State of the Wagon Address – 2024

My fellow North Americans, the station wagon as we know it continues to be replaced by high riding versions of itself. As a serial car buyer I’m always car shopping for the next thing. Lately I’ve considered replacing my Wrangler Unlimited with something a little more comfortable, a little quicker (300 horsepower or more), has similar or better interior space, and has enough personality to make me look over my shoulder at it as I walk away. It continues to clear that I’d love a new wagon.

Only you can’t buy a new wagon that’s fast unless you’re looking to spend quite a bit of cash. So I’ve made a quick graphic to illustrate that. Here are all the 2024 model wagons for sale in North America. Behold!

Some additional context if I may, since I’m sure people will have comments. This is not necessarily to scale, I’m sure people will parse out that wagon X is technically a little quicker than wagon Y. I did a quick 0-60 search and didn’t dig into each car for the sake of time. Similarly, I’m sure some wagon is technically more expensive than another, I did a cursory base-model comparison via Google as I was working on this in Photoshop.

So save your “well acktshually” comments, this was purely done to point out that the top left quadrant is blank!

It doesn’t have to be, but it would take a non-premium automaker to do it. For example, you can currently get the Subaru Outback with an optional turbo 2.4L 260 horsepower engine. The base engine is slow, 8.7 seconds to 60, and the optional engine is decent, around six seconds. Depending on interior accoutrements and trim a 300 horsepower version could be on sale for around $40,000.

The other option is to wagonize a car that is already good looking, and quick. Imagine a Kia Stinger wagon! I asked the DALL-E3 integrated into Bing to create one, and it’s absolutely stunning.

I know, I know, you’re thinking “Well acktshually, people don’t buy wagons, why would automakers bother?”. And that’s the reality I have to live with, but I don’t have to be happy about it. I’ve only ever owned one wagon out of 30-some (40-some?) cars so I’m part of the problem. Now that I’m in the market the ones I want don’t exist new or CPO anymore.

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8 responses to “State of the Wagon Address – 2024”

  1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    I thought this was going to be a post mocking my Benz wagon… which yes, I still own.

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      have you ever considered engine swapping it jeff

      all jokes aside, V8s are hard to fit into steering box benzes, but since the time that project hit the back burner, MB has come out with an inline 6 that might do nicely

  2. I_Borgward Avatar

    SUVs = 21st Century Dadmobiles. So uncool.

    Based entirely on unsolicited commentary from youngsters toward my Volvo 240 Turbo:
    The kids like wagons.
    Kinda gives me hope for the future (sniff!).

  3. Maymar Avatar

    When you’ve already got the JCW Clubman at ~4.6 seconds to 60, I’m not sure how much faster we can reasonably expect for any similar money. I’d be much happier with more alternatives to the Kia Forte5 we get up in Canada (we’re North Americans too!), or just VW bringing back any version of the Golf Wagon.

    1. William Byrd Avatar
      William Byrd

      Yeah, and the only version of that Clubman I can find for sale is still $50,000. I would love to see something like the Dodge Magnum back on the market. A V8 wagon that doesn’t cost $100,000+ would be a dream.

      And good call on the North American market angle, I think Edmunds tricked me into adding that for clarification. haha

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    Great topic! What is lacking here are EV wagons. They could be fast, comfy and quiet, possibly at a reasonable price point. Kia has announced one in their lineup, but, for now, the only one available here is the MG5. A friend of mine bought one and it’s decent, but not very fast, as it is a budget car at about 30k$ out the door.

    The Stinger illustration is surprisingly spot on. The rear end seems to be borrowed from our Optima PHEV, a car we bought this April. Very reminiscent of the Honda Accord wagon of yore, but, compared to the Volvo V90s I am constantly surrounded by, this isn’t a very pretty car, unfortunately. And 220 hp is okay, but even that can hardly be handled by this Kia – at full throttle, it’s like trying to steer a bar of soap down a wet slide. It’s not the best car I’ve owned.

  5. Numicu Avatar

    Americans don’t like wagons because they associate them with old people since their grandparents drove fake-wooded, chrome-racked, float-mobiles while they rode in back unseated and unbelted rolling around with the cargo and the dog. Europeans love wagons because they associate them with youth – they handle like cars, don’t suck gas but still and have room for their extreme sports gear. Who is right? Long live the Longroof Mafia!

  6. basketball stars Avatar

    Given that the JCW Clubman can reach 60 mph in approximately 4.6 seconds, I’m uncertain about the reasonable expectation of any further acceleration for the same amount of money. If only North Americans had more options than the Kia Forte5 that we receive in Canada, or if Volkswagen simply brought back the Golf Wagon in any form, I’d be much happier.