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For decades, families and outdoor enthusiasts have trusted the Subaru Outback for reliability, safety, and fun. But as big shifts in the industry happen, more brands are focused on doing what Subaru does best: designing economic-yet-spacious wagons that focus on safety, features, and comfort. And this year, for the first time in a long time, the Subaru Outback has been out-voted as the best wagon of the year.

The best wagons of 2020 (and the winners aren’t what you think)

The experts at U.S. News compiled a list of the “Best Wagons for 2020,” picking the five wagons with the best expert scoring. The five wagons which made the list receive the best scoring and are ranked for doing what wagons do best: offer fuel-economy and handling of a sedan, with all the space and comfort of an SUV.

The wagon segment has often been dominated by the same familiar faces, but this year, things are different. In fact, the best-ranked wagons may not be what you think at all. 

According to U.S. News’ rankings of the best wagons available in 2020, the tiny 2020 Fiat 500L sits at the fifth position, earning a decent overall score of 6.1/10. Volvo, turning out model after model, take up both the third and fourth spots, with the V60 and V90 wagons earning scores of 7.5 and 7.7, respectively. And the surprises don’t stop there. 

Is Subaru losing its position as the wagon king?

Subaru, which has long been the king of wagons with its reliable, fan-favorite Outback, shockingly moves into the second spot on U.S. News’ best-wagons-list. The new 2021 Subaru Outback’s good overall score of 8.0/10 is what you’d expect from the impressive icon, but unfortunately this year, there’s one wagon that surprisingly scored higher.

The 2020 Audi A4 Allroad impressed U.S. News experts so well that it stole the number-one position on the list, with an overall score of 8.5.

When people think of a wagon, they typically think of a Subaru Outback first. For many decades, the Outback has dominated the segment, outlasting most other models and brands, but also receiving more awards and a more loyal fan base.

The Outback has always led the way in reliability, standard features, safety, and fuel economy. According to Subaru, it’s been chosen as the most trusted brand by Kelley Blue Book for multiple years. It has also been chosen as a leader in brand loyalty, as well as dependability, with 97% of its vehicles sold in the last 10 years still on the road today.

With so many brands refocusing on what consumers want most, however, is it possible Subaru will lose its wagon crown to Audi?

How the 2020 Audi A4 Allroad outshines the Subaru Outback


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According to the full review by U.S. News experts, the 2020 Audi A4 Allroad truly came to compete in the wagon segment, with “a spacious, high-end interior, a great safety score, refined driving dynamics, and lively engine performance.”

Calling it a “standout pick,” the A4 Allroad trails the Subaru Outback in terms of total cargo space and starting price, but its “all-around quality is worth sacrificing” those few things for. The interior of the 2020 Audi A4 Allroad boasts high-quality materials and features like a 10.1-inch touchscreen display, as well as a variety of advanced safety tech. 

Starting at just under $45,000, the Audi A4 Allroad comes with a powerful four-cylinder engine that makes 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This comes paired to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and just like the Subaru Outback, all-wheel drive also comes standard.

The A4 Allroad is smooth and refined while on the road, but also fairly fast, going from zero to 60 miles per hour in around six seconds. Fuel economy for the A4 Allroad is also competitive with the segment, earning an EPA-estimated 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway.