5. Hyundai Elantra Touring – This $15,995 to $20,290 compact, with its impressive cargo space comparable to midsize SUVs, offers a European-inspired design in two trims: GLS and the SE. GLS is the base model that includes electronic stability control, USB compatibility, and an optional popular equipment package with family oriented upgrades like roof rails and steering wheel audio controls. Plus,the Touring comes with the best warranty in the business with 10 years or 100,000 miles. If you don´t mind a slightly underpowered engine and little gears on its automatic transmissions, you luck out with its value, cargo space, and spacious interior.
4. Subaru Outback – The Outback is a wagon turned crossover that drives like a car. Its 2011 model boastsa redesigned front dash with a rear vision camera affixed to the rear view mirror, standard all-wheel drive, and a four to six-cylinder version offering a solid 22/29 mpg. The Outback is also a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS for 2010. Consider the Outback over its biggest competitors Toyota Venza and Honda Accord Crosstour, both higher priced by $3000 and $7000 respectively.
3. Nissan Juke – The Nissan Juke and its odd-insect like shape has spurned debate over whether its a car or SUV: It offers value ($18,000), excellent handling, comfortable front interior,and solid fuel economy (27/32).However, this comes with an asterisk, as it requires premium fuel.
2. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen- The 2011 nmodel comes fresh with a front end re-design and better fuel economy (22/30) than its predecessor. It offers massive cargo space (close to 70 cubic feet), besting full size SUVs,and an above average interior for its class. Reliability and safety are also up there, with a 2011 Top Safety Pick award and a five year, 60,000 mile powertrain limited warranty and coverage under Volkswagen´s Carefree Maintenance program.
1. Volkswagen Passat Wagon -The priciest wagon on the list at $28,000, the Passat Wagon beats the others with its interior refinement, powerful engine to fuel economy ratio (200HP four cylinder for 22/31 mpg),and arguably the best handling and cornering of any wagon with a DSG transmission. One of the few downsides is its mediocre reliability ratings and no all wheel drive like the Outback.