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Family Car Advice: The Best Family Wagons For 2011


2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon

When it comes to hauling kids, groceries and everyday stuff of life, a good wagon makes the value equation just about every time.

The good news for consumers is that automakers, who virtually ditched wagons in favor of SUVs, minivans and crossovers in recent years have seen the light and rekindled their interest in building high-quality, versatile wagons again.

Whether your family needs dictate looking at more affordable (read small) wagons or you can stretch the budget a bit to go for a little larger (and more expensive) product, be sure to check out these top-rated station wagons, as rated by the editors of TheCarConnection.com:

 

2010 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI

2010 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI


2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Go for the diesel-powered 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen for the best in performance and fuel economy. The 140-horsepower Jetta SportWagen 2.0-liter clean TDI is rated at 30 mpg city and up to 41 mpg highway fuel economy – rivaling that of many hybrids. Sure, the TDI diesel (starting at $24,995) costs a little more than the gasoline variants in the Jetta SportWagen line, but long-term you’ll more than make up for it in lower ownership costs. Volkswagen markets the Jetta SportWagen as “the wagon for people who aren’t wagon people,” and the advertising tagline certainly seems to fit. Cargo volume in the five-passenger Jetta SportWagen is 32.8 cubic feet and 66.9 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. TheCarConnection gives the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen an 8.0 (out of 10) overall rating, saying “It’s versatile, roomy, and wears the family hauler tag as a badge of honor.” It’s also a 2011 Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

 

2011 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

2011 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

2011 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

There’s no doubt that the 2011 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon will cause heads to turn – just as its sedan and coupe siblings do. The CTS is, in a word, simply stunning from almost any angle. While every Cadillac CTS is world-class, according to editors of TheCarConnection, the wagon has a number of attributes that make it perfect for family use. Among these are longer rear door openings for easier getting in and out, an additional 25 feet of passenger space, flip-down rear seats for a total of 58.0 cubic feet of room, and a power tailgate. Speaking of power, the CTS Sport Wagon gets its oomph from a 270-horsepower 3.0-liter direct-injected V-6 engine that delivers an estimated 28 mpg highway fuel economy. There’s also the optional 306-horsepower, 3.6-liter direct-injected gasoline V-6 engine (standard with all-wheel drive). The luxury 2011 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon carries starting prices that range from $38,465 (3.0-liter V-6 rear-wheel drive) to $51,165 (3.6-liter V-6 Premium Collection AWD).

2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon

2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon

2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon

Seating five adults and two children in comfort and luxury, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon – new for 2011 – makes traveling with the family more than just transportation. Power comes from a 265-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Benz' 4MATIC all-wheel drive is standard. EPA fuel economy is 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. With a starting price of $56,200, power tailgate and rearview camera are included, along with a slew of features such as attention assist driver-drowsiness monitor, 14-way power-adjustable front seats, 11 standard airbags, Mercedes-Benz mbrace, and more. The E350 sedan and coupe are 2011 IIHS Top Safety Picks and, while the wagon has not yet been tested, it should offer similar protection. Space, luxury, tight build quality, materials selection that’s mostly excellent, and quietness that is its strength – all these are reasons TheCarConnection editors give the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (including the wagon) an overall 8.0 (out of 10) rating.


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Comments (2)
  1. My family has driven wagons ever since we started having kids -- who are now adults. Currently we have a "3" series, which I love to drive. You missed, however, what I think are the best of the bunch: the Audi A4 and A6 Avants. These offer luxury and functionality that surpass all others.
     
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  2. @ R.C. Shulstad - Glad you love your BMW 3-series wagon. And I agree that the two Audi (A4, A6) Avants should have been included. Would have been, too, except for space limitations. Thanks for the comment.
     
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