I've read like a million times before about the most Jalop vehicle being brown, RWD, and a four-cylinder diesel wagon, with a manual transmission at the same time. Today I felt an urge to look up if such vehicle does even exist, or it is just an urban legend and lives as part of the Jalopnik folklore, haunting Zac's and other fellow Opponaut's dreams.
Let me tell you, on one hand I wasn't disappointed, but on the other hand, I was saddened by my findings.
For me, the criteria screamed Europe, so I looked at the most obvious choices: BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Let's start with the former, shall we?
Wagons: The guys from Munich offer the 3 and the 5-Series in wagon form. Trunk size:
3 Series: 495-1600l (17.5 cu ft - 56.5 cu ft)
5 Series: 560-1670l (19.8 cu ft - 59 cu ft)
RWD: Yes they are, but xDrive is an option too.
Colour: The 320d/325d has a colour named Sparkling Bronze (see above), which is kind of brownish, and the bigger 520d/525d has one called Jatoba (which seems to be a Brazilian cherry wood type) and is grayish, but qualifies as a brown for me. But if you want to go browner,
call DiCaprio call the guys at AC Schnitzer for a fix.
Engine/transmission: They both come with one of the finest out there, the N47D20 twin sequential turbo diesel, Engine of The Year 2010. 184/218 HP and 380/450NM torque. That's 300lb/ft+ for ya 'murricans. And in both cases, the engine is connected to a 6-speed manual transmission, which is a good one. Fuel economy: around 45 mpg (5,3 l/100 km) on the combined cycle.
Overall: Both qualify in every aspect, and are true Jalop cars with sporty characteristics so you can have fun while carrying all the good stuff back there.
Also: If you are willing to let the manual tranny go, and choose ZF's 8 speed sportautomatic that everybody seems to love, you can have an even more cool combo: 3 litre Inline6 turbo diesel.. in a brown RWD wagon.. with 258/313HP and 560/630NM (410-460lb/ft). 'nuff said.
Wagons: C-class, E-class, CLS Shooting Brake. Whoa! Fat asses here as well:
C: 485–1.500 l (17.1 cu ft - 53 cu ft)
E: 695–1.950 l (24.5 cu ft - 68.9 cu ft)
CLS Shooting Brake: 590–1.550 l (20.8 - 54.7 cu ft)
RWD: Yes, they are, but 4Matic is an option too, for the 220s and above.
Colour: Dolomit Brown for the C, and E-Class, and Cuprit Brown (above) for the CLS. Lovely that one.
Engine/transmission: All three can be bought with the same four cylinder diesel engine, with various outputs, from 120 HP (C180cdi), to 201 HP (C-E-CLS250cdi). Toque is 300-500NM (220-368 lb/ft). And here comes the bad part: the CLS Shooting Brake is auto-only. Sad Jalop is sad. The other two can be ordered with 6 speed manuals. Yeah! Fuel economy: around 45 mpg (5,3 l/100 km) on the combined cycle.
Overall: We have two qualifiers here as well, but the big Benz' are more elegant and practical with even more trunk space. And because Shooting Brake.
We have another i4 diesel wagon out there, but it fails at the tranny department: The Jaguar XF Sportbrake offers a 2.2 i4 td with 163 or 200 HP and 400-450NM torque (295-331 lb ft) and has a loading capacity of 550 litres (19 cubic feet) with the seats up and 1,675 litres (59.2 cubic feet) with them folded. Colour is an equally classy Caviar Metallic. Fuel economy is in the 45 mpg (5,3 l/100 km) range on the combined cycle. But it's an 8 speed automatic only. Boo.
To sum up, I'm really happy for you Jalops, and imma let you finish, but I've found your Holy Grails, they exist, one can go in a dealership and buy one of these new.. But I think this is not enough. We need MOAR cars like these. And MOAR affordable ones. Not to mention the US of A where you can only buy the 3 Series Touring. This is a sad world. But one can hope!