2015 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon ・ Photo by Mercedes-Benz Media
In the 1970s and 1980s, all-wheel-drive wagons were in their infancy, with models like the Subaru GL, AMC Eagle Wagon, and Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon. These vehicles defined the segment; they were mostly utilitarian vehicles capable of driving through the worst weather with a bunch of cargo in the back.
Today, there are few real station wagons on the market, and the advent of crossovers means that all-wheel-drive wagons are even more rare. But there are still a few left, and those that remain are much more refined (and some more luxurious) than the versions of yore. Here are our top 10 all-wheel-drive station wagons.
The Subaru Outback started life as a beefed-up version of the Legacy all-wheel-drive station wagon, and that remains mostly true today (though the Legacy wagon is no longer available). Power comes from horizontally opposed engines, either a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 256-horsepower 3.6-liter six. Both boxer motors send power through a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission to all four wheels via Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system. Towing capacity with the 4-cylinder is 2,700 lb., while the 6-cylinder can tow 3,000. With either model, there’s lots of room in the back. There's 35.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, or 73.3 with them folded down.
Photo by Subaru
The 3 Series Sports Wagon is a more practical version of BMW’s small luxury car, powered by either a gasoline-powered 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo with 240 horsepower or a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo Diesel with 180 horsepower. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and in the xDrive models power is sent to all four wheels. Like the rest of the 3 Series lineup, the Sports Wagon models are a pleasure to drive, with crisp handling and a good ride. Cargo space is much greater than in the sedan at 17.5 cubic feet with the seats up and 53 with them down, helping make the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon one of our top 10 favorite all-wheel-drive station wagons.
Photo by BMW
The V60 is Volvo’s midsize station wagon, while the V60 Cross Country is a slightly beefier version of the same car. The only engine for the V60 Cross Country is the T5's turbocharged 250-horsepower 2.5-liter five-cylinder, but the regular V60 also comes as the T6 Drive-E AWD R-Design model, which is powered by a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 302 horsepower, or a Polestar 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 345 horspower and a sprint to 60 mph in a fleet 4.8 seconds. Luggage capacity, at 43.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, isn’t as abundant as some of the other wagons in the list, but towing capacity is a respectable 3500 pounds.
Photo by Volvo
The Mercedes-Benz E-Series Wagon is one of the few cars currently available with seating for seven, making use of a rear-facing jump seat to carry the two extra passengers. There are two models available, the E350 4MATIC Wagon with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 302 horsepower, and the AMG E63 S Wagon that features a handbuilt 5.5-liter AMG biturbo V8 that puts out 577 horsepower (enough to get the wagon to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds). Both models use 7-speed automatic gearboxes and Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. Cargo space is 20.5 cubic feet with the third row seat folded and 57.4 cubic feet with the second row seat down as well.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz Media
The A4 Allroad Quattro is a tougher version of Audi’s A4 wagon (which isn’t available here at the moment). Total ground clearance is up 1.3 inches compared to the standard A4 wagon, and the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system offers an off-road mode; for fuel savings, the Quattro system also can decouple the rear. Power in US models comes from a V6, mated to a 6-speed manual or an automatic. Cargo volume with the rear seats up is 17.8 cubic feet; with the seats folded, that increases to 53.3 cubic feet.
Photo by Audi
The Clubman is a 4-door station wagon version of the Mini, and the largest car the brand has ever built. The only all-wheel-drive version available is the Cooper S Clubman ALL4, which comes with a 189-horsepower 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine backed by either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic. The Clubman doesn’t quite have the performance of its smaller siblings, and with either transmission the run to 60 mph is completed in just over 6.5 seconds. On the other hand, the longer wheelbase means that the Clubman rides a bit better, and cargo space is 17.5 cubic feet, or 47.9 when the rear seats are folded down.
Photo by MINI
Despite using the same XC nomenclature as Volvo’s crossovers, the brand prefers to classify the XC70 as a wagon (and it is a rugged version of the classic V70 station wagon). The only available powertrain in all-wheel-drive XC70 is a turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower, backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. Cargo capacity is a healthy 72.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, and towing capacity is a respectable 3500 pounds. The XC70’s combination of space, capability, and reasonable fuel economy make it one of the top 10 all-wheel-drive station wagons on the market today.
Photo by Volvo Cars
Rumours about the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo have been around for years, but now it looks like they were true. Essentially a slightly longer-roofed version of the regular Panamera, the Sport Turismo should be available as a 2017 model with all the same powertrain options as the regular Panamera. Both rear and all-wheel-drive versions should be available, as well as the hybrid and the Turbo S with 570 horsepower. Cargo space should be up slightly compared to regular versions of the Panamera, which already offer decent amounts of luggage space. Handling and performance should be almost identical to a standard Panamera. A Porsche on our list of the top 10 all-wheel-drive station wagons? Who would have guessed?
Photo by Porsche
The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is essentially a Golf SportWagen that uses a variation of VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, which can decouple the rear axle when not required to improve fuel economy. The Golf Alltrack is higher off the ground than a normal SportWagen, has an off-road driving mode and even includes hill-descent control. Power comes from a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower, backed by a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, or (later availability) a 6-speed manual transmission. Cargo space with the rear seats up is 30.4 cubic feet, which expands to 66.5 cubic feet with those seats folded down. The Golf Alltrack is a station wagon that is a practical alternative to a lumbering SUV.
Photo by Volkswagen
The all-new V90 is the largest of Volvo’s station wagons, and the most luxurious. Luggage space isn’t massive, with 19.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 53.9 with them folded down, but the rear seats are large and comfortable. Power for the entry-level T6 comes from a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 316 horsepower, while the T8 plug-in hybrid adds an electric motor to make a combined 401 horsepower, which is good for sprint to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Both powerplants will be available with all-wheel drive, making the attractive new V90 a shoe-in for this Autobytel list of top 10 all-wheel-drive station wagons.
Photo by Volvo