Back in the day, before SUVs and their crossover counterparts invaded the lands and clogged our streets, wagons were the way of the average family vehicle after the four-door sedan — that is, if you didn’t particularly want to deal with a clunky minivan. While minivans seemed to have fallen out of favor compared to the SUV and the crossover SUV, with just a few available today, wagons remain relatively popular, particularly among a strong cult following.
Although engineers have managed to make the majority of SUVs and crossovers drive well with car-like driving characteristics, they’re still physically challenged by extra bulk and higher centers of gravity. Wagons don’t need as much additional metal to offer the same hauling utility and versatility as some SUVs and crossovers, since they sit closer to the ground. Often, most wagons are based off four-door sedans that precede them, allowing them to inherit similar driving characteristics.
What’s not to like about a car that doesn’t sacrifice driving fun for some extra bonus points in the practicality department? If you’re unmoved by any of the bulky, high-riding offerings, have no worry. The selection of “long roof” options remains plentiful and diverse. Here are some of the best wagons you can buy in 2018.
2019 Ferrari GTC4Lusso
Why should you buy this: If you’re looking for the crème de la crème of wagons
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants the absolute ultimate wagon
How much will it cost: $298,900
Why we picked the Ferrari GTC4Lusso: Well firstly, it’s a Ferrari. Secondly, it is the absolute, end-all be-all of new wagons that you can buy, fresh off the factory floor. The Europeans call it a “shooting brake” because it has a low-slung, long-roof and only three doors like a hatchback. Nonetheless, it is still a wagon by definition. And a Ferrari wagon at that.
It comes loaded with tons of technology, not just in safety and convenience, but primarily for cutting-edge performance and drivability on the road and in most weather. Yup, believe it or not, this puppy has all-wheel drive. Meaning, you can not only haul your skis or snowboards to the local mountain in the GTC4Lusso, but you can confidently use it to get you there and back. And unlike most Ferraris, there’s actually space to put things for weekend trips, thanks to up to 28 cubic feet of interior space.
And the GTC4Lusso will do so quite in a comfortable and ridiculously quick manner. With 680 raging horses from a naturally 6.3-liter V12, 60 mph will happen in just 3.4 seconds. All while cossetting you with the finest in supple Italian leather, aluminum, and carbon fiber trimmings. That said, you can definitely see why the GTC4Lusso is essentially the ultimate wagon.
2019 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Why should you buy this: If the ultimate wagon is too ultimate for you
Who’s it for: People who want the larger of the ultimate wagons
How much will it cost: $150,000
Why we picked the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo: If the Ferrari GTC4Lusso is a bit out of reach, coming in at a very close, but far more affordable second place behind the ultimate wagon is another ultimate wagon. Porsche recently launched the Sport Turismo version of the Panamera luxury sedan, wherein the roof is extended further over the trunk space with a taller rear liftback door, offering a total of 49 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. The result is some extra hauling space and another, blisteringly fast super wagon.
While the base models come with a very potent 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 440 horsepower, the Panamera Turbo’s twin-snail 4.0-liter V8 with 550 horsepower is available at the ordering books, meaning in either form, the Panamera Sport Turismo one insanely fast long-roof. Being a Porsche, it’ll also be a blast to drive. Though it’s not just in the performance field that the Panamera Sport Turismo excels. Around town, it’s as quiet and comfortable as any other full-size luxury sedan in its class.
Because it’s largely a Panamera with extra trunk space, it comes with all of the latest technologies offered by Zuffenhausen’s finest. This ranges from passive and active safety technology like pedestrian detection, night vision, GPS-based driving aids, automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, and radar-guided cruise control, to some of the most technologically advanced suspension and drivetrain systems available today on the market. The Panamera Sport Turismo is still an ultimate wagon.
2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
Why should you buy this: The best mass-market luxury midsize wagon
Who’s it for: Those who want everyday luxury in the best all-around package
How much will it cost: $63,050
Why we picked the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon: The Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon has been a staple of the European automobile industry since the 1970s beginning with the W123 generation. And to this day, while its competitive counterparts in Ingolstadt (Audi) and Munich (BMW) have intermittently sold wagon versions of its midsize sedans here in the states, Mercedes managed to continuously sell the wagon variant of its midrange model for every succeeding generation. Its as quintessential as European wagons get, next to the Volvo wagon.
There’s a lot to love with the E-Class wagon – it comes with lots of tech and the options for even more, lifted straight from its sibling, the E-Class sedan. It’s beautifully designed both inside and out and is basically as comfortable as intercontinental road-going transport can get, without sacrificing competent driving characteristics. And there’s no shortage of cargo capacity with up to 64 cubic feet with the seats down.
The standard E-Class wagon gets an excellent 3.0-liter biturbo gasoline V6 that hustles the German sled to 60 in a brisk 5.3 seconds. Those wanting to pay for some serious performance can get the blitzkrieg AMG version, the 603-horsepower E63 S wagon, which does it in just 3.4 seconds. Both only come with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, so you can be confident in the E-Class’s surefootedness in inclement weather.
2019 Audi A4 allroad
Why should you buy this: You want to graduate from the Subaru Outback
Who’s it for: Lovers of the A4 and some extra ground clearance
How much will it cost: $44,500
Why we picked the Audi A4 allroad: If you’re yearning for a long-roof from Ingolstadt, the Audi A4 allroad is the company’s only current wagon offering available in the states. It’s based off of the A4 so unlike the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon, the A4 allroad’s more ideal competitor is the BMW 3-Series Touring. But nonetheless, the A4 allroad is a package worth considering if you’re in the market for a luxury wagon.
Based off of the A4 sedan, the A4 allroad also takes after a lot of the sedan’s tech, featuring Audi’s virtual connect and latest MMI in a beautiful 12.3-inch LCD instrument display. So in addition to the typical tachometer and speedometer, drivers can view detailed navigation information, which is further enhanced by the integration of Google Earth. Audi’s pre-sense city safety bundles up the usual pedestrian detection, forward collision alert with automatic braking, radar-guided cruise control, lane-keep assist, and collision avoidance and detection. And when properly arranged, the A4 allroad offers to swallow whatever you can fit in its 58.5 cubic feet of cargo space.
Under the hood is a powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder with 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Sixty happens in just under six second with its seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic and quattro all-wheel drive is there to make sure you can rough it through almost any weather.
2019 Volvo V90 and V90 Cross Country
Why should you buy this: If you love how the Swedes do wagons
Who’s it for: Fans of Volvo’s long tradition for making wagons
How much will it cost: $49,950 ($55,300 for Cross Country)
Why we picked the Volvo V90 and V90 Cross Country:
One cannot go on with a conversation about wagons without mentioning Volvo, particularly its V90 and V90 Cross Country. Known for its lineage of wagons dating back to the original 240, all the way through the 850 and even the late V70, Volvo’s latest is based off the luxurious S90. Not only is it proof of how exquisitely the Swedes do luxury, it easily takes the cake as the most stylish wagon in all the land, thanks to its sleek and seductive bodywork.
Under the suave Swedish metal sits an incredibly spacious, versatile, and practical interior with up to a whopping 69 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down. Sadly however, the V90 doesn’t continue Volvo’s quirky tradition for featuring a collapsible rear-facing third row of child seats. But with Sweden’s reputation for sensibility, you can bet the V90 and V90 Cross Country offers a hugely versatile interior.
Volvo’s reputation for adding some extra ride height, underbody cladding, and ruggedness with its Cross Country trim adds variation to the V90 for those who like take the road less traveled. Motivation is provided by a quiet and smooth turbocharged gas four-cylinder with the option of an output of 250 or 316 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard with optional all-wheel.
2019 Buick Regal TourX
Why should you buy this: If you want the newest and freshest wagon of the bunch
Who’s it for: Avoiding the typical
How much will it cost: $29,070
Why we picked the Buick Regal TourX: The last time Buick successfully sold a station wagon was the Roadmaster of the 1990s, a true American land yacht, complete with faux-woody paneling, a body-on-frame construction, and lazy gas-sucking V8. But now, the company’s back with its first wagon ever since, the Regal TourX. Although no Roadmaster, the Regal TourX is rather based off the European Opel Insignia. And that’s a good thing.
Like the previous Regal, the latest version is essentially a heavily modified and reworked version of Opel’s latest midsize offering, which represents one of the last hurrahs from the small German automaker and its partnership with General Motors. The newest model updates it all for the current times. As such, Buick’s version for U.S. and Chinese shores benefits from the updates with the addition of the new Regal TourX.
It essentially takes the Insignia wagon, applies the Buick Regal treatment, and adds a little bit of ground clearance, underbody cladding, and some skid plates to make a Subaru Outback competitor. We love the Regal TourX’s unique and fresh styling and its approach as a newcomer to the typical offerings. Driving dynamics are on par with its competitors, but its massive cargo capacity of 73.5 cubic feet with the rear seats down means interior space is the Regal TourX’s highlight. And it isn’t shy of equipment with just enough to just nudge it into the “near-luxury” segment when properly loaded. Power is provided by a gasoline turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic
2019 BMW 3-Series Wagon
Why should you buy this: If you want the ultimate driving machine in wagon form
Who’s it for: Fans of BMW’s 3-Series, but with extra space and utility
How much will it cost: $42,950
Why we picked the BMW 3-Series Wagon:
The BMW 3-Series wagon is only long-roof currently available from Munich’s finest. Although it isn’t quite a competitor to the larger, more expensive, and more luxurious Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon, it’s still an option for wagon lovers and is much more accessible.
The current 3-Series is also beginning to age, having been around since 2012, and thus is in need of an update. A new model is due sometime within the next year. Though regardless, the current model is still one of the more compelling wagon options available from Europe. It offers the driving dynamics of a normal 3-Series sedan, but with extra space in the boot for things without forcing one into the heavier, bulkier, X3 SAV. Lay the 40/40/20 split second row all the way down and the 3-Series Wagon allows for many items with its 61.5 cubic feet of storage space.
Unfortunately, you can only get the 2.0-liter turbocharged gas inline-four under the 330i badge. So you do miss out on BMW’s legendary 3.0-liter gas turbo inline-six with over 300 horsepower. And you used to be able to get BMW’s award-winning turbodiesel four-cylinder as of the last few years, but was pulled due to heightened government scrutiny following Volkswagen’s infamous “dieselgate.” But the 2.0-liter still serves up commendable performance with 248 horsepower mated to an eight-speed automatic, xDrive all-paw traction, and a 0-60 time of just 5.7 seconds.
2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Alltrack
Why should you buy this: If you want the people’s sport wagon
Who’s it for: Those wanting the best compact wagon available
How much will it cost: $21,685 ($25,955 for the Alltrack)
Why we picked the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Alltrack:
If you want the best affordable wagon on the market, then look no further than the 2019 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Alltrack. It pairs the class leading features and characteristics of the already hugely successful Volkswagen Golf and Jetta and makes a five-door compact wagon out of its winning formula. The pricing is fairly similar as well, starting at $21,685 for a base SportWagen and $25,955 for the tougher, all-weather Alltrack.
Furthermore, not only does the Golf SportWagen lineup provide buyers with an affordable wagon option, its balance of practicality, comfort, performance, technology, and fuel economy make it one of the best values on the market. Put all the seats down and the Golf SportWagen and Alltrack offer up to 66.5 cubic feet of interior cargo space, which competes with many crossover SUVs.
There’s only a sole 1.8-liter turbocharged TSI gasoline four-cylinder as an option, with 170 horsepower. But it’s absolutely more than adequate, providing a 0-60 time of around eight seconds for both. And to top it all off, for driving enthusiasts, both the Golf SportWagen and Alltrack come with the option of a six-speed manual.
2019 Subaru Outback
Why should you buy this: It’s about as inoffensive as wagons get
Who’s it for: Japan’s interpretation of the every persons’ wagon
How much will it cost: $26,345
Why we picked the Subaru Outback:
In the same way that one cannot speak of wagons without mentioning Volvo, the same goes for Subaru, whose strong history of making wagons out of the Legacy and Impreza left the company with a huge fanbase. Quite simply, it was an affordable, efficient, and reliable wagon that offered all weather drivability, thanks to its signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.
Although there’s no Legacy wagon, the closest thing to it would be the Outback, which remains one of the company’s top-selling models. Not only does it come standard with all-wheel drive, it offers up to 8.7 inches of ground clearance, making it the outdoor adventure’s best friend if one finds the larger Forester too cumbersome. The Outback isn’t without space either, offering up to 73.3 cubic feet of space when the second row is laid flat.
The standard engine is a 175 horsepower gasoline 2.5-liter boxer-four while the top-of-the range Outback comes with a 3.6-liter gasoline boxer-six with 256 horsepower. Both come with one of the industry’s best CVT (continuously variable transmission) to offer class-leading fuel economy.
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