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Old 11-11-2012, 11:01 PM
 
Location: I live wherever I am.
1,935 posts, read 4,539,251 times
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Help me figure out all of the cars that meet these criteria.

I'd love to find a wagon that works for hauling some musical equipment, has a front bench seat (even if a split bench) without an intrusive plastic center console, and gets good gas mileage for its size.

I had a 1994 Mercury Sable wagon... can't remember if it had a bench or not. Got 27 mpg on the highway with the 3.8L V6 and worked very well for hauling the amount of gear I take to my regular gigs. I might look into a newer model of that wagon... I have experience with a 2000 Taurus sedan that got 30 mpg highway with the 3.0L V6.

Is it true that the 1991 through 1996 Caprice / Roadmaster / Custom Cruiser wagons can really get 25 mpg on the highway? Those huge things with a 305 or 350 V8 engine? Really?

I know that the Buick Century / Oldsmobile Cutlass from the mid-1990s would also fit the bill.

Do any of y'all have, or know of, any other wagons that would work? I'm not interested in anything small because my wife and I are big people and we haul big amounts of musical gear. If you have experience with any of these wagons, give me your two cents about what's hot and what's not.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:12 PM
 
Location: MD's Eastern Shore
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I don't know if the caprice wagon was offered with the 4.3 V6 but my mid 80's sedan did and it got about 25. And it had a 25 gallon tank. From MD to Stuart, FL was 1 gas stop. I have heard the V8's got good mileage on the highway but I would think the'yd drink the gas in the city. Hopefully someone with one of them can answer that. Again I don't know if the wagon form was offered with the V6.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:11 AM
 
Location: I live wherever I am.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlinfshr View Post
I don't know if the caprice wagon was offered with the 4.3 V6 but my mid 80's sedan did and it got about 25. And it had a 25 gallon tank. From MD to Stuart, FL was 1 gas stop. I have heard the V8's got good mileage on the highway but I would think the'yd drink the gas in the city. Hopefully someone with one of them can answer that. Again I don't know if the wagon form was offered with the V6.
That's crazy, but in a good way. I wonder why that is, and here's my reasoning.

I had a 1985 Buick LeSabre coupe... great car, same size as the Caprice of its time... it had the 5.0L V8 (307 ci) and couldn't do better than 17 mpg on the highway even with its overdrive transmission. (Of course, I never really pressed it for a fuel economy run, as I owned it before gas got expensive. I imagine that if I had been nice to it, like keeping it at 55 mph, it would've returned 20 or so.)

A 4.3L engine is, in round numbers, 15% smaller than a 5.0L engine. That should translate to a small increase in fuel economy (assuming the engines are of the same power... something I'd have to look up to verify / refute) but 25 mpg in a mid-80's Caprice sedan? Was that "normal" or were you really light on the throttle to achieve those numbers?

After all, I can tell people that I'm capable of averaging 20 mpg in my behemoth 1996 Silverado C3500 (crew cab, long bed, diesel)... but the fine print in that statement is that it requires me to drive at 55 mph. At regular highway speeds, going the speed limit of 65-70, I get 15-16 mpg on the highway.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:42 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,959 posts, read 77,466,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
Help me figure out all of the cars that meet these criteria.

I'd love to find a wagon that works for hauling some musical equipment, has a front bench seat
(even if a split bench) without an intrusive plastic center console...

Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser- An American Icon - YouTube
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:17 AM
 
Location: I live wherever I am.
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Don't tempt me. I'd love to get an old Vista Cruiser. A dealership down the road from where I live has a Vista Cruiser that looks to be from 1977 or 1978... which is amusing, as it doesn't have the "vista windows" that the old-school Vista Cruisers had. It's more a mid-sized "Colonnade" wagon. (I'm ashamed to admit, I'm not sure I've ever seen one of them before!)

Do they get good gas mileage though?
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:37 AM
 
Location: U.S.A.
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Yes, you will see 25 mpg highway in the '94-'96 Chevy/Olds "B-Body" wagons. Those would be my recommendation for what you are looking for, especially for hauling stuff around. They are great cruisers, reliable and have a cavernous amount of space in the back. Also very good for towing as their construction and drivetrain is essentially a low riding 1/2 ton pickup.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,305 posts, read 75,189,854 times
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OUr Olds was a Classic Calais I think, The picture spurred a memory. Probably 1978-1982) Somewhere in there, maybe a bit newer but i doubt it.

Oh and they rusted a lot. Wheel wells and the rear tail gate mostly.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,766 posts, read 3,776,554 times
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Ford Taurus wagon 2000-2005 model years.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:51 PM
 
Location: MD's Eastern Shore
3,360 posts, read 4,222,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
That's crazy, but in a good way. I wonder why that is, and here's my reasoning.

I had a 1985 Buick LeSabre coupe... great car, same size as the Caprice of its time... it had the 5.0L V8 (307 ci) and couldn't do better than 17 mpg on the highway even with its overdrive transmission. (Of course, I never really pressed it for a fuel economy run, as I owned it before gas got expensive. I imagine that if I had been nice to it, like keeping it at 55 mph, it would've returned 20 or so.)

A 4.3L engine is, in round numbers, 15% smaller than a 5.0L engine. That should translate to a small increase in fuel economy (assuming the engines are of the same power... something I'd have to look up to verify / refute) but 25 mpg in a mid-80's Caprice sedan? Was that "normal" or were you really light on the throttle to achieve those numbers?

After all, I can tell people that I'm capable of averaging 20 mpg in my behemoth 1996 Silverado C3500 (crew cab, long bed, diesel)... but the fine print in that statement is that it requires me to drive at 55 mph. At regular highway speeds, going the speed limit of 65-70, I get 15-16 mpg on the highway.
This would have been highway mileage. I had it in the mid 90's so the speed limit would have still been 55 If I remember so 60 MPH would have been about right for me in those years. Perhaps the V6 came with taller gears. For comparison my current Ram 4X4 with 4.7 and 35" tires will get 16.5 highway with me driving about the same style but bumping it up to just under 70. Ironically the wrangler 4 cyl that replaced the caprice would get about 16 highway as well. But it had the aerodynamics of a brick!
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:57 PM
 
14,781 posts, read 41,632,443 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lux Hauler View Post
Yes, you will see 25 mpg highway in the '94-'96 Chevy/Olds "B-Body" wagons. Those would be my recommendation for what you are looking for, especially for hauling stuff around. They are great cruisers, reliable and have a cavernous amount of space in the back. Also very good for towing as their construction and drivetrain is essentially a low riding 1/2 ton pickup.
Those would be my recommendation as well. The LT1 in those cars was not only strong, but fairly efficient as well. A buddy of mine inherited one from his grandfather and he still uses it as their family hauler and rountinely sees 25 highway and has enough power to handle anything he wants.

My other suggestion would just be to get a minivan. It's hard to beat the versatility, size and MPG of those for the kind of work you are looking to do.
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