For 2010 the Acura TSX gets the same 3.5L V6 from the TL and RL and is rated at 280hp (209kW)Enlarge Photo
Generational biases are nearly impossible to overcome when it comes to cars and image, and what types of cars are hot or not. At least until recently, much of the Baby Boomer generation, which has held most of the new-car buying power, has been decidedly anti-wagon.
My generation, the young side of Gen X plus Gen Y, has liked wagons all along; I can't remember a time when my peers considered them uncool. Whether or not it goes back to the knee-jerk resistance to the Plymouth Voyager minivans and Ford Explorer SUVs that our parents' generation gravitated toward, we really love our sport wagons.
If you're looking for a wagon—especially a sporty wagon—choices have been slim for a long time. The past decade has been full of false starts for the wagon market, as marketers seemed to misunderstand the appeal or pitch products to an older, more affluent audience that wasn't interested (the Lexus IS SportCross was a favorite).
My generation is getting older and fussier and just starting to move toward (and be able to afford) the luxury segment—albeit more cautiously than the older generation. A vehicle like the SportCross would likely have much more success now; and sources inside Toyota have confirmed to TheCarConnection.com that Lexus is reconsidering a wagon body style for its next-generation IS, now under development.
Now Cadillac is about to roll out a CTS Wagon, and according to Car and Driver, Acura is seriously considering bringing a wagon version of its TSX to the U.S.; the model is already sold overseas as the Honda Accord Touring. These models would join two TheCarConnection.com favorites—the 2009 Audi A4 Avant, 2009 BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon. In a more affordable segment of the market, the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring is also helping to fill the void.
Any of these are well worth considering; in nearly every case, wagons are more fuel-efficient alternatives to SUVs, with just as much interior space and a better driving experience.
Mercedes-Benz recently announced that it will bring out a wagon version of the E-Class, next summer, but a company spokesperson just confirmed for TheCarConnection.com that it has no plans to bring the C-Class over as a wagon. Mercedes-Benz brought the C-Class wagon to the U.S. from 2002 through 2005, but it was a slow-seller and the latest version never made it.
The past decade has seen several ill-conceived, stodgy wagons that neither appeal to a certain type of Boomers nor to my generation, while at the same time perpetuating a "wagons don't sell" mentality within the ranks. Take the Malibu Maxx, an almost-there design that was saddled with way too much chrome on the outside, given bleak interior trim, and only offered with the V-6 and automatic. A little green appeal or a little sport can go a long way in stoking a wagon's appeal; Ford is missing out tremendously by not offering a Fusion Wagon—especially a Fusion Hybrid Wagon.
There's no denying that a few years from now there will be sport wagons to choose from; tighter fuel-efficiency requirements almost necessitate it. We want sporty and efficient, but we're not willing to sacrifice much practicality.
TheCarConnection.com will keep you posted on new wagon possibilities as they're announced; with some luck they'll pick up steam without sputtering themselves out yet again.