There was a time when the station wagon was an integral part of the American family experience. And while the merits of the station wagon haven’t changed, the public’s attitude toward them has. Equated with “Mom and Dad” by many in the baby boom generation, as well as their children—the so-called Gen-X, the rise in popularity of first the minivan, then the SUV and ultimately the crossover suv marked the demise of the popularity of the station wagon.
Still though, no matter how much the car buying public tried to avoid the station wagon, the genre of car offers efficiencies minivans, SUV’s and crossovers can’t touch. (Cue M.C. Hammer please…) Providing extra carrying capacity while still driving and feeling like a car was (and is) a significant advantage when compared to those larger styles of vehicles. Ease of parking and superior fuel economy are two other distinct advantages.
In fact, as SUVs evolved into crossovers, they ironically began to mimic the virtues of the station wagon, more and more while trying to continue to look like SUVs. In other words, get over folks; there are some things your parents got right. One of them was choosing a highly efficient car with extra cargo capacity, over a hulking four-ton truck-based urban assault vehicle with four-wheel drive, low range gearing and huge ground clearance—just to take little Cody to soccer practice.
That said, we’d be the first to acknowledge the benefits of all-wheel drive. Superior traction in inclement conditions being first and foremost among those benefits—particularly when talking about a family car. However, all-wheel drive also delivers another advantage, it can make a car big fun to drive. Perhaps this is why five of the entries on our list of the 10 best all-wheel drive station wagons are performance oriented, with two of them even offering extremely high performance versions.
What follows are our picks for the 10 Best All-wheel Drive Station Wagons Of 2012