The Best 4x4 Station Wagon: Comparing 5 Popular Models

July 18, 2014

4x4 vehicles can be defined as any automobiles which have all-wheel drive. They differ from luxury SUV's in that, while luxury SUV's are generally also 4x4s, not all 4x4 vehicles are SUV's.

When deciding whether or not to buy a 4x4 truck instead of a 4X4 SUV, there are many things you must consider. SUV's have high-performance drive built on a light truck chassis. They carry more than the usual number of passengers compared to sedans. In fact, they are known as good family cars. In addition, they have strong towing capability. On the other side, 4x4 trucks are designed and built for tough roads and difficult weather conditions. 4x4 trucks are regarded, somewhat, as the perfect car for the construction worker and typically have a larger towing capacity, carry fewer passengers and have more cargo space. Here is a comparison of features between an 4x4 truck and an SUV.

Aesthetics
Cars are designed to be beautiful, and when it comes to making a choice as to what to buy, aesthetics matters a lot. SUV's are luxury cars and 4x4 trucks are not. SUV's can conveniently replace a sedan and offer much more. The interior of an SUV is designed with a classy atmosphere, whereas 4x4 trucks are built for work purposes. Also, for adventurers going on a journey across difficult terrains, and carrying large domestic and industrial loads from one place to another the 4x4 truck is much more useful than the SUV.

Height
The height of an SUV and a 4x4 truck provides a higher ride, and many people like this. These two cars are built on the same chassis and they are both designed to escape floods without qualms.

Passenger Space
An SUV has greater passenger space. It can carry more than 4 passengers at any one time. SUV's usually have 3 seat rows plus an optional seat row. A 4x4 truck is built to favor cargo over passengers. Some only have one seat row and thus can carry only 3 people. Others have a back seat and can comfortably carry 5.

Cargo Capacity
4x4 trucks have higher cargo capacity than an SUV. While SUV's are built to accommodate more passengers, a 4x4 truck offers more cargo capacity. In fact, its suspension system is designed to withstand heavy industrial loads, such as welding machines, building materials and other types of goods that would otherwise affect the suspension system of an SUV.

Mileage
Both cars are gas guzzlers. However, an SUV consumes more gas and costs more to the user than a 4x4 truck.

Comfort and Performance
When it comes to complete comfort, the SUV has it all. The main idea behind building a car like the SUV is to make it comfortable to passengers as much as possible. They can have interiors made of the finest quality leathers, soft to the skin, yet strong enough to withstand tear. A 4x4 truck does not have all that, but its interior is made of the most durable of materials. One major limitation of the 4x4 truck is that it is built for performance and not absolute comfort. A 4x4 truck has the capacity to tow a heavy load, whereas an SUV has some limitations in this regard.

The SUV and 4x4 are no doubt two great vehicles. They both serve different, unique purposes. SUV is mostly a family kind of car. It also has a big enough trunk for goods. 4x4 trucks are designed with heavy loads and a rocky environment in mind.

The Best 4x4 Station Wagon: Comparing 5 Popular Models

If you're searching for an all wheel drive or 4x4 station wagon, you might be interested in a list of some popular wagons designed to be driven off-road. Although a utility wagon is not a truck, and won't be able to traverse creeks or get you out of a ditch the way some large 4-wheel drive pickups can, an all wheel drive station wagon can take you places other passenger cars cannot.

Subaru Outback Sport Wagon
Average Fuel Economy: 22 MPG

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $22,995 to $30,995

Considered by many car enthusiasts and review sites to be the most rugged station wagon you can buy, the Subaru Outback leaves other station wagons in the dust when it comes to traveling off-road. All wheel drive is standard on all Outback models, and you need not pay extra for 4x4 capability. Great performance and handling also make this one of the most sought-after station wagons on the market.

BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon
Average Fuel Economy: 20 MPG

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $37,700

Year after year, the BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon is considered to be one of the best vehicles on the road. Considerably less expensive than other luxury station wagons, the BMW 328i Sports Wagon is indeed a bargain at just under $38,000. Optional all-wheel drive on this vehicle will help you safely negotiate dirt roads or wet and slippery highways.

Ford Flex
Average Fuel Economy: 18 MPG

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $36,595 to $42,465

The boxy style and huge 19-inch wheels of the Ford Flex make it one of the most interesting looking station wagons on the road. Although the Ford Flex doesn't get quite the gas mileage of other vehicles in our lineup, it certainly will be the topic of conversations with its intriguing design. The Ford Flex is also larger than the other station wagons on this list and provides seating for up to 7 passengers. All wheel drive is available for Flex models that use the new Ford Eco-Boost turbo gasoline engine.

Volvo V50 T5 R-Design AWD
Average Fuel Economy: 22 MPG

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $33,050

Volvo is renowned for producing some of the safest vehicles you can buy, and the Volvo V50 T5 AWD is a safe and reliable all-wheel drive station wagon. A comfortable and luxurious interior make this station wagon a bargain at $33,000. Add to that all-wheel drive and more cargo space than many smaller SUV's, and you have a station wagon that will take you to your next camping trip in style.

Cadillac CTS Wagon
Average Fuel Economy: 22 MPG

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $40,165 to $48,665

The Cadillac CTS Wagon can go from 0 to 60 mph in just under 7 seconds. Keep in mind that this is a station wagon - not a sports sedan. With more than 300 horsepower, the Cadillac CTS Wagon offers more performance and power than any other vehicle in its class. Even though the vehicle is much faster than most other station wagons, it still manages to get very good fuel economy. Of course, the CTS Wagon comes with all the luxury and opulence you would expect from Cadillac.

4x4 Trucks vs. Luxury SUV's

If you're looking at 4x4 trucks versus SUV's, here are some of the top rated 4x4 vehicles which offer maximum car comfort and usefulness.

4x4 Truck: Ford F-150
The base model of the Ford F-150 is a 2x4, but 4-wheel drive is available as an option. Ford is known for the quality of its trucks, and the F-150 is a top-rated consumer pick. It earned recognition as Motor Trend's 2009 "Truck of the Year." The F-150 has a 5-star vehicle crash safety rating in all categories from the NHTSA, and a 4-star rollover rating. The base model comes with a 4.6L V8 engine which packs 248 horsepower and gets an estimated 19 miles per gallon on the highway. MSRP for the base 4x4 model starts at $25,710. The Ford F-150's greatest strength is its towing and hauling power; its most significant con is that the standard cab style has limited rear visibility.

4x4 Truck: Toyota Tundra
The Toyota Tundra offers 2 different engine options for the 4x4 version: a 4.7L-V8 with 276 horsepower, or a 5.7L-V8 with 381 horsepower. It matches the Ford F-150 with 19 estimated miles per gallon on the highway, but falls behind in that it only has a 4-star crash safety rating. The base 4x4 model starts with an MSRP of $27,010, making the Tundra a more expensive and slightly less popular choice than the F-150.

Luxury SUV: Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Mercedes-Benz vehicles definitely qualify as luxury, and this class of SUV is no exception, with an MSRP starting at $58,200. 3 different engine opons are available: a 3.0L-V6 with 210 horsepower, a 4.6L-V8 wih 335 horsepower, and a 5.5L-V8 with 382 horsepower. You can expect between 17 and 23 miles per gallon on the highway, depending on the vehicle within the GL class. Although it is a large and roomy SUV, it handles more like a smaller vehicle. As can be expected from a Mercedes-Benz, all sorts of upgrades are available so you can drive in comfort.

Luxury SUV: Cadillac Escalade
The Cadillac Escalade costs significantly more than the Mercedes-Benz, with a starting MSRP of $64,755 for the base 4x4. It has a 5-star crash test safety rating, a myriad of luxurious options and a 6.2L-V8 engine with a whopping 403 horsepower. It can tow just over 4 tons with all the best towing gear equipped, and gets an estimated 19 miles per gallon on the highway when not towing anything. If you want the ultimate in SUV comfort and price is no object, you should seriously consider the Cadillac Escalade.

4x4 Trucks: Gas vs. Diesel Trucks

When buying 4x4 trucks you have to decide between gas a diesel, and there are many things to consider. This guide will help you determine which 4x4 truck is best for you.

How a Gasoline Engine Works vs. How a Diesel Engine Works

In a gasoline engine, fuel injectors, controlled by the truck's Engine Control Module or ECM, spray a fine mist of gasoline into the engine's cylinders. Once in the cylinders, the gasoline is ignited by the trucks spark plugs, driving the piston. A diesel engine does not have spark plugs. It uses heat from the compression of air in the cylinder to ignite the diesel fuel. When a piston moves up in the cylinder, it compresses the air in the cylinder, generating a massive amount of heat. The heat is so great that when the fuel injector sprays the diesel fuel into the cylinder, the fuel ignites, driving the piston back down.

Price Differences between a Diesel Truck and a Gasoline Truck
A 3/4 ton truck (Chevrolet/GMC 2500, Dodge Ram 2500, Ford F-250) with the optional diesel engine will cost between $5,000 to $7,000 more than a gasoline engine 3/4 ton truck and $10,000 to $12,000 more than a 1/2 ton gasoline engine truck.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Gasoline 4x4 Truck
Purchasing a 4x4 truck with a gasoline engine will initially save thousands of dollars compared to thecost of a diesel engine truck. In addition to the price savings on the truck itself, gasoline is less expensive than diesel fuel. According to the Department of Energy, in 2008, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $3.25, where diesel was $3.80. Trucks with gasoline engines will meet all but the most demanding towing and hauling needs. Gasoline engines, however, are not as durable and do not last as long as diesel engines. They also are less fuel efficient than their diesel counterparts.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Diesel 4x4 Truck
Diesel engines are built to withstand the higher pressures and heat as a result of how they operate. Thus, they tend to last much longer than conventional gasoline engines. They also generate more torque, which enables then to haul heavier loads than gasoline engine trucks. Diesel trucks are also more efficient in regular driving and when hauling a load than gasoline powered trucks. This is because diesel fuel is denser and contains more energy than gasoline, allowing diesel engines to do more work compared using the same amount of fuel. However, diesel trucks are much more expensive than gasoline trucks. The benefits of buying a diesel truck will only be realized if you carry or tow heavy loads on a regular basis.

How to Find the Best Deals on 4x4 Trucks


As with many things, the Internet can be a great help to people who want to save money when buying 4x4 trucks. Whether used to make an actual purchase, to find information to use when negotiating a price, or just to scout for prices and reviews, there are a few things you need to know to find the best deals on off road vehicles on the Internet.

Find as Much Information as You Can
A simple search on CarsDirect for the specific 4x4 trucks you are considering will yield loads of information on both new and used tucks for sale. This will provide you with information on specific models, specifications, options and features, as well as actual prices. All of this can be used to help give you an idea of what's out there and how much you need to spend for it.

Narrow Your Search
Once you've got a general idea of what's out there, use this information to narrow your search. Decide on what features and specifications you need out of your future truck. Do you need something with the power to tow heavy loads? Or is great maneuverability more important to you? Knowing this will help you to zoom in on a specific model, or at least a specific type of truck.

Make Comparisons
When you have a clearer idea of what truck or kind of truck you need, you can start making comparisons with what different sites have to offer. This will be especially useful if you're searching for a used vehicle, but it can come in handy when looking for a brand new truck as well. Awareness of the different prices in relation to specific models and features and the sites that offer them will be invaluable in your search for the best deal out there.

Check Offline Ads from Local Used Car Dealerships Online
The prices of online sales will usually be lower than those in local, offline dealerships. An online store doesn't have to shoulder employee salaries, rent, utilities and other expenses, and this will usually allow Internet-based dealerships to keep their prices lower than those of traditional showrooms. This is a great incentive for making your purchase online, and not bothering with local dealerships. However, should you find an ad from a local dealer showcasing a vehicle you're interested in, try checking for the exact same vehicle from the exact same dealer online. If the dealership also posts sales on the Internet, there's a possibility that they could be selling the same vehicle for a lower price online. You could have the best of both worlds in this situation. Go down to the dealer's showroom and check out the vehicle in person, take it for a test drive and have it inspected by a mechanic, all of which are difficult or impossible in a purely online transaction, and then make the actual purchase online for the lower price.

How to Buy a 4x4 Truck Online

As with most purchases conducted over the Internet, buying a 4x4 truck online holds its own pros and cons. Online sales of new and used cars and trucks have increased exponentially in recent years, and more and more car dealerships and private sellers are taking their businesses online. However, if you're planning on buying a 4x4 truck online, or any kind of vehicle, for that matter, there are a few things you should know about how to do so.

Know What You Want
Buying a 4x4 truck online as opposed to locally vastly widens the choices available to you in terms of truck types, specific models and options. This can be both a blessing and a curse; a blessing because it greatly increases your chances of finding exactly what you want, and a curse because it can make looking for what you want incredibly difficult. Knowing what you want before you begin your actual search can save a significant amount of time and effort. Start by determining whether you want to buy a brand new or a used truck. While used trucks are significantly cheaper than their brand new counterparts, some 4x4 truck models have particularly low second-hand consumer ratings. Additionally, a hybrid 4x4 truck is a valid consideration, given today's environment. Hybrid trucks typically have better mileage than their standard counterparts, and hybrid vehicle owners have a federal tax deduction simply for using environmentally friendly vehicles.

Research the Truck You Want
As you're buying online, you want to make especially sure that you know everything there is to know about the vehicle you're buying. You won't have the same chance to extensively test drive the truck, or to have a mechanic inspect it, before the actual purchase, so extensively research the truck's customer satisfaction record, features and specifications, and if you're buying a used truck, make sure you're buying it from a reliable seller.

Be Careful of Whom You Do Business With
If you're buying a brand new vehicle, you're probably already looking at established sellers and car dealerships. However, if you're looking for a used 4x4 truck, be especially careful about who you deal with. Take into consideration that the physical automobile industry is plagued with fraudsters and conmen, and has been for years, as is the Internet. Put the two together and the result can be extremely hazardous for unwary car shoppers. Just one example stems from vehicles that were flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Con artists are finding ways to sneak these extensively damaged vehicles back into the used-car market. If you're looking at a used 4x4 truck, be sure to check the vehicle's VIN history report before anything else. Better yet, the safest way to ensure the validity of a used truck is to only stick with the bigger dealerships and brand names, or at least those with established track records.

Buying a 4x4 truck online is the best way to find exactly what you're looking for. Additionally, online deals are typically much better than those you'll find at your local dealership. However, buying online isn't necessarily problem-free. The steps above should help you make the most out of your online experience and eliminate the hassles.

Related Questions and Answers

What is the Most Popular Luxury SUV Car Rental?

A luxury SUV car rental will ensure that you vacation and drive in style. There are dozens of available SUV's from a number of different car rental companies. While there are no hard and fast numbers as to how many of each type are rented each year, most rental agencies offer Chevy Suburbans and Jeep Commanders for those people that are looking for a full size luxury SUV rental. There are some higher end rental agencies that offer Cadillac Escalades, the Lexus LX, and even Range Rovers for those that want ultra luxury and the ability to go off road.

Which Car Manufacturer Sells the Most Luxury Midsize SUVs?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been one of the most popular luxury midsize SUVs on the market for more than two decades. The Grand Cherokee is manufactured by Chrysler-Jeep, which is part of Daimler-Chrysler Corp. The Jeep evolved from the famous US Army Jeep (GP) that first saw service in World War Two. The Willys-Overland Corporation made that vehicle for the US government, and when the war was over, they adapted it for civilian use. The company became the Jeep Corporation in the Sixties and was bought by Chrysler in the early Nineties.

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