Cars
May 25, 2016

Four station wagons that give SUVs a run for their money

Words by Bob Araneta

The venerable station wagon makes a case for itself as the unheralded king of the road

SUVs and CUVs are the flavors of the year: buyers can’t get enough of them and automakers can’t crank them out fast enough.

Lost in the plethora of jacked-up hatchbacks is the traditional station wagon—or estate, as they’re called in Europe. Mercedes-Benz, arguably the pioneer of premium class estates, doesn’t even offer its E-Class estate model here anymore. A shame, because the venerable big wagon still has a certain class and grace that’s all its own. A 20 or even 30-year-old 124 or 123 TE that’s been reasonably cared for has a road presence that still compares well with most any modern model.

It’s great, then, that you still have four enlightened brands that give you four tasty wagons to pick from—four rides that give you all the practicality and load-carrying ability of an SUV, but because of their lower center of gravity and lighter weight, deliver an arguably better drive.

 RS6_Edited

The AUDI RS6 AVANT

552 BHP; 700 Newton-meters; 0 to 100 KPH in 3.95 seconds: near-supercar stats in a vehicle that can cosset four adults and all their gear for a long weekend; there’s nothing quite like it. The 4-litre, V8 RS6 Avant is the spiritual descendant of the legendary Audi Quattro, the car that started the high-performance four-wheel drive craze. For demanding drivers with real-world needs, the RS6 may just be all the car they’ll ever need, a practical people- and luggage-hauler that goes and handles like stink. 11th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 553-7911; sales@audi.ph

Mazda Soul Red 2 (smaller)

THE MAZDA 6 WAGON

It’s probably the best example of Mazda’s Kodo or Soul of Motion design language, and it’s a real stunner.  Some might even be so taken by its looks to even care what’s beneath its shapely skin. Thankfully, Mazda worked as hard on the inside—the spacious cabin’s with its creature comforts is a great place to spend hours on the road. Skyactiv Technology isn’t mere sales talk—Mazda did tweak every mechanical and electronic bit to wring out superior driving pleasure, safety, and performance without resorting to the easy temptation of brute-force engineering. Even on sheer beauty alone, the Mazda 6 wagon is a keeper. 2301 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati; 729-7910

subaru-outback-02-front

THE SUBARU OUTBACK

The Subaru Outback is a whole package. Useful performance, from both the 3.6 or 2.5 liter model; superb handling with its  fully-developed Symmetrical All Wheel Drive and new X-MODE selectable control; and a new premium interior with all the mod cons. For over 20 years, the Outback has been the solid choice for spirited driving and wagon practicality. Now there’s the Levorg, based on Subaru’s famous WRX platform. A bit shorter than the Outback, the Levorg was built to deliver sporty, efficient performance with its 170ps 1600cc direct injection turbo motor mated to a Lineartronic CVT. Two flavors of Subaru wagon, both outstanding choices. 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 822-4389

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THE VOLVO V60 T5

Since the 70s, the big Volvo wagon has always been a popular choice due  to its superb versatility and dependability. Add a sporty character, a 245 horsepower direct injection motor, eight-speed Geartronic transmission, and a full suite of safety features and you have the total package in the V60 T5. Volvo’s long experience in wagon design shows in its exemplary functionality, now wrapped in a tasty, unboxy body; all the modern comfort and convenience features expected at this level are standard. It’ll certainly set you apart from the hordes. 2nd floor, UDC Building, 2272 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati; 893-6621

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