Before SUVs and Crossovers took over the American automotive market, station wagons ruled the road. A station wagon has all of the practicality and space of an SUV with the handling and driving characteristics of a sedan. It’s a win-win scenario for those who want space and fun, but they are a dying breed here in the U.S.
It is the same story in the rest of the world; crossovers are taking over the roadways. However, in places like Europe, the United Kingdom, and Japan, the station wagon remains a popular option, thanks to its smaller size, maneuverability, and easy navigation on narrow roads.
If current buying trends ever shift, these are the five coolest station wagons we want in our driveway.
2022 Audi RS4 Avant
We can have the supercar-slaying RS6, but its little brother, the RS4, remains forbidden fruit in the U.S.
Audi’s RS4 super-wagon looks just like the RS6, only smaller. However, there is nothing small about the power and performance. A 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 sends 450 horsepower to all four wheels, which translates into a 0 to 60 time of 4.1 seconds.
If BMW’s M3 Touring is a success, maybe that will convince Audi to bring the RS4 Avant stateside.
2022 Alpina B5 Touring
Alpina has a very close relationship with BMW. Despite being an independent company, Alpina’s tuned cars are assembled on the same production line as regular BMWs and are offered for sale through the Bavarian company’s dealer network.
That is good news for BMW fans who want something a bit different and more unique than the standard cars or even the M cars.
BMW does not make an M5 Touring, but Alpina, with the B5, can build one for you. Powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, the B5 produces 621 horsepower and can launch the big station wagon from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Top speed is limited to 200 mph.
2022 Ford Focus ST Estate
Ford has given up on sedans, hatchbacks, and cars in general (except for the Mustang) here in the U.S. In the rest of the world, you can still buy some of the blue oval’s finest offerings. If you happen to like small, fun-to-drive station wagons, then the Focus ST Estate is right up your alley.
Power comes from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 280 horsepower. That is good for a 0 to 60 mph time of less than six seconds. But the Focus ST’s party trick is the chassis. Lowered suspension with big brakes and a clever torque-vectoring limited-slip differential means the ST Estate loves a twisty road.
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus Shooting Brake
It may have a big name, but the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus Shooting Brake also has big performance. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine punches out an astonishing 421 horsepower. That will move the CLA Shooting Brake from a standstill to 60 mph in just four seconds flat.
Along with the performance, you get a car that oozes style. The long, low roofline of the CLA Shooting Brake is one of the best designs to come out of Mercedes’ studio. Expect luxury and technology to match the otherworldly performance.
2022 Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake
If speed and stealth are your thing, then the Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake is the perfect car for you. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine packs a 320 horsepower punch and is sent to an R-Tuned 4MOTION all-wheel drive system.
That is good enough to run from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Adaptive suspension and trick differentials make sure that the Arteon R Shooting brake is as fun to drive as it is fast.
Station wagons may be a small portion of new car sales here in the U.S., but plenty are available in the rest of the world. To make a case for bringing these long-roof hotrods stateside, U.S. car buyers would need to shift their current trends. That may be a long shot, but it doesn’t mean we can’t dream.