Luxury Station Wagons: A Dying Breed?

February 14, 2011
Once SUVs and minivans took precedence in the driveways of families and soccer Moms in the late 1990s, the wagon market shrunk very quickly. However, there are still a few good choices that exist for people who don't want the low gas mileage and high-up feeling that SUVs provide.

Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is one of the safest, roomiest and best-priced wagons currently on the market today. Starting at $23,195, it's very reasonably priced for the safety and space it provides. With 34.3 cubic feet of trunk space, it's more than ample to hold the luggage of four people and a dog going on vacation. In addition, with its all-wheel-drive and go-anywhere capability, it's convenient when you need to get out of your driveway full of snow and get into town for some staples. The ride is comfortable and the leg room is decent enough to stay fairly comfortable for a two-hour car ride without stretching your legs. However, with each new model, they continue to raise the ride height, so it may feel more like a crossover than a wagon to some.

Volvo XC70

The XC70 is currently one of the most expensive wagons. With up to 300 hp, it is fairly good at getting on the highway. Keep in mind, though, that the Volvo is very hefty at over 4000 pounds. Contrary to the Subaru, all-wheel drive is not standard, and the Volvo it costs significantly more than the Subaru Outback (about $32,000 for the basic model). Taller people may find that the foot wells seem a little bit small. Although, on the plus side, the center console is simple and easy to use. This is a car that is pretty easy to live with, assuming that gas mileage is not the top priority for you, as the FWD version gets 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway, with the AWD version being much less. Most people in the market for a wagon are most concerned about one thing: trunk space, and this is where the Volvo outshines all other cars. Without the rear seats folded, it blows away the Subaru with 72.1 cubic feet of trunk space. If maximum cargo capacity is your number one objective, then the Volvo can't be beat.

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