2013 Chevrolet Cruze Wagon vs Hyundai i30 Wagon: Not For U.S. Consumption

March 6, 2012
Although the Geneva Motor Show was packed with premieres for luxury cars, sports cars, supercars, and exclusive prestige marques, there were plenty of down-to-earth family vehicles rolled out here for the first time as well.

Among them were two models that will almost certainly prove popular in the European market: the 2013 Hyundai i30 Wagon (the i30 is the Euro-market version of the Elantra), and the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Wagon.

Both of these wagons would make a lot of sense to American families—especially at a time when so many households are worrying about gas mileage and fuel budgets. Yet, GM and Hyundai are quite set in their decisions not to bring these wagons to the U.S.

Space sells...but not here?

It’s a shame. The new i30 wagon offers 18.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up in place and 58.0 cubic feet with them folded, if you use all the loading space. And with it you’d likely get the same great 40-mpg highway rating as the Elantra—or close to it.

Likewise, the Cruze Wagon trades off the Cruze sedan’s already very spacious 15.4-cubic-foot trunk for one that’s 17.7 cubic feet with all the seats up in place—or nearly 53 cubic feet with the second row folded forward. The Cruze Wagon is just three inches longer than the sedan version.

Keep in mind, the 2012 Cruze Eco achieves EPA ratings of up to 42 mpg highway.

To compare, versus the Chevy Equinox crossover—with its mid-size footprint: The Equinox has 31.5 cubic feet with all the seats in place, or a maximum of 63.7 cubic feet. The more compact Hyundai Tucson offers just 25.7 and 55.8 cubic feet, respectively.

Crossovers: Better mpg than an SUV, but worse than a sedan or wagon

And for both of these vehicles, the best they can do is 22 mpg city, 32 highway.

Automakers continue to insist that wagons simply won’t sell in the U.S. But it’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg argument, as companies seem unwilling to actually start marketing wagons. U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) policy over the years has made that decision easier.

Instead, Hyundai plans to bring a hatchback version of the Elantra to the U.S. this time (as previewed in the Elantra GT), while it’s likely that the Cruze hatchback will be introduced here.

In the meantime, you can get an Elantra Wagon in the U.S. for one more year; the current 2012 Elantra Touring is based on the outgoing Euro-market i30 Touring, however, so it’s due to be phased out after this year.

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