We’ve been happily driving a 1992 Honda Accord LX Wagon for 10 years (bought it used in 2002). It’s finally dead. Time for a new wagon.
Small, car-based SUVs are the wagons of today.
Check out the Mazda 3 hatchback and it’s sister car the Focus hatchback. If you don’t need AWD, those will do fine
forgot to mention the Vibe/Matrix twins
Take a look at a 2007 Chevrolet HHR LT. You can find one on a dealers lot for $10,000. It’s a Cobalt station wagon. We have a 2009 Cobalt LT and like it.
I feel a Jetta or Passat wagon for $10K has past it’s good reliable years and is heading into the frequent and high cost repair years. I’d be more apt to spend a bunch of money for a new motor, trans., or whatever is making the Accord wagon “dead”. Spending $10K on the Honda might be a better return on your investment than a VW wagon.
I feel the Subaru Outback is a better bet. But frankly the Accord is a better car than the Outback for $10K too.
Mazda 6 sportwagon
You’ve all raised some good points. Maybe keeping the Accord is a good idea. It needs a new catalytic converter, the electrical (windows, doors, etc.) keeps failing and the exterior and interior are in pretty bad shape at this point.
I'm not crazy about keeping such an old car in need of so much work. For $10k you have some decent options. The Subarus with the 2.5l engines older than 2006 have the head gasket issues. The Impreza with the 2.2l doesn't, might be worth a look. How about a fwd CR-V? It'll get pretty good mpgs and is versatile.
Spending 5K on the Honda seems excessive. I guess 2K would be my max. Good suggestions here, including staying away from used VW’s. I second the small SUV suggestions, CRV, RAV4, CX-7, even Tucson and Sportage. test drive a few. The Taurus/Sable wagons are not easy to find, but dirt cheap and should have decent parts supply, so from a purely financial stand point you can’t beat the value they offer.
Second Tex and galant observations.
What about a used Hyundai Elantra Touring? They’re well reviewed, have a “European-feel” apparently, and have good reliability ratings. If I can find a 2009 it should be around $12-$13k, which isn’t out of the question.
Sure, the Elantra Touring’s good, might be hard to find one (no a real high-volume model), but if you do, great. And $12-$13 opens up even more options. Go to cars.com, do an ‘advanced search’, narrow down the choices as you see fit. I got 200 hits withing 100 miles of me with some general search limits.
If you can find a 4-cylinder Saab 9-5 post 2006, or pre-2006 with all the engine seals already replaced, it’s a pretty good car. Some component weakness is offset in my view by the space - which I believe led every wagon but the Merc E-Class in its time - and the comfort, with great seats and lots of room. Handling is a little numb and understeery, and it doesn’t ride as well as a new 3-series, but it doesn’t cost $35k either. VWs deserve no special reputation for reliability anymore, I wouldn’t have a Passat over the 9-5. A Subaru is almost certainly more reliable, though not as comfortable.