Tag: wagons

By on May 9, 2017

[Image: Rudolf Stricker/Wikimedia Commons]

Long-time readers of this site know that your humble author was once a salesman at an Infiniti dealership. At the time, I’d have much rather been a salesman at a Lexus dealership. Perhaps it’s better that I didn’t get my wish, because being a Lexus salesman is an actual career that enables people to buy luxury homes and save for retirement and hold their heads up in their community. If I’d started working for a Lexus dealer back in 1994, I’d still be working at a Lexus dealer today, which means I would’ve missed out on a career that took me everywhere from the Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg to the podium at Sepang to the county jail.

You know, I’d be okay with that. Being a Lexus salesman would have been great. There would, however, have been one continual annoyance: explaining to people who bought the original 1990 LS400 for $35,000 that their replacement 1998 LS400 was going to cost a minimum of $53,999. That’s a hefty bump for what was basically the same car. I suspect that a lot of first-gen LS400 buyers ended up buying an ES300 for their second Lexus; by 1998, the well-equipped sticker on that car was $35,000 or slightly over.

There’s nothing quite as disappointing as finding out that your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase the modern equivalent of the car you already have. But that’s the situation facing today’s “Ask Jack” participant.

(Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

[Image: Josephew/Wikimedia]

Sometimes readers just need a reminder that Martha Stewart — culinary queen, decorating maven, celebrity roast participant, buddy to Snoop, ex-con — owns Edsel Ford’s sprawling vacation home in Maine.

Yes, the Mount Desert Island property built for Henry Ford’s only child in 1925 has been in Martha’s experienced hands for 20 years now, and yes, she’s got an Edsel there. The laws of tablescaping demand it. And not even one of the popular Edsel models, either (if you can use that descriptor for any progeny of the disastrous brand). No, she owns a very, very rare Edsel. (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2017

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate – Image: Mercedes-Benz UK

News that the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon would arrive in North America with a diesel powerplant and all-wheel drive caught many industry observers by pleasant surprise early last year.

But it’s been 15 months since Mercedes-Benz announced at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show that the C300d 4Matic would be sold in Canada, albeit not the United States.

Not a crossover, not tall, not be-cladded, not even remotely intended for mass consumption, the C-Class Wagon was destined to be a cult favourite — that’s right, favourite — in The Great White North. However, eight months after the announcement, there was still no C300d 4Matic wagon in Mercedes-Benz’s Canadian showrooms. Blame Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal for delaying the certification.

Yet TTAC was told just yesterday the C-Class Wagon will appear in Canadian showrooms later this summer with a, how do you say in the Canadianese… minor change, eh? (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2017

panamara-sport-turismo

Refuting everything we assumed we knew about the North American car market, some Porsche dealers are claiming the Panamera Wagon is already getting a lot of positive attention. Could that could be down to Porsche offering a more practical seating configuration?

While the rear of the Sport Turismo does provide extra storage space and easier access, it’s not a game changer over the standard sedan. What it does offer is room for five, something the German carmaker couldn’t bring itself to implement on the standard Panamera. Of course, that was likely preordained. Porsche understands most people actually care about the ability to bring all and not just some of their children with them on a journey. By omitting a seat in the sedan, it gave consumers another reason to take a look at the wagon.

(Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

Former B-Body Bubble Lot, Image: © 2017 Jack Baruth

Nearly eight years ago, I sold my Caprice Classic Estate to a collector who claimed to have several dozen “bubble wagons”. Shortly afterwards, I spotted my purple-and-woodgrain Chevy in a storage lot; I called the lot Eclectic Bubbleland. This past weekend I drove by the lot for the first time in a year or two, on the way back from Sunday brunch. To my surprise, all the bubbles were gone. In fact, the place was nearly empty. Only a two-tone quad-lamp Eldorado remained.

Where have all the bubbles gone?

(Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack/SportWagen - Images: Volkswagen

It’s no Subaru Outback, soaring toward the top of sales charts with all the force of an automaker riding a decade-long wave of rapid U.S. growth. But the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, launched in the United States last autumn, is steadily earning a place as the most important Volkswagen wagon. By far.

In fact, the Golf Alltrack is quickly becoming the bright spot in Volkswagen of America’s Golf lineup and the Volkswagen brand’s overall hierarchy. Not surprisingly, the Alltrack is also dimming the spotlight previously shone upon the Golf SportWagen. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

If someone woke up today from 20-year coma, the two consumer trends they would have the most difficulty coming to terms with are just how skinny jeans have become and the fact that more than half the cars Porsche sells are SUVs. So, for those of us not emerging from two decades of slumber, the notion that the German automaker might someday produce a station wagon wasn’t entirely without plausibility.

Porsche showcased the Panamera Sport Turismo wagon concept at the Paris auto show in 2012, hinting that it might someday have a place in its lineup, but it wasn’t until last year that we heard anything further. Now its here and everyone is clamoring over how unexpected this is. If anything is unexpected, it’s that Porsche didn’t come out with a gorgeous five-door sooner. I’m willing to bet that this will be a you-got-your-peanut-butter-on-my-chocolate sort of situation — taking into account that some people aren’t all that fond of peanut butter.  (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

2018 Opel Insignia Country Tourer Spy Shot Front, Image: CarPix

Automakers, having long since abandoned the once-hot American wagon market, are returning to see if a lingering spark can be rekindled.

Consider Buick as one of the brands brave enough to cast its line into the pool in the hopes of a bite. The next-generation Regal, which already graces European car mags as the Opel Insignia, won’t come to the U.S. simply as a sedan. Opel’s Insignia Sports Tourer creates a fine opportunity for Buick to deliver a new wagon to these SUV-crazed shores..

However, we’re a go-anywhere, do-anything bunch over here, and any wagon coming to America had better have some cladding and about an inch and a half of lift!

(Read More…)

By on February 14, 2017

Holden Commodore Calais V Sportwagon

The Internet Car Enthusiast, or ICE (see what I did there?), is always telling us how they would purchase Vehicle X if it were only offered in a wagon variant. But because it invariably isn’t offered in a wagon variant, they purchase a Toyota Highlander or equivalent instead. Woe is the ICE and their lack of enthusiast vehicle choice!

Well, here’s your chance for a flight of fancy. I want you to tell me which wagon you’d choose if the Gods of Motoring smiled upon ye and provided you the wagon of your dreams.

(Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

2017 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited

The 2017 Subaru Crosstrek has the bad luck of living in the shadow of a vehicle that doesn’t yet exist. That phantom would be the looming 2018 Crosstrek, which borrows the new-for-2017 Impreza’s modular platform and, no doubt, enough technological, mechanical and appearance upgrades to make the old model look ancient overnight.

So, if you’re stuck living in northern climes and counting pennies is your idea of a thrilling good time, now’s a great time to sit back and wait patiently for a killer deal on the outgoing model. Because, replacement or not, it’s popular for good reason. And no, not just because of Subaru’s newfound status as the go-to conveyor of the nonconformist middle class.

With little changed since its 2013 model year debut, save for the elimination of the “XV” prefix, a minor 2016 facelift, and the disappearance of a short-lived hybrid variant, the Crosstrek enters the last year of its first generation with confidence. This jacked-up Impreza 5-door has a life ahead of it and a fan base behind it. Anyone who questions the reasons for the model’s popularity had best pack their bags, head north, and experience a month where it snowed at least every other day. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2017

Alfa Stelvio

Alfa Romeo has bragged that it will have nine new cars on the market by 2021 ever since brand boss and arm-day workout expert Reid Bigland announced a plan to “absolutely to go toe to toe with the Germans.”

A big part of that plan included a Giulia Sport Wagon to compete with the Deutsche estate cars. Apparently, this was a big fat lie and Bigland should meet me in the parking lot after school because Alfredo Altavilla, Fiat Chrysler’s CEO for Europe, Africa and Middle East, now says the model is off the table.

“We have decided not to make a Giulia Sport Wagon,” Altavilla explained to journalists in Europe. “Do we really need it if the SUV Stelvio handles so well? Probably not. With our fine tuning, Stelvio can interest all those people who might have been interested [in the wagon].”   (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2017

Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser (Alden Jewel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

At some point in the late 1980s or early 1990s, the minivan officially took the lead in the race for family-hauling supremacy. Various models, most notably the Ford Taurus, soldiered on into the 2000s, joined by a fading Volvo lineup and a few other models. But the jig was up.

With minivans already fielded by almost every mainstream automaker, the burgeoning SUV craze sealed the wagon’s fate, sending the once-hot bodystyle into the category of rare, boutique niche vehicle — usually bought by affluent Euro-centric snobs.

In their heyday, however, boxy wagons signaled to the world that the driver’s free-wheeling single life was now collecting dust in attic-bound photo albums. Sorry, no time for that anymore — too busy building a nuclear family here, pal. And hey, it’s so convenient for hauling Crisco and Velveeta and marshmallow fluff and various other Baby Boom food staples! (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2017

Longer, sleeker, and lighter than before. That’s the gist of General Motors’ next-generation Opel Insignia, the Euro midsizer that provides the template for Buick’s upcoming Regal.

Long in the tooth and a little cramped, the Regal is poised to shed its cloak of invisibility by adopting the Insignia’s E2XX platform and most of its styling cues for the 2018 model year. Expect greater interior volume, up to 440 pounds of weight loss, and an available V6 powerplant.

Oh, and expect a wagon, according to a TTAC source. And not just any wagon — a faux crossover that GM, crossing its fingers, hopes can lure buyers away from the overstocked buffet of lifted utility options. (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2017

Porsche Panamera Gran Turismo Concept

Porsche’s Panamera became significantly more attractive with its 2017 update; now Germany is supplementing it with practicality. The company confirmed that a “shooting brake” Panamera wagon will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, with sales commencing globally later this year.

The new Porsche should take a form similar to 2012’s Panamera Sport Turismo concept and give the finger to Ferrari’s GTC4 Lusso with a significantly reduced price and an extra pair of doors.  (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen front quarter, Image: © 2016 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars

I’ve no idea how, as I’ve lived in the same Ohio county for all of my 30-plus years (sounds better than nearly 40) on this earth, but I stumbled upon an unfamiliar rural road not far from home last week while testing the new 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. New roads are naturally meant to be explored, so I flicked the signal lever and looked for adventure.

The weather was typical for late December: brisk, with frost in spots making the fallen leaves a bit slick. My first instinct was to drive cautiously, but I realized that I never get opportunities like this. A few hours alone behind the wheel, in daylight, with nowhere to be. The 4Motion all-wheel drive should save me if things get hairy, right?

(Read More…)

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