The station wagon is a roomy and comfortable car. Its trunk is much larger than that of a sedan, and the folding rear row forms a loading space with an impressively sized floor, ideal for transporting indivisible large-sized cargo. At the same time, the design of many station wagons of the recent past (Volvo V70 and Mercedes AMG E63 Estate) allows for the installation of a third row of seats, just like the current top-end SUVs.
As for the curb weight of the station wagon, it is lower than that of a similar crossover, thanks to the lightweight body structure. In addition, these cars have a lower center of gravity, which means they are more stable on the road. The low seating position and low ground clearance, as well as the smaller cross-section of the body compared to a crossover, improve the aerodynamics of the station wagon while reducing fuel consumption by an average of a quarter. Also, station wagon tires usually have a lower profile, which reduces rolling resistance and saves the cost of seasonal tire changes.
If we talk about the shortcomings of station wagons, the main one is the inconsistency with the current automotive trends inspired by any advertising banner. The current generation of marketers is actively promoting vehicles of a different class, convincing the public that today wagons are hopelessly outdated and only suitable for pensioners and housewives. They say they don’t look as bold as an SUV and don’t have such a high seating position, which many people consider an advantage. The former is inferior to the latter in cross-country ability and visibility (again due to ground clearance), and their relatively long body makes parking difficult in cramped streets of a big city like Indianapolis.
Advantages and disadvantages of crossovers
From a larger perspective, everything is mirrored here. The main advantage of crossovers is their modernity, so a motorist who wants to keep up with the times will choose a crossover. This is supported by the good looks of almost all representatives of this class and the various innovative solutions implemented in them.
The high driving position provides good visibility, reducing the size of dead zones (however, this quality does not work for all crossovers). At the same time, a driver sitting high is less likely to be blinded by unadjusted headlights of oncoming traffic.
The ground clearance of crossovers is higher than that of station wagons. Therefore, they have an advantage outside of smooth asphalt. The same applies to winter driving. On high-rut roads, such vehicles also have an advantage.
But, once in such a car off-road, the owner quickly realizes that the name “crossover” did not arise by chance. This is especially true for single-wheel drive vehicles.
Crossovers are significantly more expensive than station wagons. The cost of their maintenance also increases in direct proportion, especially when visiting gas stations: a heavier and larger car consumes more fuel than a station wagon with a smaller body cross-section. Check also the best pickup truck comparison here.
The choice of station wagons on the modern market is limited. Manufacturers offer significantly fewer new models in this body than crossovers and only market saturation can change anything. However, fashion is a fickle and cyclical phenomenon, so it is only a matter of time before we see station wagons at the top of popularity.