Station wagons used to be the symbol of the All-American family. It's the perfect automobile for a family with 2-3 kids because it can hold the entire family and there would still be room for the groceries and other baggage. However, the coming of the modern minivans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) has made station wagons almost obsolete in the ‘90s. Thanks to European and Asian car manufacturers, we're seeing a revival of station wagons. Here's a brief guide to buying one.
- Do your research. One to the things you need to know is that stations wagons aren't called as such anymore. Car manufacturers and dealers refer to modern station wagons simply as wagons or sport wagons. They are also referred to as crossovers, compact-utility vehicles or five-doors. You also need to check out consumer reviews of station wagons as these can help you make a short list of the vehicles you want to purchase. Consumer Research has a very useful review of 2010 models of station wagons from different car manufacturers.
- Calculate how much you are willing to shell out for a station wagon. After doing your research, you probably have a good idea of how much station wagons cost. The cheapest station wagon costs around $13,000. If you are on a tight budget, choose the budget station wagons such as KIA's Soul and Rondo. The Hyundai Elantra Touring, Toyota Matrix, Chevrolet HHR and Mazda5 minivan are also cheap models of station wagons. If money is not an issue, take a look at luxury station wagons like Audi A4 Avant, BMW 2 Series Sports Wagon, and the Cadillac CTS Sports Wagon. If you want value for your money, check out the best station wagons picked by Consumer Research.
- Make a shortlist of models that you like. Choosing a sports wagon is like recruiting an employee. You have to make sure that your chosen vehicle will do the job of transporting all your family's need. Make a checklist of the different features of each vehicle that caught your fancy and assess them based on the current and future needs of your family. Find out if the vehicle has the following:
- Storage increasing devices like cargo nets, under-floor bins, and adjustable roof racks.
- All wheel drive (AWD) standard for the winter months.
- Safety features like airbags for all seats, electronic stability control and, antilock brakes.
- Third row option for extra seating capacity.
- Purchase the vehicle from an authorized dealer. Make sure that you test drive the vehicle before you pay for it. This will help you get a feel of the vehicle even before you purchase it. Do not forget to ask about warranty and insurance coverage so you'll know whether you need to make separate arrangements and payments for those. If you're truly short of cash, consider buying a secondhand station wagon instead.
Keep in mind that your station wagon will last for a long time if you drive carefully and take care of it. In addition, schedule routine check ups and maintenance of your car.