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.
1) 2015 Volvo V60
The Volvo V60 is all new for the 2015 model year. This wagon does sacrifice a little practicality compared to many of the other vehicles on this list, since it provides seating for five passengers instead of the more usual (for a wagon) seven or eight. However, what the Volvo V60 might lack in interior space it makes up in choices, with three available engines for distinct driving experiences. The top-of-the-line drivetrain, found in the T6 AWD R-Design trim level, provides 325 horsepower and 354 kb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and equipped with all-wheel drive.
2) 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid
The 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid is another good option for those who don't need to carry more than five passengers. Its sportiness comes more from its athletic handling and overall enjoyable driving experience than from its power, although its output of 188 horses is respectable for a hybrid. The Ford C-Max Hybrid features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor, and adds a continuously variable transmission for the most efficient power management. Ford keeps things simple with just a couple of trim levels, but the 2015 C-Max Hybrid is nicely outfitted even in base form.
3) 2015 Nissan Juke
The 2015 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.
4) 2015 Ferrari FF
Of all the vehicles on this list, the 2015 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.
5) 2015 Kia Soul
The 2015 Kia Soul's boxy shape mixes the styling cues of modern crossovers with the utility of a traditional wagon. The Soul's interior is nicer than shoppers might expect, 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.
6) 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
Don't be fooled by the all new 2015 Volkswagen Golf 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 Golf SportWagen deserves consideration for its remarkably frugal 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine. This mill produces 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, but more significantly it is rated at 31 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 Golf SportWagen.
7) 2015 Subaru Outback
The 2015 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, 175 horsepower) or six-cylinder (3.6 liters, 256 horsepower) engine, along with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Inside, the Outback's roomy cabin can be configured to handle 73.3 cubic feet of gear.
8) 2015 Audi Allroad
The 2015 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 220 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.
9) 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
The 2015 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, 5.5-liter V-8 that generates 577 horsepower and 590 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.
10) 2015 FIAT 500L
Yet another five-seat small wagon, the FIAT 500L is a longer version of FIAT's 500 compact hatchback. It offers the same perky aesthetics and many of the same features, but with a little extra space. The FIAT 500L has an airy and open interior, thanks to its use of lots of glass. Between the front fenders sits a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The 2015 FIAT 500L comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but buyers can opt for a six-speed automatic or a six-speed automated manual.