wagons.

When I was a kid we had a gargantuan 1973 Ford station wagon. My father was a salesman and it was provided for him as a company car. I think company cars, like station wagons, are mostly a thing of the past.

The only thing it didn't have was the rear facing seat way in the back, the one that let you pretend to be a B-17 tail gunner.

I remember making the 10 hour trip to visit the grandparents, my sister and I each in our own designated territory in the back that wagon.

"He's on my side of the car!"
"Am not!"
"Is too!"
"Don't make me stop this car!"

To this day I wonder if Dad really would have stopped the car. I never tested that theory.

We had one of these when I was a kid. Yes, we were the Griswolds.
OK, I really don't want one out of nostalgia. So why do I like station wagons? Mostly because I want something that drives like a car but can occasionally carry, you know, stuff.

Now sure, a truck would carry a lot of stuff but I'm not really a truck kind of guy. I don't fancy myself to be a cowboy. I don't have a contracting business. I don't build houses for a living. I don't need the ability to carry hunting dogs or deer carcasses. Heck, not driving one in some parts of the country may cause people to question your manhood or political affiliation.

Most pickup truck drivers aren't right-wing assholes.
Most right-wing assholes, however, seem to drive pickups.
My daily routine doesn't involve towing bulldozers, carrying giant rocks around construction sites or any of the other things I see trucks doing in the "My truck can beat up your truck!" commercials.

So much for a pickup truck.

The other drawback to owning a truck
What about an SUV?

For anyone who's been asleep for the last 20 years, an SUV is basically a pickup truck with an oversize station-wagon body on top of it. They became insanely popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Suburbanites flocked to them. The car manufacturers loved them for the high profit margins.

For a while there was an arms race to see who could build the biggest and fanciest, culminating in the Hummer. High gas prices and the recession put the kibosh on Hummer. No great loss if you ask me. I always thought they were pretty silly. The other big SUVs are still around but not quite as popular as they once were. With gas at over $3.00/gallon it takes a lot of commitment to drive one these days.

Comes with its own zip code.
No thanks. I don't care for them. First off, everybody has one and that's enough to turn me away right there. I don't need the ground clearance and I don't need to tow a boat, horse trailer, camper or anything else.

Plus I really don't like the way they drive. A car rental agency stuck me with a Tahoe a while back because it was all they had left. They acted like they were doing me a favor. I couldn't wait to turn that thing back in. Once the novelty of being at eye level with truckers wore off, I felt like I was driving a city bus. I never could figure out where the "Sport" in "Sport Utility Vehicle" came from.

Then there's the gas mileage. I'm not ready for a Prius just yet but I don't want to get Christmas cards from OPEC either.

Let's rule out SUVs.

How about a minivan?

I actually kind of like minivans. They can carry a lot of stuff and they get better mileage than SUVs. The ride and handling of a minivan is more car-like. Yes, minivans have a stigma about them but I don't really care as long as it gets the job done. If I had kids or large dogs to carry I'd probably get one. I wouldn't rule one out but I'd happily for trade a little cargo space for something a bit sportier.

Next on the list is a "crossover".

A crossover is neither fish nor foul. It's a smallish SUV that's actually built on a car platform instead of a truck platform. A Toyota RAV4 or Honda CRV would be good examples of a crossover. They lack the off-road and towing abilities of a true SUV, which is fine because most people just drive them to the mall anyways.

They get better mileage than their larger siblings so I'd almost consider one. Still not my cup of tea though. A high center of gravity is never a benefit to handling. People seem to like them because I see a lot of them on the road. I've driven a few, thought they were OK but that's about it. I'd probably settle for one but it wouldn't be my first choice.

What we really wanted was another station wagon. I figured 3 to 6 years old depending on the miles. Not too big, not too small. A little sporty but with reasonable fuel economy. Here in the Midwest all-wheel-drive would be a nice feature to have.

This narrowed the field considerably. There is exactly one built in the US, one Japanese, one Swedish and four Germans.

What I really want. A 96 Buick Roadmaster wagon.
Let's start with the "Imported from Detroit" model. Car makers will go to great lengths to build something that's functionally a station wagon without calling it a station wagon - Ford Flex, Ford Edge, Lincoln MkT. One company actually has the guts to build a proper station wagon and oddly enough it's Cadillac.

Cadillac CTS4 - Damn this is a great looking car. I so wanted to like this thing.

We found a used one at CarMax. If you don't have a CarMax in your town, they carry late model used cars and sell them at a "no haggle" price. Unlike a traditional car dealer they don't give you the "hard sell". They're very nice people to deal with but I think a reasonably skilled negotiator could beat their price most days.

Unfortunately Mrs. Kong didn't like the car. Since it's mostly going to be her car, she has veto authority. The instrument panel kind of wraps around the driver and she kept banging her knees getting in and out of the car. She also found the rear hatch to be right at eye level when opened. It was more than I wanted to spend anyway.

OK, let's give Japan a try. Subaru makes an AWD wagon. My brother in law has one and is quite happy with it. It's economical and reliable. They're also reasonably easy to come by. Mrs. Kong thought it was "OK". This translates to "I don't really like it". Sigh.

How about Sweden? Volvo has been making station wagons for a long time. They have a reputation for reliability. The problem is, they took a perfectly nice looking car, jacked it up and stuck a bunch of plastic on it so it would look like an SUV. The marketing executives probably decided that's what American buyers want. The only thing I want less than an SUV is a car that tries to look like one. Sorry Swedes, maybe next time.

OK, that leaves the Germans. VW, Audi, BMW and Mercedes all make AWD station wagons. This makes sense because it seemed like every third car I saw in Munich was an Audi or BMW wagon. Unfortunately they must keep them all for themselves. Good luck finding one.

My online searches produced some interesting results. These cars almost all live in ski areas. There are (very small) concentrations in New England, Denver and the Northwest. Connecticut seems to have more than its fair share.

The other problem is that people who have them tend hang on to them. When you manage to find one it either has high miles or they want big dollars for it.

Finally my weeks of online searching paid off. I found a used A4 wagon and it was even in Ohio, half a days drive from here in Cleveland. Low miles and the right color. Almost too good to be true.

Everyone has a different car buying philosophy. I try to buy a nice used one and drive it for 5 years or so. As such I don't buy cars very often.

For most middle-aged males buying a car is like the Super Bowl, Emmys and the Oscars all rolled into one. We live for this sort of thing.

I envision myself walking into the showroom like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western. All right kid, let's see what you've got.....

The salesman was good, I was better.

He knows I want the car - point for him.
I know he wants this car off his lot, it's not his brand and it's a wagon - point for me.
He knows I drove all the way from Columbus - point for him.
I know I have nothing better to do than sit here all day if necessary - point for me.

We went around and around for hours. He brought in his sales manager. Allright! Two against one! Now it's getting interesting!

Call it a draw. I got the price down as far as I thought they were willing to go. They low-balled me on my trade in but I got them to come up a bit.

I would have done better selling the old car myself but I didn't want to entertain a bunch of Craigs List stalkers at my house. I'll chalk that up to cost of doing business.

In Europe, this car would be a diesel and get over 40 mpg. Unfortunately we can't get those here just yet. Still I averaged a respectable 32 mpg on the drive home. I was pleased.

Your last car is always a station wagon.

Originally posted to Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:53 AM PST.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks.

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  •  Tip Jar (166+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, BOHICA, EJP in Maine, elfling, lineatus, Via Chicago, wheeldog, weck, tampaedski, Crashing Vor, oakroyd, ksuwildkat, undercovercalico, brainwave, jaym, gizmo59, MKinTN, OceanDiver, Dem Beans, JeffW, Buckeye54, LIcenter, citizen dan, VClib, Azazello, Stude Dude, Bluerall, jwinIL14, blue jersey mom, Hey338Too, Matilda, jbob, peregrine kate, Superskepticalman, Dillonfence, defluxion10, markdd, River Rover, mikidee, Mentatmark, wintergreen8694, peterfallow, smokeymonkey, newfie, HeyMikey, profundo, Turbonerd, offgrid, Pilotshark, doingbusinessas, bartcopfan, jck, surfbird007, kevinpdx, socialistfolkstick, shaggies2009, AnnieR, KVoimakas, DawnN, dsb, bostonjay, BlogDog, sand805, greycat, this is only a test, Sun Tzu, Radiowalla, Joan McCarter, 2laneIA, tmay, high uintas, Phoebe Loosinhouse, BalanceSeeker, Domestic Elf, furi kuri, TracieLynn, highacidity, Kasoru, meagert, eeff, Librarianmom, Betty Pinson, quill, windje, johnnygunn, bluesheep, badscience, midnight lurker, WheninRome, asterkitty, DSC on the Plateau, Senor Unoball, kenwards, BlackSheep1, Farugia, azpenguin, old wobbly, ricklewsive, HudsonValleyMark, TheOrchid, theBreeze, boran2, greenomanic, VolvoDrivingLiberal, brentut5, DRo, JBL55, annan, chimpy, marzook, GAS, devis1, BadKitties, BachFan, sawgrass727, MrCornfed, Involuntary Exile, cpresley, Shadowmage36, Bronx59, ScienceMom, matching mole, confitesprit, Matt Z, RandomNonviolence, Roger Fox, VTCC73, Ice Blue, Haplogroup V, a gilas girl, kerflooey, greengemini, FindingMyVoice, MPociask, NoMoJoe, Simplify, Cali Scribe, IL clb, Santa Susanna Kid, rapala, FrankSpoke, dougymi, bmcphail, skepticalcitizen, afisher, wader, jakedog42, Spirit of Life, alice kleeman, NYFM, mconvente, rat racer, myrmecia gulosa, ER Doc, denise b, Sui Juris, ruleoflaw, justme, RiveroftheWest, PrahaPartizan, Tinfoil Hat, Margouillat, fluffy, Larsstephens, maggid, greenalley

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:53:18 AM PST

  •  We love station wagons (27+ / 0-)

    and also lament their near extinction in the US.  Volvo is coming out with a new mid-size wagon, but obviously there won't be used ones for some time and there are no manuals (another feature we like--also going extinct in the US).  

    Great post!  Thanks!

    ...do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly...

    by EJP in Maine on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:06:22 AM PST

    •  I'd go for the VW Jetta Sportswagon diesel... (19+ / 0-)

      If I had the income for one.

      Mine is the redoubtable 2001 Ford Focus wagon (purchased in fall 2000) with four-cylinder/16-valve Zetec engine and five-speed manual transmission - only the greatest anti-theft device in America - at 164,000 miles, still gets 31 mpg under optimal conditions (29ish, when not) and within the original city/hwy estimates.

      So, of course, Ford doesn't offer it in the United States anymore.

      "First, we make a commonwealth of our family. Then, we make a commonwealth of families. Then, we make of ourselves a political commonwealth. We engage in the ongoing process of self-government which, first and foremost, is a creative act." - C. Pierce

      by Superskepticalman on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:47:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. The Jetta Sportwagon with the TDI (5+ / 0-)

        is a great car that holds its value exceptionally well. The Prius V and Ford C-Max are also very good sationwagons with great fuel economy.

      •  I own one. Meh. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EJP in Maine, Superskepticalman

        Only get the TDI if your commute is more than 5 miles each way.  Preferably 10.  It takes a hell of a long time for the engine to warm up, and until it does, mileage sucks balls.  Driving to work today, the MFI showed 27 mpg.  If you're doing lots of short trips, expect low 20s and expect the diesel particulate filter to load up and demand a regen cycle every 500 miles.

        The turbo seals went at 23k, and within minutes pumped all the oil out of the engine and bent a piston rod.  New engine on warranty.

        On the plus side, the handling is good, and it has great instantaneous acceleration.  You'll get 35 mpg with light in town traffic and 10 mile trips, 40 - 45 mpg highway unless you're cruising over 70.  But for what my wife is using it for, I wish I'd bought a Leaf.

        Economic Left/Right: -7.38
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
        Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

        by jvance on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:43:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My Subaru Outback (12+ / 0-)

      is a station wagon!! :-)

      Station Wagons from my Past:

      Late 70s Audi Fox wagon. Only went to 4th gear (we had a standard) and labored hard on the freeway. My Dad chose it over the VW Dasher because the Audi had a Porsche engine (or at least that is what I remember). Nobody liked the car that much, but I learned to drive in it.

      Late 60s/early 70s Toyota Crown Wagon. This was our family carpool car. I got a Stanford University window sticker, cut it up to spell SNODFART, and stuck it on the back. It was called SNODFART for the rest of its life.

    •  And you can still get all sorts of wagons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bronx59, greengemini

      in Europe. A Toyota, Mazda, and Honda to name a few. Manual transmissions even!

      Nice piece from the BBC here on Pining for European Only Station Wagons.  To quote

      Ultimately the lament boils down to a catch-22. North Americans do not buy wagons because there are so few wagons to buy. But if only for a dedicated fringe, wagons remain practical, desirable, even sexy vehicles, whether empty or full. Sadly, the US market is nearly empty, while Europe is filled to bursting.
      I count myself among the "dedicated fringe."

      ...do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly...

      by EJP in Maine on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:18:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I miss my wagons! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      I learned to drive in a 1963 Plymouth Fury wagon with wonderful pushbutton transmission! I drove it for years after the odometer broke at 270000. Got a used 1976 Plymouth sport Fury wagon when my brother wrecked the 1963. I could put sheets of plywood inthe the back! I drove it until the passenger door hinge warped. The engine still had great compression at over 300000.
      Now stuck with a 2005 ford explorer at 245000 now)- I wanted a Volvo wagon, but needed a shift on the steering column. Glad to hear wagon at coming back. I'm too old to climb in and out of a SUV. My wagons allowed me to first sit, then bring my legs into the car, like a proper lady.

      Yes, the road trip era. Drove my parents 1974 Dodge wagon around the country in the summer of 1976 camping with my sister. My gas prices going up, we thought we would never be able to  do it again... east coast to New Orleans, San Antonio, Carlsbad, Hoover Dam, SanDiego, Yosemite, Honeymoon Beach Oregon up to Vancouver and across to Glacier, Salt Lake and Yellowstone, then to Washington DC and then home. Still haven't done it again, and there is no retirement in site.

  •  I'm on my third Volvo wagon (22+ / 0-)

    1. 1980 245 344,000 miles before the heater core sprung a leak. Too costly to fix.

    2. 1986 740 Turbo wagon. 250,000 miles plus when I did something stupid.

    3. 1993 940 Turbo wagon. 286,000 miles and going strong. 940, best rear wheel model they made.

    Change the oil, brakes and other routine stuff and they last forever.

    In town mileage sucks but on the road I get 28 mpg.

    Looking back I think I should fixed the 240 and kept it. It was a really strong car.

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:09:23 AM PST

    •  940 (11+ / 0-)

      i have a 95 940, non-turbo. i foolishly destroyed the paint job, which has marred and otherwise magnificent car. it's needed some routine odds and ends, but so far, at 190,000 miles, its still a great car. plus its gargantuan on the inside. i once had to move some large pieces of furniture with a friend. one piece was too big to fit int he bed of the 4x4 pickup, and yet i was able to fit it INSIDE my 940 (and could still close the tail gate).

      like yours, mileage in town isnt great, but i still hit around 25/26 on the highway with snow tires.

    •  I had a 740 (non-turbo) Volvo wagon (13+ / 0-)

      that I used to haul stuff around when I was rehabbing a house.  It looked awful - the clear coat was peeling, the header was shredded in the interior, the seats were shot.

      But that thing ran like crazy!  It was more than 20 years old and the engine and transmission were perfect.  The only thing I had to do to it was replace the battery.

      When I sold the house the guy who bought it raved about the car, so I sold him the car, too.  It had served its purpose.  I still kind of miss it, though.  I don't think that anyone makes cars like the old Volvos when it comes to longevity.

      If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

      by Dem Beans on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:32:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same. Had an '83 with over 250k miles, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dem Beans, Tinfoil Hat

        original everything. No major parts replaced—biggest repair had been a $50 water pump, and scheduled maintenance like belts and the like.

        Finally sold it a couple of years ago for $1k to a student.

        Actually have regretted it several times since; my wife was dying to replace it with something "modern," the car that replaced it is less than a decade old, has a third the mileage at this point and has needed more repairs each year than the old Volvo did in all my decades of owning it.

        -9.63, 0.00
        "Liberty" is deaf, dumb, and useless without life itself.

        by nobody at all on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:28:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

          I replaced it with a fairly new SUV with a all the bells and whistles - I've already put more into it in maintenance in the last two years than I did that old Volvo.  It looked like hell but it never once gave me a problem.

          I saw a PT Cruiser on the road yesterday and it got me thinking - so many of those were sold and you hardly see them anymore.  But I still see Volvo 240's in beautiful condition out there.  These things just run forever.

          If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

          by Dem Beans on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:38:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Don't forget to replace the timing belt (10+ / 0-)

      Horrible things will happen if you don't.

      Don't be fooled by appearances. In Hawaii, some of the most powerful people look like bums and stuntmen. --- Matt King

      by hobie1616 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:40:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  File under other routine stuff (6+ / 0-)

        Non-interference engines don't screw the valve train if the timing belt breaks.

        All Volvo Single overhead cam engines are Non-interference engines. As are all OHV ones. All of the Double overhead cams are Interference engines (960 and V90).

        "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

        by BOHICA on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:51:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not with a B230F (5+ / 0-)

        It's a non-interference design.  If the belt breaks, the car stops and you have to have it towed.  It's a hassle and an inconvenience, but nothing more.

        With a B234F DOHC engine, it is an interference design and will jam valves up trough the valve cover if you break a belt.  The B234 was a sweet engine, though.  It was the same block as the B230, but with the DOHC head with hydraulic lifters.  It made the venerable old B230 seem much more refined, and kept it quieter longer.

        There's an old joke about Volvo engines: they don't break when they get old, they just get louder. I once had an old 240 with about 450,000 miles on it.  Between Volvo using the noisiest fuel injectors known to man, the valve lash adjustment being constantly out, and some piston slap that started to develop about the 400,000 mark, the engine was so loud that when I'd start it at 5am on a cold winter day, I swear to Christ the next door neighbors woke up.  

        The DOHC B234F engines were found in the US on certain 740 and 940 models, notably ones that ended in "SE" such as the 940 GLTSE (Glitzy).  

         

    •  I have a 1988 Volvo 245 (6+ / 0-)

      that I just recently purchased for $2200. The body is perfect, except for some pealing clear-coat on the roof. The interior is also in nearly new condition, except for the driver's seat, which I will have to re-cover and maybe even replace the foam in (the old type of foam is far inferior to new foam formulations, so this will be an upgrade).

      I don't know how many miles it has on it, as the odometer doesn't work (it shows 135,000). Other than that, and a few other small problems, it runs strong and doesn't leak or burn a drop of oil.

      Fantastic car. Great on the highway. Feels heavy and safe, but I still get 28 MPG on the highway, and could probably get 30 MPG if I drove at 55 instead of 65-70. For a heavy car it handles great on the twisty mountain roads where I live.

      It pulls most hills on the freeway just fine in 5th gear, which is not bad for a heavy car with a 4-cylinder engine. Those old Volvo 4's are bullet-proof.

      BTW - my other "car" is a 1986 Toyota 4WD pickup, that I recently put a bunch of money into. Had the engine rebuilt by a Toyota truck off-road expert, with custom cylinder head and cam (for more low-end torque), converted it from a carburetor to fuel injection (more power, better mileage and cleaner running), totally rebuilt the suspension system, and put in a stronger 5-speed to handle the increased power. It's the "homestead workhorse" that I use for everything from hauling firewood to getting through the occasional deep snow I get. Another fantastic vehicle, much better than the new ones, IMHO.

      So yes, both are 25-years old. Even though I would love to have a hybrid or fully electric car (love the Tesla), in some ways recycling an already manufactured car is greener than building a new one in terms of embodied energy. I work from home, in a solar-powered off-grid house, so my carbon footprint is still pretty low, even driving the old technology cars. I only put about 3000 miles on the truck in a year, and maybe 6000 miles on the Volvo (gotta fix the odometer! It's just a little gear on the back of the speedometer that breaks. It's a $15 part, but a bit of a hassle getting to it).

      "If you lose your sense of humor, it's just not funny anymore" Wavy Gravy

      by offgrid on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:00:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Volvo produced the sportiest looking wagon (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EJP in Maine, Dem Beans, ER Doc

      I've seen, only I never figured out what year it was. But the one I saw around my town looked a lot like a Jaguar, elegant and sleek. Late 80s to mid 90s would be my guess. This one wasn't boxy like the 70s Volvo my dad used to drive.

      There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

      by frankzappatista on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:34:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I drive a Volvo 240 Station wagon- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EJP in Maine, Dem Beans

      '86 240 with 350,000 miles. I  LOVE that car.  My son drives one slightly newer, not as many miles. It just goes and goes and goes, and will carry a ton of stuff

      Intellect and romance triumph over brute force and cynicism

      by Hill Jill on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:35:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't even get Volvo station wagon anymore here (0+ / 0-)

      We've had a family station wagon that started showing its age. So we were just waiting for something big to fail before getting an updated version of the same model. Then Ford stopped offering it. Or any wagon.

      So, we saved for a while, figuring a Volvo V70 wagon would be the best surviving model. By the time we had enough saved, they stopped offering that, too. Or any wagon unburdened with SUV styling.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:20:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I adore my 1995 850 Turbo Sportwagon with all the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dem Beans, BOHICA

      goodies on it.  I used to lust for one in the 90s when they cost $35,000.  Bought it used 7 years ago for $3200, when used prices were reasonable.  Now has 190,000 miles and everything still works.  I plan to drive it till there is a major meltdown.

      Mr V wanted to replace it before there was a problem but ran into the same conundrum--no wagons (which is all I would consider) in autoland.  While shopping he ended up buying a 1995 850 Sedan for himself as it was low miles and a real deal.  We have owned 6 Volvos through the years.  

      "Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist." Pastor Martin Niemoller

      by Haplogroup V on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:07:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I saw most of the lower 48 from station wagons (18+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't mind owning one again, though it would almost certainly be a Subaru.  But I don't need the extra space right now so I'll stick with my Focus (easier to park)

    Our family's first wagon was a Ford Country Squire which my dad (a Ford designer) got when my youngest sister was born.  The car he gave up was a 1964½ Mustang.  :-(

    Lead your life - don't let your life lead you.

    by lineatus on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:09:30 AM PST

  •  I like hatchbacks (16+ / 0-)

    I want a small one, like a fit, so I can dress it up like an enterprise shuttlecraft.

    I saw one on Reddit just like it.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

    by terrypinder on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:11:41 AM PST

    •  I love my Fit (4+ / 0-)

      Had it nearly two years now and it's still just as much fun to drive as it was on day one.

      Plus, you can pack an amazing amount of stuff in it! That's why I'm all about the small hatchback: Fun + practical = win.

      Still miss stick-shift though...

      •  Have had my Fit for over 4 years (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FindingMyVoice, MrCornfed

        and it has almost gone coast to coast (Virginia Beach to Phoenix, AZ and Tuscon to Detroit). Great gas mileage and fun to drive.

        •  I really like my 5-going-on-6yr old Fit... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrCornfed

          but I loved my Accord wagon that I had before the Fit.  I got the last model year of the wagon and was so disappointed they never brought it back.  

          I'm also disappointed in Honda for reducing the mpg on the newer Fits - there are some drawbacks to my '08 that are somewhat rectified in the newer models, but the mpg is less.  I average overall (city/highway/summer/winter) 38 mpg on my Sport and don't want to get less mileage, especially with my long highway drive to work.

          No idea what to get next time, though the Fit was just in to get checked out and is good to go for quite awhile yet - it only has about 130k miles on it so far.  

    •  Honda fit is part TARDIS! (6+ / 0-)

      On the outside it is smaller than our car it replaced, but on the inside, it is bigger. In the back I can fit my racing bike without taking the front wheel off. I could even fit the bike upright if it weren't for the aerobars. I also like that you can lift the seat up in back for tall things. We've been able to take a few long items home from Lowe's without any trouble.

      If I didn't live in flat, snowless Florida, I'd probably get a Subaru station wagon.

      •  Loved parking next to the Pontiac Vibe (0+ / 0-)

        in the bike shop's parking lot - I always put my bike in standing up in the back, though front tire removed.  They were struggling just to get their bike in laying down. :-)

  •  Fun diary! Thanks for writing. (15+ / 0-)

    I am enjoying my third Subaru, first one was a wagon, last two were Foresters.  If Camry had come in a wagon, I might still be driving Toyota.

    That Roadmaster appeals to me, too....mmmmm, Buick!

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

    by weck on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:15:04 AM PST

    •  The Roadmaster appeals to a cousin of mine. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, FindingMyVoice, PrahaPartizan

      She is on her third.  Every time she needs a new one, it gets a little harder to find, but she's determined and tenacious.  Amazing what low mileage was on the last one -- maybe 65K!

      •  Have Seen At Least a Dozen Different Vehicles (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tinfoil Hat, JBL55, RiveroftheWest

        Up in my neck of the woods northwest of Hartford, CT I swear that I've seen at least a dozen different Bucik Roadmaster wagons of that particular model design.  My spouse and I have even seen a few of the comparable Chevy wagons and one or two Oldsmobile models.  They really do stand out in today's lines of traffic.  One could almost catapault a plane off the roof of these behemoths.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:04:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A 96 Buick Roadmaster wagon (17+ / 0-)

    I wonder if a diesel could be retro fitted into one of those. That would really make a nice long distance cruiser.

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:15:19 AM PST

    •  Well.... (3+ / 0-)

      If you could find a Oldsmobile diesel V8 that hasn't beat itself to pieces.....

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:32:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That ain't gonna happen.... (7+ / 0-)

        Those Oldsmobile diesels all self-destructed at like 30,000 miles...  They would launch cylinder heads into low-earth orbit.  

        Guess nobody ever told GM that you can convert an engine designed for diesel to run on gas, but you can't take an engine designed to run on gas and make it a diesel.  

        Those early GM diesels from the late 70s (the 5.7 and 3.4) did more to undermine diesel's credibility in the US than anything.  Everyone has an uncle or a cousin or a neighbor who had one of those things that self destructed.  

        I blame General Motors for the negative perceptions of diesels that US consumers have.  If it weren't for those engines (and to some extent the lackluster 6.2 that followed), companies that actually build good diesels like Mercedes, VW/Audi and Even Toyota would have had a way easier time selling them in the US.  

    •  Of course you can put a diesel in it . (7+ / 0-)

      It has a big american engine bay .
      What diesel to buy / instal would be the question .
      If I were dreaming and had the money ,
      the Mercedes-Benz OM642 would be my choice .

      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

      by indycam on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:00:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh hell no ... go the Cummins 4BT route (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimpy, FindingMyVoice

        and turbocharge it. then you've got a pocket rocket that'll run forever...

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:40:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ha-Ha , bt4 turbo , you funny ! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CalvinV, FindingMyVoice, Tinfoil Hat

          "set several FIA world endurance records"

          World record for Mercedes-Benz new diesel V6 OM642 (in E320 CDI)
          - 100,000 miles at an average speed of 224.823 km/h / 139.696 mph
          - Record distance equal to four times around the world
          - Endurance test for the Mercedes E 320 CDI, 30 days of relentless, round-the-clock punishment
          - Proof of the performance of the diesel particulate filter
          Three E320 CDI using the new OM 642 E30 V6 diesel were driven 100,000 miles within 30 days at the 5 mile oval racetrack in Laredo Texas and set several FIA world endurance records to demonstrate the reliability and efficiency of the new CDI turbodiesels. The oil was changed 10 times, every 15,000 kilometers. There is no QLT sensor on the new V6.
          5/2/2005

          E320 CDI (OM642) fuel economy tested: 49.5 miles per US gallon
          After completing the high speed records in Laredo, the three E320 CDIs with 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesels OM642 DE30 LA were driven from Laredo to Tallahassee in Florida. Without stopping to refuel each of the unmodified CDI models covered a distance of 1039 miles (1672 km). Sport stewards supervised the test, sealed the 80 liter fuel tanks and verified the average consumption at the end of the trip. It was 4.75 liters per 100 kilometers which is 49.5 miles per US gallon or 59.46 miles per British Imperial gallon. The standard renewable particle filters were tested by the TUV lateron, and still worked well, even after accumulating all these miles in the speed world records and fuel economy runs.
          5/20/2005

          http://www.whnet.com/...

          "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

          by indycam on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:30:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  budget constraints, dude ... (0+ / 0-)

            my next vehicle WILL have a six-cylinder. If I can't find a Leaning Tower of Power, I'll take a Legendary Engine and be very happy indeed.

            LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:49:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You should have said that you didn't have (0+ / 0-)

              the funds , but that's not what you said .

              oh hell no ... go the Cummins 4BT route
              and turbocharge it. then you've got a pocket rocket that'll run forever...

              my next vehicle WILL have a six-cylinder.
              4bt = 6 ? Last I looked it was a 4 .

              The 4bt is not cheap to buy , putting a turbo on it is not cheap .
              I was looking at a complete om642 for $600 plus shipping .

              "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

              by indycam on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:01:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  the 4bt currently on Craig's here (0+ / 0-)

                comes with xmission and torque converter, but the seller wants $2K.

                I can get a Cummins already in a Dodge truck for $900 more, but the truck's been totaled -- front-end hit. So ... the 4 is cheaper. I don't need to pull 30K pounds....

                LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:31:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Sad to See Those Replaced By SUV (4+ / 0-)

      Same platform as the Caprice version...  Hated those fake wood decals.

      Will always wonder why Chrysler killed the Magnum wagon.  I always thought that one day I'd own one.  Now BMW appears to be the only option, and good luck finding one.

  •  this post has nothing to do with dailykos. . . (14+ / 0-)

    and yet i loved reading it. and i love station wagons. well done!

  •  I'm intrigued by the new, inflated, Prius line. (9+ / 0-)

    We've got the regular sedan, which can carry 8' lumber with the rear seat down, but not 4x8 stock, which limits utility. Great car for mobile recording gigs though, as it carries the whole rig, including stands.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:18:04 AM PST

  •  Great column, Major. (14+ / 0-)

    My first car out of college, I'm afraid to admit, was....a 1968 Ford Pinto station wagon. Yes, I said Pinto station wagon.

    What a dog. Total piece of junk, but I needed to move my stuff from the Midwest to my first job out here in the West, so it seemed a good idea at the time.

    Few years ago Ford produced the Freestyle, which was basically a station wagon. It was when Ford owned Volvo, built the Freestyle on the Volvo frame. Came 2WD and  AWD. I drove one for awhile and like it--roomy, handled well, the AWD is still popular in snow country out here. But, it never caught on was shelved. Too bad. It was basically the yuppie-loved Volvo station wagon but a whole lot cheaper.

    After driving pickups my whole adult life I decided a year ago I was tired of hauling stuff (actually tired of taking on projects that required that I haul stuff like remodeling, landscaping, etc.) and traded the last truck for a Nissan Xterra.

    I've driven a lot of cars and trucks, including a number of minivans hauling dogs to dog shows and trucks hauling dogs to sled dog races, and the Xterra is by far, hands down, the finest vehicle I've ever owned.

    Only problem is going out to the garage in the morning and finding Mrs. Wheeldog ran off with it to take it to work.      

    When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

    by wheeldog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:18:11 AM PST

    •  My dad still has one with the "shiftless" (7+ / 0-)

      automatic transmission. Still runs well; very comfortable for long trips.

      "First, we make a commonwealth of our family. Then, we make a commonwealth of families. Then, we make of ourselves a political commonwealth. We engage in the ongoing process of self-government which, first and foremost, is a creative act." - C. Pierce

      by Superskepticalman on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:56:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My old 73 Superbeetle had one of those. (0+ / 0-)

        Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn

        by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:24:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  BTW I so-o wanted a Karmann Ghia convertible. (0+ / 0-)

          They were Type 1 VWs just like Beetles yet the looked like the old Porsche that James Dean was killed in.

          When I was 17 I accidentally bought my insurance company a Plymouth with my VW. They wanted to trash it too but Dad talked them out of it. Other than the fact I wrapped the front end around the spare tire it still ran ok. I was working on my pilot's license then and I wanted that 1600cc air cooled engine because I wanted to design my own small aircraft around it. Dad said no. Instead he made me drive that thing around with a big crack in the frame that just screamed "catastrophic failure".

          Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn

          by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:44:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  My Pops had a pinto wagon that was baby blue (6+ / 0-)

      with fake wood sides .

      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

      by indycam on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:04:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  my first car (5+ / 0-)

      was my dad's old 93 escort wagon. red on the outside, red on the inside. my friends called it the 'flying bordello'.

      that thing was a piece of crap. god bless mom and dad, they stuck with american cars through thick and thin. unfortunately the car i got handed down was from the long 'thin' period.

      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

      by chopper on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:11:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ford in the 1970s really went through a 'thin' (5+ / 0-)

        period, producing some really, really crappy cars.

        The Mustangs from that era are flat out awful, as well as many other of their products. It was the era when the attitude from the dealers was 'if you can make 'em, we can sell 'em.' Quality control was a distant and foreign (think Japanese) concept.

        But of all the crappy cars that rolled off the production lines, I think the Pinto was the very worst.  

        When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

        by wheeldog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:21:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  heh. You've forgotten the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FindingMyVoice

          Pinto variant coupe that came out in 1980 or so ... can't remember the name but it competed with Fiero for Ford. S-V- something or S-X something. Ugly as a homemade mud fence ...

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:43:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ford, of course, was not alone... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackSheep1, FindingMyVoice

            ..let us not forget the unlamented Chevy Vega.

            When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

            by wheeldog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:51:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  or the Chevy Chevette (5+ / 0-)

              frequently referred to among my generation as the Shove-It.

              Yep. One of my classmates' graduation present was a brand-new Vega.
              Off the showroom lot, on her way home, the transmission fell out.

              I helped pick up some of the pieces ...

              LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

              by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:13:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Vega was known to start rusting (5+ / 0-)

                while still on the showroom floor.

                Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

                by milkbone on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:55:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not To Mention Oil Consumption (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tinfoil Hat, RiveroftheWest

                  GM introduced the aluminum block for the Vega, but didn't resolve the manufacturing problems associated with its alumnium alloy.  To make the alloy tougher, its actually an aluminum-silicon eutectic.  Properly blended so that the silicon is dispersed through the aluminum, it works great.  Early manufacturing techniques resulted in regions of high silicon and low silicon.  When the engine block was ground, the high silicon regions stood up and the low silicon regions got ground down, allowing natural oil channels to form in the cylinders.  The piston rings' abrasin also formed more channels in the cylcinder, allowing the oil to escape around the piston rings.  Ultimately the compression in the cylinders dropped and the oil consumption jumped, giving the Vega very bad performance and a horrible reputation.

                  "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                  by PrahaPartizan on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:14:03 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I knew the aluminum engines were trouble (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RiveroftheWest, PrahaPartizan

                    but I didn't know the actual reason why. Thanks for giving the information.

                    A shame, too because the original Vega was actually a stylish little car.

                    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

                    by milkbone on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:01:03 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Porsche perfected this engine type with the 928 .. (3+ / 0-)

                      ..whose power plant earned an excellent reputation for longevity. And the rest, as they, say is history.

                      ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

                      by FrankSpoke on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:27:57 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Learned It In a Roundabout Way (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RiveroftheWest, milkbone

                      In one of the positions I held way back when, I had the chance to work with a major piston manufacturer in addressing their production processes.  Pistons are made of aluminum and suffer wear similarly to the engine blocks.  I asked their engineers how they avoided the problems which had plagued the Vega and they told me about the material manufacturing issue.  Pistons are smaller so the alloying can be done more thoroughly, although the pistons have a higher silicon content than the blocks.  It was an interesting way to learn about the back-story on the Vega's notorious oil consumption problems.

                      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                      by PrahaPartizan on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:19:45 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I actually saw one being driven the other day. (0+ / 0-)

                Driver was and elderly lady.  It was red an looked pretty good.  I was a Chevrolet Service Mgr. for years and had one customer that achieved 350,000 miles on his Chevette.  Not what I consider a very good car but it shows what a determined owner can do.

                "Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist." Pastor Martin Niemoller

                by Haplogroup V on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:14:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Friend of mine put 100K miles on a Vega (0+ / 0-)

              ...without much trouble.  One of the later years.

              •  Old hi school buudy had a Vega Wagon (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bronx59

                with a small block V-8, he was a bass player, used it get to gigs.

                .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:32:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Cosworth Vega hauled ass. (0+ / 0-)

              .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:33:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I have a Freestyle..... (0+ / 0-)

      ....was my car, now is my daughter's car.  Good car, still going strong.  A few years after it was introduced, Ford changed the name of it to "Taurus X" thinking that would make the sales surge.  That was probably its kiss of death.

      I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.

  •  Growing up my family had a 73 Malibu wagon (10+ / 0-)

    It did have the rear facing seat, and I did at times pretend to be a B-17 tail-gunner since my old man actually WAS as B-17 tail-gunner.

    My first 2 cars were wagons, sort of.  1980 and 1982 Plymouth Reliants, but having had experience with the Malibu I tended to refer to these cars as "extended hatchbacks".

    Sometimes I have musical gigs to deal with, and with the amount of gear that has to be moved I kind of wish I had a mini-van or station wagon...

  •  We've got an old Camry Wagon w/ 250+ on it (8+ / 0-)

    Mostly an around town car these days, as stuff's starting to fail that's just not worth fixing.

    The other vehicle in the family is, in fact, a minivan.

    Yes, I drive a minivan- but hey, I haul drums and PA a couple of times a week.

    Seriously, the minivan has been the official vehicle of low-budget rock and roll for the last thirty years. They hold a lot of gear. Ya can sleep in the back. The cops don't look at ya funny.

    Minivans are ultra- cool.

  •  We Drive a 94 Saturn Wagon (10+ / 0-)

    Not a full sized station wagon but seats 4 with hatchback and can carry thin lumber, rods etc. 10' long and such. We're around a quarter million miles on it to date and just heading out in an hour for an exhaust system repair.

    We're gonna keep this puppy running till at least 2 doors fall off it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:20:38 AM PST

    •  yeah, Saturn made a great wagon for a while-- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      matching mole, Ice Blue

      didn't sell very many apparently and stopped.  But all those 90s saturns were miracle cars, for being made in the US

      •  We have a 98 Saturn wagon (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ice Blue

        160,00 plus miles which we bought used in 2003.  A great investment.  We got a new Prius 1.5 years ago after the AC in the Saturn gave up the ghost.  Would have cost more to fix than the car is worth.  It is a very useful second car, especially in the winter when the AC isn't an issue.  Good for hauling messy stuff around and for transporting a kayak - no worries about scratches, dirt, etc.  Other than the AC it has only had very minor problems (electrical switch in the door - things like that).

        Compared to the Prius and just about any other new car I've driven it has great visibility.  The Prius isn't bad but most modern hatchbacks I've driven have the rear window up so high you can't see much out of it.

        "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

        by matching mole on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:18:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My first new car (7+ / 0-)

    was a VW Fox station wagon.  It was 2-door, which made it a little awkward when anybody used the back seat, but that didn't happen terribly often.  It was a very useful car to me, capable of hauling lots of stuff, but still car-like.  I'm still attracted to the smaller, European station wagons, but I'm driving a Subaru Forester these days.  Where I live, the 4WD is essential at this time of year.  Though I think of it as a small SUV, my registration calls it a station wagon.  Go figure.

    -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audreyrenee

    by gizmo59 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:22:17 AM PST

  •  I despise wagons!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Senor Unoball, JBL55

    My mom has driven a Volvo wagon for decades so that might have something to do with it.  We had an Explorer in the 90's.  Replaced it with a Honda Odyssey.  Love the Odyssey.  Captains chairs in the the back that come out and leave enough room for serious hauling.  I got a queue sized mattress in there once.  

    When I think wagons I think heat box.  The entire back area would be like a green house in the California sun.  Didnt help that my moms first Volvo was made for the Swedish market so it had a black interior and no AC.  My first car was a Corolla wagon and it was the same - black vinyl inside with no AC.  The seats would give you first degree burns in the summer and frost bite in the winter.

    Death to Station Wagons!!!

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:24:11 AM PST

  •  Our first family car was a Dodge Dart wagon (14+ / 0-)

    I don't remember what exact year it was, but I remember it as being very similar to this model;

    1962-dart-wagon-212-001

    I remember it was always, ALWAYS under repair. But maybe that was the culture back then, with guys constantly tinkering with cars in the garage. Or maybe it was just a piece of crap - it WAS a Dodge, after all. Although today it would be perfect for carrying surfboards to the beach, brah.

    And to contrast, the current Fordmobile, a Nissan Xterra;

    fordmobile

    Yup, it's one of those modern day station wagons. To me it's the perfect car though; it's not gigantic, but it comfortably carries all my gear, bicycles, home repair stuff... whatever I need. As long as they're not like the 'Bulgemobiles' created by artist Bruce McCall!!

    bulge

    I loved his takes showing the excesses of the ultra-rich by building incredibly massive, unwieldy and unusable displays of wealth, like the 'SS Tyrannic', the Biggest Thing In All The World. The funny thing, his 'Bulgemobile' is actually not much bigger than an actual Hummer or Escalade!

    "It has to start somewhere; It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?" - Guerilla Radio, Rage Against The Machine

    by Fordmandalay on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:25:01 AM PST

    •  Never knew there was a Dart/Valiant Wagon! (6+ / 0-)

      That one looks to be early 60's.  A roommate in college had a 60 Valiant coupe that looked very similar.  Damn near indestructible car.

      •  slant six and a 3-on-the tree IS indestructible (7+ / 0-)

        slant six automatic only slightly less so.
        Naturally you can't buy 'em anymore.

        First car I ever had my name on the title for was a '65/6 Dart coupe.
        Never got it to run. Dad bought it for $75, I sold it for ... $300? to a kid in the auto-tech program in junior college ... it sat in our yard from '77 to '81 ... First car I ever drove was a '72 2-door Torino. Bought for $200, sold eight months later for $600, and damn glad to see it go.

        Then I splurged: $750 for the slant-six auto Duster (brown) I drove three years (the only car I had in the Air Force) and sold for a grand. That's the money that broke my heart: side-by-side, on a car lot in the middle of the summer of  '81, there sat a baby-blue 'Cuda with a white vinyl top, white tuck-n-roll interior, and a 318 auto ... and the car my Dad insisted I buy instead, for the same price. Screaming yellow slant-six automatic Duster with black trim. I still regret letting that 'Cuda get away ... $750 car ...

        My first V-8 came along in '85, a 318 in a '72 Dart Swinger (you wanna talk ugly? That's the definition, IMO) that was, yes, screaming yellow. With white trim and tan vinyl inside.  $300 car I drove two years and sold for $600 (shades of that Torino, eh?) which went into the down payment on my '81 Ram SWB sport-truck -- a 5.2 with a 4-in-the-floor. White pickup, power steering, power brakes, no air, Alpine stereo ... what's not to love? Oh, and a screaming-yellow stripe down the side. "Albuquerque Edition." Wore it out on the Interstate between Stephenville and Colorado City, on my way to/from work until my kid brother rolled it in '86. Sigh.

        Now? Well, the next thing I hope to find is a slant-six automatic, in something other than a Duster .....

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:55:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I love my 06 Toyota Matrix (7+ / 0-)

    If I could afford it, I'd rather have a Mercedes diesel wagon, but Matrix is perfectly suited to my needs.

    Unfortunately, they changed the design of the back end a few years ago.  There is now a dip into the rear hatch, so anything heavy in there will need to be lifted out instead of sliding out.  Bummer!  This seems to be a feature of other small wagons I like (including the Honda Fit), so I will be hard-pressed to find a replacement when that sad day comes.

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:28:10 AM PST

    •  Our second car, besides the Xterra is a Vibe. (5+ / 0-)

      The Pontiac Vibe is a Toyota Matrix but with a different body and interior on the Matrix frame. It's a Pontiac interior/body on a Toyota frame with Toyota engine, tranny, running gear, etc.

      The Vibe and Matrix were a joint venture between Pontiac and Toyota.

      Ours is the AWD and we like it just fine; good mileage, handles well, has good storage capacity.

       

      When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

      by wheeldog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:58:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  matrix (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Unoball, EJP in Maine, Tracker

      I have a 2008 Toyota Matrix - which I love. That was the last year it was like a small station wagon - then they foolishly changed it to a hatchback in 2009. I will drive it for another 10 or 15 years!

  •  Major K - big wagons were a casualty of the (12+ / 0-)

    fuel economy standards. The US Big Three couldn't meet the required fleet standards if they continued to sell the full sized nine passenger V8 station wagon in large numbers so they stopped selling those models. SUVs were considered trucks and not subject to the same fuel economy standards as cars.

    My parents had a nine-passenger Ford wagon, one of my aunts had that Buick Roadmaster wagon, and I had a nine passenger Chevy wagon from 1980 to 1991 when I purchased my first Ford Explorer. I have had three Explorers and really love the size and flexibility. The ride now is much more car like. I also have a smaller, more fuel efficient, car when I am just driving solo.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:28:32 AM PST

    •  Need some lateral tinking here (9+ / 0-)

      I drive a 4 year old BMW 520 diesel touring (Station wagon).

      On an average long distance run I get around 6ltrs/100 or 39 mpg (US).  If I use it properly on the German autobahns - i.e average speed >90 mph - it consumes around 10% more.

      In town, it gives me around 8 ltrs/100 or over 30 mpg.

      Major Kong is correct - we see more wagons than sedans in Germany.

    •  Nope. (11+ / 0-)

      Big wagons were replaced in the market by SUVs, which have even worse MPG. And higher centers of gravity, making them more prone to rollover crashes.

      Why?

      For the exact same reason that in the 1970s, everybody wanted a "personal luxury" car with two doors, a half vinyl roof, opera windows, fake wire wheels, and a wheelbase the length of the Montana-Canada border: it was "in."

      This is also the exact same reason people now buy BMWs and Porsches and Corvettes and Mustangs and Camaros that in theory can go way, way faster than anyone can go in real life on a public road. Status. That's all. I have a deserved reputation as a leadfoot, and I've gone as fast as is really practical for anyone with my '92 Mazda Protege, 125 HP, 7000 RPM redline, and manual transmission. In the next year or so I hope to upgrade to a used Miata, with 170 HP and a 6-speed manual. It will be plenty fast enough.

      The wagon went out of fashion. That's all.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:20:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (12+ / 0-)

        SUVs are regulated as trucks, not as cars. They're excluded from the mileage requirements. That is exactly why US carmakers pushed them so hard: through the loophole. That loophole completely defeated the law. And helped push Detroit into apocalypse.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:50:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree that it pushed Detroit into the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Senor Unoball, HeyMikey, nextstep

          apocalypse. Given its cost structure at the time the Big Three couldn't make a profit on small car sales in North America. So the notion that if they had only made more small, fuel efficient, cars they would have done better isn't supported by anyone who actually understood the economics of North American car manufacturing at the time. The SUV was sold at very good profit margins and I contend actually kept the Big Three in business years after they would have gone into bankruptcy. It was only after the apocalypse that the Big Three were able to restructure their costs to the point where they have a positive margin on smaller cars.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:15:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Reversion to mean. CEOs. City of Detroit. US govt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            EJP in Maine, MPociask

            As late as the mid-1970s, GM alone had nearly 50% of the US market. Now it's around 18%. Ford and Chrysler have, of course, seen similar losses in their market share.

            The reason is essentially simple math: until the introduction of the Honda Accord in 1976, the Japanese weren't seriously trying to compete in the mainstream family sedan market. From that point on, the number of competitors in the high-volume part of the market grew and grew.

            With more competitors in the same market, you'd expect each competitor to have a smaller market share. Any advantage one competitor has is likely to be a temporary anomaly--and that's exactly what GM-Ford-Chrysler's dominance was.

            Reversion to the mean. Just math.

            So since the 1980s GM-Ford-Chrysler have been stuck with the retirees (pensions & healthcare costs) of a labor force big enough to supply 80% or so of the US market, while trying to service those retiree costs with revenues from their current, much smaller market share. And that's the main thing that's driven the Detroit 3 (no longer the Big 3) into the ground.

            And that's basically the problem of the City of Detroit. It's stuck with pensions of its former large workforce, needed to serve its former large population, now trying to finance those pensions with a much smaller population. And the population shrank largely because the Detroit 3's workforces shrank.

            Of course it doesn't help that the Detroit 3 grossly overpay their executives. Detroit 3 execs make hundreds of times what their line workers make, while Toyota-Honda-etc. execs make only dozens of times what their line workers make. When the USA saved GM in 2009, it puzzles me why the Feds didn't just fire every damn GM exec and hire more competent Japanese execs to replace them at 1/10 the salary.

            It also doesn't help that the Japanese government covers healthcare for Japanese workers and retirees. So that's a major expense the Japanese automakers don't have to worry about. In theory that should mean higher taxes, but in practice the US government spends more per capita on healthcare than any other government, even without universal coverage. So advantage: Japan.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:46:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, I left out one big thing: quality. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MPociask

              Detroit's quality in the 1970s and 1980s really went down the tubes.

              Our 1972 Olds Vista Cruiser started to have significant problems in 1975, so Dad traded it for a 1975 Plymouth Gran Fury that REALLY had problems. Cylinder heads were warped when new, replaced under warranty. Engine detuned for catalytic converter, stalled all the time--dangerous when pulling out into traffic; of course you lost power brakes & power steering when the engine cut out, and the car was huge. Our 1978 Mercury Zephyr's straight-6 engine knocked on slight acceleration, even on premium gas--and with 88 HP, in that car all acceleration was slight. The final straw was our brand-new 1980 Chevy Citation, which had a list of problems longer than its window sticker. The next car dad bought was a Mazda, in 1984.

              Since then my brother and I have owned 4 Mazdas. I'm still driving one with 266,000 miles on it--about 100,000 more miles than we ever got from our best American car.

              And my mom since then has owned a Honda, a Nissan, a Toyota, gotten excellent service from all.

              IIRC Michael Moore first came to prominence for a magazine article about his experiences on the GM assembly line, which showed how toxic labor-management relations were hurting car quality. I seem to recall something about a line worker putting a nail hanging from a string inside a door panel, just so it would make an irritating noise for the customer. But I can't find it now on Google, so I may be hallucinating.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:32:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  How It Pushed (0+ / 0-)

            The SUVs cost too much but were financed: credit. The car corps sold Credit Default Swaps like every other creditor, and restructured all its finances for those synthetic profits. And like the rest, the systemic risk crashed on them when the credit economy crashed.

            The profit margins you mention were on paper, as if the credit creating them would all be repaid. But it wasn't, so the losses wiped out the profits directly, and then some. The initial payments were subsidized by actual tax incentives for buying "trucks" instead of cars. The bad gas mileage costs added to the repayment costs added to the other financed costs that 2006 started to pressure to breaking all combined to collapse the house of cards.

            Meanwhile Asian and European carmakers found a "cost structure" to sell smaller and more efficient cars into the US market, many of which were manufactured in North America.

            When you compare what actually differered among the various carmakers when the credit hit the fan in 2008, you'll see it was reliance on credit and tax subsidized trucks, and the backlash when that collapsed, that accounted for how badly they broke.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:34:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  (1) Yes, but. (2) Changes. (3) Jevons Paradox. (3+ / 0-)

          (1) Yes, but.

          Station wagons don't get significantly worse mileage than the sedans on which they're based. Not a lot of examples to go by anymore, but let's look at a couple.

          The current VW Jetta wagon is still based on the previous Jetta sedan platform. But let's go back to 2009, when the sedan and wagon shared a platform.

          Sedan, 5-cyl, automatic: EPA MPG 20 city, 24 combined, 29 highway.

          Wagon, 5-cyl, automatic: the same 20/24/29.

          http://www.fueleconomy.gov/...

          Subaru no longer makes the Legacy wagon--it's now the Outback, which isn't a fair comparison because the Outback's additional ground clearance & bulged roof increases aero drag. So let's go back a few years on this one, too. Wow, had to go back more than a few! In 2004 Subaru sold Outback versions of both the sedan and the wagon, and the EPA rated the regular and Outback versions together:

          Sedan, 4 cyl, automatic, AWD: EPA MPG 19/21/25

          Wagon, 4 cyl, automatic, AWD: EPA MPG 19/21/25

          http://www.fueleconomy.gov/...

          So MPG standards killed off bigger "cars" (but not bigger "trucks"), but not bigger wagons specifically. Of course I suppose it's easier to claim your vehicle is a "truck" if it has an SUV body style and not a sedan style. BTW the Chrylser PT Cruiser was also classified as a "truck,"  I think to get easier bumper standards.

          (2) Changes.

          There are now EPA mileage standards for trucks too, but of course they're lower than for cars.
          http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

          (3) Jevons Paradox.

          EPA mileage standards give the appearance of governmental action without actually improving the CO2 picture, due to the Jevons Paradox--as technology improves the efficiency with which a resource is used, consumption of the resource doesn't decrease, it increases.

          The problem with better MPG standards is that people use a lot of the fuel savings to finance...more driving. They drive to work instead of taking public transit, or a bicycle. They buy a house 15 miles away from work, instead of 10, or 2. Local and state political agendas remain free of any discussion of expanding public transit, cutting fares, building bike lanes or sidewalks, or changing zoning laws to require livable, walkable, bikeable, mixed-use communities.

          So higher MPG standards might buy us a little time to make more comprehensive efficiency improvements. But without something better--like simply raising the price of fossil fuels via a greenhouse tax or cap-and-trade--they won't do much good in the long run, and may even backfire.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:26:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Jevon's Paradox has met hard limits (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HeyMikey

            ...in the case of driving.  Those limits include willingness of people to sit in traffic for extended periods, pay taxes high enough to have enough roads to allow people not to sit in traffic, people's ability to afford more complex vehicles, and ability of people to stay off of electronic devices long enough to drive safely.  

            Jevon's Paradox is true up to a point, but so is the Laffer Curve.  

            •  I live in the Atlanta suburbs... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bronx59

              Thank God I work at home now. Not always so lucky.

              People have tolerance for commuting way beyond the point where it makes any damn sense.

              Ah, you may say, but HeyMikey--doesn't the market determine what makes sense? What makes you, HeyMikey, smarter than the market?

              No, I believe in the market. (Not as The Ultimate Good, but as a useful tool.) And the current market is severely distorted by government policies, like:

              * subsidizing fossil fuel to the tune of $ billions a year

              * providing free roads, but charging for public transit

              * failing to provide comparable bike & pedestrian facilities

              * perhaps most importantly, zoning for (a) large blocks of single-use areas, and (b) minimum lot sizes in many residential areas, effectively creating high-crime and low-crime, good-school and bad-school areas.

              So commuting is largely a government creation, not a natural market phenomenon. Proof? In intown residential areas with good schools and low crime, housing prices are astronomical--in every major city in America. That's a helluva market signal. The government policies I just mentioned guarantee those kinds of residential areas are rare. See also Matthew Yglesias's short ebook, The Rent Is Too Damn High.

              If we got rid of those current market distortions, people would freely choose to do a lot less commuting. And if we taxed fossil fuels to account for their externalized costs (global warming), commuting would drop even more.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:39:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  True about lack of decent intown communities (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HeyMikey

                We'd like to sell out of our half-acre plus lot and not-small suburban home in the DC area.  

                Can't get into a modern close-in two-bedroom, two-bath apartment  with elevator, reserved parking, and in-suite laundry with the proceeds.  We have little choice but to stay put until we leave the area to retire about 2020, even though trends suggest that we may be lucky to sell it for today's price then.

                Builders (and bankers) find it easier to bulldoze another 500 acres in East Bumfuck than meet the pent-up demand.

                •  Zoning. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest, Bronx59

                  They can't meet the pent-up demand as long as zoning doesn't allow more dense, walkable, mixed-use areas. It's an artificial shortage created by government.

                  And, of course, by shortsighted voters. A lot of folks want a single-family house on a half-acre lot on a quiet street, AND for it to be convenient to everything. But if you get a lot of houses on lots like that, then you've pushed the stuff we want to be convenient to out on the margins.

                  "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                  by HeyMikey on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 06:23:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Mikey - Nope they went out of production (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Senor Unoball, EJP in Maine, Bronx59

        because of fuel mileage standards and replaced by SUVs who weren't subjected to the same rules. Minivans also took a piece of the former station wagon market.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:10:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'd say it was both. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Senor Unoball, EJP in Maine

        My recollection is that a big part of the rise of pickups and SUVs in the late 1970s and 1980s was the CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards, which applied to passenger vehicles, but not pickups and SUVs.  Another aspect I recall is that pickups and SUVs were slower to require the switch to unleaded fuel (which typically cost a few cents more per gallon).  

        "Detroit" was also semi-happy to cede the (esp. "small") car market to the budding Japanese manufacturers while the formerly Big Three (temporarily) boosted profits from trucks and SUVs ("small cars = small profit", was the typical comment).  Unfortunately for them, what the Japanese (and others) learned from making small cars was perfectly applicable to making larger and even luxury cars as well.  Thus, by the end of the 1980s Honda also made Acuras, Toyota made Lexuses, and Nissan made Infinitis and cut into even high-end American car profits.  Now, of course, they're making pickups and SUVs as well (as are even Cadillac and Lincoln).

        But, I can't deny changing style/fashion was a major factor as well.

        "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

        by bartcopfan on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:10:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, and FWIW, I (mostly) loved our 3 minivans! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          EJP in Maine

          The two Chevy APVs (esp. the first one looked to me like a Star Trek (TOS) shuttle) and Toyota Sienna all handled well and could carry lots of people & stuff (although I could never get the Sienna's brakes to stop squeaking just before achieving a complete stop).  

          But then, I don't have a big need to "prove" my "manhood" (esp. to a bunch of homophobes who are likely too much in personal denial to accept my "proof" anyway).

          Now that our kids are mostly grown and moved out, we replaced the last minivan w/ a Honda Civic for my wife and renting minivans for vacation trips as needed.

          "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

          by bartcopfan on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:40:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  He is correct about the economy standards (0+ / 0-)

        Yet somehow Buick managed to sneak by with the 94-96 Roadmaster wagons.

        Those actually get better mileage than you might think for such ginormous cars.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:59:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not quite. The minivan killed the stationwagon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE

      The arrival of the Dodge Caravan (1984?) was the deathnell for the traditional stationwagon.

      •  Getting time to replace my '96 (0+ / 0-)

        3.3 liter gets up to 30 hiway-18 locally.

        1996 Caravan was North American car of the year.

        If a job takes me out of the hills of Connecticut I'll look at a newer version (maybe an 2005 Caravan), otherwise 4 cyl. 4 wd or AWD because of the hills in the winter.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:45:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a '79 Pinto wagon. (6+ / 0-)

    That's been upgraded to the portholes, XR4Ti engine, World Class T-5 speed, Limited Slip Differential, and Mustang Hurricane wheels. Otherwise, it's a beater halfway in primer.

    The protagonist in my web-comic drives a '75 Mercury Bobcat Villager. Outside of the factory rally wheels, it's mostly just cosmetically upgraded with aftermarket tach and guages, 8-track player, and CB radio.

    (As opposed to one of the antagonists who got a new Trans Am for his 17th birthday.)

    I also have a '98 Dodge pickup, which oddly enough, my Mom drove yesterday and now she's begging me to gift it to her.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:29:28 AM PST

  •  my third car (4+ / 0-)

    was a hand me down 77 Ford ltd wagon, looked a lot like your 73. I was the 4th person in the family to own it. Ended up with over 275k miles on it when it was sent to the junkyard because of rust issues.
    It was a big yellow boat, and when I say boat I mean it. It could drive thru flooded streets that other cars could not.
    Large 8 that was a gas hog, but was easy to work on.

    •  My dad bought a 1965 Ford Country Squire wagon (5+ / 0-)

      more or less predecessor of the LTD when he worked for Ford (manufacturing, not sales).

      Looking back, looked like an aqua-blue Battlestar Galactica with no undercoating. Replaced by a 1971 Ford Pinto deathmobile with a fine efficient German engine, what seemed to me to be a 10 ft turning radius, and a gas tank designed by the boys in accounting.

      "First, we make a commonwealth of our family. Then, we make a commonwealth of families. Then, we make of ourselves a political commonwealth. We engage in the ongoing process of self-government which, first and foremost, is a creative act." - C. Pierce

      by Superskepticalman on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:53:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dad had the '66, if only QA was a bit better .. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        .. that car may have lasted forever. What a tank, with the 200 pound multi-hinge rear door/tail-gate. I think the wiring and some of the cheapy plastics doomed it. Won't ever forget that one, though - sure made an "impression".

        ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

        by FrankSpoke on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:38:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a 12-year-old Ford Focus ZX3... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10, EJP in Maine, Ice Blue

    ...which I will have to replace in the near-future.

    Calamity Jean has stated that my next vehicle will have to be able to haul a stock trailer (we do have a small farm), so I'm considering SUV's.

    When we were finishinh uo her purchase of a new VW Golf hatchback last year, I was LUSTING after a Touareg Hybrid (only $64,000!) in the showroom.

    She said it was too big, and too powerful.

    The Tiguan is nice...

    Like you, Major, I'm not crazy about pickups.

    Now a trailer made from the recycled back end of a pickup would be nice!

    And now Rahmbo is talking about City pension "reform".

  •  The Hyundai Elantra Touring Wagon is out there (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EJP in Maine, marzook, MPociask

    here is a LINK
    They are not super large, but are bigger than most hatchbacks.

    •  amazing what i have gotten in my hyundai hatch (0+ / 0-)

      i still remember my friends had one of those dumb izusu trooper suv things back in the day and could not get a big piece of furniture in its square backhole...along came the hyundai accent to the rescue! i've had three hyundai accents now and have jammed an amazing amount of stuff in there, sometimes with a bungee close or something long sticking out the passenger window. but diarist is right -- because i refuse to have a non-hatchback car, i had like three choices.

      Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job. -- Adlai E. Stevenson (GOTV)

      by marzook on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:16:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So glad someone mentioned it! (0+ / 0-)

      We love ours - although they changed the model, and are no longer selling the Touring Wagon.  Now they're selling the very similar Elanta GT, which looks a little less practical but a little more sporty.

      I should mention, the only regret I've had is not getting the roof rack installed when we bought it.  2 car seats in the back and 2 dogs behind them takes up a LOT of space.

  •  I used an Outback to trek through Belize... (6+ / 0-)

    on the way to ancient Mayan excavation grounds. I trekked through some of the most dangerous "roads" I've ever encountered. They had been washed away, with large boulders blocking the path, often with deep streams or weedy vegetation swallowing the once paved route. There were large drops and no guardrails and spiked remnants lining the path, a feature of past border wars with Honduras. And yet, my AWD Outback jumped, held on, accelerated through, and did not allow mother nature of man's folly stop her. It was amazing...I went back to the states and got one.

    Now I sit in bumper to bumper traffic with my two kids grinding cheerios into the upholstery. Alas, my wagon purchased as a result of adventure is now the grocery getter...a relic of my prior existence and yet exactly what is needed for getting to day care or those runs to the dry cleaners.

    •  That sounds both exciting and terrifying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dillonfence, RiveroftheWest

      We tend to take things like relatively safe roads for granted.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:07:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ford wagons (5+ / 0-)

    I haven't looked into it lately, but your post suggests that Ford doesn't make wagons anymore.  That's too bad, if true.
    We're still running our 2003 Taurus wagon - a well-made reliable car without a lot of useless electronics. It succeeded our 1993 Taurus wagon - pretty much the same car.
    What am I going to do next?

    •  If it has to be a Ford (4+ / 0-)

      You can get the Focus in a 5 door hatchback. If you need to go bigger the Flex is almost a wagon. Your Taurus probably splits the difference size wise.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:51:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like to drive a small stick-shift sedan (6+ / 0-)

    because most of my trips are to the train station or the grocery store. I currently own a 2003 Toyota Echo. It gets great gas mileage. However, back in the 90s when my older kids were in middle school and my youngest was in elementary school, I bought a van. I loved it. My kids were all getting bigger by the day, and it was getting harder to fit them all in the back of my Toyota Tercel. In addition, my two older kids were in regional orchestra. while my oldest played the flute and the viola, my middle son played the double bass. The first year they were in regionals, I managed to load two middle schoolers, a double bass, and a viola into my Tercel. They orchestra director could not believe that I managed it. I went looking for a car that was big enough for son 2's double bass. The van lasted about 15 years. I had it reconditioned, and I gave it to son 2 when he moved to CA. Earlier this year, he traded in the remnants of the can for a Ford Fiesta.

  •  VW TDI Wagon (4+ / 0-)

    And you can find a few here and there for sale - usually high mileage - if by high mileage you mean high for a gas engine.  The wagon goes well with the 99 Jetta TDI (206k miles).  Won't be selling either though - not until the mileage gets high ;0).  Hunting real hard for another TDI for my son.  They are a premium these days so patience is the key.

    "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

    by newfie on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:49:17 AM PST

  •  Mazda3 (6+ / 0-)

    I'm a big fan of the Mazda3. I'm 6'3" and I actually have to scoot the driver's seat forward a titch to be comfortable. That NEVER happens in any other car I've ever driven.

    I can haul 8 ft boards. The back seats go down when I need to haul large items. Normally, I haul around my grrrrlz (ages 2 and 5). Even with the back seats up I can fit quite a lot of crap into the back.

    Sadly, the Mazda3 does not come with wood panels.

    MN Progressive Project: MN politics from a progressive perspective plus all the crazy from MN's RWNJs.

    by The Big E on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:52:40 AM PST

  •  I think that was the same (6+ / 0-)

    station wagon my family had.  Green, with the faux wood paneling down the side.  It had an 8 track player.

    After my mom was done with it, it went to my big brother.  When he left for college my sister had it.  Then it was mine. The 8-track player still worked. (We had Billy Joel's "The Stranger" on 8 track.  "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" didn't fit in one track, so there was always a 'ka-chunk' in the middle of the song.  I still anticipate that 'ka-chunk' when I hear the song.)

    It died a spectacular death when the radiator finally gave up the ghost on a state highway at 2 am.  I really don't know why I have such affection for that old boat.  

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:52:50 AM PST

  •  One word for you: Subaru (6+ / 0-)

    Subaru still makes good station wagons. AWD. Subaru Forrester claims to be a compact sport utility cross over wagon or whatever. It is just a taller station wagon. Or buy a legacy wagon.

    If you are looking upscale, there are BMW X1 and Infinity something 37.

    Prius is a nice hatch back.

    Honda civic comes in all shapes including  sphere and dodecadohedron.

    There are newer type of utility vehicles, Honda Element, Nissan Cube etc. There is a whole category there.  

    •  no more Legacy wagons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bronx59

      Sadly, Legacy wagons were dropped for the 2008 year. Also, the increasing size of Outbacks and move towards crossover status makes these cars less attractive for some. It seems the Impreza is increasingly filling the regular wagon type void in the Subaru lineup. Now, work on the fuel efficiency, Subaru! Still waiting for hybrid or fully electric options.

      We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

      by minorityusa on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:47:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Subaru Outback (10+ / 0-)

    has been all over the western US, toting a dog, bikes, horse equipment, lumber, furniture, chicken feed, whatever. That thing is optimally designed for carrying stuff that needs to be in some other place.

    I took it to be detailed once when we lived in LA, as a present to DH. The dude looked inside, took note of the mud, dust, and horse and dog hair, shook his head, and said, "Lady, I'm going to have to charge you extra."

    When I picked it up, he said, "You know, whenever I get one of these Subarus in, they're always incredibly dirty. Y'all must have a lot of fun in them." :-)

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:59:33 AM PST

  •  Hatchback... (5+ / 0-)

    Prius is a hatchback.  Very handy, too.  I can get my horns (3 or 4), my bass player, his bass and amp and 2 music stands and some misc. gear in mine for gigs.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:59:49 AM PST

  •  "Beauty and Duty" (5+ / 0-)

    "The modern answer for families on the go..."

    http://www.flickr.com/...

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:04:33 AM PST

  •  I grew up with four siblings with a (4+ / 0-)

    1957 Ford Country Squire station wagon.  Light blue, with the Fiberglas " wood" panels. Took seven of us to Yosemite National Park in 1962 for a week. My older brothers removed the panels and painted it primer gray. I think we had it until 1967 or so.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:10:09 AM PST

  •  I was looking at a Volvo 940 wagon yesterday (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Senor Unoball, EJP in Maine

    beautiful white paint , straight undamaged body , clean , $1500 .
    I almost went for it just because it was so nice .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:11:01 AM PST

  •  My dream wagon (9+ / 0-)

    morris minor woody

    Only because I had two Morris Minors and they were really fun cars.

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:14:52 AM PST

  •  Love my station wagon. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, Senor Unoball, EJP in Maine

    I have a 2006 Mazda 6 wagon. It is OK on gas but is a fun sporty car to drive. My next wagon will be a dual fuel model but that will not be anytime soon. My car barely has 50K miles on it and I bought it new in 2006. I hope it lasts another 10 yrs. Do not like buying cars they cost too much money.

  •  I want one of these: (4+ / 0-)

    2nd Toyota  Camry wagon

    In production for three years. I've seen two with 4 cylinder motors, ABS, and air bags.

    •  They should make those again (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, NYFM

      Instead they'll try to sell you a Venza, which to me looks like a Camry wagon trying to pretend it's an SUV.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:57:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's the early Camry Wagon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aoeu

      I own a '95 (generation 3).  About to hit 200k miles, had it since 1998.  Best car I ever owned.  If utilitarian purposes are your priority I'm not sure why anyone would ever own anything other than a wagon or hatchback since you're getting the maximum sized passenger compartment possible without compromising fuel efficiency.  Also, the roof rack is always great to have. Ours has a V6 engine and still gets about 27 mpg highway.  Also, with front wheel drive I have never lost control in bad weather or gotten stuck in the snow.  Found a picture below of the same model (prod. years 1992-1996).

  •  Learned to drive in the family station wagon.... (6+ / 0-)

    It was a blue 68-69 Ford Country Squire.  We swear it had been in a wreck as it all ways pulled to the right even after having the front end aligned.  My dad suprised the family with it - (he traded in the family Ford Fairlane) it was sold as demonstrator (i.e. good enough to whiz around the dealership streets, not good enough to sell out right).

    I even passed the parallel parking test.... If you can parallel park one of those land yachts, you can park just about anything.

    If you are looking for an old station wagon, look in the Suffern NY area as there are lots of them up there.

    "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

    by doingbusinessas on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:28:06 AM PST

  •  Wagons.. (4+ / 0-)

    We're on our 2nd Volvo wagon.. First one was a 740 Turbo wagon. No Chrome, 60 series tires, and the 5cyl with a high pressure turbo... Man that thing could fly!  Was totaled in a T-bone accident.. It hit a bitty honda coupe.  hehehe.  

    We bought a 98 V70GLT turbo wagon and this one is still going strong. Had the ABS/TCS problem, and just got that fixed (the ABS computer's heat sinks are too small, and the @#$$@ thing overheats)  We did lose the timing belt and blew the top end of the engine.  sigh. Only time where the parts cost more than the labor.. Volvo sends the dealers a kit with all the valves, etc installed, so the mechanic just drops it in and sets the timing, etc.
    ugh.  

    And, it too moves very nicely on the interstates, and gets 25mpg at highway speeds 70+mph.  still a very comfortable car to drive, and in the winter, love the heated seats!

    Daughter #1 has it for a while up dere in Wisconsin, hey dere.  (Obama and ACS stickers and all)

    Volvo wagons can hold an astonishing amount of stuff -those Swedes do a good job of maximizing interior room

  •  40 years ago, who'da thunk the flagship Cadillac (7+ / 0-)

    would be a station wagon with 550 hp?

  •  My family's wagons. (4+ / 0-)

    1967 Dodge Coronet--I was 6, my brother was a baby. We bought it new without factory AC for our move from south Georgia to south Florida. Immediately had Sears install an under-dash AC unit.

    1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser (the peak of wagon culture!) with 3rd row seat. Last year of the glass-paneled roof bulge. 350 V8; Dad wanted the 455 but the dealer sold their only one just before Dad was ready to make an offer.

    1975 Plymouth Gran Fury. Shining example of Why Detroit Went Down the Tubes. Dad was OUTRAGED that he had to pay over $4,000 for a new car. Also with third row seat; thus I was the designated driver for many high school events involving lots of friends.

    1978 Mercury Zephyr. Handled great. 6-cyl engine made 88 HP, knocked even on premium.

    1979 (1980?) Ford Fairmont. Same car as Zephyr with different badges. Bought used in early 1980s after my brother totaled the Zephyr. Ford had mushed-down the suspension since '78, so it didn't handle as well. But at least they had failed to improve the engine.

    After that my brother and I were in college & grad school, so no more wagons.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:36:07 AM PST

  •  i like the Chrysler Town & Country (3+ / 0-)

    http://www.chrysler.com/...

    I think the honda odyssey gets better gas mileage.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:36:43 AM PST

  •  Gee Kong, I was feeling good about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, EJP in Maine, Ice Blue

    my 4Runner.  But now that you've called it a station wagon that's all ended.. 8^(

    We did have a Toyota Corolla wagon for a few years.  Wife hated it 'cause it screamed "Mom car".  Traded it in for a Ford Aerostar that we tried to run the wheels off of, but as a RWD in Minnesota snows it was useless.  She's back in midsize sedans and reasonably happy.  

    The midsizes are OK, but they're terrible for long distance driving.  There's just not enough height between your butt and your heel to be comfortable for long hauls.  You're not sitting, you're laying down.  I'm average height and it's tiring after just a few hours.  

    In my 4Runner, you sit properly, your knees are bent and you can move your feet around to change the stresses.  I'm doing a Portland to Seattle and back run (over 400 miles) every other weekend.  With a tune up, decent tires and fresh oil, I'm averaging ~20mpg on an EPA highway rated 18mpg vehicle.  It's not too good on hauling plywood or drywall but I've hauled lots of other stuff with it:
    120428_0003 photo 120428_0003.jpg

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:37:09 AM PST

    •  I'd just like to have choices (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, markdd

      If a 4 Runner is your ideal vehicle then great. I've just never aspired to own one.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:55:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ideal, maybe (0+ / 0-)

        comfortable yes.  I got it used to replace my 85 Nissan King Cab 5 speed.  I'd abused that for nearly 15 years hauling all matter of stuff.  DIY, projects, landscaping work, general haulage.  Several years as a Scoutmaster hauling camping gear around Georgia.  Like the Aerostar, a RWD pickup was less than effective in MN snowstorms.  

        I've used the tow hitch on the 4runner a couple of times and gone camping a few times.  It needs replaced sooner or later, but a Veyron isn't in the budget, so I don't know what I'm gonna do. 8^)

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:52:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Probably the only car diary I will ever rec! (3+ / 0-)

    Awesome job.  Now get some bikes too and use those for trips whenever you can avoid driving!

  •  I drive a Ford station wagon (6+ / 0-)

    just like my parents always did when we were growing up. So does my sister.

    I had an '85 Subaru GL wagon for years. I really loved that car. But then when it came time to replace it, Subarus weren't really good, cheap, utility cars anymore, having gained some kind of panache. So I couldn't really afford one.

    So I got the first U.S. model of the Focus. It's been a pretty good little car all around. Not as much cargo room as the old Subaru, but enough.

    I'm not the nomad that I was for the first few decades of my adult life, when I insisted on having no more than could fit in the wagon, just in case. But I'm still going to be a station wagon person.

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:42:32 AM PST

  •  Preach it Brother (7+ / 0-)

    I consider station wagons the ultimate body style.  It can haul a ton of stuff but still be thrown around the curves (coming from western Virginia's curvy roads) unlike an SUV or minivan.  

    Fortunately, I have a small wife that can move from the front passenger seat to the back - otherwise, the minivan would have been needed in the child/baby years.  

    I put 300,000 miles on a Volvo 740 Turbo wagon and am 160,000 miles into a Volvo V70 AWD.  I looked long and hard at the paltry wagon choices before ditching the 740.  The V70 hauls less stuff than the 740.  Also, the 740 had a huge 4 cylinder engine that could brake the car going down hills and while on cruise control.  The V70 has a smaller 5 cylinder engine that has almost no braking ability so that speed goes up on cruise control down hills.  That 740 is probably the best car that I've owned.

    I think that our car choices are dictated by a committee.
    o Very few station wagons
    o Very few cars have diesels in the US despite 60% of cars in Europe
    o Manual transmissions are in very few cars in the US despite that being the default choice in Europe.

    To want a diesel wagon with a manual tranny is to look for unicorns here.

    For me, driving an automatic is the equivalent to driving a minivan.  Sigh.

    Maybe someday I can afford a Mercedes E diesel wagon.  I'd even buy it in Europe if I could get a manual transmission in it.

  •  BMW AWD Wagon (3+ / 0-)

    I bought a 7 year old BMW 325 XIT AWD wagon on Craigslist for $7K in the NYC suburbs. There were so many for sale I could get my pick of year/mileage/condition within my ranges. I spent $5K replacing the wheels and parts connected to them, and a few other things, to get it on the road in top shape. I've spent another $4K over the past few years keeping it going well.

    So $16K for a few years and about 75K miles in a fun car to drive that looks good and is very safe (AWD, heavy/solid, maneuverable). And that carries my other Craigslist buys instead of me renting a truck. About $0.40 per mile, and dropping as I drive more miles against the purchase/repairs invested. It will probably have cost me about $0.35:mi after about 100Kmi when finally a replacement is cheaper than continuing repairs.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:46:53 AM PST

  •  I liked my '89 Corolla All-Trac Wagon (4+ / 0-)

    Sporty, low center of gravity and the AWD did great in the snow and ice.

    Too bad Toyota stopped making them. When it was time to retire the All-Trac, I switched to Honda CRVs. No regrets. Not as sporty, but they do great in the bad weather, haul a bunch of stuff (especially the 2005 which has a back window which opens), and they are super reliable.

    I think the modern equivalent of the '89 All-Trac would be an Acura TSX Sport Wagon. A friend has one and it is a super nice wagon.

    "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

    by BlogDog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:47:26 AM PST

    •  Nearly forgot to mention my English wagon (4+ / 0-)

      I had a '64 Land Rover IIa Station Wagon, a 109, the long type.

      I remember one time I needed to work on the carburetor. The manual said to use spanners to remove the bonnet and wing. It also recommended soaking the parts in paraffin.

      The Rover was cool. It had a manual backup for most of the essential bits. A hand crank (the rod mounted under the rear seat), a manual lever on the fuel pump, even the wipers could be manually operated.

      Although it had a 4-speed w/high and low range, it actually  had one speed, slow. But it would do the same speed no matter the weather.

      I eventually got rid of it because it really didn't do well in the winter. Not because it couldn't handle the snow and ice, but because when it was really nasty out I could hardly get anywhere because I'd be busy pushing and pulling out other cars that got stuck. One time I pulled out a new Jeep and the 4WD pickup (that was trying to extract the Jeep from a ditch) at the same time. (Heh)

      "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

      by BlogDog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:04:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the memories (4+ / 0-)

    My first car was a '74 Ford Country Squire wagon like you pictured.  It was rusted out to the point you could put your feet through the floor panels like Fred Flintstone.

    On the highway over 80mph you could actually watch the gas gauge go down.  But I hit a deer with it and lived to tell the tale.

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

    by martinjedlicka on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:51:24 AM PST

  •  Looking forward to the 2014 Trasit Connect Wagon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, EJP in Maine

    Some say it's an ugly beastie -

    But I like it.  It has seven seats, isn't as big as a Sienna or Odyssey or nearly as expensive.  It's sold for years in Europe as the Tourneo Connect.

    Initial models here will have been built in Spain and Turkey, but if it is a success, I expect Ford will manufacture them here.

    Now if they'd just deliver one of these f'ers to a dealership so I could sit in one and place an order...

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:53:33 AM PST

  •  If they bring it, I will buy (3+ / 0-)

    Finding Fred A Memoir of Discovery @ smashwords.com/iTunes

    by Timothy L Smith on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:57:40 AM PST

  •  In the mid 60s (6+ / 0-)

    I got in a horrific car crash w/my sis and her four kids. We all survived being T-boned my an idiot going about 70 on a residential street. We were tipped to the side and slid about half a block before running into something that flipped us back upright.

    My youngest niece was thrown thru the window and I ended up upside down in the backseat. (seat belts? what seat belts?) The only real injury was my niece who need stitches on her forehead and some bruises and scrapes. We drove the car home, it was an Edsel station wagon. Built like a tank.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

    by high uintas on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:58:02 AM PST

  •  Learned to drive on a station wagon (4+ / 0-)

    In 1963 or '64, my folks bought a Ford Galaxie 500 Country Squire wagon.

    I found a very similar one at this link.

    It had the woody side panels, but was black.

    Huge tank of a car!

    They had that car shipped over to Japan when they moved there in 1964. For the rest of her life, my Mom told horror stories of driving that car on narrow Japanese streets, on the "wrong" side of the road!

    They kept that car until 1980 or so.

    That was the car I learned to drive on, in 1974 or so.

    Man, what I wouldn't give to still have that car in the family right now.


    --
    As through this world I've wandered,
    I've seen lots of funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun,
    Some with a fountain pen.
    -- Woody Guthrie

    by Senor Unoball on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:58:25 AM PST

    •  My parents shipped a Chevy Nomad to Japan in 1953. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Unoball

      We lived in the country but that vehicle took the whole road.  Hardly every took it to Tokyo (90 miles) because the roads were so bad you could be certain to get 3-5 flat tires.  Had spares tied to the roof.  Dad eventually sold it to the mayor of Mito.  Our license plate for Ibaraki prefecture was 2.  

      "Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist." Pastor Martin Niemoller

      by Haplogroup V on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:26:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love wagons (3+ / 0-)

    I have a 99 VW Passat wagon, which I have loved.  At 230K miles, I decided it was time for something new, so I got an almost new 2013 Ford Focus hatchback.  Better mpg, handling and smaller.  I have a Ford pickup for hauling, but I will miss the wagon.

    My first car was a 1956 Chevy wagon and since then I have owned Volvo, Subaru and Toyota wagons.  I like to haul stuff and I finally could justify a pickup, although I don't use it enough.

    Wagons are great and have terrific visibility, which I miss in my Focus.

  •  Country Squire (4+ / 0-)

    When I was a kid our family had a 1976 Country Squire station wagon. This was the kind with the side-facing flip up seats in the “way back.” That was cool but I didn’t like it nearly as much as my dad’s baby blue 1973 Impala, I still want one of those.

    I have always driven hatchbacks and have a 2000 Honda Civic hatchback now. What pains me is that car averages 32mpg and when I look at recent model small wagons I might replace it with very few have substantially better fuel economy. I think to myself, “Seriously? We’ve had almost 14 years to work on this and this is the best we can do?”

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:06:05 AM PST

  •  I love this! (3+ / 0-)

    I learned to drive in a Chevy Caprice Estate called Bessie. Her predecessor was a Chrysler, maybe Town & Country called The Cruisemobile.

    They were truly righteous boats, and cross-country road-trips in those wagons are among my fondest memories. I slept in the back on rainy camping trips, counted punchbuggies from the way back, transported most of my hockey team to Dairy Queen after a game... The hood was as big as my fill-size mattress. The only thing I don't miss is the gas mileage.

    I also love the look and feel of the old-school volvo wagons. But nothing will take the place of the family truckster in my heart.

    My brother and his wife just bought a Ford Flex which is a great wagon.

    Thanks for memory lane  :-)

    Maybe - just maybe - our foremothers and our forefathers came to this land in different ships. But we're all in the same boat now. - Rep. John Lewis

    by bluesheep on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:18:07 AM PST

  •  The Things You Could Do in Station Wagons! (11+ / 0-)

    I remember [redacted]
    I was 16 and [redacted]
    Then when I got my Uncle Charlie's Ford Country Squire [redacted]

  •  My only car (ever and so far) (5+ / 0-)

    was a 1987 Toyota Camry wagon that I bought used in 1995 and kept for nearly ten years until I couldn't afford to repair it anymore. I loved that car. Great mileage and I could haul a solo exhibition worth of canvases in it.

    I wish they still made station wagons. IMO, they are the best cars.

    curious portal - to a world of paintings, lyric-poems, art writing, and graphic and web design

    by asterkitty on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:26:25 AM PST

    •  You can still get (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini

      what is a essentially a Camry Wagon , the new Avensis, but just on in the US.  You can even get it with a 6 speed manual...  So sad we can't get them here anymore

      ...do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly...

      by EJP in Maine on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:51:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  drove our 1991 Camry wagon into the ground (0+ / 0-)

      We bought it for something like $2900, well used, and got, memory blurs, at least seven years out of it. Yeah, we put some more money in, but we still were delighted.

      We ultimately "replaced" it with a Honda Fit, which of course is smaller than a wagon but does work well for dump runs and the like (it takes about ten seconds to put down the back seats).

      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

      by HudsonValleyMark on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:00:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My late mother looked down on my love (0+ / 0-)

      of cars.  She would love it when I washed and waxed her Mercedes Diesel - and kept it impeccably clean - but she would say, "You can't love cars."  And she would say - "I don't care what it looks like, just so it gets me where I am going."  Yes, really!

  •  What you really want... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, marsanges, Ice Blue

    "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

    by Bisbonian on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:27:35 AM PST

    •  I like my legs too much (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, Bronx59, Ice Blue

      to have them positioned six inches behind that purely cosmetic front bumper.

      I remember back in the day VW made a small station wagon sometimes called a "squareback".

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:51:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  those were excellent (0+ / 0-)

      emphasis on "were"

      in fact the Major is totally right! we make very nice Kombi´s here (Kombi is the german term for what you apparently call station wagon)

      VW always has been the leader of the field. if you can get yourself a VW Passat Kombi, even I who am flat out against cars would congratulate you.

      this car line has become so popular that Mercedes and BMW had to come around and engage, now they are making high end Kombis which are excellent too, but they all still live off VW´s enshrining this type of car in popular appreciation.

      the French also make their lines - but - for some reason dont seem to be so successful getting them exported. I dont really know why.

      •  I've driven Renaults and Peugots in France (0+ / 0-)

        They're nice cars. Unfortunately we haven't been able to get them in the United States since the 1980s.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:25:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  i have an '01 Subaru w/220K miles (3+ / 0-)

    Love it to death which seems near (for it). It's very solid on the road, loves the snow and has every option available. I got it for about 3k on ebay, a luxury model with all the whistles and bells. Only thing i hate (besides the head gasket issue) is the lousy fuel mileage.  I'm hoping when it dies to replace it with a hybrid since my kids are older and i don't need a wagon anymore, but i know when it snows i'm gonna be missing the all wheel drive and the heated seats :(

    Solvent Green is Grandma

    by mad cow on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:27:52 AM PST

    •  mad cow: is it dying of frame/body rust? if not (0+ / 0-)

      you could perhaps find a salvage WRX/WRZ motor and keep it ...

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:10:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've got the volvo xc70 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EJP in Maine, BlackSheep1

    the station wagon, not the 90 (the SUV)
    we got it so the wife could lay down on long trips (bad back)
    and it's wonderful, except for the milage.  That said, the mileage is better then the Hyundai it replaced.
    One has to love a company who says their goal is to have a year where nobody in a volvo dies.

  •  I love station wagons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EJP in Maine, tommyfocus2003

    We had a 72 Ford that was almost identical to the pic you posted above.  Even had factory cruise control, and oh boy did Mom love that 400 engine in there.  Before that we had a 67 (I think) Ford wagon that had the seats in the "wayback" that faced each other.  

    These days I own an Outback wagon.  I've driven that thing all over the place.  I've spent several nights in it - it's big enough to sleep in - on road trips instead of paying $70 for a motel room that I'd only be in long enough to catch a nap.  I can carry a ton of stuff in there.  It gets decent gas mileage.  For the rare times I'm in bad weather, it's as sure footed as can be. (Including the time I had to drive it down an 8% slope in a blizzard.) It's the closest thing to a "do-it-all" car there is.

  •  We went cross country (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EJP in Maine

    in an old Ford Country Squire wagon towing a camper. Five plus weeks from CT to CA and back with many great stops along the way. My parents and their four kids. We siblings still talk about that trip.
    Maybe wagons can become retro and then be cool again.

    Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

    by kenwards on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:38:12 AM PST

  •  no suburu outback (0+ / 0-)

    we've owned a pair of honda odyssey's..once, in new hampshire I took a wrong turn and found myself 30 miles off course & with  6 AM deadline for the last van up mt washington to watch the bike race.  A v6 odyssey will cruise at 100 mph at dawn on backroads.

  •  Mercedes makes nice ones and you can get (0+ / 0-)

    some with diesel engines.

    "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." - Mark Twain

    by rustypatina on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:49:43 AM PST

    •  I tried to find one (0+ / 0-)

      I really wanted an E350 wagon but they all seem to live in New England.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:22:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Love my Subaru Forester XT. (0+ / 0-)

    Oh, they called it a "small SUV" or a "crossover", but it's really a station wagon.  With all-wheel drive.  And a turbo.

    What's not to like?  I'll never sell the thing.

    "Life is the crummiest book I ever read - there isn't a hook, just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock, and characters an amateur would never dream up." - Bad Religion

    by TheOrchid on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:54:13 AM PST

  •  The Nissan Leaf is a hatchback... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo

    ...just sayin'.
    And its cargo space is bigger than it appears on the outside.

    •  I think hatchbacks are coming back (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Assaf

      I'm starting to see more of them around.

      I had an 87 Mustang that was a hatchback. With the rear seat folded down it would an amazing amount of stuff.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:21:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are 5 of us kids... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55

    ...but we never had a station wagon.  In those days 4 of us could sit next to each other in the back seat of our flaming red 1960 Chevrolet Impala.  The 5th sat up front between our parents.  We managed to do this from our home on Long Island all the way to our vacation destination in Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Scares me to think what might have happened in a collision.  

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:59:20 AM PST

  •  Very interesting (0+ / 0-)

    My cars - beginning in '63

    56 Chevy Bel Air two door sedan - copper & beige - Nice
    60 Chevy Impala 4 door Hardtop- copper & beige - Supremo
    63 Chevy Corvair Monza Convertible - black w/ red interior
    67 Fiat 850 Coupe - dark green - saddle interior - Very sweet
    70 Mustang (nice styling - squared hdtp - yellow - green int
    73 Ford Capri sedan - dk silver & black vinyl top
    75 Toyota Corona 4 door - silver w/ blue vinyl top

    78 Toyota Celica GT fastback - (MY FAVORITE) louvred rear window - beige w saddle interior.  Sweet, sweet car

    83 Toyota Corolla - yellow w/ saddle interior
    85 Ford Mustang - yellow with beige cloth interior
    91 Mitsubishi Precis hatchback(gold) (a mistake)
    93 Toyota Corolla 4 door - Teal - black int -good car
    95 Ford Escort 4 door sedan - white w/ cloth blue interior
    (Inherited Plymouth Reliant sedan from mother - white)
    2000 Ford Focus sedan - dk gold black int - ist in area
    (use of friend's Ford Focus - 2004) several years
    2011 Hyundai Elantra sedan - black w/ gold interior - camera, GPS, bluetooth, etc.  VERY NICE CAR.

    My Car history

    •  I understand the practicality of station wagons (0+ / 0-)

      Crossovers are the new station wagons.  I remember the Boats that were station wagons in the late '50's, 60's and '70's here in the US.  Gigantic slabs of metal and plastic - fit for Cleopatra (Mercury Turnpike Cruisers, Chevrolet Caprices, Chevrolet Impalas, Oldsmobile and Buick behemoths).  They were too much.  In my humble opinion.

      I have had a love affair with cars since childhood.  As an American boy who each fall became excited about the new car designs/styles coming out of Detroit (remember they used to cover them with tarps - to hide the new styling).

      My Elantra is a sweet little car.

      I do lust for the new small Mercedes sedan, OR, the new small Cadillac sedan, Or the Hyundai Sonata, OR - the Kia Optima.  My car buying years are winding down, sad to say.

      Peace & Love

  •  Wagons and Utes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milkbone

    Are among the most awesome things with four wheels.

    First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

    by Hannibal on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:09:56 AM PST

    •  Wish they'd re-introduce utes in the States (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hannibal

      IIRC, a ute is a pickup body on a car chassis, like the old Rancheros and El Caminos.

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:11:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Utes are very cool (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hannibal

      Wish we could get them here.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:02:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have to move to Australia (0+ / 0-)

        I think they might also be available in the South American market as well, but that's basically it. Though there is/was a company that was converting Pontiac G8s into Utes.

        First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

        by Hannibal on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:28:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  i was going to suggest look for a used hearse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, RiveroftheWest

    no demand in the secondary market, lots of room,
    and designed for cargo.

    if the black creeps you out, get it repainted.

  •  I love station (battle)wagons (0+ / 0-)

    The Roadmaster looks like a beaut, but then, you're gonna get your OPEC Christmas cards anyway :)

    Saturn made some good ones in the in compact and mid-sized range for 2000-2002 model years.

    “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

    by ozsea1 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:23:23 AM PST

    •  I have a Roadmaster sedan (0+ / 0-)

      I keep it down in Memphis for my "airport car". The highway mileage is a lot better than you might think.

      Once you get the thing moving at interstate speeds and keep it there it will get 25 mpg.

      City mileage is terrible but the car maybe gets driven 1000 miles a year so I don't worry about it too much.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:01:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  great diary, but basic premise seems odd to me-- (0+ / 0-)

    I lived from '98 to '10 in Denver where every other car was a wagon -- either an Outback (or a few older Subaru Legacy Wagons), or a Volvo, or an Audi.   Within the city itself these  generally 4-cylinder 'compact wagons' outnumbered even SUVs, though that changed as you got further out to the idiot 'burbs.  I had a '94 Legacy wagon, in '03 really wanted an Audi A4 wagon but settled for the A4 sedan because it was about 5K less expensive.  Loved that car, but always considered the trunk space (and rear visibility) ridiculous.  Late in 07 I succumbed to brief midlife insanity and traded in the audi for an RX-8 sports car, which I quickly realized would be hopeless in the snow (rear-wheel drive when I'd been used to AWD), so for my winter car I bought...a 97 Outback, which I drive to this day.  

    Subaru really must be credited with keeping the whole wagon concept alive in the US after the monster american wagons had died (since Subaru outsold Volvo and German wagons 20-to-1), as well as getting us used to AWD in 'compact' cars.   That's why its so sad to me that in the last three years the Outback has bloated up into basically a generic crossover, a design I also loathe.

    And yes when I was young we had a Ford Gran Turino wagon, with of course wood paneling.  But my first cars were also V8 pontiacs.  Those days are gone.  

    •  my point is: wagons are pretty plentiful, on the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      used car market--even here in STL where the Sub' is much more rare than in Denver, I could still easily replace it, and there are lots of old Saturn wagons and I think even some Taurus wagons (for some reason every other older car in STL is a Taurus--I think they had a factory here).

      Now newer, V8 wagons--fuggetaboutit.  But who needs a V8?  Yes, every vehicle I drove in my youth was a V8, but gas was also a dollar a gallon.  That was always a ridiculous powerplant in a passenger car.  If you need a V8 in your Ford F350 Superduty so you can tow the space shuttle, go for it.  If you need a V8 in your Expedition so you can achieve highway speed in that ridiculous vehicle, well...I got nothin to say.   I really wonder who's going to be buying all the Expeditions and Navigators now dumped on the used market.  

    •  There are a lot of them in Denver (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      I think because of the proximity to ski areas.

      They're pretty scarce in Ohio and the surrounding states.

      Most of the ones I turned up were on the East Coast, West Coast or Denver.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:58:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, I hear you. Not sure its even the skiing (0+ / 0-)

        in DEN--Subaru just somehow became a very common car for urban liberals, unless they're REALLY liberal/academic and then they drive a Volvo.  So outside of Denver, very coastal, ski areas or no.  And in general, of course, there are many fewer imported cars in the Industrial Heartland.

        I'm sure there are still thousands of good Outbacks in OH, the question is whether their owners want to sell them.  Mostly no...

  •  i had the same issue in 2005 when... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    ... i finally had to let go of my 1988 Mercury Tracer.  i would love to have kept it longer but i just wore it out.  i had 285,000 miles on it but was having to replace wheel bearings a couple times a year.  the cost of labor was just getting to be too much for a 15 dollar part.

    when i started shopping around for another hatchback there just weren't many on the market.  at the time there was only the Toyota Matrix, Mazda 3 five door (read: hatchback), the Ford Focus and the Subaru Forester.  the Matrix was still in it's first generation and i was following old school thought of not buying newly introduced cars.  the Mazda had only black interiors and i didn't want that because i live in the desert.  i don't remember why i sided against the Ford.  there may have been some recalls at the time.  i finally gave in to paying a bit more and bought the Subaru.  it's been a good car for me so far.

    i'll probably be searching for another wagon style car in a few years.  compact SUV's seem to be filling that void for the moment but i would rather have better gas mileage.

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:51:17 AM PST

  •  Fun fact: The station wagon convertible (0+ / 0-)
    Studebaker made this in 1963.  It was called the Lark Wagonaire.  They spent a lot of money promoting it as a “family car to go on any outing.”  It was gone within a year.

    From what I can research, they had serious rusting problems with the not-so-airtight closing of the movable roof. link

    And if you weren't lucky enough to own one, you can always make your own convertible:

    •  My parents had a Lark (0+ / 0-)

      Not the wagon, just the sedan. It was one of the first "economy" cars.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:55:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I discussing the same curiosity with a colleague (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    just yesterday. Why wagons are unpopular is really mindboggling. With a wagon you get more room to haul stuff than a sedan without a gas mileage hit. It's easier to stow you stuff (large liftgate) and you can actually get rid of that big box on your roof top (I always put skis and camping gear in the back, even my bike). It's just practical. Americans always seem to haul tons of stuff around, so you'd think it would be even more popular than in Europe, but instead they just go for SUVs which often have less space in the back (larger seats, third row, more leg room in back). Oh well, maybe it will change over time...

    We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

    by minorityusa on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:01:07 AM PST

  •  2002 VW Passat Wagon (0+ / 0-)

    with 215k and still runs good.
    Slight oil leak and the electrical is getting wonky.

    Really would like like some better options than what are out there now.
    Wagons are great ESPECIALLY when you have a dog.
    Keeps the mud and fur mostly confined to the back. Of course the kids bring their own mud and messes...

    Silly wish - the Audi RS6 Avant

    Looks great, hauls stuff and wicked fast.

    Basic wish - A new Passat Wagon  They already make them, just throw that TDI in there and ship it to me.
    60+ MPG in a full size wagon.
    That would be bloody awesome.

    For now, looking at a Mazda3 or Subuaru Outback/Forester

    We do get snow, so AWD would be nice, but we have made it this long with none on the Passat.

    Rolling over just gets your throat bit.

    by webster69 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:19:59 AM PST

  •  Staion wagons are vastly superior (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    I have owned many including two Celebrity Eurosports with way-back rear seating. Compared to SUVs, minivans, cross-overs and stretch pickups they are:

    1) Lighter
    2) Better fuel economy
    3) Better handling
    4) More responsive
    5) Carries more passengers
    6) Better fuel mileage
    7) Lower center of gravity, better roll-over resistance
    8) Better value for the money

    The passage of the station wagon in favor of the alternatives was a real loss for the driving public, especially families. The job of Detroit is to create favorable impressions and sell cars that way. No matter if the new designs are inherantly inferior.

  •  Also Forester, Mazda CX-5 (0+ / 0-)

    They handle like cars.  Certainly way better than a 96 Roadmaster.  The CG is actually pretty low, and the gas mileage is pretty astounding.  The Mazda5 would be a superb choice if only they'd drop the Skyactiv 2.5 engine in it.

    Also, Prius V, if you don't mind leisurely acceleration but outstanding fuel economy and reliability.

    Economic Left/Right: -7.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
    Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

    by jvance on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:48:28 AM PST

    •  Not a big fan of the Prius (0+ / 0-)

      I know they'll come yank my liberal membership card for saying that I've ridden in many of them and found them to be rather cramped.

      Just about every taxi in Winnipeg is a Prius and we barely had room to put our bags in the back.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:54:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Prius V is a bigger car. (0+ / 0-)

        Its a euro minivan sized wagon, competing directly with the Ford C-Max.

        The interior cargo space is more than 50% larger than the 2010 Toyota Prius, 5 inches (130 mm) longer and 1 inch (25 mm) wider, providing 34.3 cubic feet (970 L) of cargo space behind the rear seats; it also offers 38 inches (970 mm) of rear leg room, and more head height.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Cargo view:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Economic Left/Right: -7.38
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
        Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

        by jvance on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:16:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've owned two station wagons (0+ / 0-)

    These things were definitely station wagons: A 1980 Volvo 245DL and a 1995 Subaru Impreza L. I had to get rid of the Volvo because it was older than I was, which is fine when you're 16 and driving around town but no so much when you're an adult with a cross-country moving trip. I had to get rid of the Subaru because the power steering system wouldn't pass inspection and it had too many other weird problems to make fixing the power steering worth the money. (I never noticed a problem with the power steering, stupid New York.)

    I would love to get a new station wagon. I would be very happy with the previous versions of the Subaru Outback or the Outback Sport, which was pretty much just a Legacy or Impreza with a paint job and options package. I don't want the current Outback (which is designed like a small SUV) but would be happy to buy an Impreza. I also wouldn't mind a Volvo XC-70 but they are way too expensive new and hard to find (and still expensive) used. I'm considering looking at some cars that are closer to hatchbacks than wagons as well. Heck, I'm driving a hatchback now (a 1992 Mazda MX-3).

  •  Rec'd for the last image (0+ / 0-)

    I wish someone would make a hybrid minivan for the US market; I think Nissan has one in Japan but haven't brought it over here.

    Have good memories of my family and station wagons: going to the drive in and stretching out in the back with the giant bolster, only to fall asleep in the middle of the movie (took me about 20 years to finally watch the entire Ten Weeks In A Balloon), driving down to Santa Barbara early in the morning to pick up my sister at college or take her back down, piling all the stuff in the back for our family trips to Mount Hermon (stopping in Scotts Valley to get the groceries for the week). Definitely an under-appreciated vehicle.

    My sister and her husband have a Honda CR-V (crossover vehicle) that they're pretty happy with.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:01:30 PM PST

  •  "don't make me stop this car!" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, PrahaPartizan

    My Mom actually DID stop, once, 8-) We were out on one of her vacation drives. She'd take us all out to see something for a couple of summer weeks, relatives or tent-camping or some-such. even after Daddy died (and this was, because it was only her); she used to say, well, I want to see these things too!

    And spanked both my little bro & sis on the side of the road! Like, 2-3 solid seat-of-the-pants swats each, at about ages... 7 & 10? SHE got a grin and a thumbs-up from a passing trucker, 8-) and was both mortified & tickled, I think!

    I was the oldest, 12? And they were SO ticked at me because I did NOT get any -- because I HAD stopped (whatever we were doing) when she said, mwh-ha-ha-ha-ha!

    well, at the time I felt kind of guilty, don't know why -- maybe I'd been riding in front with her? so that I didn't get involved in the bad behaviour through any virtue of my own?

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:13:34 PM PST

  •  We have an Audi and love it! (0+ / 0-)

    I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night. -Bishop G. Brewer

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:26:28 PM PST

  •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue

    I drive a ford Focus wagon, in periwinkle blue. Tiny engine, pretty good mileage. I haul some kids and groceries around.

    I also have a bumper sticker that says my Kid is an Honour roll student.

    So there. And I always said I would never drive a station wagon with one of those stickers.

    "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?" - Holly, Red Dwarf

    by pale cold on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:28:35 PM PST

  •  We started with a used '74 Torino wagon (0+ / 0-)

    Mrs. Joe bought it while I was away for the summer and got taken: we had to rebuild the tranny.  After that, it was pretty good: we drove it from Ann Arbor to Seattle with a CB radio in the front and a 1-year-old in a porta-crib in the back (tent, etc. on the roof).  We got several CB calls from truckers: "Hey, there's a kid in a cage in that Ford."

    After I got a job, we moved up to Country Squires.  Kept a sequence of those for about 16 years -- until the former 1-year-old was able to drive and a tree jumped out into a snowy road right in front of him, and totaled the last one ('86 LTD Country Squire, $16,000 new).

    Switched to Volvos:  93 960; 97 V90; and an '02 V70T5 (great car; picked up in Sweden!).  Unfortunately, the '02 got hit and would have cost more to fix than the ins. was willing to pay, so we replaced it with an '07 XC70.

    We both hate the XC70.  The mileage sucks, the turning radius sucks, the roof is too high off the ground to get at anything you might want to put up their (like a Sunfish). Who needs AWD and ground clearance?!

    Unfortunately, I'm now retired (aka unemployed and aged out of employability), so we probably won't replace either the '97 or the '07 with the new V60; I think it's too small for a "real station wagon," anyway.

    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

    by NoMoJoe on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:46:08 PM PST

  •  I dearly wish that there was a station wagon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    with AWD for snowy winter weather that was also a hybrid with great mileage.  I've been waiting and waiting, coaxing our '99 Passat station wagon to live a few years longer in hopes of replacing it with the exact car we want and need.  But so far I can either get AWD with a Subaru station wagon (with gas mileage no better than my almost 15 year old Passat) or I can get a Prius V hybrid station wagon, with no AWD.  We have opted for the latter as our other car is a Prius and we love it.  Once you get used to the great mileage, it is very hard to go back.  But I'm frustrated that what I really want just doesn't exist because there just doesn't seem to be a market for it.  Instead, the SUVs suck up all of the AWD market.  And I hate SUV's.  We need a station wagon for our two dogs, BTW.  Otherwise I'd be happy with a much smaller car.

    Nothing amuses me more than the easy manner with which everybody settles the abundance of those who have a great deal less than themselves. --Jane Austen

    by feeny on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:47:20 PM PST

    •  IMO, AWD is unnecessary unless you live (0+ / 0-)

      pretty far north (44°N or so in the US) or regularly go off road or have a long and/or steep driveway.  

      Unfortunately, not only are station wagons rare in the US, but so are non-AWD SUVs. Subarus seem to be the exception as far as gas mileage; mostly AWD burns a lot of gas for not very much benefit.

      Front wheel drive with 4 snow tires will get you through almost any suburban snow.  If your state permits, you can even go for studded snows.  And you know, of course, that AWD/4WD doesn't make the vehicle stop any better (ignorance of this fact is shown by the many AWD SUVs in ditches around here in the winter).

      We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

      by NoMoJoe on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:04:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not necessary but nice to have (0+ / 0-)

        We used to have an Acura TSX.

        Fun little car but with all-season tires it would get stuck just trying to get out of my driveway sometimes.

        I've since owned several Audis and run them through snow up to the bottom of the car without getting stuck.

        I think the fuel mileage penalty comes more from the "SUV" part than the AWD part. Mass is mass.

        Plus most of those tall SUVs have the aerodynamic drag coefficient of a house.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:52:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Pre-2000 Honda Odyssey approx. equals wagon (0+ / 0-)

    They had not committed wholeheartedly to the minivan concept, so it reads more like a boxy station wagon than anything else.  5 doors including the back hatch.  The four doors are all standard car doors, not sliding van doors.

    After -99 they up-sized it and turned it into a no-fooling minivan.

    I kept it until the transmission had an expensive issue around about 200,000 miles.  If I'd had the cash, I could have gotten another 100,000 out of it easy, it was cosmetically perfect.

    We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

    by bmcphail on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:02:24 PM PST

  •  My opinion (0+ / 0-)

    You can't go wrong with a Subaru. One of the best cars on the road. Check out what Consumer Reports has to say about them.

    http://www.autoblog.com/...

    They also do everything the old dinosaur station wagons did.

    •  Wife doesn't like them (0+ / 0-)

      It's her car so she gets the final say.

      She loves her A4 and if she's happy I'm happy.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:54:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Never had a wagon… (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    …but I've had a van/mini-van/SUV in inventory since 1975. I've mixed it up with a VW Super Beetle, Volvo turbo 240, Chrysler New Yorker, Mercury Sable as secondary vehicles.

    The "truck" lineup was Econoline semi-conversion, Aerostar, Explorer, Explorer. I keep cars a long time, and none of them had less than 100,000 miles when I got rid of them (save the New Yorker, and the Sable, which I still have). My first Explorer had 260,000 on it when I sold it, and the current one is at a buck seventy.

    I've always liked the load carrying and I love being above the traffic. Even my bride no longer cares to drive the car—it's too low.

    My daughter went through two Explorers, as well, and just replaced the last one with a Suburban. She home-schools three kids, so if ever there was a justified, non-security-agency Suburban purchase, hers was it.

    Just last week I had a mid-life crisis fling driving a Corvette. I am so over ground hugging vehicles. I imagine it probably helps that I'm pushing 68 really hard.

    LRod—UID 238035
    ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired
    My ATC site
    My Norm's Tools site

    by exatc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:50:18 PM PST

  •  Maybe the hearse ride is your last, maybe not (0+ / 0-)

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