Audi A4 Avant
Audi is a company known for innovation, expertise, a quality product and expensive cars. The Audi falls into the even more exclusive sport wagon market, and is the perfect compromise between practicality and the need for speed. At 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph, it won't win a drag race with a Porsche, but wagons aren't typically known for their performance numbers. The interior contains typical Audi luxury and appointments, aluminum and plush leather abound. The mpg rating for the Audi is surprisingly high for a luxury car (21 mpg city/29 mpg highway. Like most luxury cars, premium fuel is recommended, but regular fuel can also be used without engine problems, so fuel costs are not too high for this car. With only 17.3 cubic feet of trunk space with the rear seats up, the space is significantly lower than the other cars listed here, but the trunk floor is lower, so it is better able to accommodate taller baggage. AWD is standard, as well as an eight-speed automatic transmission. The handling is responsive and behaves well. Even though this is more expensive than both the Volvo and Subaru at about $36,300, the luxury upgrades and better performance are worth the price for those who luxury and performance are important factors that they take into account when purchasing a car.
BMW 328i Sport Wagon
The BMW 328i Sport Wagon is pricey ($36,200) but one of the best-performing vehicle in this category. The BMW 328i Sport Wagon is the car for the sporty purist, as it is available with a manual transmission and has the handling, power and performance that people have come to expect from BMW. Inside, it is a typical BMW interior--the front is very driver-focused, but fairly roomy for both the driver and front passenger. Unfortunately, typical BMW interior means the iDrive system for most buyers, and that's an issue. If technology is not your thing, you may want to consider the Audi instead. The rear seats are good for children and a person of average height, but taller people may feel uncomfortable in there for long periods of time. With 25.0 cubic feet of trunk space with the rear seats up, the trunk space is more than the Audi, but still not as much as will be found in the Subaru or Volvo. The 328i has both manual and automatic transmissions to choose from. The manual transmission gives the 328i Sport Wagon a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds with the manual transmission, while the automatic is a little slower, getting to 60 mph from a standstill in 7.1 seconds. With a 230-hp engine under the hood, this car is no weakling.