QOTD: Circling the Wagons?

qotd circling the wagons

It’s a not entirely inaccurate trope that most auto journos prefer brown, manual, diesel-powered station wagons. Or at least prefer the weirdest version of a mainstream model. Witness my inexplicable preference for old S60 Cross Country. We’re an odd bunch.

Wagons have been seen as the offbeat choice for years in this country. Our question to you today is: Why?

After all, it’s not like they’re a poor selection. Most wagon iterations of a platform are actually more practical than their crossover brethren, which offer fewer cubes of interior cargo space and less fuel mileage.

All-wheel drive? That argument is rendered null and void thanks to the appearance of that feature on certain wagons. Given that an AWD crossover is hewn from the same bones, there is no reason power couldn’t be sent to all four wheels on a wagon variant. We know why manufacturer’s don’t do that, of course — the only people who would buy such a machine are the readers and writers of this site, plus the strange dude who lives downtown and wears wool socks with sandals on a summer’s day.

Is it because a generation of Americans had gas-guzzling, wallowy-handling, behemoth station wagons offered to them three decades ago? Was it Lee Iacocca and his team’s invention of the Magic Wagon (there’s that word again!) originally responsible for the longroof’s demise, only for the wagon to be completely done in by the 1991 Ford Explorer?

Tastes change, I guess. And for every free-thinking individual such as you and I who care not one whit about what our neighbors say of our new vehicle purchase, there are a dozen suburban denizens who care very much what their neighbors think. If Hollywood’s elite suddenly all started driving station wagons, you think their legions of fans wouldn’t blindly follow along? Maybe putting the Prius or Tesla powertrain into a (real) wagon is the answer.

So we put it to you, B&B: why are wagons treated like especially virulent lepers (apologies to any lepers in our audience) around these parts?

[Image: Volvo Cars, General Motors, BMW]

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  • Cslumkos Cslumkos on Nov 13, 2018

    Our last purchase came down to a AWD Golf Wagon or a AWD CR-V. We both preferred the wagon, but since our daughter has some health issues and we've had to drive through a blizzard to the hospital at least once a winter, we went with the extra couple of inches of ride height on the Cr-V.

  • NeilM NeilM on Nov 13, 2018

    Wagon fan here: everything the equivalent sedan offers, plus the extra carrying capacity. We loved the E39 5-series we'd had for over a decade, but when it became time to get something newer this past summer the wagon choices were thin on the ground (and thick on the wallet). The MB E-class wagon is pricey and drives like a German Buick. The new Volvo is also pricey and just doesn't appeal. The Caddy is just...no. So we'd come to fork in the automotive road: in one direction lies a sedan, the other an SUV of some kind. We ended up buying a barely used (4300 miles, CPO) 2018 Audi Q5 with the Prestige package. Not what I'd normally call a driver's car — but I have a Golf R and an M3 track car for that — but it's sure nice to travel in. Extremely quiet, very well equipped, tasteful interior, killer B&O stereo, and all the gadgets. And actually it drives better than an SUV should, with minimal body roll and plenty of go. Fuel economy is a few mpg worse than a corresponding wagon would be, but it's still not bad. Oh, and @Matthew Guy: what's " less fuel mileage"? Is that supposed to mean better or worse?

  • ToolGuy "We’ll see what happens with Haas." I wonder what happened with Haas?
  • ToolGuy Auction is 2 days away now. I've been setting aside some spare change here and there - have you? (You forgot again, didn't you?)
  • 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).