Wagons aren't popular in the US but there are still affordable ones out there.
After years of waiting, Audi will finally offer the RS6 Avant in the United States for the 2020 model year. It comes packing a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 592 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque going out to Quattro all-wheel-drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission. With a 0-62 mph time of just 3.6 seconds, the RS6 will be one of the quickest wagons on sale.
Audi hasn't announced pricing but in the US but don't expect it to be below the six-figure mark. That's a lot of money to spend on a family vehicle the kids will likely destroy, so if you want a fast family vehicle and don't have a six-figure budget, we have six cheaper used alternatives to consider.
We usually like to recommend the previous generation of the car in question but Audi never offered the RS6 Avant for sale here in the US, which is why we are turning to the smaller S4 Avant. It was offered in the B6 and B7 generations, both powered by a 4.2-liter V8 producing 340 hp. Transmission choices included a six-speed automatic or a rarified six-speed manual and you can now pick one up between $8,000 to $20,000 depending on condition. Just be aware, these cars were not famed for their reliability and could produce some expensive repair bills.
Wagons, especially performance wagons, are a rare breed in the US. But the RS6 will not go unrivaled because the Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon has been on the market (by special order only) since 2018. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 actually produces more power than the Audi - 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque - and 0-60 mph takes just 3.4 seconds. The reason why the E63 makes the list is that, unlike the Audi, you can already buy a used E63 S Wagon with very low miles for under $90,000. It's still expensive, but at least someone else has taken the initial depreciation hit.
Did you remember Dodge used to build a full-size wagon based on the Charger platform? It's called the Magnum and from 2006 to 2008, Dodge even built an SRT version. The Magnum SRT-8 packs a 6.1-liter HEMI V8 producing 425 hp and 420 lb-ft going out to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic. It easily has the worst interior on this list but you can now find an SRT Magnum starting at around $10,000.
Car enthusiasts are a funny breed. We demanded a fast, rear-wheel-drive wagon with loads of power and a manual transmission. Then, when Cadillac built exactly what we wanted, no one showed up to buy it. That's why finding a used Cadillac CTS-V Wagon with a manual transmission is now nearly impossible and very expensive. You can still find an automatic example for under $50,000 but manual cars have skyrocketed in value and are likely to reach collector status.
Even if you have to settle for the automatic, the CTS-V still packs 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 used in the Camaro ZL1. It can't match the 0-60 mph times of the Audi or Mercedes but unlike those cars, it offers the fun of rowing your own gears.
Volvo's performance brand, Polestar, is not as well known as BMW M or Mercedes-AMG. But for three model years in 2016, 2017, and 2018, it built a performance version of the V60 Wagon called the V60 Polestar. The 2016 V60 Polestar is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six producing 345 hp. In 2017 and 2018, the six-cylinder was replaced by a 2.0-liter twin-charged four-cylinder with 362 hp. Used Volvo V60 Polestar can now be found in the low $30,000 range.
Subaru no longer sells a performance hatchback in the US but from 2008 to 2014, you could get an Impreza WRX STI in the practical hatchback body style. No, it's technically not a wagon, but the STI is still a quick family car with tons of space inside. This generation of the STI was powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four, the same engine that is used today, in fact. 0-60 mph takes less than five seconds thanks to the AWD system and a manual was the only transmission option. You can pick up a used WRX STI hatch between $14,000 and $30,000 depending on the year and condition.
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