Hooniverse Asks: Can wagons make a proper comeback?

All we hear is that the car buying public wants crossovers and SUVs. It’s true, of course. They are everywhere. People are snatching them up. The CUV represents the fasting growing segment for basically every automaker on the planet. And this all spells doom for the wagon.

Or does it?

According to a story over on Bloomberg, which we found by way of our friends at Jalopnik, wagon sales weren’t too shabby last year. Yes, the overall market share is still quite small. But more than 200,000 people purchased a shiny new longroof. That figure represents a 29% increase over the course of the last five years.

The driving force behind this slight wagon-love shift? Rich folks. It’s the Volvo V90 and V60, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the Porsche Panamera. 2017 was a peak sales year over the course of the last five in total, so 2018 shows some softening. But staying above that 200,000 sales mark is a strong sign.

There are still great options for us peasants as well. From Volkswagen to Buick and… ok, I guess that’s really it. There still aren’t a lot of wagon choices. But pretty much every one of them is a good choice. Not because it’s a wagon, but because the car itself is a good one.

Crossovers have gotten so much better compared to when they first arrived. They drive well. The styling is vastly improved. Overall, the CUV market has some great choices. But shop a bit harder and you’ll find an even better wagon waiting in the wings.

Except that one in the lead image… COME ON SUBARU, GIVE US THE LEVORG ALREADY!

24 Comments

  1. It could happen in some sort of trickle down virtue marketing approach.

    Does it mean anything that Levorg is “grovel” backwards?

  2. As CUVS become more car like, lower, sleeker, and offer more performance, they will morph into wagons or at least the line will get really blurry.

  3. Sure – everything’s cyclical.
    If current broadcast television can be filled with Magnum P.I., Macgyver, S.W.A.T and Hawaii 5-0; and the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys have the biggest concert tour going, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before we see Ford bring back a Country Squire and Chevrolet is running advertisements for it’s brand new Kingswood.

      1. Pity the “huge windows” part isn’t likely to come back. I understand why, I suppose, but “excellent outward sightlines” seem like a fairly important safety consideration, too…

        1. I considered rear view cameras as something for delivery trucks or just gimicky, until I got a rental CUV. Now I get why they offer “god view” in parking mode. With an 840 you simply know where the rear bumper ends.

      2. It’s a sign of how far we’ve strayed from Gods light that anyone can now describe a Volvo 940 as “sleek” with a straight face. Back in the day, I referred to them as Tanks, and lusted after fast hatchbacks and coupes with biscuit tin grade sheetmetal.

  4. I don’t think a proper comeback can be expected, but I think that the residuals on what few wagons out there suggest there is an untapped market (unless there’s massive overlap between the “gotta have a wagon” crowd and the “gotta buy used” crowd).

    1. (unless there’s massive overlap between the “gotta have a wagon” crowd and the “gotta buy used” crowd)

      Bullseye!

  5. I sure as hell hope so. Wagons have long been my favorite style of automobile, and I’m decidedly not an SUV person.

    I tried desperately to talk my wife into holding out for the Volvo V60 to replace her aging XC90, but she would have nothing of it, saying it looked geriatric. She wanted an SUV. A used V60 may some day become my do-it-all ride, but I want a manual and I doubt Volvo will go there.

    The Levorg would be a great U.S. option, and Subaru is a manufacturer that might potentially offer us a manual. It reminds me of my favorite, the fourth-gen Legacy wagon. I think Subaru made a big mistake in SUV-izing the Outback for 2009– I don’t even look at them as station wagons anymore.

    1. Interesting, surely a wagon would look less geriatric at this point because the lower seating position is harder to get in & out of!

  6. I think it will require another generational shift to make wagons popular again. The minivan was popular with adults who grew up in station wagons, then their offspring turned on minivans in favor of the SUV/CUV so the next generation could be the one that goes back to the station wagon as they see their parents CUV as uncool. Or we start to see the angry face styling of trucks turn CUVs into bloated abominations

    1. I think wagons will grow in coolness, now that wagons are basically sport-wagon unicorns, but will not necessarily become ‘popular’ again as both they and regular sedans are superceded by taller, more practical cars aka CUV/SUVs.

  7. I don’t think the comeback is going to happen. As far as the general population is concerned, the cute ute body style is better. I think it’s more likely that the current 4-door sedans will morph into liftbacks like Buick Regal or Skoda Superb.

  8. I’m in my late 30’s and don’t remember a time when vehicles that I considered to be wagons weren’t pre-eminent.

    They just spent about the last 30 years evolving from being tall FWD cars with some variation of single or multiple sliding 2nd-row doors, to 5-door tall hatchbacks, with varying 2- or 4-wheel-drive solutions along the way.

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