There aren't many compact station wagons left on the market, so shoppers seeking out the Hyundai Elantra Touring should also take a look at some cleverly designed hatchbacks, too--or seek out some higher-priced iron.
The Kia Soul has its own cool character, and wagon-like room behind the rear seats, and it's now available with a stop-start system that improves gas mileage.
Both the Ford Focus and Subaru Impreza are new for 2012, and both come in hatchback body styles that could solve the carrying conundrum as well as the Elantra Touring; the Focus is more entertaining to drive, while the Impreza has standard all-wheel drive.
Finally, if you're able to spend a little more, the VW Jetta SportWagen has a base price of just under $20,000, and has a very agreeable interior and lovely handling.
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