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For activity-oriented people, or families on the go, used station wagons can be a terrifically smart purchase, particularly if you're someone who enjoys driving too. Used wagons can do pretty much everything most people require of a sport utility vehicle—given the vast majority of people purchasing those vehicles never put them to their intended use.

In other words, unless you’re slogging through mud, traversing rugged terrain, and/or fording streams, you will find all of your cargo carrying needs will be more than met by a used station wagon.

Further, you’ll get better fuel economy, enjoy a more comfortable ride, and park more easily.

Interestingly, the first station wagons were based on trucks, and in fact were more like today’s SUVs than they were like cars. Then, as the market evolved, the car companies figured out basing station wagons on their cars would combine the best attributes of cars with the carrying capacity of the truck-based station wagons.

This strategy proved to be quite successful. There were an abundance of wagons on the market through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Going into the 1980s though, a backlash against station wagons emerged. Ironically, that generation of automotive consumers considered station wagons old fashioned, as they equated them with their parents. Meanwhile, it was actually the SUV that was old fashioned. After all, the SUV was were where the idea of wagons came from in the first place.

The result of all of this is a dearth of a broad array of used station wagon brands from which to choose. However, within today’s used wagon choices, there is a broad variety of models, including high performance used station wagons, all-wheel drive used wagons, luxury models, and economy-oriented used station wagon models.

So, while there are fewer used wagon choices than in the distant past, within those choices there is still a considerable amount of variety. When it comes to buying an all-purpose carryall vehicle, used station wagons are easily one of the best-kept “secrets” on the marketplace today. Further, they lend themselves nicely to customization as well.

In the car business, everything new is old again, and everything old—well, it turns out everything old is often not quite as old as it seems.