December 1, 2020

Making a case for the humble station wagon

When most people hear the phrase “station wagon” they turn their nose up like a snobby rich child who was just offered a PB&J sandwich instead of their usual caviar. 

I can not figure this out for the life of me. Perhaps it is because so many Americans were tortured in the back of one in the form of family road trips. However, that is a rare occurrence nowadays. 

Photo by Regina Battle on Unsplash.

Station wagons have been on the steep decline in America for years and if that decline continues at its current rate, there will not be any wagons on sale at all pretty soon.

I know this is a problem mostly specific to America because in Europe, England specifically, wagons are known as the cooler alternative to sedans.

One reason for this irrational hatred might be that we Americans are so hung up on the false notion that bigger is better. So if we want a practical car that can move a bunch of stuff or people around, we immediately go for an SUV like a Chevy Suburban. 

This or the smaller, borderline pointless crossover segment and get something like a Honda HRV.

I believe the main reason people go for these kinds of cars is that they think they are cool. The keyword there is think. SUVs and crossovers are like Adidas Superstars, they are cool for a bit, then they go out of style again for who knows how long. 

When in reality, what is cool is a classic Air Jordan. Station wagons are the Air Jordan 1 of the car world; they have always been around and are undeniably brilliant, yet, can be easily forgotten in the sea of modern, gaudy dad shoes, i.e. the crossovers. 

However, the problem with getting cars like this is they are heavy and a bit clumsy. The weight is an issue because that spoils the acceleration, handling, economy, and pretty much everything else. 

They are clumsy because they are so tall, which causes them to pitch and roll and drive like a baby deer trying to walk for the first time. 

So, if you need some extra practicality, don’t go for some generic SUV or crossover, go for a wagon.

People may not think they are cool, but they are wrong.

Plus, they may not be on the rise, but they are definitely making a good last stand at the very least. 

Mercedes and Audi are currently selling station wagons with nearly 600 horsepower, over 100 more than the new Corvette. Plus, the Germans are fitting them with handling components that sound like they belong on a spaceship from Star Wars. 

Volvo’s take on the wagon, the V60, and the V90, while they may not be as sporty, they are massive slices of calm, beautiful, tasteful, Swedish goodness.  

Photo by Miguel Teirlinck on Unsplash.

Another benefit of wagons is that because nobody likes them, they are usually cheap to buy in the second-hand market.

Besides, when you break it down, a wagon is essentially just a sedan with a massive trunk. 

Or, if you choose to look at it a different way, they are lower, better looking, more affordable, more fun to drive, just as practical versions of SUVs.

  • Josh Conturo is a reporter for the Chimes and a sophomore studying emerging media with an emphasis on journalism, and loves all things related to cars, coffee, and comedy.

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