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Who Said Station Wagons Are Dead? Here Are A Baker’s Dozen for 2018

Call them what you will, Sportbrake, TourX or Alltrack, they’re still wagons.

by on Aug.31, 2017

The 2018 Buick Regal TourX looks like a wagon, but is marketed like a crossover. Wagons are making a comeback.

It was the vehicle of choice for parents raising their young Baby Boomers, station wagons once nearly as popular sedans in America’s fast-growing suburbs. But as Boomers grew old enough to drive on their own they headed off into different directions.

In biblical terms, the wagon begat the minivan which, by the early 1990s, was generating sales of more than 2 million a year. Since the turn of the millennium, however, the lowly people mover has had to make way for the SUV and car-like crossover-utility vehicles.

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Yet, there is still a small but loyal following for station wagons and even some new ones coming to market for 2018. They’re certainly not the same as the ones Boomers might recall piling into as parents raced them home from school in time to watch Howdy Doody. Forget wood paneling. They’re sleek and, yes, even sexy, and some offer many of the features you’ll find on today’s utes, including all-wheel-drive.

Audi Allroad

That said, some automakers try to avoid calling their new models “wagons,” opting for alternative designations, even mislabeling some SUVs. We’ve cut through the marketing jargon to give you a look at the wagons of the 2018 model-year:

Audi Allroad. Like most of its European competitors, Audi has been loading up its line-up with an array of utility vehicles, but it hasn’t driven away from wagons entirely. The highly-rated Allroad is its offering for those who want a ute alternative. Like the rest of the Audi line-up, it’s a visual stand-out, both outside and in, with a load of attractive features, including some of the latest advanced driver assistance systems, such as active cruise control with emergency auto-braking. There’s plenty of ground clearance and all-wheel-drive comes standard.

BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon

(Buick looks to bring to image to Regal with crossover-style wagon. For the story, Click Here.)

BMW 3-Series Wagon. While wagons all-but vanished from U.S. shores in the 1990s and 2000s, the two-box body style has remained commonplace in Europe, especially in the luxury segment so, no surprise, BMW has long offered a wagon alternative for 3-Series buyers that brings some practicality to its sporty compact. This is no boulevard cruiser, with a choice of 181 and 248 hp twin-turbo inline-fours, standard-issue all-wheel-drive and a sport-tuned suspension.

Fiat 500L

Buick Regal TourX. General Motors’ mid-luxury brand brings us a new version of the Regal hatchback for 2018, what it has dubbed the “TourX.” Though, it’s definitely not the bloated, faux wood-covered Roadmaster that disappear in 1996, it’s definitely a wagon. Whether you prefer to call it, the Regal TourX measures 3.4 inches longer and 0.6 inches taller than the new Regal Sportback. And there’s plenty of storage space: 73.5 cubic feet with the second row folded down. To give it a bit more ute-like street cred, the TourX will deliver the 250 horsepower from its turbo-four engine to all four wheels.

Fiat 500L. To be honest, it’s not easy to categorize the Fiat 500L. It’s not an SUV. That’s the

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

500X. Nor is it a minivan. It seems to fit best into the tall wagon designation. And that means it has substantially more room than the pint-sized Fiat 500 that helped launch the Fiat brand’s return to the U.S. market. Some find the 500L a bit claustrophobic, but with 68 cubic feet of storage it offers far more interior space than expected. And while not exactly a rocket, with its 160 hp turbo-four engine, it fits comfortably into urban environments.

Mercedes AMG E63 S wagon

Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Like so many other manufacturers, Jaguar has struggled to find a way to perfume the word, “wagon.” So, for its mid-range XF it has settled on the term, “Sportbrake,” itself a variant of shooting brake, the British term for wagon. Call it what you will, the styling is a lot sexier than the typical wagon, and inside, look for pretty much the same layout as the current XF, at least forward of the rear seats. Behind them you’ll find 32 cubic feet of cargo space. The Sportbrake also can manage 220 pounds of kayaks, cargo totes or what have you on its roof.

Mini Cooper Clubman ALL4

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon. Like BMW, this Teutonic automaker has long offered a wagon to a niche of extremely loyal buyers. The reward is a version of the latest E-Class line that is stylish, sporty and yet practical – though at 35 cubic feet cargo space is actually a bit less than some smaller wagons. Expect all the advanced driver assistance and infotainment technologies found in the sedan, as well as a self-leveling air suspension. Power comes from a quick 329 hp V-6 that delivers its torque to all four wheels.

Mini Cooper Clubman. No surprise in today’s market. The British brand’s first ute, the Countryman, is also its best-seller, but Mini continues to find strong demand for its distinctive little Clubman. Like the rest of its line-up, the latest generation has grown a bit larger, which means buyers will discover a full 48 cubic feet of cargo space. Like all Minis, the Clubman puts a premium on sportiness, and it’s offered in various trim levels, including the perkier S and JCW editions. All-wheel-drive is available on all versions.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

(Click Here to see our first drive in the VW Golf Alltrack.)

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. Among Europeans, Porsche is definitely not a brand you’d expect to offer a station wagon but, lo and behold, it added a little extra sheet metal to transform the four-door Panamera into the five-door Panamera Sport Turismo. It’s questionable how much utility it delivers, increasing cargo space by only about 4%, but the good news is that there’s now a fair bit more headroom for what have traditionally been cramped rear seats. As with the rest of the line-up, there are some hot engine options, including a 330 hp V-6 and a twin-turbo V-8 making 550 ponies.

Subaru Outback Touring

Subaru Outback. Yep, it really is a wagon. Back in the mid-1990s, Subaru was a Japanese also-ran struggling to come up with a reason to exist. The solution: in 1994, it took a Legacy wagon, lifted its suspension and added some SUV-like cladding. The Outback has gone through a number of iterations since then, and today stands as a truly unique model, rather than just a Legacy trim level. This plucky model is ready to go just about anywhere, powered by either a 175 hp boxer-four or a 256 hp flat-six, and all-wheel-drive. It also offers EyeSight, a suite of advanced safety technologies.

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. VW has always navigated its own road and while most of the rest of the industry turned away from hatchbacks it continued offering the five-door Golf. Now, the German maker is giving us the choice of not just one, but two station wagon takes on the compact model. The Alltrack is arguably the most versatile of the two, with higher ground clearance and its 170 hp turbo-four engine paired with standard-issue all-wheel-drive. The Alltrack is also one of the most lavishly equipped versions of the VW Golf family.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.While some might be willing to call the Alltrack a

2017 Volvo V60

crossover-ute, there’s no mistaking that this second take on the Golf is a wagon, er, wagen. Like the hatchback, the Golf SportWagen is designed to deliver the Golf’s traditional fun-to-drive characteristics while also adding even more practicality – in this case, up to 66.5 cubic feet of storage. Ute-like all-wheel-drive is available, though only on the base S trim. You can opt for a stick or automatic and lots of options, such as a panoramic sunroof.

Volvo V60. No automaker today is more closely associated with wagons than Volvo, though it briefly abandoned the format in favor of ute models like the XC60 before returning the V60 to the U.S. market a few years ago. This is definitely not the dull and boring box on wheels that Volvo was long known for. It features an almost coupe-like slope to the roofline yet still maintains plenty of practicality. Front-wheel-drive is standard, but AWD is an option. And for those who want a more ute-like model, with even more ground clearance, cladding and skid plates, there’s the Volvo V60 Cross Country.

Volvo V90

(To see more about the Volvo V90, Click Here.)

Volvo V90. The Swedish automaker is adding a second wagon to the line-up for 2018, but you’ll have to jump a few hoops to order one. You can walk into any Volvo showroom and find the 2018 V90 Cross Country. But you have to special order the more traditional V90 wagon. Too bad. It’s a handsome, fun-to-drive vehicle that is more well-planted than the higher-riding Cross Country version. It offers plenty of cargo space and a surprising amount of power out of its turbocharged two-liter inline-four. Of course, expect a long list of all the safety technologies that long have defined a Volvo.

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One Response to “Who Said Station Wagons Are Dead? Here Are A Baker’s Dozen for 2018”

  1. CVVH says:

    You forgot to mention the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Bolt. Great wagons, in EV form.