Buyers' Guide: Back on the wagon
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Have they fallen off the wagon? If you’re in the market for a family vehicle, you now have more choice.
SUVs with their spacious interiors and family seating make a lot of sense for a number of car shoppers.
However, many manufacturers have continued to refine their station wagons, and there’s no doubt they’ve come a long way since the Bill Murray-helmed 1959 Cadillac from Ghostbusters. With so many choices out there, is the once popular station wagon a dying breed?
Advantages of a wagon
Station wagons are naturally bigger than their regular siblings, offering larger cabin and boot space. They are particularly useful for those who have a big family or often find themselves going on a long journey. Even small station wagons have enough room to accommodate cumbersome luggage for the family camping trip.
Station wagons have large tailgates, making loading luggage a breeze. Compared to sedans, you have less to worry about the bumper being scratched or placing luggage in awkward positions. Some even have hands-free opening.
Low centre of gravity
They may look like an SUV, but they’re not as high off the ground, offering much better handing. People conscious about the driving dynamics of their car won’t feel much of a difference to a sedan.
When it comes to fuel economy, this can be the make-or-break for many motorists. Station wagons’ aerodynamic shape gives them an edge over crossovers and SUVs for fuel economy and they don’t usually add too much weight, either, so performance is close to a sedan.
A taste of station wagon offerings for 2018
Mercedes E-Cclass: a touch of luxury
Exceptionally quiet, extremely practical, and exceedingly comfortable, the E-Class wagon delivers SUV-like space in a low slung body with a twin-turbo 3-litre V-6 engine that propels all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic and air suspension keeps the ride comfortable. With luxury treats scattered throughout the vehicle such as touchscreen infotainment, ambient lighting, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and a semi-autonomous driving mode, this vehicle would please even the most sagacious of buyers.
Subaru Levorg: practical and fun
Subaru is a brand historically known to produce some fantastic models for motorists who want to have something special, but still practical, such as the Levorg — the successor to the much loved Legacy GT wagon. You don’t have to choose between style, space and performance — this turbocharged sportswagon is the total package.
With a 2-litre direct injection turbocharged Boxer engine producing 197kW of power, there’s no doubting the Levorg’s performance on the road.
Holden Commodore: the classic
Holden has revealed the new wagon version of its next-generation Opel Insignia — the Holden Commodore Sportwagon.
A nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, autonomous emergency braking, matrix headlights, head-up display and adaptive cruise control are part of the Sportwagon’s arsenal as it takes on wagons such as the Ford Mondeo wagon, Hyundai i40 Tourer and Mazda6 wagon, as well as a string of SUVs.
Once popular, and for good reason, the fundamentals of a station wagon remain the same but they now have more to offer.