Looking for Station Wagon for weekend camping

I would like to know should I get a station wagon. I am on a limited budget $3500. I will use it as day to day commute and weekend camping. Require as follow:


it will be 2 people go for camping with very limited equipment.


Sure, Get One.
Do You Know Where To Find A Reliable, FWD Wagon For Less Than $3500 That Will Make Commutes And Take You Camping On WeekEnds ? That’s A Pretty Tall Order.

How far is the commute per day/week/month ?
How far away is camping ?

Do you do your own repairs and maintenance on vehicles ?
How much have you budgeted for this part of ownership ?

I’d look at some Fords, Escorts, Focuses, Etc.


Nothing like a used 4cyl. Compact 2wd Pick up with a cap on the back. My wife and I used one for camping for years. Caps have screens over the windows for ventilation, and these trucks are very cheap to buy and maintain. I had Mazda ( a Ford Ranger) and Toyota’s and they were equally fine… There should be a bunch of Ford Rangers out there. Brother bought them used too and ran them for years. They aren’t heavy duty, but what is in a compact truck. They would make excellent vehicles for your use. Looking at late 1990s to early 2000s for your price range depending upon mileage with base model. There are search sites for them. They are not fwd…though.
Decent commuters if you aren’t going too far. I commuted to work with them for over twenty years…20 miles each way. One of the most flexible vehicles made IMO. Excellent in snow with added weight in the back.

Dear Dagosa,

May you explain more about “easy to fix”?



Sure…though I don’t mean to say “cheap to fix” in all cases. After all, a brake job is a brake job. But overall, the cheaper to maintain… rear wheel drive compact truck, especially the Ranger, has changed very little for many years. This makes parts more available and on the low end of cost and the ability to work on them within the reach of more mechanics including yourself. . Clearances are greater making components easier to get to, especially underneath making it easier to change your own oil. A fwd compact with many of it’s components in one confined area making them, in my experience, harder to work on. Little things like jacking the vehicle up for tire changes has always been easier for me with a full frame. Because the motor compartment for most has been slotted to fit a v6, a four is surrounded by more space. The rwd has it’s disadvantages with inefficiency in the drive train to the rear with a 10% loss or more in mileage. The Ranger, though, has always been one of the more fuel efficient trucks in 4 cyl form. Given your limited funds and camping use, I feel it’s a very worthwhile alternative.

If i can’t do any mechanics job, will it change your reasoning?


With a Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma it will be easier finding cheaper after market parts then for an older Hyundai for example. This is true regardless who works on it. And, I have found that independent mechanics have more experience in servicing them. That is my experience. Car models change a lot more frequently then the trucks I referenced.

Change FWD to RWD and then a Buick Estate Wagon becomes an option…If you are going to go, you might as well go first class…