Buying a wagon is a great way to stick to a budget. Wagons tend to cost less than SUVs and crossovers, and many of them offer similar amounts of cargo and passenger space. Also, wagons tend to have better fuel economy, so you save at the dealership and at the gas station.
Wagons $22,000 or Less
Wagons in this price range can have nearly 70 cubic feet of total cargo space, with about 30 cubic feet behind the back seats. Most compact wagons have four-cylinder engines. While many car reviewers complain that these wagons can be underpowered, they do get good fuel economy. Wagons in this category typically seat five people, but their back seats can be small. That said, compact wagons are fine for carrying three kids, provided they all aren’t in car seats. Most compact wagons can only fit two car seats in the second row.
The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is a good compact wagon to consider. It starts at almost $20,600, and comes standard with Bluetooth and cruise control. A USB port and a navigation system are available on higher trims. The Jetta SportWagen stands out for having 66.9 cubic feet of total cargo space, which is more than what the VW Tiguan crossover has. The Jetta SportWagen also has an available diesel engine, which gets up to 42 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
Wagons $22,000 to $30,000
Wagons in this price range can have six-cylinder engines and hybrid powertrains. The Honda Crosstour, which starts at about $27,000, has up to 51.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is significantly less than the VW Jetta SportWagen’s cargo space. The Crosstour does, however, offer a 278-horsepower, V6 engine, making it one of the more powerful wagons in this category. While the Crosstour has less cargo space than most full-size wagons, it does have more interior features compared with other wagons. A moonroof, power-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth and a stereo with a USB port are all standard. If you want all-wheel drive, it is optional on the Crosstour, but it is standard on the Subaru Outback. The Outback starts at almost $23,500 and has up to 71.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
Hybrid wagons also fall into this price range, and include the Toyota Prius v and the Ford C-Max Hybrid. Of the two, the Prius v is more expensive and has more cargo space, though its fuel economy ratings of 44/40 mpg city/highway aren’t as good as the C-Max Hybrid’s 47/47 mpg estimates. The Prius v starts at almost $26,700, and has up to 67.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, which is very good for a hybrid. The Prius v comes standard with a touch-screen stereo, a backup camera, a USB port and Bluetooth.
Wagons $30,000 and More
Luxury wagons generally start at about $32,000 and can cost significantly more than $50,000. This price range is so wide because it includes wagons like the Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Audi Allroad and Volvo XC70, as well as performance models like the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon. What these wagons all have in common are upscale interiors. As an added bonus, some luxury wagons provide a strong dose of sport along with their practicality.
Wagons from Audi, Volvo and Acura all have the high-quality interiors their brands are known for, and can come with features such as iPod integration, Bluetooth phone connectivity and dual-zone climate control. When it comes to cargo space, these wagons generally offer 50 to 73 cubic feet of cargo space with the back seats folded forward, and about 30 cubic feet of space with the back seats in use. The Volvo XC70 is one of the most spacious models, and offers up to 72.1 cubic feet of cargo room. Not only is this $33,600 wagon well-equipped with standard features like Bluetooth, HD Radio and a USB port, but it also comes standard with City Safety, which is a feature that helps prevent low-speed collisions.
At the higher end of the luxury wagon price range are wagons like the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, which starts at about $39,200. Luxury wagons like the CTS Sport Wagon are the go-to option for people who want great performance and lots of utility. It has up to 58 cubic feet of cargo space and a standard 270-horsepower V6 engine. There’s also an optional V6 engine that makes 318 horsepower. If you want even more power, the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon has a 556-horsepower V8.
No matter how big or small your budget is, there’s a great wagon out there for you.