Help me Find a Wagon Style Car

For many years I’ve owned two old wagons. They certainly required a lot
of maintenance, but I probably saved 40-to-50K with these wagons. Except
for jobs like roofing, I never called a contractor. Sometimes I thought about
buying a pickup truck, but I could carry lumber, pipes, etc., inside the wagons
or on the roof racks. The best decision I ever made was not buying a truck.

One of the wagons develped massive electrical problems. My incredibly
good local mechanic refused to say, “junk it!” After several months I donated
the car to a charity. I want to sell or trade wagon number two.

The only “real” wagon that I ocassionally see is a large, rectangular shaped
Volvo. Like all Volvo cars, it’s very expensive.

Sites like AutoTrader have a wagon category, but most modern wagons are
a hybrid cross between an SUV and a mid-sized sedan. The car I see all the
time is the Subaru Outback. It doesn’t have the length of my old wagons,
which means a roof rack would be the only option for small quantities of lumber.

My spending limit is 25K. A slightly used 2011, 12, or even 13 is what I’m looking
at right now. I could easily buy a car with cash. A smart relative once told me
not to do that. He said, “car dealers don’t care about you, once they’ve got all
the cash.” These days, warranties are much better than years ago. I suppose
paying with cash is safe, if you have a lengthy warranty.

Frankly, I’m having a minor nervous breakdown! I have to buy something, but
I don’t know enough about the blizzard of vehicles available these days. Huge
SUV’s are like trucks. I won’t buy a truck or a monster SUV. If you know a lot
about cars, can you help me find a good substitute for my old wagons?

What were your old wagons?

A minivan has the most interior room for the size, how about one of those?

Or a Ford Transit Connect?

You seem to look at a small SUV and Large SUV’s…what about mid-size SUV.

If you want to carry lumber you’re going to either need a mini-van or trailer (and a vehicle that can tow a trailer).

You also mentioned the Volvo wagon…it’s no bigger then a mid-size SUV. So not too sure what you’re really looking for.

The Ford Flex most resembles an old style wagon. If you can find one in your price range it might be a good choice.

For occasionally carrying bulky items, a Minivan, long wheelbase would be OK. Just don’t tow anything with it.

We had a couple of compact wagon type cars; drove both to over 150k until the rust got to be too much for appearance sake. I thought that we need another but ended up with a compact hatchback and for larger loads, a lightweight trailer. I don’t want a minivan, an SUV or pickup gas guzzler either and can haul things that those might have difficulty with such as a king size mattress and box spring set or 18 foot roof rafters for a house. A lawn tractor is not a problem either for the low bed height of the trailer. A refrigerator can be hauled standing upright.

I hear you but times have changed. When we were building in 76 I bought a 67 Buick station wagon and it served its purpose very well hauling siding, cabinets, you name it. After that though I just bought a trailer and it works very well for hauling about anything, is cheap, and flexible. I use a G6 now for light loads but in the past, any full sized car could pull a couple thousand pounds no problem. With a small SUV and a trailer, you could handle about anything.

I think Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable wagons were made into the mid-2000"s. Look for one of them on ebay or Craigslist.

Yeah, it’s not a good time for wagon buyers. Mostly there are expensive European models, and also the competing Cadillac CTS wagon. Slightly cheaper is the Acura TSX wagon, a thoroughly nice car based on a European Honda Accord. It only comes with a four, though one with reasonable power for average driving. Heavily loaded it might not do so well. This car is not designed for heavy-duty cargo hauling. The current Outback looks less wagonlike, but that’s mostly just due to the raised suspension and to the way they boxed in the roof rails. Inside it feels more like a wagon to me. It’s pretty long, not much different than the mid-sized Volvos of yore. The Ford Flex another mentioned is a very gold bet. It’s the closest thing out there to the full-sized wagons of my youth. The Toyota Venza is essentially a tallish wagon version of the Camry. Probably too small, but kind of nice. And then there are loads of suitable mid-sized crossovers. Not quite what you prefer, but they’d do the job.

A lot of great replies. Thanks guys!

I pretended to be a dummy about cars, because I really have no idea
what I’m going to buy. At least half the repairs on those old wagons
was done by me.

My dad purchased a tiny saw and hammer for me when I was six years
old. I immediately tried to cut and hammer all the furniture! My mother
was convinced I was going to kill myself.

Once I decided my old wagons were finished, I knew the only real solution
was a trailer. I’ve looked at folding style trailers, which could be stored
in a shed. I’ve got one large shed and it’s full. Some of my neighbors
have two or three sheds. Convincing myself to buy a trailer is difficult,
to say the least.

At this point in my life, I need a very reliable vehicle. I know there are
plenty of older cars available for sale. If you buy a car with more than
75,000 miles, you have to expect several months of repair work. That
didn’t bother me in the past, but it does now. I need a little peace of

I keep thinking I should keep the wagon I’ve got. It needs tires and
several common repairs. Estimated Cost: $2000.00. Right now, the
engine and transmission are ok. If I spend $2000.00 and something
big fails a few months later I’ll feel like a complete fool.