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!

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24 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Can wagons make a proper comeback?”

  1. neight428 Avatar

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

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

  2. P161911 Avatar

    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.

    1. fede Avatar

      This exactly, cuvs are morphing back into tall cars.

      What most consumers want today is the 1940s proportions. At some point, we’ll go back to more modern car like.


    2. outback_ute Avatar

      I would say we are there now.

  3. GTXcellent Avatar

    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. Sjalabais Avatar

      Also known as a “Polanyi cycle”. It’s a long way back to the sleek long lines and huge windows of the V90’s first namesake though.
      When you see one of these in traffic today, it looks so low and flat – like a product of a different planet.

      1. Tiller188 Avatar

        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. nanoop Avatar

          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. Manxman Avatar

        Another classic wagon that looks very low and is available on CL near me for $2,195. Very tempted. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/409ea083472bc310fa5158413a878a060c37dae365a64aea7314a277695168b6.jpg

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Bargain. Even for someone just looking for non-rusty sheetmetal.

      3. crank_case Avatar

        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.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Damn, I almost got away with that one!

          1. crank_case Avatar

            If it wasn’t for those pesky kids middle aged gen Xers

  4. Maymar Avatar

    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. neight428 Avatar

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


  5. Zentropy Avatar

    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. outback_ute Avatar

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

      1. Vairship Avatar

        Besides, whispers: a CUV is just a minivan with less practical doors…

  6. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    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. outback_ute Avatar

      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. Turbobrick Avatar

    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.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      So long as they keep the ability to fit an adult in the back seat, I’d be happy with that.

  8. ptschett Avatar

    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.

    1. Smaglik Avatar

      It’s all about the marketing.

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