Howling Haulers: 2017’s Lineup of Wagons is Better than Ever [Op/Ed]

Jaguar has just revealed the new XF Sportbrake, building on the ever growing list of wagons being sold in the US. For those of us who love to drive and want to haul our families, dogs, and gear, this new crop of wagons is a welcome harbinger of things to come. Below, you’ll find every wagon currently or soon to be sold in the States.

Audi  A4 Allroad Quattro

2017 Audi A4 allroad quattro

The A4 Allroad Quattro comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque, same as its sedan counterpart. This power is sent to all four wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, allowing the A4 Allroad to hit 60 in a reported 5.2 seconds. Rumors have been floating around the industry that Audi may bring over its RS6 performance sedan to the US. For lovers of sleepers and fast wagons, this car is the holy grail as it hasn’t been sold in the US before.


BMW 3 Series

BMW’s offering to the wagon market comes in the form of the 3 Series Sport Wagon. The Sport Wagon offers two powertrains: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder which makes 248 horsepower or a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine which makes 181 horsepower. Both come with all wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission.


Buick Regal TourX

This, a recent addition to the wagon market that goes on sale later in 2017. The TourX comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder which makes 250 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. This power is sent to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.


Jaguar XF Sportbrake

The Sportbrake has one engine option currently, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 380 horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque, enough to get the wagon to 60 in roughly 5 seconds according to Jaguar. You have the option of rear wheel drive or all wheel drive paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission.


Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic

The Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic comes standard with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft. of torque. This is linked with their 9-speed automatic transmission which helps power all four wheels. Alternatively, Mercedes offers the E63 AMG S Wagon, a 603 horsepower missile that can hit 60 in 3.4 seconds.


Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

This one is another recent addition coming to the marketplace. Four powertrains will be available at launch, each with all wheel drive as standard. First is the 330 horsepower Panamera 4. The next step up is the 440 horsepower Panamera 4S. After that is the 550 horsepower Panamera Turbo. Finally, there is a 462-hp Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo for the environmentally minded customer. While it has not been officially announced, there is a rumor that the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is a possibility, with a range-topping 680 horsepower.


Subaru Outback

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The Subaru Outback has been a staple of the US wagon market for some time now. It currently comes with two engine options. The ages-old 2.5-liter flat four which makes 175 horsepower, or a 3.6-liter flat six which makes 256 horsepower. Both come with a CVT and, since its Subaru, all wheel drive.


Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen (Alltrack)

The Golf Sportwagen comes with only one engine option, a 1.8-liter turbocharged four cylinder which makes 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. The Sportwagen has three transmission options: a 5-speed manual, only available on the FWD base model, a 6-speed manual available on the AWD model, or a 6-speed automatic transmission available on front and all wheel drive. VW offers the Alltrack model of this car as well. It features the same engine, a 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG, AWD and a slight lift over the SportWagen.


Volvo V90 (Cross Country)

2018 2017 volvo cross country v90 crossover wagon

The V90 is Volvo’s flagship wagon. It features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder which makes 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque, powering the front wheels. You can upgrade to the T6 engine, which adds a supercharger to the same engine, boosting power to 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque and this time sending power to all four wheels. Both engines come paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Volvo also offers this wagon in a Cross Country trim, giving an extra 2 inches of ground clearance and utilizing the T6 powerplant to provide 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via the same 8-speed automatic transmission.


Volvo V60 (Cross Country and Polestar)

2016 Volvo V60 Polestar

The baby brother to the V90 line, the V60 offers three powertrains. First is the T5 which features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, powering just the front or all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Next is the T6 which also features a 2.0-liter engine, this time with both a turbo and a supercharger, good enough to make 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This again uses an 8-speed automatic transmission to power all four wheels. Finally, there is the performance-oriented Polestar model. This has a 2.0-liter four cylinder which has been turbocharged and supercharged to make 362 horsepower and 347 lb-ft. of torque. This power is sent to all four wheels through the same 8-speed automatic transmission.


TFLCAR’s TAKE: The wagon was once the king of family vehicles. In the 60s and 70s wagons were they way to go if you wanted something with a lot of space. That all changed when the minivan showed up in the 1980s, and worsened further with the arrival of the SUV in the 1990s SUV showed up in the 1990s. It hurt sales so much that only 1.1% of car sales in the US were wagons in 2015, according to Automotive News. However, that may begin to change in the near future

What would prompt this increase in wagon popularity? Why not take a look at another hot segment to see if we can draw some similarities. It is no secret that crossovers are red hot right now, but consumers like these vehicles because they often provide a huge amount of room with a smaller footprint than an SUV. Additionally, popularity can be dissuading to some consumers. Crossovers are getting so common and bland that it can be hard to tell the difference between a BMW and a Hyundai. The wagon now offers these consumers, who want to go against the grain, an option that lets them stand out from the crowd while simultaneously providing them with better driving dynamics and fuel economy in a package that equals the cargo space of its boring competitors. 

Wagons offer a similar ratio of size to cargo space, allowing for a car that drives like a sedan, but offers more cargo space. Martin Hayes, Buick Regal TourX Chief Engineer, commented on the choice to offer a wagon to the seemingly stagnant market in the US, saying “Buick wants to offer cars in the midsize segment that are a bit alternative… You look around and you see a lot of crossovers and small SUVs, maybe people are going to get sick of that, but they don’t want to give up their versatility. They remember how fun it is to drive a sedan and drive a car versus their SUVs or trucks and this is that alternative for them”

Clearly, companies are realizing that a portion of the American consumer base wants to move away from dull crossovers, while maintaining their level of practicality. Wagons have the opportunity to fill that spot in the marketplace, potentially reclaiming the level of popularity they had in the 60s and 70s.