European Wagons Go (Out)Back To Crossover Roots
The modern Crossover family tree can be traced (aesthetically, anyway) back to three basic roots: the “light SUV” (Jeep Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner), the “pure crossover” (Lexus RX300 and endless copies) and the “jacked up AWD wagon” (Outback, Volvo Cross Country). In fact, one might even posit a Hegelian dialectic to explain the evolution from:
Light SUV (thesis) -> “jacked up AWD wagon” (antithesis)-> “pure crossover” (synthesis)
Well, leave it to Europe to screw up a perfectly good theoretical construct. It seems that the continent that gave us dialectics is going back to what was always the most interesting branch of the crossover family, the “jacked up AWD wagon.” Volkswagen seems to be responsible for a lot of the re-exploration of Subaru’s now-nearly-abandoned niche, with a CrossPassat coming to European markets next year, a possible “Skoda Superb Scout” being weighed as well, and an Audi A4 Allroad already on sale. But perhaps the most intriguing of this new class of neo-Outbacks comes from Peugeot, which is testing a leggy 508 diesel hybrid wagon that drives its rear wheels solely by electric power.
Ixim on Mar 23, 2011
As the late Ken Purdy wrote about 60 years ago, [I paraphrase] "A station wagon is a mule by a truck out of a dreamboat". That is, the old wagons had the awful handling of contemporary sedans with the utility of a small truck. Today's CUV's, with their modern drivetrains and suspensions, are the old station wagons perfected. They deliver utility, versatility, handling, even fuel efficiency undreamed of for my old '76 Fury wagon.
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