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Used station wagons review: 2012

Skoda Octavia RS Wagon.

SUVs march unrelentingly through the suburbs at a pace that has left rival vehicle types in the shade.

Two questions: Do you need all that space? And aren't SUVs becoming a bit passe?

The answer may be the humble wagon. Now freed of the additive "station'' -- implying expansive grazing lands and lazy windmills -- the wagon has matured to cleverly blend leisure with some family duties. Even better, thanks to their popularity in Europe, they are stylish and many share the enthusiastic engines of their sedan counterparts.

Wagons are on an equal footing with their sedan sisters in equipment, safety and performance. The Skoda Octavia wagon here, for example, has the same high-output turbo-petrol engine as its sports-oriented RS sedan model -- itself a reskinned Volkswagen Golf GTI. Wagons also share the handling, agility and performance acumen of their sedan equivalents.

But the wagon has a more flexible load area and the ability to haul a range of awkward-sized cargo thanks to split and fold-down rear seats. In comparison to an SUV, the wagon also retains the less cumbersome style of the sedan, in effect offering the best of both worlds.

Find a good sedan and if there's a wagon equivalent, then generally it will share any of the sedan's advantages and disadvantages. These three examples are very different in origins and execution. All are current models -- though the Holden and Skoda are poised for replacement -- and will have relatively low mileage.

The Skoda is the sports model and is more expensive than its rivals, though has more equipment and has a turbocharged petrol engine with a dual-clutch automatic transmission -- all quite expensive stuff.

Resale values are strong for the Hyundai (50 per cent retained after three years) and Skoda (49 per cent) but weak for the Holden (41 per cent), indicating that seeking a near-new used model can be more advantageous for the Holden buyer.
 

TOP TIPS

Wagons are made for work -- but check to see if it hasn't been abused. You may save big fuel money by choosing a smaller engine. A cargo net or barrier is a wise investment

skoda
2012 Skoda Octavia RS 147TSI
 
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo petrol
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch auto
Thirst: 7.9L/100



CARSGUIDE SAYS

"These wagons boast an incredible amount of storage space -- there's even an extra cubby hole beneath the boot floor. Skoda makes durable cars and though the Octavia is rather plain in appearance, it has a lot of features and is well built. The RS version adds sporty equipment and gets the upmarket 147kW engine and DSG transmission. There are paddle shifters for manual-mode gearchanges, 18-inch alloy wheels, satnav, sports seats and daylight running LEDs. The car has all the safety equipment including six airbags and electronic stability and traction

i40
2011 Hyundai i40 PREMIUM

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl petrol
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Thirst: 7.7L/100km

CARSGUIDE SAYS


"Hyundai has confirmed the i40 range will continue after it drops the similar i45 models, ensuring the i40 has a strong future. This is a 2.0-litre petrol-engined model -- there is also a 1.7-litre turbo diesel which is better suited to shorter duties such as in the city and suburbs. The Premium model gets a big list of standard equipment including 18-inch alloy wheels, satnav and Bluetooth, cruise control, sunroof and leather seats. There are split-fold rear seats though the available cargo space isn't as generous as the Skoda. Hyundai has a capped-price service schedule and a five-year warranty, which is reassuring for used-car buyers.

holden
2012 Holden Commodore SV6

Engine: 3.6-litre V6 petrol
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Thirst: 9.8L/100km



CARSGUIDE SAYS

"The Australian is a strong workhorse with plenty of style and ability. It's also a reliable and easy-to-fix wagon. The SV6 version is a more upmarket model that retains the 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine and six-speed automatic transmission but adds 18-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension and a sports body kit. Standard equipment includes six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, a reverse camera, airconditioning and cruise control. It also has a capped-price service schedule and buyers have a portion of the three-year warranty still intact.
 

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2012 $5,500 $22,880

View all Skoda Octavia pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$11,999
Based on 17 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$9,750
Highest Price
$13,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
103 TDI 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $7,900 – 12,210 2012 Skoda Octavia 2012 103 TDI Pricing and Specs
118 TSI 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $7,400 – 11,440 2012 Skoda Octavia 2012 118 TSI Pricing and Specs
77 TDI 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP $6,500 – 10,120 2012 Skoda Octavia 2012 77 TDI Pricing and Specs
90 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $6,000 – 9,240 2012 Skoda Octavia 2012 90 TSI Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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