Wagons were once the go-to option for those seeking a more practical vehicle. While that spot has since been taken away by the SUV, the elongated wagon still has much to offer. Discover all the charms of this vehicle class, the key considerations when buying one, and all the currently popular models on offer from the various Japanese automobile manufacturers.
Why Buy a Wagon?
The first reason to buy a wagon is that they feature more windows than a sedan, which provides the driver with a greater field of vision for safer and easier driving and parking. But, the primary reason to buy a wagon over a sedan dovetails with that of getting an SUV-practicality. Just like SUVs, they can feature more seats and more significant amounts of cargo space to transport all of your belongings. The rear seats are also foldable in specific models, creating even more cargo room if ever needed.
Considering those reasons, why would you not just get an SUV, then? Though the SUV is now the more popular option, the wagon still offers many advantages over it. The streamlined shape of the wagon means that they boast better fuel efficiency while at the same time being more maneuverable. Wagons also come fitted with more normal-sized wheels and tires, so changing these will generally be more affordable.
What to Consider When Buying a Wagon
Some larger wagon models even come with a third row of seats, meaning you can squeeze in a total of seven people. But, most wagons do not offer more seating capacity than sedans or hatchbacks at five seats (including the driver).
Cargo / Trunk Capacity
The wagon is basically a car with a longer cargo space. With that in mind, remember that the extra volume comes from the additional length, so some taller objects might be unable to fit in even though their volume is smaller than the trunk capacity. Also note that the last row of seats in some wagons are foldable, which offers a more versatile cabin and trunk space.
Engine and Fuel Efficiency
Wagon powertrains usually match those of their sedan counterparts. They come most commonly with either four or six-cylinder engines, although V8 eight-cylinder engines feature in sports and luxury models. Hybrid powertrains are also available in addition to the standard gas and diesel options to provide you with better fuel efficiency.
Most wagons have a standard array of safety features like ABS (anti-lock braking system), EBD (Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution), and of course, airbags.
Then, depending on the manufacturer and model, more advanced safety devices like blind spot warning, forward collision warning, and lane-keep assist might also be available.
Best Japanese Wagon to Consider Importing
The Toyota Corolla Fielder is the station wagon version of Toyota's bestselling nameplate. It features the same outstanding reliability as the traditional Corolla offers but with the versatility of a wagon. It comes with 1.5L and 1.8L engines available over its three generations.
For more seating room, look to the youthful and dynamic Wish. The Toyota Wish is available as a six- or seven-seater and with an optional all-wheel drive. The rear seats also fold flat to give a larger cargo space, perfect for if you transport goods often.
If you can afford to spend a bit more money, look at the Toyota Harrier, which blends luxury and function. With this model, you'll get features like discharge headlights, a JBL-enhanced audio system, a genuine leather steering wheel, and sports steering shiftmatic mode across all grades of this sleek vehicle.
The Nissan Leaf is a smooth-driving, fully electric, comfortable, and practical vehicle. It offers plenty of head, leg, and luggage space, with amazing efficiency, to make every trip a breeze.
Nissan's Dayz is their light wagon produced under the Mitsubishi eK brand. The 2019 model was the first to receive Nissan's ProPilot Intelligent Mobility autonomous driving system. This same model year also features a 660cc intercooler inline three-cylinder turbo engine capable of 63 hp and fuel efficiency ranging from 53.6 to 70.1 mpg.
Honda's Step WGN is a unique tall and narrow wagon with ample room and head clearance making it perfect for tall cargo (and people). The low flooring and a low center of gravity help with handling and ride comfort. You can find it available with 2.0L and 2.4L engines.
The Honda Shuttle is the second generation of the Honda Fit Shuttle, the wagon version of the popular Honda Fit. Its drivetrain is either a gas 1.5L L15B i-VTEC inline four-cylinder or a hybrid 1.5L LEB inline four-cylinder.
Form meets function in the Mitsubishi eK Wagon. The 5-door Kei wagon might be demure in size. However, it more than makes up for this when considering its excellent fuel efficiency, cabin comfort, flexible handling, and expansive windows for clear visibility on the road.
Subaru's Levorg is a rally-inspired, family-friendly wagon. Besides its abundant space, the Levorg flaunts Impreza-level performance and its unmistakable front fascia with a hood vent. The Levorg engine lineup features 1.6L, 1.8L, 2.0L, and 2.4L turbocharged flat-fours.
Next is the family-oriented Exiga, which is a wagon, although some would argue it is somewhere between a sedan and a wagon. Its spacious interior features three rows of plush theater-style seating and are foldable into different combinations to fit countless uses. The engines in the Exiga are a 2.0L, 2.4L turbocharged, and 2.5L flat-four engine.
Mazda's upper range of vehicles, the best-selling Atenza, comes in a sports wagon version. This means it has luxury trims, such as the 23 EX, as well as comfort options like a black wood interior, advanced keyless entry, 8-direction power seating with memory settings, and cruise control.
Where to Get the Best Deals on Wagons from Japan
It's possible to find used Japanese wagons at various Japanese automobile exporters. Here at BE FORWARD, you can be sure you'll get a great deal on a well-maintained Japanese wagon. Shop with us today to see what options we have available!