I Want To Replace My Juke With A Wagon! What Car Should I Buy?

Matt likes driving vehicles that are different, but his 2011 Nissan Juke is getting up there in miles so it’s time to replace it with something with a bit more space and more modern features. He is ideally looking for a wagon or wagon-ish vehicle for around $30,000. What car should he buy?

(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.)

Here is the scenario:

Quick Facts:

I am looking to replace my aging 2011 Nissan Juke with something a bit larger and more comfortable. This car would be used for trips up and down the east coast with myself, my wife, and our two ~50lb dogs as well as being my daily driver.

Like any true Jalopnik reader, my ideal vehicle would be a wagon. I don’t require AWD, but it would be a nice addition. I’m also not opposed to “wagon-ish” vehicles. However, EVs are out as I don’t really have ample charging access.

I would love to have the ability to do some light modification to this vehicle, but a huge aftermarket is not totally necessary. I can spend up to $30,000

Budget: up to $30,000

Location: Salisbury, MD

Daily Driver: Yes

Wants: More space, upgraded tech, reliable

Doesn’t want: A manual or an EV

Expert 1: Tom McParland- Alltrack!

Black VW Alltrack

Image: Autotrader.com

Matt, you have obviously come to the right place if you are looking for long-roof recommendations. While the wagon market is a bit more limited compared to other body styles, a budget of $30,000 can still get you something nice. Since you probably like the zippiness of the Juke, you may want to aim for something with the same fun-to-drive factor but with a bit more usable space.

A solid choice would be the Volkswagon Golf Alltrack/Sportwagon. The two cars are virtually identical though the lifted Alltrack is a bit easier to source and comes standard with all-wheel drive. Under the hood is a 1.8-liter turbocharged motor that packs a punchy 180 horsepower. If you feel you need more boost there is a very good aftermarket community for these VWs and you can crank up the power without a lot of expense.

Naturally, the Alltrack/Sportwagon, is a Golf hatchback with more cargo space in the rear totaling about 30 cubic feet, which is about triple compared to your Nissan. Inventory for these VWs is fairly plentiful in the region, and you can score ones with reasonable miles within your budget. Here is a Certified 2019 with only 7,000 miles for just under thirty grand.

Expert 2: Owen Bellwood – Wagon(ish)

A photo of a white Subaru Outback Wilderness.

Photo: Subaru

Matt, if you’re replacing a Nissan Juke then I’m more than happy to help you find a lovely wagon-ish car to drive around town instead! Thankfully, around $30,000 there are some great options for you to consider, as Tom has found with his excellent suggestion from VW.

While I’d usually jump straight to another European brand beginning with V, which happens to have this great Cross Country option in your budget, I’ve got another car for you to consider: the Subaru Outback. Specifically, the Subaru Outback Wilderness. For $30,000, you won’t get a new Wilderness spec Outback, but there are some good options not too far from you, like this white option that saves you a dollar.

But I think you should flex those haggling muscles and go for this one in The Good Color, if you can manage it. This way, you’ll get the Outback Wilderness with its wagon(ish) looks, oodles of practicalities and a nice cabin in which to soak up the miles. You also get improved rugged capabilities to keep you trundling along on- or off-road wherever your adventures take you.

Expert 3: Andy Kalmowitz – The Best Or Nothing

Mercedes-Benz E350 Wagon

Matt. Can I call you Matt? You seem like a good guy, and Sailbury is a very pretty little city I’ve spent a good amount of time in. You deserve the best, Matt, so why not get the best? Sure, you could go with an Alltrack or an Outback. Both cars will do well by you, but you deserve better than that. Buddy, you deserve a Mercedes-Benz. Specifically, you deserve an E-Class Wagon.

They tick every single one of your boxes. You’re going to get great tech when compared to your Juke, a whole lot of space, all-wheel drive (which is just a little bonus) and some decent reliability. There’s a reason E-Classes are taxis in Europe. These things, especially with the 3.5-liter V6 are absolute tanks. On top of all that, it’s a really great looking vehicle, wouldn’t ya say, Matty boy?

Because I’m such a fan of Maryland, I decided to do you another favor. I found the perfect E-Class Wagon for you. What we’ve got here is a post-facelift W212 E350 Wagon with just 60,500 miles on the clock. That’s nothing for one of these tanks. It also isn’t going to break the bank for you. This example, with a clean Carfax, will set you back just $28,950. That’s a hell of a deal, my man.

So, you can go with cars that are pretty good. They’ll certainly serve you well. But, we both know you deserve the best. Get the best, Matt. Get an E-Class wagon.

Expert 4: Bradley Brownell – Exceptional By Design

Buick Regal TourX side view

Image: Carmax

I recently sold my Regal TourX, and I already miss it. We bought it brand new in 2018 and paid $36,000-ish for a top-of-the-line model. While the cars are now discontinued and GM’s support of the car is mildly disappointing, they’re incredibly competent and comfortable daily drivers. We put 100,000 mostly trouble-free miles on ours and walked away happy with the experience.

With 250 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque from a 2-liter turbo and standard all-wheel drive, this is a pretty damn good daily driver. I regularly saw mpgs in the high 30s on the highway, though in-town fuel economy was sort of disappointing. With the seats folded, this thing turns into a two-seater that can haul just about anything you’d need to haul. With them up, it’s a five-seater that can still hold more than your average SUV (and significantly more than a Juke.)

This one at Carmax is priced on the high end at $21,998, though it has just 58,600 miles on the odometer. I’d say this is a pretty solid buy for a wagon wanter.

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