By on April 2, 2019

The Rare Rides series has featured just two magnificent Datsuns in prior entries. The first was a 720 King Cab pickup truck, followed recently by the unfortunate looking 200SX coupe. Today’s entry is arguably rarer than either of those, as even local Datsun enthusiast and TTAC contributor Chris Tonn was surprised to see it.

Say hello to the F-10 wagon from 1977.

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2019

Late last week, Audi took to social media to tease the possibility of Avant models returning to the United States. Bizarrely, the company adopted the summoning circle meme utilized by young adults as a way to humorously express their deepest desires. While half-heartedly pretending to be a member of the occult online isn’t a new or particularly clever meme, the summoning circle gag has grown in popularity over the past month.

Audi can be forgiven for jumping on the bandwagon, especially if it actually plans on bringing long-roof variants back into the United States. Frankly, we wouldn’t care if the company was practicing legitimate witchcraft if it guaranteed us access to more wagons.  (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2019

2017 Volvo V90 T6 Inscription - Image: Volvo

In the absolutely superb 1949 war film Twelve O’Clock High, a doctor stationed at a U.S. Army Air Force base in WW2 England uses an interesting comparison when describing a character’s mental breakdown.

“Have you ever seen a light bulb burn out? How bright the filament gets right before it breaks?”

A similar phenomenon could be at work in a certain vehicle niche, one which gets more press than actual sales warrant. The lowly, reviled, and suddenly revered station wagon, now referred to in terms meant to dispel the stodgy family hauler image of decades past. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2018

When an automaker decides to launch a new station wagon in Europe, it’s usually a pretty safe assumption that we won’t see it in North America. Kia’s new ProCeed, scheduled for a public debut at the Paris Motor Show next month, is the latest example of this relentless phenomenon.

Still, while we’re annoyed we have to go without yet another Eurowagon, maybe this wasn’t the one for us. (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2018

Kia is readying the unveiling of its Proceed for European buyers later this month, taking great strides to ensure it matches the concept version. While the Ceed five-door already exists, the Proceed is a full-blown wagon. However, it’ll probably spend the majority of its time referred to as an “estate car” or “shooting brake,” since it’s not supposed to make it out of Europe. That’s slightly tragic, considering the model seems bent on showcasing Kia’s new emphasis on extra-handsome designs.

Kia revealed the Proceed Concept last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show to much praise from the media. The brand claimed it would foreshadow the future of the Ceed lineup’s styling, which bodes well, as the car looks like a Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo and Nissan GT-R put up their bastard offspring for adoption in South Korea.  (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2018

1983 Mercury Lynx wagon in Arizona wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Before the North American Ford Escort became a Mazda 323/Protegé sibling, the folks in Dearborn masterminded a Mercurized version known as the Lynx. Escort wagons are rare now (though I have shot a couple during my junkyard wanderings), so I did a double-take when I saw this optioned-up ’83 Lynx wagon in a Phoenix self-service yard last winter. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Ugh, you say. Wagons. A painfully uncool body type you swore off during childhood and haven’t reneged on since. A body type drooled over and feted by journalists who never put their meagre income where their mouth is. Yes, wagons. They remain part of our our automotive landscape, just a vanishingly small part of it.

But who’s buying them, and where? We have the answers. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2018

Audi RS 4 Avant

Back in 2016, Audi announced it would be going mental with its high-performance RS models, delivering eight new rip-roaring RennSports by the end of 2018. It even said it would ship some to the United States, though there wasn’t to be a single wagon among them. In fact, Audi’s entire American lineup is piss poor when it comes to liftbacks in general — despite Europe being flush with them.

Sure, the U.S. has a few sportbacks on offer. But the only vehicles that even begin to approach wagondom are an economy minded hatchback (the A3 e-tron) and an extra car-like crossover (the A4 Allroad). So, where does that leave wagon fans who might want to occasionally burn some rubber? Out of luck.

Fortunately, luck can change. Audi’s vice president of product management said shipping RS Avants to North America isn’t out of the question if the company thinks there could be a market for them. All wagon fans need to do is establish a write-in campaign pleading for them.  (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2018

Volvo simultaneously took a trip down memory lane while keeping its eyes on The Future™ when it unveiled the new V60 this week. Remember when Volvo was synonymous with practical wagon-based transportation for upstanding middle-class families? Those days are here again; but they are also gone, as the brand has transformed itself by offering models with exquisite styling, improved performance, and gobs of tech.

These are no longer nice square cars for nice square people. They’re sex machines intended for people who want to make a statement about who they are — and may happen to have children. But Volvo hasn’t abandoned its recipe entirely. It’s still a bit of an odd duck as European manufacturers go, and it’s still building desirable station wagons.

While many of them border on the crossover category, the company has stuck with estate cars, the V90 being the biggest jewel in that particular crown. The new V60 is essentially a scaled-down and more affordable version of that model. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart without careful inspection.  (Read More…)

By on October 19, 2017

2017 Volvo V90 T6 Inscription - Image: VolvoThrough the end of September 2017, Americans have registered 13 times more Volvo V90 CCs than Volvo V90s, clarifying with purchasing habits what every auto industry observer, casual or professional, already knew.

Volvo’s surely not surprised, either. After all, if you want to acquire a low-slung Volvo V90, Volvo forces U.S. customers to actually order the car. (Perish the thought.)

Even less surprising is the frequency with which Volvo now sells wagons. Combined, the four V60 and V90 variants account for fewer than one-in-10 Volvo USA sales through the first three-quarters of 2017. (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

2018 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Wagon - Image: Mercedes-Benz CanadaIt took some doing.

Mercedes-Benz Canada first showed the wagon version of the fourth-generation C-Class 20 months ago at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show. All-wheel drive, a 2.1-liter diesel with 369 lb-ft of torque, and a profile deserving of all our praise was destined for Canadian showrooms despite Mercedes-Benz USA’s rejection of the wagon.

But there were hiccups. 13 months ago, we asked Mercedes-Benz about the C-Class Wagon’s arrival on this side of the Atlantic and received the following response: “We’re still waiting for certification.”

Mercedes-Benz never got the certification it desired, and diesel engines have disappeared from the automaker’s North American lineup. But by April 2017, we knew Mercedes-Benz had a new plan: the all-wheel drive would remain, but in place of the 2.1-liter diesel there’d be a 2.0-liter turbo C300 with 241 horsepower.

It’s finally here. And it’s still bound for America. (Read More…)

By on July 28, 2017

2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo - Image: PorscheIn most cases, it’s a foregone conclusion. When there are multiple bodystyles available, the fewest number of buyers exist for the wagon.

The Porsche Panamera’s case is unique, however. There is no Porsche Panamera sedan. This is a battle between the regular second-generation Porsche Panamera — a hatchback or liftback or fastback or backbackbackgone or whatever you want to call it — and the new Sport Turismo, a shooting brake five years in the making.

Yet with limited practical benefit, “It’s a question of taste; some people like the Sport Turismo more, some people like the sports sedan more,” Porsche’s sales and marketing director told Stefan Utsch, told Motoring.

80 percent of taste buds apparently prefer the regular Panamera. (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2017

2018 Buick Regal TourX - Image: GMPremium positioning? Only in a small measure.

The 2018 Buick Regal TourX, the wagon variant of the sixth-generation Regal, will be priced to compete more directly with the Subaru Outback than European wagons.

That’s not bad news for wagon enthusiasts who consider the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack too small, the Subaru Outback too obvious, and both the Volvo V60 Cross Country and Audi A4 Allroad too expensive.

CarsDirect has learned that the 2018 Buick Regal TourX, including delivery fees, will be priced just a tick under $30K at $29,995 in base 1SV trim. (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2017

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

It’s always nice to see a station wagon in North America. Crossovers may have caught on faster than fidget spinners in a wildfire, but they’ll never be able to offer the same diving dynamics of a lower-slug automobile — leaving room for wagons to persist.

Likewise, rebranding estate cars as shooting brakes or “sportbrakes” is helping give the niche segment some much-needed panache, extending its appeal beyond the true believers. Wagons have long since become an endangered species in certain parts of the world but, thanks to conservation efforts from several carmakers, we might not lose them entirely.

One of those companies is Jaguar. It has yet to abandon the cargo-happy bodystyle and has even seen fit to bring the XF Sportbrake to the United States for the very first time — possibly because it realizes wagon lovers are now one of the most underserved demographics in autodom.  (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…)

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