Need a used "station wagon" to fit 6'4" driver and piece of plywood

Hoping to find something used in the $6-8K price range that has decent gas mileage and that fits a tall person and a full 4X8 piece of plywood - unfortunately, the Matrix/Vibe isn’t quite big enough for the plywood.

Sure would appreciate suggestions.

They don’t make full-sized station wagons anymore, and you’re not going to find one that can fit a sheet of plywood

I think if you want to haul plywood with a station wagon, your best bet would be to make some sort of harness to attach to the roof rack. Like this:

Otherwise, get a small pickup or a minivan.

The older Ford Taurus, and Mercury Sable wagons will be big enough for you. They might be bid enough to carry the plywood but you’ll need to build up something about the height of the rear wheel wells if you need to carry it flat.

Otherwise they stopped making full size wagons in the mid 80’s in favor of mini-vans.

As others have noted, there are no wagons that will fit the bill (and almost no wagons at all any more - or at least many fewer than there used to be).

I’d say the minivan is the way to go. I have an old Grand Caravan that was retired as the family car but now makes an admirable “pick-up truck.” With the seats removed the area behind the front seats is a perfect 4 X 8 and lately I have been hauling sheetrock and plywood. Last week it was 650 sqft of engineered flooring. Piece of cake.

One word: Suburban

Thanks for the ideas. Do any of the small SUVs make sense or do you sacrifice too much gas mileage?

You’ll never get the sheet of plywood in there - so it depends on what that is all about.

How often do you need to carry sheets of plywood? There are plenty of alternatives to having a vehicle large enough to put the sheet inside. Here’s one; put a small utility trailer hitch on the vehicle and rent a utility trailer when you need to haul sheets. The Lowes here have them right at the store so you can buy the sheets and rent the trailer. You just have to make one extra trip to return the trailer. They also rent trucks for larger jobs. Why saddle yourself with a vehicle large enough to haul these things if you don’t do it enough to justify it? I got rid of my pickups for the same reason and now have a Trailblazer and a landscaping trailer.

Thanks for the perspective. OK I can let go of the plywood but still do want something with carrying space, room for a tall driver, good gas mileage and reliability - and that won’t have insurance co jacking up the rates - and not too expensive to fix.

Second the recommendation of utility trailer if you have place to store it. The good ones carry more than a ton, have ramps, ride very well with torsion bars, store easily when aluminum and are very flexible in use. My PU is gone too for same reason. Now you can settle on a comfy SUV, car or truck based.

I have had a Ford Econoline E-150 Club Wagon for 155,000 miles and it has tons of head room and can carry full sheets of plywood or drywall if I take out the back seats. However, with a V8 the mileage is only so so. Maybe you can find one with a six in it. Before I bought the van, I carried 4 x 8 sheets in a utility trailer that I bought from J.C. Whitney for about $250 and towed it with a six cylinder toyota Camry. At the time we had two Camry’s, one with a sunroof and one without, the one without a sunroof had about two inches more headroom.

You can put the plywood on the roof. Just don’t go on the interstate with the plywood up there. If this is a new truck, look at the Chevy Equinox. It gets 22/32MPG with the 4-cyl and FWD. I don’t know about room for you, but the head and leg room are comparable to the Tahoe. Go check one out.

P.S. The Rav4 has similar head and leg room, but the CR-V has a couple inches less headroom; similar leg room.

Re: towing more than a ton:

Most cars are only rated to tow a few hundred pounds. That’s enough for a small trailer and a few sheets of plywood, but not much more than that. If you’re wanting to tow, you have to look at tow ratings when you’re shopping.

IIRC, the Subaru Legacy through the early 2000s was rated at like 2000-2500 lbs. The last generation Hyundai Elantra with the right options was up to like 3500. Other than that, I don’t know tow ratings for small-mid-sized wagons.

I second the Minivan recommendation. They are roomy and have better gas mileage than most SUVs. This past weekend I hauled an elliptical home in the back of our Caravan. Used Caravans are really cheap.

“Most cars are only rated to tow a few hundred pounds. That’s enough for a small trailer and a few sheets of plywood, but not much more than that. If you’re wanting to tow, you have to look at tow ratings when you’re shopping.”

My reference was for the capability of the trailer itself. My Thule is rated for 2200 lbs and weighs less than 300 lbs itself. I wouldn’t expect most wagons to tow one, hence my recommendation for an SUV, which I feel is just a more rugged sometimes off road (truck based) wagon. Jeep Cherokee being another good example.

The capacity of the trailer is irrelevant if using it will kill your transmission.

Find a good used Buick “Roadmaster”-Kevin

You could probably buy 6 of them before exceeding $8000!