For the Love of Wagons

Illustration for article titled For the Love of Wagons

This used to be my wagon. A 1964 Volvo Amazon with a low-compression, twin carb B18 and a 4-speed. I loved it dearly and as is usually the case, I regret that I got rid of it. Well, I regret that it's gone, but I also loved the 1982 Toyota LandCruiser BJ42 I traded it for, a 3B diesel equipped unit with 24 volt electrical. It was cool too.

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Illustration for article titled For the Love of Wagons

Aside from the obvious utility of a wagon, the thing I have always appreciated most is that wagons are typically so unassuming. Anonymous. An anti-statement if you will. That isn't necessarily true of my old 1964 Amazon wagon, but the attention it got was due to its age, not that it was a wagon.

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Illustration for article titled For the Love of Wagons

So let's forget about vintage wagons such as my old '64 for a minute. And let's take super-wagons like the Audi RS6 Avant out of the equation for this. I'm talking about wagons like the Volvo 740 or V70 T5. Or perhaps an Audi A4 or A6 Avant. VW Jetta or Passat. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Subaru or Honda, you get the idea.

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Illustration for article titled For the Love of Wagons

Nobody seems to notice a wagon. Or notice you driving a wagon. This is a huge part of the appeal for me. They blend into the landscape. And they don't blend into the landscape in a Chevy Cobalt or Toyota Camry "given up on life" kind of way. Wagons imply logic in a way that is both very obvious yet understated, if that makes any sense at all.

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When I see someone driving an old W123 Mercedes-Benz diesel (sedan or wagon), it almost restores a piece of my faith in humanity. It tells me that there are still intelligent people that make educated buying decisions. I still to this day believe that dollar-for-dollar, Mercedes Benz W123's are the most financially prudent and environmentally responsible cars to be had. (Because recycling, build quality, longevity/they last forever and ever and ever, you can practically run those old diesels on dog shit, and save the Benzes)

Anyhow, wagons kind of belong in the same territory where I am concerned. They signify a buying decision that is logic-driven emotion rather than logic-driven-by emotion. Which brings me to the point of this write-up. Other than the 2011 Nissan Versa that Mrs. SSM-One and I have, this is the only other vehicle currently in the stable:

Illustration for article titled For the Love of Wagons
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Without getting into too much detail, our professional circumstances have changed and it's time to buy another vehicle that I can use for commuting - something a 1984 CJ7 isn't very good at in any way, shape or form.

My initial budget was in the range of $12k-14k and I'd really like a wagon. A few years back I had a 1999 Audi A6 Avant that I picked up wholesale for $1500 and was great until it broke the 300,000km (aprox 187k miles) and then it started getting expensive to keep on the road.

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I've been considering second-gen Volvo V70 T5's, fourth-gen Subaru Legacy Touring wagon's, and B6 VW Passat and Audi A4 wagon's with anywhere between 80,000-130,000km (50k-80k miles).

I've also been offered a 2005 B6 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro with 240,000km (150k miles). I typically wouldn't consider much with these kinds of miles under its belt, but for $7k it is half my budget and I really like that... And it's a 6-speed which is especially nice, is in great shape and is a two owner car with all service done at the local Audi dealership (car was owned by the dealership owner's friend).

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Illustration for article titled For the Love of Wagons

So, I come to you community of Oppo... Do you have an opinion or any first-hand knowledge on any of the cars I've listed? While I would love a V70R or a 4.2 S4, I'd like to keep my insurance and fuel costs to a minimum if possible. I just need a practical commuter that I actually want to have in my driveway.

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