Sport wagons might be a dying breed, but confrontations with one's own mortality frequently leads to reinvention, and the same is true in the people moving segment. Sport wagons have evolved past their traditional forms and taken shape in a number of unique and interesting molds, with a mix of what some might consider 'crossovers' joining the more traditional wagon crowd.
Let's take a look at 10 of the best sport wagons currently on the market and see what they have to offer families who aren't interested in stepping into an SUV.
Best Sport Wagon - 01 - 2013 Acura TSX Sport Wagon
The 2013 Acura TSX Sport Wagon is one of the best kept secrets in the world of premium cars, a low-volume cargo hauler that happens to share its platform with a satisfying-to-drive sedan. The Acura TSX Sport Wagon comes exclusively with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder mill that churns out 201 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque, and a five-speed automatic transmission handles the gear shifting duties for the car. Inside, the Sport Wagon offers a range of high tech features as well as 61 cubic feet of total storage space for luggage.
Best Sport Wagon - 02 - 2013 Infiniti EX37
The 2013 Infiniti EX37 may be marketed as a crossover but for all intents and purposes it falls into the 'tall wagon' group. The Infiniti EX37's rear-wheel drive sedan chassis keeps its center of gravity relatively low compared to several of its competitors, and it also offers better driving dynamics - especially at higher speeds. Limit-busting velocities are achievable thanks to the Infiniti's 3.7-liter V-6 that generates 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, and a seven-speed automatic is standard with the wagon. For those who live in snowier climes the EX37 can be ordered with all-wheel drive, and all buyers enjoy the vehicle's 47.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
Best Sport Wagon - 03 - 2013 Nissan Juke
The 2013 Nissan Juke is another unusual take on the sport wagon concept, a subcompact hatchback that delivers extroverted looks and a lively driving experience at a very affordable price. Aimed primarily at couples, not families, the Nissan Juke's 36 cubic feet of total interior storage space (with the rear row of seating folded forward) is almost the smallest in this group. However, its 188 horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a delight to bang through the gears when outfitted with its six-speed manual transmission, and even the continuously-variable automatic fitted to all-wheel drive editions of the Juke imparts a sense of fun as it keeps the motor in almost constant boost.
Best Sport Wagon - 04 - 2013 Ferrari FF
Of all the vehicles on this list, the 2013 Ferrari FF stretches the definition of 'sport wagon' the farthest. This two-seater might be more accurately termed a 'shooting brake,' as the Ferrari FF offers four-passenger seating and a usable 28.3 cubic feet of luggage space underneath its rear hatch. Of course, the FF also includes 651 horsepower and 504 lb-ft of torque from a 6.3-liter V-12 engine, along with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission and a sophisticated all-wheel drive system. The latter is the first to be made available by the Italian brand.
Best Sport Wagon - 05 - 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon
The 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon provides mid-size luxury for families who need more practically than a sedan has to offer in order to combat the daily grind. The Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon shares its underpinnings - and its pair of V-6 engines - with the CTS sedan, which means it provides the choice between either a 270 horsepower, 3.0-liter mill or a 318 horsepower, 3.6-liter unit. A six-speed automatic transmission is included free of charge with the Sport Wagon, and buyers can specify all-wheel drive as an option. 58 cubic feet of cargo space are waiting inside the Cadillac with the rear row of seating out of the picture.
Best Sport Wagon - 06 - 2014 Kia Soul
The 2014 Kia Soul has been completely redesigned for the current model year, and its boxy shape mixes the styling cues of modern crossovers with the utility of a traditional wagon. A nicer interior greets Kia Soul buyers for 2014, and the vehicle boasts 61 cubic feet of cargo space to go with its enhanced options and equipment list. Under the hood, the Soul's base 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine generates 130 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque, but it's possible to upgrade to a 164 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that also puts out 151 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices for the Kia include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic.
Best Sport Wagon - 07 - 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen
Don't be fooled by the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen's name: while the compact people mover is indeed pleasant to drive, it's not exactly the sportiest vehicle on our list of sport wagons. That being said, the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen deserves consideration for its remarkably frugal 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine. This mill produces 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, but more significantly it is rated at 30-mpg in city driving and 42-mpg on the highway when paired with its standard six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed dual-clutch automated manual can also be ordered with the Jetta Sportwagen.
Best Sport Wagon - 08 - 2013 Subaru Outback
The 2013 Subaru Outback's heritage can be traced back to the days when it was a jacked-up version of the Subaru Legacy wagon, and with the demise of that particular model the Outback stands alone for Subaru in the mid-size segment. The Subaru Outback provides standard all-wheel drive and the choice between either a four-cylinder (2.5-liters, 173 horsepower) or six-cylinder (3.6-liters, 256 horsepower) engine, along with three transmission options (six-speed manual, continuously-variable automatic, and a five-speed automatic). Inside, the Outback's roomy cabin can be configured to handle 71.3 cubic feet of gear.
Best Sport Wagon - 09 - 2013 Audi Allroad
The 2013 Audi allroad follows a similar philosophy to that guiding the Outback, except in this case it's the smaller A4 wagon that has been cloned and discarded in favor of a vehicle that rides taller but maintains essentially the same character. The Audi Allroad benefits from a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is good for 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, matched with quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Greater ground clearance than the A4 Avant wagon it replaces might make drivers brave in inclement weather, but the real selling point for the Allroad is its 51 cubic feet of total cargo space.
Best Sport Wagon - 10 - 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon soldiers forward as one of the most reliable sport wagon entries. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon can seat as many as seven passengers thanks to a unique rear-facing folding seat, and it's also capable of swallowing 57 cubic feet of cargo with its final two rows folded forward. Mechanically, the E-Class wagon can be ordered with either a 302 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 or a twin-turbo, 4.7-liter V-8 that generates 402 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is included with each version of the E-Class, and all wagons come with standard all-wheel drive.