2016 Top Recommended Wagons
With drivers still very enthusiastic about utility vehicles and crossovers, fewer wagons are on the road than ever before. Nevertheless, the wagon occupies a worthy niche in the vehicle market. In fact, the wagon remains a smart choice for the savvy shopper. It’s as comfortable, easy to handle and fuel-efficient as a car because it is a car. Meanwhile, the easy access to a compact cargo space with a flat load floor offers useful cargo hauling on a more practical scale. Even better, the wagon has just the right look of personality and utility that never goes out of style. Most of the choices for wagons are in two groups: inexpensive small wagons on the bottom end and higher-end wagons from luxury automakers.
2016 Kia Soul
If the Kia Soul were available with all-wheel drive, it would not only likely reside in our subcompact SUV category but be one of our top-recommended choices there as well. We’ll call this oddball, segment-bending vehicle a wagon for now, and commend it for offering impressive cargo capacity, a comfortable backseat, above-average interior appointments, abundant available features, a reasonable price and a lengthy warranty. The attractive, distinctive styling inside and out is icing on the cake. The Soul is a car that’s easy to recommend regardless of what segment you place it in.
The Subaru Outback has been moving away from its conventional wagon roots for some time now, but even with its elevated ride height and more SUV-like looks, it’s still a wagon at its core. The Outback’s cargo capacity bests that of most compact crossovers, yet its lower loading height and roof make loading bulky things much easier. It also provides a more car-like driving experience than the typical crossover. The current Outback further benefits from a higher-quality interior, more advanced safety features and better fuel economy than the model’s historical norms.
Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon
VW’s compact wagon is now known as the Golf (rather than the Jetta), reflecting that it’s essentially a longer, more versatile version of the Golf hatchback. This means you get the same near-luxury cabin quality, refined and surprisingly engaging driving experience, and zesty yet fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Of course, as a wagon, this model has considerably more cargo space than the regular Golf, and it’s also more useful than many compact crossovers. For those looking for a traditional small wagon, this may be your only real choice, but it’s a great one.
BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series sedan is one of the best cars you can buy, and virtually every positive attribute that leads to that conclusion also applies to the 3 Series Sport Wagon. You get the same agile handling, composed ride, strong performance and fuel efficiency from its gasoline and diesel turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The passenger cabin is just as spacious and comfortable, and it boasts high-quality materials and BMW’s generally user-friendly tech. As for the wagon part, this 3 Series provides a genuinely useful cargo area that rivals those of compact SUVs. Though it lacks the sedan’s more performance-oriented powertrain options, the 3 Series Sport Wagon strikes a balance between fun and practicality that’s tough to beat.
Due to the popularity of do-everything crossover vehicles, the once-omnipresent family station wagon is now an endangered species. As such, we’re thankful that Mercedes continues to sell its superb midsize E-Class wagon. Whether propelled by the earnest 302-horsepower V6 (E350) or the outrageous 577-hp turbocharged V8 (AMG E63 S), the 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon offers the assurance of all-wheel drive and much the same driving experience as the E-Class sedan, coupled with typical Mercedes refinement and cutting-edge technology. There’s even a rear-facing third-row seat to give you seven-passenger seating capacity in a pinch.
The 2016 Volvo V60 might take a page or two from the Germans’ sport-wagon playbook, but Volvo also has a long history of building desirable wagons of its own. Besides having a more versatile cargo area than its S60 sedan sibling, the V60 offers abundant safety features (including built-in child booster seats and various accident avoidance technology) along with sublimely comfortable front seats. We’re especially keen on the base front-wheel-drive V60 T5 Drive-E, which returns close to 30 mpg combined and delivers ample power. Fuel economy drops precipitously with the R-Design model due to its older engine and standard all-wheel drive, but its 325-hp rating also easily outpaces any other wagon in the segment (Mercedes AMG models notwithstanding). Note that we do not recommend the V60 Cross Country variant, as it provides relatively poor fuel economy and acceleration.
The Audi Allroad is the wagon version of the A4 sedan, albeit with some extra ground clearance, higher-profile tires and a two-tone exterior with contrasting fender flares (you can opt for color-matched fenders if you want a more subtle look). The first two features team up with the standard all-wheel-drive system to provide a bit more freedom of travel than the choices above. Naturally, the Allroad also has a bigger, more versatile cargo area than its sedan sibling, even if it pales in comparison to most other wagons (a main reason why it misses out on our “A” rating). With superior interior construction, handsome styling and a general sense of impeccable refinement, the Allroad definitely puts the “luxury” in luxury wagon.
Like the Allroad, the 2016 XC70 is a wagon with extra ground clearance, some tough-looking body cladding and an available all-wheel-drive system intended for very light off-roading, or more realistically, a very snowy winter. Unlike the Allroad, though, and more like the Subaru Outback, the XC70 provides plenty of cargo space that betters that of compact crossovers. True to Volvo tradition, this wagon also boasts superior safety credentials, sublimely comfortable seats, a simple yet stylish cabin and a comfortable ride. Note, however, that fuel economy is unremarkable with all-wheel drive, and the driving experience is far from engaging. But if you’re looking for an all-weather family vehicle that’s not an SUV, the XC70 has considerable appeal.
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Published On: http://www.edmunds.com/wagon/buying-guide/