When done well, station wagons mix style and practicality in a way that no other class of car on the road can match. They can be sporty, luxurious, classy. And they have plenty of room for kids and gear, too. Sadly, enough Americans still associate station wagons with the same cars of their childhood, and so they remain a rarity here. And that’s a damn shame.
There are some great station wagons made in Europe and Japan, however, and every now and then their manufacturers let folks in the United States buy them. And while we may not be able to get some of the best offerings from overseas (here’s looking at you, BMW 340 Touring), nevertheless, we have some pretty solid cars from which to choose. Like the seven cars here. All every car in this roundup of the best station wagons are available in the United States now — or will be on lots within a few months — and are far removed from the kid-haulers of days past.
Starting price: $70,450
Why you should buy it: Jaguar has made station wagons before, but the XF Sportbrake marks the first to be sold in the United States in quite some time. It’s Jaguar’s mid-level luxury sedan, and even the base Sportbrake starts at the upper echelons of the XF range. For an entry price of just more than $70,000, you get the same 380-hp supercharged V6 that sounds demonically beautiful in the F-Type, all-wheel drive, as well as more than enough room for in-law airport pickup duty. With the rear seats folded down, the XF Sportbrake offers as much cargo space as most crossovers, with a capacity right at 70 cubic feet.
Starting price: $63,050
Why you should buy it: Mercedes station wagons are something of a tradition, and they have long held a timeless aura about them. The E-Class Wagon is no different. It’s no slouch with Mercedes’ 329-hp V6 under the hood, but you’re buying it for the tech. Semi-autonomous features like evasive steering assist and congestion emergency braking are part of Mercedes’ long list of optional features that rival anything on the road for active safety. The speakers even emit a “pink noise” that theoretically helps protect your ears in the event of a collision. Of course, it’s still a Mercedes, which means there are plenty of true luxury items such as massaging seats (worth every penny!) and a cabin fragrance system that will make you forget all about the spilled milk in the car seat.
Starting price: $96,200
Why you should buy it: With the Sport Turismo, Porsche finally station wagon-ized the otherwise successful Porsche Panamera. And at the end of the day, it’s a car for any family who can afford it. It can be a comfortable, luxurious-yet-sporting station wagon ideal for carpool duty. It can be a hybrid ⏤ albeit a 440-hp hybrid that can blow the doors off of most cars with green credentials. Or it can be a flat out superstar with 550-hp and a zero to 60 mph time that will outright embarrass any supercar you had on your wall as a child. As a bonus, you can even order it with Porsche-specific baby seats.
Starting price: TBD, but expect mid $30,000s
Why you should buy it: “That’s a Buick?” may be the official tagline of Buick these days, but in truth, the TourX is an Opel Insignia brought over from Europe with a few cosmetic tweaks. That’s a good thing, because the Insignia, in its station wagon form, is a good, solid ride that won’t break the bank. It’s built to compete in a land where station wagons are still a highly competitive segment and compete it does. The TourX is raised a few inches to enable light off-road duty, which makes it ideally suited for a weekend camping trip. It’s also long, which enables a lot of interior cargo space ⏤ north of 73 cubic feet, actually. It’s aiming somewhere between rivals like the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Alltrack, and upmarket answers like the Volvo V60 Cross Country and Audi A4 Allroad, and it hits dealers this fall.
Starting price: $61,600
Why you should buy it: There’s a myth out there that Volvos are boring and safe, but it’s only half true. Decades ago, they won race after race against the likes of BMW, Alfa Romeo, and Toyota— with station wagons. Since then, a private team, called Polestar, earned fame for winning many more races in Volvos. Now, Polestar is part of the company, and the hotrod version of the V60 is basically the quasi-affordable vehicle for people that want a sports car but need the practicality of a station wagon. With 362 hp and the kind of cornering you truly wouldn’t expect from a station wagon, the Polestar is a legitimate performance vehicle, regardless of shape. Make no mistake, this is the second quickest car on this list, trailing only the higher price specifications of the Porsche Sport Turismo.
Starting price: $44,500
Why you should buy it: As an off-road capable station wagon, Audi’s A4 Allroad slots somewhere in between the Buick Regal TourX and Volvo V90 Cross Country. With 252 hp under the hood and all-wheel drive, it has all the right basic elements for a fun drive in any conditions. Like its aforementioned competition, the Allroad sits higher than the A4 on which it’s based, allowing you to explore more rugged terrain. It’s still an Audi, so it has all the modern tech features you’d expect, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The available Audi Virtual Cockpit, which is a 12.3-inch LCD display that replaces the traditional instrument cluster, is worth the cost of entry. It features 60fps refresh rates and places a full Google map display where your speedometer used to be. Speaking of, the also-available head-up display is a full-color unit ⏤ between the two, you won’t miss your old gauges.
Starting price: $49,950
Why you should buy it: It says a lot that a car that has some of the best safety pedigree in the industry as well as self-driving tech that rivals the best of Mercedes and Tesla, looks this sexy — and still comes in right at $50,000 before options. The seats in the V90 are among the most comfortable over a long haul that you’ll find in any car, regardless of price. And if your children are still young enough to require a booster seat, you can actually order your V90 with one built into the back seat. Even better, it can be adjusted to two different positions should your precious cargo experience a growth spurt mid-road trip (and yes, it folds back to a normal seat when not in use). Special shout out to the V90 Cross Country, a lifted, off-road capable version that we like enough to include as one of the best cars for rich dads.