Are you in the market for the best affordable full size wagons as an alternative to SUVs? Fortunately, there are a few spacious wagons (some are actually midsize with lots of interior space) in the under $30,000 price range that qualify as cheap wheels offering plenty in the way of refinement, performance, style, and unexpected luxury.

Check out these contenders for best affordable full size wagons:

  • Subaru OutbackWith standard all-wheel drive and starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices of $22,995 to $30,995, the redesigned for 2010 5-passenger Outback is a solid value for consumers looking for SUV-like practicality, car-like drive, and lots of added cargo room. Motor Trend, which named Outback its 2010 Sport Utility of the Year, comments: “New goodies aside, the most profound enhancement to the 2010 Outback mix is an additional 8.0-9.8 cubic feet of interior volume that comes courtesy of its mini growth spurt and a new, more compact dual-wishbone rear suspension. The result is more stretch space everywhere – highlighted by an extra 3.9 inches of rear-seat legroom.”
  • Volkswagen Passat WagonWhile it only seats five, the 2010 Volkswagen Passat Wagon offers consumers much in the way of German driving dynamics, roomy cabin with lots of cargo space, a near-luxury feel, and the prestige of the Volkswagen brand. The automaker made some changes to Passat lineup for 2010, including the elimination of the formerly-optional V6 engine and all-wheel drive (in favor of the more upscale CC). Still, the 2010 Passat gets a DSG automated dual-clutch 6-speed manual transmission. And power comes from a 200-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Edmunds says, “The new DSG transmission is a revelation, handily topping rivals with its quick yet smooth shifts.”
  • Kia RondoIts 7-passenger seating alone commands attention, but the 2010 Kia Rondo also features good head and legroom, good-for-the-price cabin materials and assembly quality, competent handling (although with a little body lean in tight corners), and easy-to-read large gauges. Kia says the 3-rows of seating offer the same variety of seating arrangements as a full-size SUV or minivan without the bulk or low fuel economy. Consumer Guide remarks: “Kia calls Rondo a crossover, but its car-like design and lack of all-wheel drive land it squarely in the wagon camp. As such, its roomy interior, flexible cargo accommodations, and attractive pricing make Rondo a Recommended alternative to traditional midsize sedans and crossover SUVs.”

Other best affordable full size wagons to put on your consideration list include the Volvo V50 (starting MSRP of $28,700), and the Honda Crosstour (MSRP starting at $29,670). Another choice is the Mazda Mazda5 wagon (or a cheap wagon that happens to have sliding rear doors) with a base starting MSRP of $18,510.

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