Here at Car and Driver, the station wagon holds a special place in our hearts. Its long roof body style combines the best attributes from traditional family sedans and increasingly popular crossovers and SUVs. Regardless of skill set, we think these are the best station wagons you can buy today, offering the best combination of all-weather capability, driving responses, cargo capacity, passenger space, and styling.
Volkswagen took the already fantastic Golf hatchback and stretched its cargo hold to create an even roomier station wagon, the Golf SportWagen Its 67 cubic feet of maximum cargo space is perfect for your next Costco run or home-improvement project. Two turbocharged four-cylinders are available—a 147-hp 1.4-liter and a 168-hp 1.8-liter—and all-wheel drive accompany the larger of the two. The extra length and weight of the wagon body haven’t dulled the Golf’s excellent road manners, which made it an easy decision to name the SportWagen—along with the rest of the Golf family—to our 10Best Cars list for 2019.
The multifaceted Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is another wagon member of the 10Best-winningGolf family. Its standard all-wheel drive, 6.7 inches of ground clearance, and rugged exterior trim make it well-suited for off-road adventures. Along with the Golf SportWagen, the Alltrack has significantly more cargo volume than the regular Volkswagen hatchback. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides brisk acceleration and pairs with a manual or automatic transmission. The Alltrack is an athletic and comfortable station wagon on the road, with precise steering that highlights the experience. Every model has a spacious interior as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, forward-collision warning, and automated emergency braking.
As the wagon version of one of our favorite hot-rod sedans, the E63 S wagon brings the additional practicality of extra room for cargo. With 603 horsepower, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and full-time all-wheel drive, the E63 went from zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds in our testing. For reference, that’s quicker than a Porsche 911, which did the deed in 3.4 seconds with the PDK transmission. With the back seat in use, there is 35 cubic feet of cargo space; with the back seat folded, there’s 64 cubic feet of room. In our opinion, the E63 is the best station wagon for hauling ass—and people.
Combining the practicality of a station wagon and the sumptuous luxury of the Mercedes-Benz E-class results in one shapely and spacious family hauler. A twin-turbo V-6 provides plenty of thrust, and the air suspension soaks up bumps so well, you won’t wake a fussy infant from their merciful doze. When the E-class wagon isn’t hauling groceries or young soccer stars, its interior is posh enough for a night on the town, and optional massaging seats are a treat for sore muscles.
The latest all-new model from the wagon masters at Volvo is the redesigned V60, which inherits the striking good looks and agile handling of the S60 sedan. Buyers can choose from either a 250-hp turbocharged four-cylinder or a 316-hp version of the engine, which also uses a supercharger. Both a standard station-wagon model and a lifted Cross Country model are offered. No matter which one is chosen, the V60’s cabin is nicely equipped and intelligently styled and offers plenty of cargo room. Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system is displayed on a large vertically oriented screen, and several driver-assistance features are available as well.
Few station wagons are as gorgeous, tech-savvy, and versatile as the exclusive Volvo V90. Unlike the higher-riding Cross Country version, the regular V90 is available only through special order. Both have a sleek exterior that epitomizes the best wagon designs and a sophisticated interior that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability with a Wi-Fi hotspot, all standard. The V90 has two solid engine options and available all-wheel drive. It’s more athletic than the V90 Cross Country, but the ride can be harsh when driving over bumpy surfaces. We managed to fit eight carry-on bags behind its back seat, but the best rival station wagons have more cargo space.
The V90 Cross Country blends the Swedish knack for handsomely understated design with the practicality of a station wagon and the rugged go-anywhere ability of a crossover. Based on the V90 station wagon, the Cross Country has a useful 8.3 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive. The base engine is a 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; a 316-hp four-cylinder with both a turbocharger and a supercharger is optional. In our testing, however, the Cross Country held fewer carry-on suitcases (21) than the Subaru Outback (22) and the Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon (24). As one of the best wagons in 2019 for the family, the V90 Cross Country provides standard automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with semiautonomous driving mode.
For those looking for a station wagon that stands out in the crowd of SUVs, the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro offers similar cargo space, a raised ride height, and a handsomely Teutonic exterior. A 248-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard. The A4 Allroad wagon handles almost as well as the A4 sedan, so there’s even fun to be had if your commute involves curvy country roads. The businesslike interior is undeniably premium but isn’t particularly plush; most buyers will find the station wagon’s cabin spacious, comfortable, and well equipped.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
The Panamera Sport Turismo transcends the traditional idea of a station wagon, especially with its catalog of high-performance options. Its diverse engines include a dutiful turbocharged V-6, a maniacal twin-turbo V-8, and hybrid versions of each. Consider it the best station wagon for the ultrawealthy, and its compromised practicality and extravagant prices are easier to overlook. While the Sport Turismo’s best attributes cater to driving enthusiasts, we only wish the impressive cornering grip and tremendous braking capability were bolstered by better steering feedback. Compared with the regular Panamera hatchback, the Sport Turismo has a lower lift-over height into the cargo hold and a slightly bigger cargo area.
In Brit-speak, the XF is called a Sportbrake, but in Americanese, we call it what it is: one of the best station wagons from England. Okay, it’s also the only station wagon from England available here in the United States, but that’s beside the point. We think the wagon proportions look great, and when you consider that the XF’s 380-hp supercharged V-6 with all-wheel drive can motivate it from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, it’s as fast as it is good-looking. It offers decent cargo space, too: In our testing, it held nine carry-on suitcases behind the back seat. That’s two more than the Jaguar F-Pace SUV and one more than the Volvo V90 Cross Country.
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If BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine tagline is to be believed, then the wagon variant of the 3-series sedan must be the Ultimate Cargo-Hauling Machine. All-wheel drive is standard, and the 3-series Sports Wagon is powered by a 248-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission. Behind the back seat is a spacious cargo bay that easily expands to a massive 62 cubic feet when the rear seats are stowed in their flat position. The rest of the cabin is driver-focused, but the design is showing its age. An all-new 3-series sedan arrived for 2019, but the Sports Wagon carries over for one last year on the old platform.
The Subaru Outback is one of the best station wagons for those with an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. The Outback offers all-wheel drive paired with a useful 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The base engine is a 175-hp four-cylinder; the optional engine is a 256-hp six-cylinder. We haven’t subjected the four-cylinder to our 200-mile fuel-economy test route, but the six-cylinder impressed us with 28 mpg. In our test of its cargo-carrying ability, the Outback fit 10 carry-on suitcases behind the back seat and 22 cases with the back seat folded. The Outback is one of the best station wagons when it comes to safety, too. It earned a five-star rating (out of five) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ rating (the best rating) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Buick Regal TourX is the only station wagon here with a badge from an American manufacturer—despite the fact that it is actually built at the Opel plant in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and imported here to the States. The sole powertrain is a 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Despite its four-cylinder engine, the TourX isn’t fuel-efficient: in our testing, we recorded 22 mpg. It does have good cargo room, though, with 33 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat and an ample 74 cubic feet with the rear seats folded—more than a Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon. Where the TourX falls short is the quality of its interior materials, which include hard plastics on the dashboard and cheap-looking carpet in the cargo area.
Mini Cooper Clubman / S
The Clubman is the maxi version of the Mini Cooper and one of the best station wagons for zipping around city environs due to its small dimensions. It offers the nimble handling for which the Mini brand is famous, with peppy powertrains to match. The base version has a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 134 horsepower, while the S offers a turbo 2.0-liter good for 189 horsepower. Every model is available with ample personalization options, such as racing stripes and flag decals. With the rear seats in use, there is 18 cubic feet of cargo room, and with the rear seats folded, the Clubman has 48 cubic feet available.
While the Fiat 500L is undeniably cute, it falls short of the rest of the station wagons on this list. Its 160-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder supplies relaxed acceleration; we saw 25 mpg in our testing. The cabin, however, is roomy, and outward visibility is excellent, thanks to its huge windows. There is 22 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in use and 68 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality along with Bluetooth connectivity. Any other station wagon on this list is a better choice, so unless you absolutely must have a 500L, we encourage you to look elsewhere.