On Monday, Bloomberg published a report on the last five years of U.S. auto sales, which admittedly sounds like a snoozefest for anyone outside the industry. But there’s one anomaly in the matrix that no one was expecting: station wagons are back, baby! (We’ll pause a moment for all you Subaru Outback disciples to bask in a well-deserved moment of victory.)
Of course, the idea that the wagon “is back” could mean many things. Here, we’re talking a 29-percent growth in U.S. sales between 2013 and 2018, according to data compiled by Edmunds.com. In 2017 alone, Americans bought almost 238K new station wagons (2018 saw a slight dip to 212K).
“Wait, didn’t they say there was a boom?” It’s true, while 29-percent constitutes huge growth whichever way you spin it, the vehicle is still leagues behind crossover SUVs and mid-size pickups in terms of expansion, and other jumbo vehicles in terms of sales. As Carscoops notes, Ford alone sold 909K of their F-Series pickups in 2018 (yowza). Frankly, the humble wagon is a drop in the Home Depot-sized bucket that is the current SUV bonanza.
Photo via Jaguar
Additionally, as Bloomberg points out, “wagon sales have increased in part because there’s more to choose from.” But that trend, of why certain automakers are reinvesting in a vehicle-type that makes up less than two percent of the market, is harder to decipher. But with the entry luxury SUV segment growing 71% in the same five-year period, it would stand to reason that people averse to ostentation would want a more refined counterpart.
Who are those people? As Jalopnik writes, “Premium brands continue to offer wagons as their wealthier clientele prefers them to large SUVs.” That’s right, it’s the more affluent drivers who prefer the more fuel efficient, surreptitious, but still spacious station wagon. And boy have the automakers been giving them the goods as of late.
If this spike has inspired the inner wagon-wheeler within you, or more precisely shown that it’s OK to be seen in a wagon, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite options out there you may have missed in the SUV deluge. Let’s see if we can keep this level-headed boom going.
2019 Volvo V60
2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
2019 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4MATIC Wagon
2019 Jaguar XF Prestige Sportbrake
2019 Buick Regal TourX
Main image via Porsche, all inline images via their respective brands