Money Wise--The Return of the Wagon - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/06/03

Money Wise--The Return of the Wagon

There was a time when station wagons were all over the place. And then, they kind of faded away. Like bell bottoms and '70s rock, wagons are back in style...and it's for all the right reasons. Among them are fuel efficiency and family-friendly features. The difference between then and now is that now, you don't have to give up luxury options for this practical ride. Wagons with sportier styling than their '70s forefathers, along with great gas mileage and luxury options, are fueling a trend.

"One little kid, they were just too small for an SUV," said wagon driver Louise Jensen. "It was like climbing a mountain to get in and out for the car pool."

That's when Jensen made the switch. A mother and landscaper, she's now in the market for her second Saturn wagon.

"We needed a vehicle that would hold a dog, hold a kid and hold friends and lug dirt and plants on a large scale and the wagon is just perfect," she said.

"Certainly we can say, when you look at history, the wagon was the first vehicle that really had the functionality for a family, a combination of hauling people as well as stuff, cargo," Jill Lajdziak of General Motors said.

In the '90s many automakers stopped making wagons and introduced more SUVs and minivans. Today, many consumers are once again seeking out and switching to wagons with their drivability and utility.

"You can still haul your stuff today with full flat seats, you can still put in that eight-foot kayak, you can get a bike in there," said Lajdziak. "But you've got the level of refinement you would see in many luxury vehicles."

Here's an example for you: on a Saturn wagon, a CD player is a standard option. Luxury options include heated leather seats and a DVD player for the kids in the back seat.

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, bdenmark@wtoc.com

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