3. Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen diesel
Starting price: $26,565
Granted, there's still a whole lot to be said for the spaciousness and stability of the standard-issue wagon.
The Volkswagen SportWagen is among the last of its kind, offering roomy seating for five and 33 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats up. The quiet cabin and smattering of Volkswagen tech throw-ins are a nice touch as well, but it's the turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine that gets nearly 42 miles per gallon on the highway that helps a budget-conscious family spend a little more on the vacation itself.