I'm vaguely looking (i.e. not looking to purchase in the immediate future) a station wagon (used - can't afford new) to replace our current car (Toyota Altezza). However, I'm struggling to find something which ticks all my boxes, namely:
- roomy in the back seat, with preferably a wide-opening door (for ease of access with a car seat).
- roomy boot, with split-fold seats, to make trips to the landfill with green waste easier.
- reliable, easy/cheap to fix/maintain.
- not a boring cabin (i.e. most of Toyota's range). A nice stereo (with bluetooth) is reasonably important, though I'm happy to get an aftermarket stereo installed, especially as most of the factory stereos are dreadful/hideous to look at or use.
- not a 7 seater/SUV/urban tractor/people mover (not a fan of over-large, high-riding vehicles)
I've looked around at a lot of different makes/models, (along with a number of manufacturers that I've historically avoided) including Toyota Corolla GX wagon, Subaru Legacy/Outback, Mazda 6/Atenza wagon, Honda Accord Tourer, Mercedes Benz C180 Kompressor wagon, BMW 525i Wagon, Audi S4 Avant Quattro, Nissan Wingroad (all taken from Trademe dealer-only searches). I've taken a couple for test drives, being the Legacy/Outback, the Corolla wagon, Audi S4 Avant, and a Mazda 6. Of those, the only one that I really liked was a 2010 Legacy Wagon. It was pretty spacious in the back seat, had a good boot space, I liked the cabin/kit/extras, and didn't feel too large (though obviously larger than our current car). However, the Dog and Lemon Guide slammed it on the reliability and cost to maintain/fix front. It immediately put me off, though it's the only car that really gave me a good vibe when driving it (which made the comments in Dog and Lemon so disappointing).
So my question is - what do people recommend as a good, reliable station wagon, which ticks most (if not all) of my boxes? It seems like my best option will be either a Mazda or Honda wagon. Are they the leading contenders for reliability/cost of maintenance and repairs (other than Toyota, of course)? If there are any mechanics here, is Subaru really as bad as Dog and Lemon suggests?