Note: This review was originally published on August 14, 2010.
I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for a sporty wagon. A lot of people turn their noses up at the stodgy reputation of the family station wagon, and there are certainly plenty of cars deserving of that rebuke. But I love a car that can haul a lot of stuff just as well as it hauls ass. Volvo’s 850 Turbo Sportswagon and the BMW 5-series wagon were, to my mind anyway, the pinnacle of the genre, which, sadly, peaked in the ‘90s. They were fast, handled exceptionally, and could take your Siberian husky to the vet without a second thought.
The rise in popularity of the SUV, though, signaled a death knell for the family station wagon. Sure, some examples persisted (Volvo and BMW both continued to offer exceptional wagons), but popularity waned considerably and most of the major manufacturers scratched them from their lineups in favor of the lumbering, fuel-sucking four-wheel drive behemoths the American public had become obsessed with.
Fast forward the better part of a decade, however, and we find that most Americans have realized that bingeing on SUVs wasn’t really such a good idea. The reasons for this (running through several prehistoric era’s-worth of fossilized remains in less than ten years, for instance) have been aired ad nauseum in the automotive press, so there’s no need to rehash them here. The result, though, has been a surprising renaissance for the station wagon. Albeit one with a twist.