Wagons, perhaps even more than minivans, are among the most polarizing vehicles on the market. While we see them as sensible, sporty, and even sexy, the American market has met most wagons of recent years with a collective shrug. And while sport-wagon and rugged-wagon twists on the familiar formula have added a little more market appeal, wagons likely remain a proposition you either love or hate.
Although most crossovers and SUVs are wagons, we consider wagons to be models with elongated rooflines and nearly vertical rear hatches. While they might not be passenger cars, they typically have companion models that are sedans.
There are a few very good wagons on the market. Which should you buy? Finding your way to the best new wagon can be a lot simpler once you focus on a few of the most important factors and let them lead you through the process.
We've looked at the data, we've considered the ratings we apply to every new vehicle we review--and have come up with this buying guide, to help you find the best wagon you can buy more quickly.
To qualify as one of our Best Wagons To Buy 2015, a vehicle must:
- score at least an 8.0 rating on The Car Connection's full review
- must have a base price of less than $100,000—twice the amount we allow for our Best Car To Buy competition
- must have no reported score lower than four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Keep in mind, these wagon may finish with higher scores than our annual Best Car To Buy winner—because that vehicle is chosen from brand-new or significantly changed vehicles in a model year. These rankings pit all vehicles against each other, regardless of how many years they've been on the market, and they're open to every vehicle on sale during the current model year.
After vetting all the wagons offered for the 2015 model year, we've narrowed it down to the following set of vehicles, and given our insight in the bottom line from our original review. They're ranked in the order of scoring as of our latest update. Since our reviews are updated frequently for safety data, late model changes, or fuel-economy revisions, the order may change occasionally.
By those standards, these vehicles stack up as the best wagons on the road today:
TCC Rating: 8.4
2015 Subaru Outback
The 2015 Subaru Outback is as much of a tough, safe family wagon as ever; but this year, its brawn doesn't come with as much compromise in comfort and quiet.Read more »
2014 BMW 3-Series Sports Wagon (European spec)
The 2015 BMW 3-Series lineup is a sport sedan at heart, but with Sports Wagon and Gran Turismo (hatchback) models, it's a lot more than that. Read more »
2015 Audi Allroad
The 2015 Audi Allroad isn't just the best family car in the A4 lineup; it's an altogether better driver's car than most tall crossovers. Read more »
2015 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Wagon
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup is many vehicles in one, with comfort and luxury across the board and sporty manners for those who want them. Read more »