Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Wagons are Better Than Sedans and Crossovers

2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. Image Courtesy General Motors.

Before I started having kids I thought sedans and coupes were the only vehicles to own and drive. I was amazed that having one kid filled up part of the backseat and most of the trunk of our sedan, which seemed so big before. When we had a second baby it became apparent to me that we needed something with much more cargo space. We looked at SUVs, crossovers and minivans, but that performance hunger screamed when I drove those other vehicles. Many of those larger vehicles made me feel like I was literally driving the short bus. They took forever to stop (because of their high curb weight and wimpy brake systems), many had significant body roll and some even felt as if they would topple over with each right turn made. Crossovers were new then and were billed as a great SUV alternative, but one look at their puny cargo and third row space made me laugh.

It was then that I discovered the automotive beauty of wagons. Unfortunately most wagons here in America don't come with third rows. Remember the Ford Taurus X? That might have been the last third row wagon sold here. What wagons do offer is humongous cargo spaces, a low center of gravity for good road grip and brisk acceleration (at least from some). This is why people who want on-road performance but also need cargo go for wagons. We bought a wagon and thoroughly enjoyed it until we needed more space. I still consider getting another wagon in the future, especially if I need another vehicle with great cargo space.  
2012 Volvo XC70 cargo space. Image Courtesy Volvo of North America.

There are other benefits of owning a wagon. Overall they get better gas mileage than SUVs and crossovers (except the Dodge Magnum SRT8, which is just plain a blast to drive despite its poor fuel economy). Their tires are smaller and significantly cheaper to replace. Wagons in general stop faster and have much tighter turning radiuses (making U-turns easier to perform). Wagons also have small blind spots and a lower step-in height for easier entry and exit. In essence wagons are lighter on your pocketbook and easier to drive.

Sure, there are people who think wagons are ugly mommy-mobiles, but many SUVs have turned into just that. Just look at the Cadillac Escalade for the biggest offender.

2013 Audi RS6 Avant. Image courtesy Volkswagen Group.

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