European Wagons Go (Out)Back To Crossover Roots

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.

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  • Ktm Ktm on Mar 22, 2011

    Audi sold the Allroad 10 years ago in A6 trim. It was, and still is, a very nice although unreliable car.

  • Ixim 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.

  • Luke42 I like the Metris quite a bit, but I never bought one.Two problems kept me from pulling the trigger:[list=1][*]It was expensive for what it was.[/*][*]For the price they were asking, it needed to have a plug for me to buy it.[/*][/list=1]I wanted a minivan that could tow, and I test drove one and liked it. The Mercedes dealer stocked both cargo versions and conversion vans. It was a nice vehicle, and I really wanted one for a while.This is the inevitable fate of cars that I like, but don't actually buy.
  • Garrett I would have gone for one of these if it had AWD. If they had offered it, it could have done far better.
  • Michael500 Sorry, EV's are no good. How am I supposed to rev the motor to impress girls? (the sophisticated ones I like).
  • Michael500 Oh my dog- this is one of my favorite cars in human history! A neighbor had a '71 when I was a child and I stopped and gazed at that car every time it was parked outside its garage. Turquoise with a black vinyl. That high beltline looks awesome today!
  • ScarecrowRepair I'd love an electric car -- quiet, torque, drive train simplicity -- but only if the cost was less, if recharging was as fast as gas (5 minutes) and as ubiquitous. I can take a road trip and know that with a few posted exceptions (US 50 from Reno to Utah), I don't have to wonder where the next fuel station is, and if I do run out, I can lug a gallon of gas back.Sure I'd miss the engine sounds and the joys of shifting. But life is all about tradeoffs.