By on May 22, 2015

2003 Chevrolet SSR

Every so often, my mind starts to wander to various random automotive related topics. Take, for instance, the Chevy SSR. Here’s a car that makes absolutely no human sense: a half-convertible, half-pickup truck with two seats and a cover over the bed to make sure you can’t transport anything larger than a toilet seat.

So GM develops the SSR, and they bring the thing to market, and it just draws universal laughter. I mean, car enthusiasts, the press, random people on the street. They see this thing and its huge fenders, and its ridiculous size, and its substandard interior, and everyone asks: what the hell was General Motors thinking?

And now, guess what? The damn SSR is still averaging more than $25,000 on AutoTrader. The thing is ten years old, and it’s still bringing half its value, whereas a 10-year-old Chevy TrailBlazer is worth approximately the same money as a yard sale copy of Monopoly with a couple of plastic hotels missing.

So I wonder about how this happened. And then also, sometimes, I wonder about station wagons.

2015 Toyota Auris Touring Sports

As car enthusiasts, we love station wagons. What I mean here is, us car enthusiasts believe that station wagons are the finest way to transport a family, because sedans don’t have enough room, minivans are boring, and SUVs are like road-going versions of Satan.

So we love station wagons, and we think station wagons are really cool, and we always implore people to buy station wagons, and instead they always buy a RAV4.

But I’ve recently started to wonder something: would we still love wagons if they were popular?

A lot of people will immediately say yes. OF COURSE we would still love them if they were popular, some enthusiasts will say. My love for wagons is not based on their POPULARITY!!!! It is because they offer SUV packaging in a cool, car-like package! It has nothing to do with the fact that every suburb-dweller has a RAV4 or a CR-V, whereas only the coolest people among us have wagons!

But I’m not quite so sure.

2015 Subaru Outback

Let’s take, for example, the Subaru Outback. This is a car that’s generally loved by enthusiasts because it has kind of reinvigorated the whole wagon segment. People who weren’t even considering wagons before are suddenly buying the Outback, even though it’s – and I’m putting this mildly here – a little dull.

Indeed, it’s actually a lot dull. If you look at the Outback objectively, here’s what you see: front-based all-wheel drive. A 175-horsepower engine. Nearly 3,900 pounds of curb weight. And a continuously-variable automatic transmission. These are not usually the makings of a car enthusiast car. But we give the Outback a pass, because it’s a wagon, and we love wagons, and blah blah blah.

So then here’s the question: what if everyone had a car that matched these specs?

Yes, consider it: what if the Toyota Venza was a 3,900-pound wagon with 175 horses and a CVT, rather than a faux-minivan with SUV marketing? And what if the Honda Crosstour was a 3,900-pound wagon with 175 horses and CVT, rather than a strange-looking bug-shaped hatchback. And what if Mitsubishi had any automobile that could possibly manifest itself as a station wagon? Or even a midsize sedan?

In other words: if wagons were everywhere, what would we think? Would we still love them?

I’m kind of thinking no, we wouldn’t. Imagine a world where mom’s driving around in a 4-cylinder Ford wagon with a CVT, and dad’s driving around in a front-wheel drive Chevy wagon, and grandma has a Cadillac wagon, except it isn’t a CTS-V, it’s an Eldorado with a long roof and a 4-speed automatic tuned for a) comfort and b) complete failure at 75,000 miles.

It’s hard to imagine this kind of world would be something we car enthusiasts would appreciate. Therefore, I think the popularity of wagons among car enthusiasts is, in some form, rooted in their lack of popularity among the general public. In other words: if wagons were as popular as SUVs, and everyone drove them, and mom had one, and dad had one, and the guy down the street had one, and our neighbor had a beat-up used one, would we really still wax poetic about the joys of wagonhood?

My money is on no, we wouldn’t. What do you think?

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150 Comments on “QOTD: Would We Still Love Wagons If They Were Popular?...”


  • avatar
    Maymar

    Even as a teenager, I had a thing for wagons (I was hugely excited by the ’05 Legacy GT wagon). Crossovers hadn’t really quite caught on back then, and even if minivans were still popular, I had no issue with them. My taste in cars has changed a little, but I still like wagons, I don’t think that’s affected my tastes (although it might have strengthed my fervour).

    • 0 avatar
      montyz81

      Kind of a stupid question. The reason they are not popular is because nobody wanted them/liked them. They came in favor of SUVs

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Which is a truck based wagon. Station wagons as we knew them ran their course and had to be replaced with a new wagon not called a station wagon. This happened again ten years ago due to fuel prices at the time and gov’t interference. But the traditional station wagon, the SUV, and the CUV are all forms of station wagons.

        • 0 avatar
          Veee8

          Exactly.
          And when you raise up a wagon or they become too large they start to lose the pleasing proportions and lines that many wagons have in spades…SUV’s especially large ones look bloated, you can’t polish a turd.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      The affection for wagons, especially the over-hyped “brown, diesel, manual-transmission” wagon comes down to this: They are very popular in Europe and not in the USA. So, to be instantly hip one can simply adopt European tastes and look down upon big, unwieldy gas-guzzling SUV’s and CUV’s that Americans would rather drive. No actual thinking required.

      • 0 avatar
        Veee8

        I’ve owned a CRX, a 67 Mustang, a Sunbeam Tiger, several pickups, Vans, Cars, and now a wagon with great affection…but I still look down upon CUV’s/ Large SUV’s simply for the fact that the styling is awful no matter what you do to them…and I do like Californian wine, yummy.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        What’s fun is to take some product that’s popular in Europe and then thoroughly piss off the Europhiles by adapting it to American tastes. For example, replace the small, delicate engine in a BMW with a normally aspirated LS V8 with push rods. It’s amazing what the relatively compact LS engine will fit into.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    DeMuro has his next 6 formulaic titles after this one ready to go, each designed to generate 200 to 300 comments, including:

    1) Everyone should be required to learn to drive a manual transmission vehicle in order to obtain their driver’s license.

    2) Driver’s older than 60 should be required to surrender their license.

    3) Convertible drivers should have to pay an annual surcharge equal to 3% the MSRP of their vehicle.

    4) Red, yellow & green automotive paint should be banned.

    5) Governments should not prohibit child labor within the automotive industry.

    and

    6) Every CEO of the 10 largest automotive manufacturers should be required to be a ginger woman.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “2) Driver’s older than 60 should be required to surrender their license.”

      Yeah, right! I’m 64, so let them try.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It’s ridiculous prima facie, which is why it’s perfect for a DeMuro article.

        #’s 7 and 8 will be:

        7) Why Union Membership Should Be Mandatory in All 50 States

        and

        8) Why Union Membership Should Be Prohibited in All 50 States

        #9 will be “Liquefied Coal; The Vehicle Power of the Future”

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        Molon License!

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Ever wonder what those male cheerleaders with the pretty eyes move on to in later life?

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      Here are a few more Doug-worthy topics:

      Are automatic or manual transmissions better?
      Should automakers stop building cars with sunroofs?
      Which car color is better: black or silver?
      Should new cars still come with am/fm radios?

      QOTD is becoming the automotive blog equivalent of what’s the deal with airplane food.

      • 0 avatar
        RELove

        “Which car color is better: black or silver?” Just started me laughing. Too true.

        It won’t matter for long, I’ll be 60 in August and my license will be pulled anyway. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      7) Global Mid Sized Trucks vs. US Full Sized trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The worst part about this article, and most of Doug’s work here, is that it’s just a rehashed version of previous articles from other places with different puns.

      http://playswithcars.com/?p=442

      http://jalopnik.com/why-are-car-enthusiasts-so-obsessed-with-wagons-1688416665

      This article is the equivalent of leftovers turned into a steamy pile of soulless casserole. Maybe if mom adds some spices and peas to the leftover casserole, the kids might not notice that mom and dad have given up on their marriage. Do better Doug. Do better.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Fresh peas, fresh Penzey’s black pepper and a can of cream o’ mushroom soup will rejuvenate any casserole!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yeah I’m gonna stop reading things with his name on them. His articles here used to be a little better.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I think Doug just writes on TTAC these days as a little F-U to Jack and Derek. He definitely saves his “A” effort for Jalopnik.

          He generates a lot of comments though and sometimes those conversations are interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I’ll say this, Kotaku isn’t exactly above sleezy-handed tactics against their competition.

            Who’s to say they’re not forcing Doug to deliver mediocrity to TTAC?

            Its that or, if we avoid wild conspiracy theories, maybe Doug just isn’t a good writer.

            Either way I haven’t commented in a good week due to the abundance of these “Question of the Day” posts, it wouldn’t matter who writes them, they’re everything wrong with modern journalism.

            One upside to TTAC though, they won’t “mute” you for comments like this. Jalopnik doesn’t exactly believe in free speech.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I still want to know what happened to get Doug back here. I like to think it went like this:

          Derek: Doug, WTH, are you going to quit or write something?

          (18 months later)

          Doug: I guess I can write some stuff, but it can’t be more than 1200 words per article and it can only be content that has appeared somewhere else. Also, I will not interact with the B&B because they are mean people. Plus, I want to be paid by the pun.

          Jack: We can’t [email protected]&%ing afford that. No one can afford that. Plus, your writing sucks.

          Doug: How about you pay me in candy bars and press event swag.

          Derek: I’ll give you four Coffee Crisp (Canadian candy bar that is like a coffee flavored KitKat) and a Lincoln MKZ gas cap.

          Doug: Done. Did you know that I wrote a book?

          Jack: F U Doug

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m pretty sure it is just that DeMuro is hot right now and VerticalScope wants those sweet, sweet clicks. Doug just mails it in and cashes the checks.

            I doubt Jack or Derek really had any say in the decision. I get the feeling that VS runs this place with an iron fist behind the scenes.

            If VS really wants to get some bandwith they should blow some of the content budget on a Baruth-DeMuro podcast or track day.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You are probably right. I like my version better though.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        Recycling in most contexts is a positive, but sadly Doug is Rand Paul-ing himself a bit too often.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Dammit DW, your reply is a listicle! Don’t give him any ideas.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        You will note that Doug never seems to reply to queries like these. Nor would it seem does Stevenson. Derek and Jack would usually keep up and reply and be pretty transparent.
        I recall when Mark took over he said he would aim to reply and keep up a dialog, lets see.

    • 0 avatar
      smowe

      Man, really ran out of gas after #2.

    • 0 avatar
      bud777

      Hey….about number 2.. I am 70 and will be glad to race you in my NSX anytime. Now get out of my yard, you whippersnapper :)

    • 0 avatar
      IllTakeAn8WithThatV

      Just too true. Was entertaining at the very beginning, became pretty stale fast. Short, lifeless, repetitive, pandering.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The wagon mafia is very closely aligned with the manual transmission jihad and the diesel movement so I don’t think a bunch of CVT gas-powered wagons would make them happy.

    That said I don’t think it is a hipster “I like it because no one else does” thing either. Europe is FILLED with (often diesel) 1.2L manual-equipped hatches and wagons with between 40hp and 113hp so it isn’t like they don’t exist.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I think it’s totally a “I like it because nobody else does” thing. People think being contrarian makes them special or smart. In reality, wagons would be no better or worse than their sedan counterparts. Anyone who thinks a Corolla wagon would be more fun to drive than a Corolla sedan or RAV-4 is deluding themselves.

      And wagons prevail over SUVs in Europe because they are cheaper to operate. But even there, CUVs like the Dacia Duster and the Nissan Qashai are doing pretty well. People think Europeans drive the cars they drive because they know something we don’t… in reality, if they could buy gas for $2 a gallon instead of $7-9, and if street width/parking weren’t so scarce, they would buy the same exact cars we do; maybe minus the huge honky tonk pickup trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I’m not deluding myself into realizing a sedan, sans ultra luxury chauffeured car, provides me with any more fun over a wagon, while severely limiting my cargo flexibility.
        The rav4 is essentially a tall hatchback.

      • 0 avatar
        glwillia

        No, the point of a wagon is that it drives exactly like a sedan but with far more practicality. I lived in Europe for 5 years and still drove a hatchback/wagon even though sedans are somewhat rare there (and hence driving a sedan would have been the ‘contrarian’ thing to do).

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      To paraphrase Neville Chamberlain’s comment about Czechoslovakia: Europe is a far away land about which we know little. DeMuro is talking about AMERICAN car enthusiasts, and his humorous hipster analogy has some bite to it.

      My first car had a Borg-Warner 3-speed auto, my second and third had V8s and Powerglide, my fourth had a straight six and four on the tree, and then I said to hell with that and got a Hemi with a Torqueflite. After the Hemi blew up, I got a brown wagon with a slant six and a Torqueflite. I’ve had almost nothing but sixes and automatics since.

      Face it, wagons don’t sell, manuals don’t sell, brown doesn’t sell, even efficient reasonably economical V8s don’t sell. Even many of us extolling the manual won’t buy one. We’re all a bunch of automotive hipsters, and Doug’s humor attempt came too close to the mark.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Here’s the big pro tip of the day: Subarus aren’t popular because they’re wagons; They’re popular because they successfully expanded upon a niche market and brand angle and offer a good value for the money.

    A combination of competitive product (note: I didn’t say class leading), highly effective targeted marketing, a shift in consumer tastes and good value is what moves the Subaru metal. They also did a great job in co-opting the upper-class suburban mom market that previously would be hauling kids around in a Volvo or Saab. Ergo, Subaru has gained a level of credibility with the 1%ers who look at Volvos offerings and find them lacking, considered the Audi allroad but found the premium ridiculous (more than a Q5!) and who wouldn’t be caught dead in a dinosaur SUV like the Tahoe or Yukon because….it’s not the right eco-friendly image.

    Personally, Subaru does nothing for me. They’re no longer the tanks they used to be, I find the transmission to be unrefined, the interior passable, average reliability, the road and wind noise excessive and the engine wheezy. By all accounts – a car I wouldn’t consider buying.

    But you know what? In a world where we cannot afford to have multiple cars for multiple purposes in my household, the Subie checks off a lot of the necessary boxes at a price point I consider to be more than reasonable.

    In a lot of ways, Subaru is the right product at the right time, but it has taken them 30 years to get where they are today in North America.

    So back to Doug’s point: would car enthusiasts buy wagons if they were popular? Nope, no more or no less than they currently do, because car enthusiasts don’t move the sales needle all that much. You know what does? Whatever the Kardashians or Taylor Swift is driving. That, or newlywed couples with a labrador retriever and a newborn baby on the way. Which, incidentally, constitutes a lot of people in America – real, or imagined – welcome to the world of marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Indeed, Subaru is doing something right. My daughter is not a car person, and she loathes wagons. But her next car will probably be an Impreza (sedan). She just test drove one and loved it, better than the Mazda 3 she had been considering. Not sure what it is, AWD for cheap is part of it, but not the whole story.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Uh, I hate to inform you that a Chevy SSR is NOT a wagon. Thank you.

    I used to love station wagons, primarily the Olds Vista Cruiser and other mid-sized offerings, mostly GM. We at one time did desire a Plymouth Reliant wagon. We could have used one at that time. A nice yellow one.

    Would I want a station wagon now? Probably not. The crossovers fulfill the need quite nicely, but a Ford Flex would be an awesome vehicle to have if I needed something like a wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Uh, I hate to inform you that a Chevy SSR is NOT a wagon. Thank you.”

      Something tells me you didn’t read the article very closely.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Yeah, you’re right. I shoot from the hip a lot and generally hit my target or come real close, but I missed this one completely!

        I need to read the entire articles from now on.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Doug, are you calling car enthusiasts hipsters?????

    But yes, you are correct. I’ve thought about this too. If you drove by Chuck E. Cheese and instead of CUVs the parking lot was filled with station wagons, I probably wouldn’t feel quite the same about them.

    I will say though, I put my money where my mouth is and I own a wagon. It’s a Subaru but it has quite a few more than 175hp.

    But I squinted my eyes when you said the Outback has a front-based AWD system. Is that correct? Did Subie change their systems recently because I didn’t think that’s how they worked.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Answering my own question:

      Yes, they changed the system for their CVT cars –
      “The newer CVT-equipped Subies make use of yet a third Symmetrical AWD system. The hardware is similar to the VTD system described above — both use electronically controlled multiplate clutches to control torque split — but the CVT-equipped system defaults to a front-biased 60:40 nominal torque split.”

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Doug, are you calling car enthusiasts hipsters?????”

      I can’t speak for Doug, but I’ve been calling enthusiasts hipsters for years.

      – They don’t like manuals because manuals are unpopular, but they are so vocal and judgmental because manuals are rare.
      – They don’t like wagons because wagons are unpopular, but they are so vocal because wagons are rare.
      – They don’t like SUVs specifically because they are popular.
      – They like brown specifically because it’s ugly.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Hipsters seem to be chemically imbalanced in all aspects of life, its not just “one thing” they are “into”.

        The so called enthusiasts are greatly interested in specific facets be it automobiles, motorcycles, scooters etc. The automotive enthusiast’s vehicle tastes do not necessarily influence other facets of his life whereas with the “hipsters” this is not the case. This has been my observation.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I can only answer for myself, but the question assumes that the only reason ALL car enthusiasts who like wagons do so is because they’re rare or unavailable.

    I really like wagons like the Volvo 850 and the 1968 Plymouth Fury III. I don’t like them just to be iconoclastic – I really do like them.

    The question is like asking if I’d still like beautiful women if ALL women were beautiful.

    HELL YES!

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    We have wagons. They’re just taller and stubbier and we call them CUVs.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. And because women feel “powerful” driving a CUV they sell well to the soccer mom who otherwise would have saved gas money driving a wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Have you tried to haul around kids in a Magnum vs a Durango/Grand Cherokee? If you have, you would understand why “soccer mom” pick the JGC or Durango.

        • 0 avatar

          I did not like the Magnum, but I would probably have liked the re-designed 2011-later version, had the Magnum survived to allow such a thing to happen. It certainly can function as a family vehicle, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are, indeed, better for that purpose.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Yes, but what about a Magnum compared to, say, a Nissan Murano?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You would have to compare the Murano to an Altima wagon.

            A comparison that I am familiar with in the Edge vs Fusion (Mondeo) wagon. I have been in both, and the Edge is a much better family vehicle. I think the Fusion wagon looks better than the Edge though.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @bball40dtw,
            The Edge better?

            Why?

            A it’ a Ford!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Al-

            You simply did not read my post. I was not comparing the Murano to the Edge. I was comparing the Fusion to the Edge. Since there is no Altima wagon, I needed to find a midsized wagon vs midsized CUV comparison that I actually have experience with. Therefore Edge vs Fusion (Mondeo)wagon.

            Better yet Al, let’s look at why I picked the Fusion:

            Is there an Accord wagon? No
            Camry wagon? No
            Altima wagon? No
            Malibu wagon? No, but does the Insignia wagon count?
            200 wagon? No
            Sonata wagon? No
            Optima wagon? No
            Fusion wagon? Not here, but ceratinly in Europe. It’s also very similar to the Fusion sold here.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            I think Durango to Magnum is still less valid than Magnum to Murano. With its gunslit windows and compromised cargo space, of course the Magnum won’t be as good of a family hauler than a three-row crossover (of course, the Durango would be inferior to a Grand Caravan unless you needed to tow a trailer). I just bring up something like the Murano because it attempts to be stylish for a crossover (low bar, that is).

            For that matter, since you bring up Ford, does the Explorer do a better job than the related Flex, Freestyle, or Taurus X that the public largely ignored?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            About the closest you will get in the US is the BMW 328i/d wagon to the BMW X3. Same platform, same engines (other than you can get the six in the X3), similar amount of room, one is just jacked up into the air a few inches and has butched up styling. The wagon rides and handles better and gets better gas mileage, the CUV theoretically can handle a little more depth of snow and might be a bit easier to get in and out of for some people. The X3 is cheaper comparably equipped because it is built here, not Der Vaterland, and being one of only a handful of real wagons available BMW can charge a premium for that car.

            To my mind, we should be able to have both across all makes, but I understand the reality of the non-premium car business is that every wagon sold would be one less more profitable CUV sold. In the non-premium market you can charge a bigger premium for a CUV than you can for a wagon.

            Luckily I have my perfect RWD 6spd stick sporting station wagon (in neither diesel nor brown), and baring accidents I plan to have it for a really, really long time.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          Having owned a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Volvo XC70 wagon (both 2008s) simultaneously I can say that I defaulted to the Volvo wagon to hull the kids. The back seat of the Jeep was very small and the kids complained when they had to ride in it. I felt that my Jeep was more of a large, somewhat exuberant, “personal” vehicle with very comfortable front seats but lacking in room in the rear seats.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well yeah. I don’t think the JGC is a very good people and stuff hauler. The back seats are too low and the cargo capacity is marginal. I was just comparing it to a the Magnum because BTSR is a Mopar guy.

            The XC70, like it’s cousins, the Flex and Taurus X, walks the line of crossover and wagon.

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          “Have you tried to haul around kids in a Magnum vs a Durango/Grand Cherokee? If you have, you would understand why “soccer mom” pick the JGC or Durango.”

          ^^^ THIS

          Not having to bend down to fit the kids in their chairs is gold.

          Women don’t feel “powerful”, they feel “safe” up there.

          In my case, my wife compares wagons to hearses, hence she dislikes them, a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Please stop saying that CUV are wagons, wagons are cars that have extended trunks. Wagons are not lifted.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Wagon lovers are a very vocal minority, so they seem like a larger group than they are. Just like the compact pickup guys.

    Most people can appreciate the utilitarianism of them, but prefer in taking that in CUV form. CUVs are basically station wagons anyway. Take what you can get.

    That being said, I would totally rock a ’69 Kingswood and refer to it as “my awesome new crossover utility vehicle”.

    • 0 avatar

      CUV’s take the “horizontality” of a wagon and turn that volume into “verticality”.

      It’s funny watching people try to get HDTV’s into their cars.

      I think I’m just gonna stop and record them when I see it happen. Make a mini-series.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I think armchair analysts are too quick to generalize what wagon lovers and in fact, what wagons are.

      “Wagons” are plenty popular in the compact car segment. Sure, many are more like hatchbacks, but they are close enough to count. (The only ones who care about how vertical the back windshield is are people whose opinions don’t really matter.)

      But when you get to the midsize segment, wagons disappear, because I think at that point, buyers are willing to just switch to an SUV. Maybe with the latest trend in subcompact CUVs, we might see the compact wagon/hatchback go away, too.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I agree with your comment regarding over generalization. My comments were directed at the wagon purists who believe that nohing else will do aside from a long roofed sedan. Only a small handfull of even compacts anymore offer that. Many crossovers are so close in dynamics to their sedan counterparts now, it should be really hard to complain.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @redav,
        You have introduced a dimension to the why people are buying what they buy.

        Maybe it’s more to do with the actual volume the vehicles can hold vs income or money willing to be spent on a vehicle.

        Your comment is also true of pickups.

        Some of the above comments are stating that vehicle X is better than vehicle Y because it has more volume.

        But, why is it bigger is better?

        People look at a vehicle and normally select and purchase the vehicle because it will suit their demands.

        My view is the arguments that are based on, size, mostest, bigger, faster, etc indicate that the vehicle the person is attempting to persuade others is better is actually lacking.

        Brand fanboi’s and people employed to work these types of forums are the biggest users of these types of arguments.

  • avatar
    fallous

    But everyone DID have wagons… in the 70s and 80s, thus giving rise to both the minivan and the SUV. Wagons occupied the same demographic that minivans currently enjoy and suffered a comparable fate. Moms that wanted to be modern cast off the shackles of the wagon for the minivan and later cast aside their minivans for SUVs. Both the minivan and the SUV also attracted additional buyers beyond that demo by leeching the marketshare of full-size vans, soccer dads, and those needing work vehicles that matched the capabilities of the minivan or SUV.

    The rebirth of the wagon had more to do with sporty offerings like the Magnum, WRX, etc. Much like the parents that drove a ’70 Buick Sportwagon or Vista Cruiser, they got the practicality of a wagon without admitting the only future excitement they could look forward to is a promotion at work.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      The minivan became wildly popular because when you shrink a wagon below a certain size, practicality falls off pretty quickly and the functionality gap between wagons and hatchbacks shrinks to insignifigance. By the early ’80s, the really big wagons were mostly gone or got such poor gas mileage that they were no longer practical.

      As a current wagon owner, I can say that I had two motivations: I liked cars more than trucks for the sort of driving I mostly do and I needed the ability to carry things that won’t fit in modern sedan trunks. Add to that the my wife wants a more upscale vehicle (I’m fine with more pedestrian vehicles, but wife happiness is a major motivator) and when the CTS wagon was announced, it became the top contender.

      These days, I would replace the CTS wagon with a CUV. The price paid in functionality for the swoopy roof is too high for the benefit. The other option is to forego the one-size-fits-all approach and get a sedan and a small pickup or CUV.

      I’m not sure I can answer Doug’s question. We share (horsepower and handling aside) the same vehicle model experience so I’ m not surprised by his question. I still think traditional wagons are cool, but when it comes time to lay the money down, modern wagons (CUVs) are much more useful and practical.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Everyone wants to think they are the exception. That they are special. That they have taste. The reality is wagon lust is a product of the same kind of groupthink that has spurred the success of CUVs. Just replace the soccer mom’s need for conformity with the “enthusiast’s” need for contrarianism.

    What does the wagon back do? It adds weight, raises the center of gravity, and adds a level of practicality most enthusiasts don’t really need. It doesn’t help dynamics or performance or anything of the sort. It’s just “different”. I think wagons can make a better compromise for a family car than a CUV for a family with an enthusiast in it. For example my wife’s next ride will hopefully be a GSW. But I’m keeping the bike and Civic. But the idea that slapping a wagon back is some transformative exercise is only slightly less ridiculous than the diesel fetish.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I like wagons because the alternative are bloated, poor handing, slushmobiles that have ride heights and sticker prices too high with fuel efficiency too low.

      And I’m the contrarian? lol.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      So sportyaccordy is the contrarian to the contrarian…congrats on one upping everyone until sportieraccordier comes along to be your contrarian

      While we wait for that to happen lets just talk facts here…adds weight, raises the center of gravity, not as much as a suspension lift and taller body does! You sound like one of those pedants who claims you didnt order the sunroof becuase its slower on the track. Ill tell you i had a WRX hatch and had no trouble keepin up with the sedans at track days. Cant tell any difference on the road.

      Im the last person to be pushing wagons, i actually dont care a bit, i was just reminded recently when i stopped by home depot to pick up a shop vac for the house, i was juuust able to stuff it in the back seat still leaving room for me to fit in the drivers seat in my old Lexus. Now this is simply a matter of convenience since my wife was at work with her Outback, but still if there was a wagon version of the ES300 in 2001 i could be driving that, with basically no compromises, and have he ability to fit large cargo easily.

      While i dont understand the “everyone should drive a wagon” idea, it is pretty clear that for enthusiasts who like great handling cars, but also want to combine that with utility especially when life dictates you drive one car, the wagon configuration is a great one. I hauled countless boxes like hdtv, full exhaust etc in my WRX which would not have fit in a sedan, at the time i lived in an apartment with one space. There was no CUV that fit the bill for me. But for normal people i totally agree the CUV works as well or better.

      I dont think it is any secret enthusiasts of any product will always be a small, fickle, and demanding part of a market. We are lucky to get what we get.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    it depends. if all the wagons were white, black, or silver with cvts for transmissions i would like them a whole lot less. throw in some color, some variation with interior color, an 8 speed and occasional manual option, and different sizes amongst the different manufacturers and viola! you have generated an opportunity for me to personalize a vehicle and vote for different styling trends with my purchase.

    that really describes the current situation for sedans and cuvs. dont like a cvt? then find another manufacturer that offers an auto or a a stick. cannot stand the boxy styling of the crv? then go buy a, a, a, …. o well. i think you get my drift.

  • avatar
    its me Dave

    From station wagons to minivans to SUVs to CUVs back to station wagons. The popular people hauler will always be the one that our parents DIDN’T drive.

  • avatar
    raph

    Yes, while not as practical as a minivan, wagons IMO have enough car DNA left in them that you can still have fun in one with a a good size load of groceries in the back plus a wagon can look sexy.

    Although mostly gone of these days I can have the wagon of my dreams.

    Since I can’t seem to copy & paste a link here mustangandfords.com has a feature on a 1980 Mercury Zephyr wagon which the owner stuffed a 302, T-5 manual and Cobra IRS plus a few other mods and it’s painted a proper brown.

    I was thinking nearly the same thing except stuffing a modified coyote motor in there topped with a Boss or Cobrajet intake.

    All thanks to Ford’s fox platform!

  • avatar

    Who here can name a wagon for sale in the US by a company whose cars are not maintenance nightmares or guaranteed to grenade by 90 kilomiles? The Elantra Touring was practically a secret and is no longer available.

    This isn’t about what the masses want to buy. The auto business seldom is. It is about what the stealers wish to impose on the public. You know, the people who whined the Pontiac G3 into existence because the public wanted more practical cars. The 40% premium over the sedan is another issue. The closest analog to the pre-minivan days now is the actual transaction price of the Versa vs. Note which is the only variation from a non do-not-buy brand that isn’t abusive.

    Most Americans endure automobile operation because no practicable alternative is available; observe the naive optimism about the autonomous car. This is imposed by a market driven by its worst actors to the detriment of all other parties. The wagon is a casualty.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      This is an issue. I really like the BMW and Mercedes wagons, but I question their longevity, especially with price factored in. I don’t think I could bring myself to buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        It’s not that they are unreliable. It’s that repair issues wind up costing multiples of what they should cost.

        Example: I own an 07 3 series wagon. It has an oil gasket leak. To repair said leak, it’s a $15 part and $800 in labor, supposedly for a 4 hr job, but really it’s a 2 hr job.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I think it’s just marketing , no one seems to like the name ‘ Station Wagon ‘ anymore ~

    When Ford’s Flex came out I thought it was a new Station Wagon .

    When I was younger and wanted to haul lots of people 7 cargo , I ran Wagons , full sized Americans and a few Imports , they were great .

    In the end , I don’t like large vehicles although I do still own a Station Wagon , as it happens it’s a fully loaded 7 passenger Diesel , it’s beige not brown , I don’t like brown nor beige but when a cherry drops in your lap , shut up and take it .

    I’d not have bought it if it was a stick shift .

    We’d still have Station Wagons if anyone ponied up and bought them .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    uberlaff

    I’m a Dad. So yes.

    I want to drive something fun but like to haul the family down the shore once in a while and stop at Home Depot.

  • avatar

    Dodge Magnum SRT 392
    Dodge Magnum SRT HELLCAT
    Dodge Magnum Pentastar V6 with 8-speed.

    All with optional AWD.

    I’ll show YOU how to sell a goddamned wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It would sell even worse than before. It will also be a waste of resources. The only wagon FCA should be making is the Wagoneer.

      • 0 avatar

        The Magnum was the first of the LX platform cars to hit our market. It went completely unchanged until the Big3 bankruptcy era and after that it was cancelled BEFORE receiving any upgrades whatsoever.

        But something else happened:

        The market was making a move from Big SUV to crossovers and large cars – simply because the big-SUVs were getting more expensive and people’s credit was shot.

        If Dodge can move HELLCATS that cost $70,000 loaded at fees ranging from $5000 – $25,000 over sticker, then I guarantee you I could build a HELLCAT MAGNUM and SELL EVERY LAST ONE.
        I guarantee you the market for a well-done Magnum SRT is there.

        YOU’RE JUST AFRAID.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Yes, I am terrified of a new Dodge Magnum…GTFO with that.

          • 0 avatar

            That’s right… you are terrified because you know I’m right and because you hate FCA.

            Well I’ve GOT NEWS FOR YOU.

            You’re either WITH US – OR BEHIND US.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I don’t hate FCA.

            I’ve owned a number of Chysler products. They probably have five products that I would lease. I wouldn’t own one past lease end though.

        • 0 avatar
          seth1065

          Big Truck,
          I highly doubt the hellcat is saving FCA, it is a halo car but does not do a lot for number of cars moved, be honest how may have they sold, it may be a great car and feel free to worship it but every once and awhile check in with the real world.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The magnum was a piece of shit. It had wagon looks without the wagon utility. As soon as I opened the hatch and saw that it was tiny, it was off the list. Then I sat in it and couldn’t see anything out of the back.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        This.

        Like Saul on the road to Damascus I was knocked flat on my ass when first spotting a Magnum by the blinding flash of revelation that car styling will get as dangerous and counterproductive as trendiness allows.

        No government agency can effectively combat the power of Stupid if we naked apes think something looks and makes us look sexy. Thankfully it soon went went away, its rejection providing me a modicum of faith in the human race.

        The only competition it’s ever had in this regard is the current Evoque thus proving that Stupid is undeterred by socioeconomic dividers. The most recent two generations of Camaro however rate an Honorable Mention, but nobody expects anything else from that class of vehicle unlike CUVs or wagons.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Carlos Ghosn (paraphrasing):

    ” We used to build station wagons, and we called them station wagons, and people bought them because they needed a station wagon. Now we build station wagons, but we call them Crossover Multipurpose People Movers, and people buy them because they need a station wagon.”

  • avatar
    Eric Aubanel

    Wagons appeal to me because they can be both practical and sporty. CUVs have too high a COG. I have an FRS and an aging Matrix. I’ll probably replace the Matrix with a compact CUV, but I have been thinking about replacing both with a sporty small wagon, perhaps a BMW 3-series wagon.

    But then I’m part of the tiny minority that bought the FRS, so what is my opinion worth?

  • avatar
    r129

    I don’t know if the Subaru Outback is the best example. It seems to me that wagon people and car enthusiasts don’t care for the Outback, and are outraged that Subaru does not sell the Legacy Wagon in North America. Meanwhile, Subaru Outback buyers are in complete denial that the Outback is a station wagon. No, really, I have encountered several people who INSIST that it isn’t a wagon, it’s an SUV. These are generally the same people who refer to a Toyota RAV4 as a “truck.”

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    As Americans, it is in our blood to be contrarians and not be conformists. But the transition from the wagon to the van to the SUV/CUV seems like a “which came first-chicken or egg” scenario. Did people go from wagon to van because everyone wanted something different? Or did they see other people going to vans and wanted to be like them? As someone said, it’s all marketing. “I want to be different, but I want to fit in at the same time”.

    I’m still waiting for the van-love to return. As an owner of Toyota Sienna for the last 9 years, there is no wagon I could trade for and get the same amount of value/utility as I have now. Vans, FTW!

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      I lived through this. The minivan was a new and extremely useful vehicle. The large station wagons were already dinosaurs, getting 8 MPG and were a bear to park – but were great to tow your family and your travel trailer. Small station wagons were not appealing in any way.

      Minivans immediately were extremely useful and got reasonably good gas mileage and were very easy to drive/park – they were not the monsters that today’s minivans are. They were the future – especially if you looked at the early foreign vans. They looked like space ships. They were cool.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      I don’t live in suburbia, so Siennas and Oddysseys are way to big for me. And it’s not really the length, it’s the width. Sure, I could fit one into my parking spot, but it would be a gigantic pain the rear every single day, and I’d constantly be getting door dings everywhere I went. And I’d probably get my mirrors knocked off when parallel parked on the street. Oh, and by the way, the nice ones are so heavy that I would have to pay extra for my yearly city sticker.

      Despite all of that, they don’t seem to have much trouble selling them for $40,000 – $50,000. What about those that want smaller and nice? No dice. The Transit Connect is a rolling penalty box in comparison. You get a worse interior than a Fusion at the same price. Fancy headlights? Not available at any price. The 2.0T motor? Nope.

      Mercedes is bringing over a van that is a reasonable size for an urban family man, but can you get any of the nicer options available in Europe? If you can, they sure haven’t given any indication of it.

      I personally think that Honda could sell 20,000 loaded Civic-based StepWgns per year in the US at $30,000. It’s the right size, has very clever packaging, and offers up a pretty premium interior.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        What you desire is the Ford Grand C-Max. Unfortunately, Ford cancelled the plans to bring it over and brought us the commercial grade Transit Connect instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Undefinition

      Indeed, Station Wagons were boats, and the Dodge Caravan ate its breakfast (and rightfully so). It was a VAN on a CAR platform. PERFECT for families and their stuff. But somehow, the Caravan grew and grew and now there’s just the Grand Caravan, and we’re back to talking about boats again. Enter the CUV. People can’t get enough of them because they’re COMPACT, and make the driver feel safe because of the ride height and AWD. But they’ve lost that magical ability of the minivan pack in ridiculous amounts of cargo.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      As an aside the RWD minivants GM (Safari/Astro) and Ford (Aerostar) made were really cool vehicle that managed to take that the FWD vans offered and added real towing capability and confidence to that list.

  • avatar
    tedward

    If there are driving enthusiasts out there who enjoy the current outback I certainly haven’t met them. There are quite a number of cuvs which do that job better. They may have bought one, but it was probably on the strength off their previous legacy wagon or wrx’s accomplishments.

    Truly a dreary car.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I would say no, if wagons were CUV like in the parking lots of the USA their internet appeal would be down, It is supply and demand, the internet demands something that is not a a lot of supply, i.e. wagons and stick shifts, for me I drive a wagon and a diesel wagon , but blue not brown and a auto because it was the best car for me to buy when I was looking, there was nothing else that fit the bill of what I needed at the time. but one advantage of driving a wagon is not seeing your car ten times a day.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Minivans replaced wagons in North America because frankly they did the job better.

    3 real rows of seats, in order to split the kids up.
    Horizontal storage capacity.
    A ride height that provided better visibility to see over the mass market sedans that dominated the market at that point.
    The sliding door.

    The ‘better mousetrap’ won in the market.

    However markets and in particular demographics changed.

    The baby boomers no longer (unless they are rich and on their 2nd or 3rd trophy wife and then this does not even apply to them) have young children.
    The family unit has changed. The husband/wife/3 kids/dog/home in the suburbs family is now in the minority.
    The ‘young’ or in reality ‘wannabe young’ parent is trying to pretend that they live an ‘active’ lifestyle by buying an abominable SUV/CUV contraption.
    There are few decent wagons available. VW has reputational issues. Subaru is not a mainstream brand. Who else sells a decent sized, affordable wagon in North America? And the minivan is dying because apart from the Caravan (soon to be discontinued) minivans are now an expensive vehicle to purchase.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    People would buy more wagons if it were easier to buy wagons. Most dealerships for manufacturers that actually still sell wagons will stock 2 or 3 at a time, while stocking 40 or 50 of the non-wagon version. It’s not so hard to buy a sedan configured 90% of the way you want it; all the wagons have weird options configurations (and fewer of them) and are take-it-or-leave-it. We can order one for you at full MSRP, but will sell you a sedan right now at $2500 below!

    People would buy more wagons if they were more practical. When it comes to a wagon, interior dimensions are just as important as exterior dimensions. Honda and Toyota wouldn’t dare make a minivan with a sloping roof that destroys head room and cargo capacity, but that’s perfectly OK on a wagon! I think that of the compact wagons out there (in the USA), the BMW 3 is one of the best in terms of practicality, but the problem with that is…

    People would buy more wagons if they weren’t so expensive compared to the non-wagon version.

  • avatar
    john66ny

    I can only comment for myself, not for the rest of humanity, but here goes…

    We lost wagons because of CAFE. If a manufacturer could get something with wagon-like features called a truck, they were good. Normally, that meant a higher vehicle, with the inherent body roll and so on so forth.

    I am a father of two boys and a 100-lb dog that gets carsick. To transport the family, I need something other than a sedan. I’ve test driven CUV’s and SUV’s and minivans and while they would be perfectly functional they simply can’t provide the driving experience I want because they a) can’t corner, b) can’t accelerate out of their own shadow, and/or c) require a bank loan to keep in fuel. Plus, I really prefer driving stick-shift.

    So what’s my option? 2005 Subaru Legacy GT wagon with 5MT. 250 HP/ 250 ft-lb, AWD, loving it. Totally fallen in love with my AWD.

    But, it’s now a ten-year-old car with some rust developing, and I’m starting to think about replacement options. The silence is deafening.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Station wagon market share in the US peaked in 1959, nineteen years before there was a CAFE.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      You have literally one choice and it is the vw, but even then no awd. I have the exact same shopping list you do, 2 large dogs, 2 kids, no one in our family will drive an automatic and uv’s are either too expensive or manual only on the base trim levels. It sucks to have standards.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Are you married? Do what many enthusiasts do. Buy you wife a CUV to handle family hauling duties and buy something that satisfies your fun-to-drive needs to drive to work. Or consider a used CTS Wagon. It ticks lots of your boxes. Or buy a Grand Cherokee SRT8 :) Its stupid fast and can handle.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I don’t comprehend the way you think there are “no options” beyond that old GT with those criteria.

      (Well, except your reliance on a stick. Which you WILL have to abandon when you replace it, honest. Accept it and move on. It’s okay.)

      Unless C) is defined incredibly broadly, there are lots of choices that corner and accelerate faster than is honestly reasonable on a road that has other people on it and isn’t a race-track, and has room for four people and a dog…

      (A newish Allroad is basically the same thing as your GT in specs and size, and gets better fuel economy than the GT’s rated 17/23. Cargo area is a trifle smaller, though.

      Hell, my fuel-sucking XC70 T6 gets better than that; if that’s your limit for “needs a bank loan for fuel” you’re unconstrained almost entirely!

      So does an Outback 3.7 – if you like the GT, why not get one of those?)

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I hauled my kids around in the ’70s and ’80s in VW vans and an Astro van. Wagons were available but way too tight a fit. Even a wagon the size of the ’59 Chevrolet Brookwood my dad owned would have been too small. The Dodge Magnum, however, was a pretty cool wagon; not really for hauling a bunch of people but reasonable for hauling stuff too big for a trunk and pretty damn good looking to boot. Recent news reports are that it was a pretty good performer in real life – some solid citizen was pulled over in Michigan going 153 mph in one.

  • avatar

    I’ve always had a thing for wagons, even as a kid. The main reason I’ve bought them is that I liked the overall package better than whatever comparable CUVs were on the market. And I will admit that it is sort of neat to have a car that is relatively uncommon. I’ve had my Golf SportWagen for over a month now (still working on that Reader Ride Review), and I’ve yet to see another one, though all three dealerships in my area claim to have sold a few.

    Still, there are some CUVs that I really like, such as the X5, Grand Cherokee, Cayenne, XC60, Touareg, the latest XC90, etc…

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    We still love the station wagons but call them SUVs.

  • avatar

    The reason that SSR’s on AutoTrader are so expensive is because evidently most of the people who bought them stuck them in a garage and never drove them. It’s not uncommon to find ones with less than 10k miles on them, and many are in the 20k-40k miles range.

    It’s one of those vehicles I would consider buying. Sure, they were a sales flop, but getting a practically unused v8 400hp (in the later versions) convertible that looks like nothing else on the road for $25,000 isn’t bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yeah, no great mystery here. A 10 year old TrailBlazer is just another outdated, worn out CUV. The SSR is a rare, unique-if in a weird way-toy. Toys may be hard to sell when new but they usually hold their value better than appliances.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      If you look at those collector cars that bring the biggest money, most of them were hard, hard, hard to sell, and were made in small quantities. I don’t think any of the Hellcat series will ever bring big collector dollars, they are building too many of them for that to happen.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s like the SVO syndrome. Forgotten by the general market shortly after production ended, so there will always be way more supply than demand.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    If VW sold a GTI wagon…or Golf R wagon…in the U.S., I would have one rather than my GTI. Absolutely.

  • avatar
    Undefinition

    My first two cars were both wagons. Both Subaru’s, ironically, a Legacy and an Impreza. I got made fun of SO MUCH by my peers for driving “mom-mobiles.” But I took pride in what I thought was “more cargo room” to haul around musical instruments (I was in a lot of bands). But after that, I moved sideways into the world of full-size sedans, and honestly, the whole “more cargo room” hype is way overblown. The amount of additional cargo space I got with the wagons was negligible in comparison to just using a regular old trunk and folding the back seats down when necessary. Plus, with the wagons I felt like I always had to carefully hide whatever I had in the back out of fear of getting smashed-and-grabbed. I’ve had 3 sedans since then, and don’t think I’ll ever go back to a wagon, because I really like the peace of mind of putting whatever I want in the trunk, closing the lid, and not having to think about it.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      How does one carry, for example, the dresser I put in my small wagon in a sedan? I don’t care how big a sedan is, there are non on the market that will allow a person to pace a 20″D x 38″w x 32″h dresser in it. At least not one that maintains a small footprint and fun to drive factor of my size car.
      I guess many would say I need a truck. Why? My wagon does it.
      As for security I never leave anything in there so at least for me it is not an issue.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Most people will rent a truck for those rare occasions.

        I mean, “why do you own a wagon? You can’t carry a full sheet of plywood or an upright fridge in it!” applies just as well; ain’t any vehicle good for all tasks.

        (At least, I don’t *think* anyone’s making a Roadmaster-sized wagon anymore, that CAN hold a 4×8′ sheet in the back.

        And certainly nobody ever made one you could carry a fridge in upright, for immediate install without having to let the compressor drain…)

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          (And to clarify, I don’t mean that as a moral position of “never buy anything but a truck!” OR “nobody needs to own a truck!”

          Just as how normal people cope with whatever choice they made; most people don’t need a non-sedan, if they like driving a sedan.

          Me, I have a full-size truck AND a wagon.)

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          Except if you buy $500 worth of stuff they deliver and put it in your house for free. Perfect for me as I’m getting too old to haul drywall and lumber up the stairs.

    • 0 avatar
      Eric Aubanel

      Sedans might be OK unless you have dog(s). You can’t put them in the trunk! Putting dogs in the backseat just leads to cleaning nightmares.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Not for me.
    I like wagons because I like cars but I don’t like impractical shapes. A sedan does nothing a wagon can’t, but a wagon does things a sedan can’t.
    I’ve never owned a sedan. Never will. Nor will I get a separate truck to hold the things my sedan won’t but my wagon will.

    personally I don’t even know why sedans exist

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: A sedan has less cargo space than a wagon – obviously – but it does have the advantage that that cargo space can be securely locked (if properly designed, you can Valet Lock it, so it can’t be opened from the cabin at all, and you need a different key to open it from the rear than the one you give the valet.)

      Even without the valet key feature, it’s not nearly as vulnerable to snatch-and-grab robbery as a wagon or hatchback.

      (This is not always super important; didn’t stop me from getting a wagon.

      But it is a thing, especially if you live in a big city or a higher-crime area.

      So there is that.)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        How often do you use valets?

        I go places fancy enough to have valet parking more often than most people, but it’s not common enough to drive my requirements.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        If that was such a big deal, then why are crossover sedans such a general failure?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          One would think that given the professed love for the trunk and the professed love for sitting up high that a sedan-on-stilts would be a bases loaded sales homerun.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @Sigvald

        Horsepucky. What decent wagon from the past 20 years did not come with a cargo cover? CUVs generally don’t have them, yet no one gives a passing thought about security with them.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t like station wagons, except for the (gasp!) Prius v.

    But I think the definition of a wagon has become blurred. Minivans are like wagons, and so are SUVs/CUVs because they fill in the notch above the missing trunk lid.

    Even some hatchbacks might qualify as wagons; my former xB1 was sometimes called a ‘wagon’ in online parts catalogs.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’ve had my TSX Sport Wagon for over a year and I still like it. I would of preferred a slightly smaller car, but my choices for a nice 5 door is limited. It’s served it’s purpose well by allowing me to carry more and larger stuff easier than I could in a sedan. Yet it handles the road better than any SUV/CUV I checked out. Also there is a certain oddball vibe to it that I like.

  • avatar

    My first car was a wagon, a 1958 2-door ranch wagon. Loved it. Now have a wagon again, a 1986 military version of the Plymouth k-car. Came stock with a turbo 4. Mine is close to 400 hp. Such fun!

    http://www.polybushings.com/images/kwagon.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      The car I learned to drive in was basically that car. Can’t remember the year, but a mid-80s Reliant K wagon.

      No turbo, though. (Why in hell would the military even want that?)

      It was not a fancy car, but it was pretty solid.

      Idled really fast, though, like almsot 30mph. Weird.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I still believe the Malibu Maxx was a brilliant concept horribly executed. Perhaps the shitiest material and build-quality ever. Then Toyota does it right as the Venza. Don’t know why the Venza is mocked,it’s actually far more attractive than most CUV/SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Yeah, I like the Venza too.

      I’ve never bought one, though. It wasn’t cheap enough for me in my pre-minivan days, though. I’m part of the problem, I guess. :-)

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Wagons declined in popularity because of the decline of the “Long, low, wide” style of vehicles of the 50s-90s. Many people forget that before the 50s most cars were more similar to modern crossovers/SUVs than modern sedans. The trend has simply shifted back in that direction due to a variety of factors,

    Cafe is big. A wagon can’t pass as a light truck, so a full size wagon would be a hard sell. It would have similar millage and space to a Tahoe, but wouldn’t be exempt from a whole bunch of stuff.

    The Outback is just about the best size to make a wagon in. Any bigger and a full size SUV is better for the manufacturer. Any smaller and the consumer really won’t have any more cargo space (seats up) than the equivalent sedan.

  • avatar
    z9

    I seek vague practicality and a good drive. The Audi wagons from the late 90s and early 2000s were perfect. I still think the Audi wagon is a beautiful car, far nicer-looking than the sedan version of the same model. Some claim that Audi designs the wagon version first. Sigh, why can’t we have an RS4 Avant or an A5 Sportback in the US…

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Back in 1999, my wife was looking for a new vehicle. With a baby on the way, she was looking for something with some room. The first thing we looked at was the then wildly popular Ford Explorer. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of her driving a body on frame SUV, at the time they had stability issues, so we to look at the A4 wagon. It was both too expensive and too small. She wound up with a Lexus RX 300, which was actually a very good choice, albeit expensive.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    1.) I’d rock a 6.0 6MT SSR all freaking day. The 5.3 version can suck eggs.

    2.) While automatic Subies may have a front biased torque split, the Subaru is the most capable mainstream AWD system of effectively transferring torque, as it doesn’t use a PTO unit grafted to a transaxle. Its a much better mechanical solution, even when tuned towards FWD.

    3) I really like the Venza

  • avatar
    sintekk

    Can’t believe nobody mentioned the great wagons Toyota made and sold in the US. I drive a ’94 Camry wagon. It was ignored when it was new and still is.

    What I hate about just about every modern wagon is the sloping back that looks like a pooping dog. I’ve hauled a fridge in my Camry. Not possible with anything current.

    http://img.favcars.com/toyota/camry/toyota_camry_1992_pictures_1.jpg

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The first car I bought with my own money was a wagon, a 1972 Ford Gran Torino for $175. Later on, I loved the Volvo 245 so much, I made a business out of buying them and either flipping them or parting them.

    If I could walk into the Volvo dealer and come out with a brand-new 245, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second.

  • avatar
    SimRacingDan

    It’s just typical niche market economics at play. Those who want one of these REALLY want one and those who don’t have zero interest. So you can ask top dollar, but you’ll be waiting a while to make a sale.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I can’t speak for “we”, but I would – I got my XC70 because it filled my particular set of needs pretty much perfectly, not because of a deep emotional bond with either “wagon” or “being quirky”.

    (Also, my parents just, like yesterday ‘just’, got an Outback to replace their aging Sienna.

    [They don’t even really care about AWD, just seating position, cargo and seating for four, comfortably, and decent fuel economy and enough power to get out of its own way.]

    And I’ve driven a friend’s few-year-old Outback, as well.

    I found it quite enjoyable, not particularly boring, though certainly no Enthusiast Boy Racer Mobile.)

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Would anyone click on Dougs worthless posts if he could actually write? I ask myself this, and realize the answer is no. Because he doesn’t have an idea to write about.
    What say you B&B?

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Now that CAFE no longer has a minimum ground clearance for vehicles to be considered “trucks”, CUVs have lost their off-road pretensions.

    The current generation of CUVs *are* wagons, and they *are* popular. And some enthusiasts like them — or at least own them.

    As for me, I’m pretty enthusiastic about my minivan. I love picking the right tool for the right job, and that’s exactly what it is.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    The original Honda Civic wagon was small, light, fuel efficient, popular and yes, cool. The Accord wagon was pretty, and they sold a few. So, Honda proved that you CAN build a station wagon that the public likes and that car people will like also.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “So GM develops the SSR, and they bring the thing to market, and it just draws universal laughter. I mean, car enthusiasts, the press, random people on the street. They see this thing and its huge fenders, and its ridiculous size, and its substandard interior, and everyone asks: what the hell was General Motors thinking?

    And now, guess what? The damn SSR is still averaging more than $25,000 on AutoTrader. The thing is ten years old, and it’s still bringing half its value, whereas a 10-year-old Chevy TrailBlazer is worth approximately the same money as a yard sale copy of Monopoly with a couple of plastic hotels missing.”

    SSR was developed in order to give the Reatta Craft Centre something to build after the Eldo and J-body convertibles were being sunsetted. They could have built Isettas for all RenCen cared, the plant needed work else GM would still have to pay to keep the plant open. So they essentially try to build a mainstream concept car, and it bombed the same way the equally interesting and also impractical Plymouth Prowler did. I’d also point out 40K in 2003 buys 51K today per our BIS overlords so conservatively there has been 20% inflation in the period. Therefore 25K today buys you 19K in 2003 period dollars less than half of the 41K asking price of the SSR, and they only do near the 25K figure in extra clean to clean condition.

    MY03 SSR

    03/24/15 OHIO Regular $23,600 15,457 Avg YELLOW 8G A Yes
    04/01/15 NASHVILL Regular $22,200 15,585 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
    04/02/15 TAMPA Regular $22,200 26,569 Avg YELLOW 8G A Yes
    03/11/15 PITTSBGH Regular $22,000 27,111 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
    03/19/15 ATLANTA Lease $14,600 57,907 Below BLACK 8G A Yes
    04/17/15 NEVADA Regular $14,300 90,779 Below YELLOW 8G A Yes

    The reason for the popularity of these things is similar to why Corvettes hold value well:

    Unique styling/look at me characteristics.
    Bought new and never driven and/or babied.
    GM LS V8 which is one of the few things GM hasn’t screwed up yet.

    Sedans, station wagons, minivans, and CUVs (with few a exceptions) lack the above characteristics for the most part, and in addition are bought and used up by design. Period. Trucks and truck SUVs skirt these problems in resale because trucks are generally built be be durable, are more useful, and are able to be easier repaired/serviced (there is also a financing aspect as used trucks are easier to finance than equivalent non-trucks). Your SSR argument lacks any real comparison other than the vague “gosh um why’s that like that and wagons aren’t”. Think harder next time, I know you can do it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isetta

  • avatar
    stuki

    Car “enthusiasts” probably don’t like wagons per se, as much they like the wagon mix available in the US, then extrapolate to wagons in general. In Europe, you get plenty of wagons that are no more enthusiast friendly than a CUV for saps so cowed and raped they can’t afford a “real” CUV. And enthusiasts over there like them accordingly.

    Contrarily, the love affair American enthusiasts have with wagons, seem to have started around a time when wagon in the US meant a BMW, MB or an Audi (No enthusiast ever liked Volvos for anything more than being the butt of jokes about 50mph in the fast lane. While Subies were never bought as “wagons”, but rather as an accessory to the lumberjack flannel shirt for lesbians out to bolster their masculinity)

    I always thought it was kind of funny how every wagon that had any cred in the US, was a “sports wagon”, which honestly makes about as much sense as the “utility convertible” headlining this article.

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