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Wagon suv for small family

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


looked at outback, RAV4, Priusv, forester, Volvo wagons, Passat, Crv. Leaning towards recent model of RAV4 because of cargo space, reliability, and ease of repairs/parts. Leaning away from others mentioned because of less cargo, hybrids not worth it, too much electrical issues and/or smaller seating space. thanks for your input!!

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Rear seat room & comfort / Cargo capacity

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Hatch / Wagon / SUV

Car Needs: Family transporter / Errands about town / Long trips

Need minimum of 5 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 50000
Maximum age: 6 years

Maximum price: US $ 18000

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Response from Dnslater

8:04 am July 18, 2016

If you are open to Wagon's, you might consider a VW Sportwagon. Very fun to drive and affordable - while having cargo space similar to a Rav-4 size SUV. Nice interior. Should be able to find something lightly used for $18k. Newer VW's are much more reliable than 10-15 years ago. Far more space than the Volvo V-60 and other compact wagon's. We have a family of 5 and the kids fit in it fine.

Of course you can't go wrong with a pre owned Honda, Subaru or Toyota as they will be plenty reliable, you just give up a little in mileage and the "fun to drive" catagory over the VW. Also, they hold their value, so you might get an older car for the money. You might also consider the Mazda CX-5.

Edit: looks like I accidently tagged the Sportsvan instead of Sportwagen in my recommendations. Sorry!


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Volkswagen Golf SV Sportsvan
Mazda CX-5

Response from colin42

8:09 am July 18, 2016

I'm supprised by you comment that Hybrids are not worth it for the reliability. The Prius is one of the most reliable cars you can buy. The difference in cargo space between the RAV4 and the Prius V is 4 cubic ft, if that is the decisding factor then I suggest you move up a class size

However all that being said you clearly like the Rav 4. Test drive the competition (The CX-5 is my pick of the smaller CUV), and look at price - I've seen some greats deals on the CRV


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Toyota RAV4
Toyota Prius v
Mazda CX-5

Response from jasonmreece

9:57 am July 18, 2016

I would definitely take a look at the Mazda CX-5. It has slightly more interior room than the RAV4 or CR-V (104 cubic ft vs. 101) and it 1-2" more rear legroom. Based on the various tests/reviews I could find online, it also gets a few extra MPG compared to the Toyota and Honda. Data on this site (and elsewhere) indicates that the CX-5 has been very reliable.

With your budget of $18k, you could easily find a 2014 Touring (mid-level) model. Cars.com is showing 159 of them (2014 CX-5 Touring with under 50k miles) when I did a nationwide search. You might even find a Certified Pre-Owned model for that price. The CX-5 was introduced in 2013, but I'd suggest sticking with a 2014 or newer model. All 2013s had a 155hp 2.0L 4cyl and the Touring/Grand Touring models got a new 184hp 2.5L engine for 2014. It improved performance substantially without any loss in fuel economy.

One of the things I like most about the CX-5 is that it has a 6-speed automatic transmission while the 2013-2016 RAV4 and 2015-2016 CR-V have an annoying CVT. After the CX-5, a 2013-2014 CR-V would be my second choice. I actually prefer the the 2012 and earlier RAV4 models over the 2013-2016 version. The older RAV4 actually had more interior space also.


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Mazda CX-5
Honda CR-V

Response from B787mech

7:50 am July 19, 2016

I also cross shopped the RAV4, Outback and Santa Fe.

The Hyundai had huge cargo space, at the expense of passenger space. With a rear facing car seat in back, my forehead was nearly touching the top of the windshield/head liner.

The Rav4 had less generous cargo space, but still plenty. I found it felt too light on the road, like it was getting blown around like a leaf.

The Outback had as much cargo space as the RAV4 and tons of passenger space front and back. Feels very solid and planted on the road.

I bought the Outback 3.6R, as I found the 2.5 a bit pokey in this car ( great engine for my old Impreza). There is a fuel mileage penalty to be paid, but I am not sure how much in the real world as I feel I would be thrashing the 4 all the time while the 6 is much less stressed. I am averaging 11.5L/100k as per the onboard computer. (30/70 Hwy/city mix). If I nurse it on a two lane, 80-90km/h, I can get it as low as 7.2L/100km.

I hope his helps!


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Hyundai Santa Fe
Toyota RAV4
Subaru Outback

Response from NormT

12:53 pm July 20, 2017

For half of your $18,000 limit and that you don't mind wrench the Saab 9-5 SportCombi wagon for $9,000 would be my choice. I have a 2004 Arc wagon and with it coming up on 200,000 miles has been bullet proof reliable. As with any decade old car you have to do some maintence from time to time.

On the newer side and also at your budget are brand new 2017 Buick Encore's selling for $16,000 on Internet for sale sites. At least with a newer car you have all the latest safety enhancements. Though it is smaller than those listed about, we had really good luck with our 2013 AWD that got 39 mpg on the highway.


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Saab 9-5
Buick Encore
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