Over a century ago, the station wagon was introduced by Ford as an alternative to traditional passenger cars. The Model T Ford 'Depot Hack' was a vehicle that combined the cargo capacity of a truck with the comfort and convenience of a sedan. With its increased cargo capacity, the station wagon body style has since become a popular choice for Aussie families and adventurers alike, as it offers ample storage space without sacrificing passenger comfort.
Within our constant need to be prepared for whatever life throws at us, you could say that Australians have a particular affinity for station wagons. However, these top 7 station wagon models that we've rounded up are not your average suburban runabouts. They have been handpicked for their superior styling, advanced technology, and unbeatable cargo capacity. So without further ado, here are the best station wagons on the Australian market today.
7. Subaru Levorg
Subaru's Levorg wagon is a revolutionary step forward for the Subaru brand. More WRX than Outback, the Levorg is packed with power and performance. The Levorg 2.0 STI Sport AWD boasts an impressive 197kW of power and 350Nm of torque, thanks to its powerful turbocharged horizontally-opposed Boxer engine.
There's also plenty of safety equipment on board, including Subaru's EyeSight driver assist system, pre-collision braking and lane keep assist. This sports wagon also has plenty of room for the family and all their luggage, with a cavernous boot measuring in at more than 500 litres.
6. Volkswagen Golf R Wagon
With its subtle sleeper styling, the Volkswagen Golf R Wagon is the perfect car for those drivers who prefer to keep a low profile. However, underneath the bonnet lies a 235kW/420Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, one of the most powerful Volkswagen engines ever created. A 7-speed DSG dual-clutch auto fills out a dream engine and transmission combo, allowing the R Wagon to launch from 0 - 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds.
Performance stats aside, there is also plenty of entertainment and convenience features on board the Golf R Wagon to keep family buyers happy, such as a 10-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, power tailgate, and over 600 litres of cargo space.
5. Volvo V90 Cross Country
The Volvo V90 Cross Country is a combination of style, comfort and safety that has made it one of the most popular station wagons on the Australian market. Volvo was the first manufacturer to push the idea of an SUV/wagon crossover in the 1990s.
In 2022, the Swedish brand has pushed the envelope once more, with this all-wheel drive station wagon offering the perfect blend of SUV and wagon capabilities. This is thanks to its sophisticated chassis design, which allows for extra ground clearance and shorter overhangs for better off-road performance.
Powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, the V90 produces 173kW/480Nm of power and torque, which is good for a 14.7 second 1/4 mile sprint. Not bad for a family wagon.
4. BMW 3 Series Sport Touring
The BMW 3 Series has always been a favourite among performance car enthusiasts, and the wagon versions of this iconic sedan (which BMW calls ‘Touring cars’) are no different. Although it has the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as its sedan counterpart, the Touring model adds an extra layer of sportiness, thanks to its lowered suspension and sharper steering response.
The BMW 3 Series Touring also boasts a generous 500 litres of storage space, making it more than capable of carrying whatever you need. Add to that the latest in active safety tech including intelligent cruise control and lane departure warning and you have a wagon that can do it all.
3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is the perfect blend of luxury and ruggedness, making it an ideal choice for those looking to traverse the great outdoors in style. The All-Terrain's twin-turbo V6 diesel engine boasts an impressive 243kW700Nm of power and torque, while its adjustable air suspension and 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system allow for effortless cruising, no matter the terrain.
Inside, you will find this family wagon to be extremely spacious and comfortable, with plenty of storage for all your gear. As well, the high-tech infotainment system includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen and Harmon Kardon stereo for those long drives into the wilderness. With a host of the latest safety features, including an electronic stability program and evasive steering assist, the E-Class All-Terrain will keep you safe no matter how far off the suburban streets your adventure takes you.
2. Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo
It was a close battle between this station wagon and the one we awarded the number one spot, but ultimately we gave the Porsche Panamera Wagon a close second. It's not because of a performance deficit. The GTS Sport Turismo still packs a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine which produces 353kW/620Nm of power and torque.
And it's not because of a limitation in luxury either; this wagon comes with 19" alloy wheels, active dampening suspension, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery and a 15-speaker BOSE stereo system. What puts this model behind the top spot is its squeezy seating for five. A small point we know, but it was the only thing we could fault on this otherwise beautifully balanced automobile.
1. Audi RS6 Avant
If you're looking for a high-performance station wagon, then the Audi RS6 Avant should be on your list (it is ours!). That's not only because it's the most potent production station wagon ever created but also because of its sheer beauty. The RS6 Avant is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, which produces an epic 591 HP and 590 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to propel this beast from 0 - 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds.
But it's not just about performance - the RS6 Avant also offers a luxurious interior, sophisticated styling, and enough cargo space to make it an actual family wagon. Coming standard with 21" wheels, HD Matrix-design headlights with laser light, and a whole host of driver assistance systems, this is one wagon you don't want to miss out on.
These days, driving a station wagon is no longer considered a chore. With modern models boasting powerful engines, luxurious interiors, and modern conveniences, station wagons have come a long way from the utilitarian models of yesteryear.
So, the next time you consider a family vehicle, don't forget to look at what station wagons offer. Whether it's the ultimate luxury of the Audi RS6 Avant or the ruggedness of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain, you are sure to find a model that suits your specific needs. Your family can enjoy a large vehicle's benefits without sacrificing style or performance with the right station wagon.
And to get a suitable station wagon, you need the right car finance help. An excellent place to start is using an online car finance calculator to get a better idea of what your monthly repayments could look like. At Driva, we specialise in helping Australian drivers get behind the wheel of their dream car, whether it’s a luxury station wagon or a trendy small car. For more information, get in touch with our team today and discover how Driva can help you make the most of your station wagon buying experience.
Why do they call it a station wagon?
The term “station wagon” originated in the early 1920s when they were used to transport people and goods from train stations. As they were the perfect vehicle for such a task, they were dubbed “station wagons.”
What are station wagons called now?
These days, station wagons are often referred to as “estate cars,” “estate wagons,” “touring models,” or simply “wagons.”
What is a station wagon in Australia?
By way of definition, a station wagon is a car body style that combines rows of seating for passengers, an extended roofline, and a large cargo area at the rear. They often come with features such as folding rear seats, rear-facing third-row seats, and roof rails.
Can station wagons go off-road?
Depending on the model, some station wagons can be suitable for off-roading. However, they are typically not as capable as a traditional SUV or 4x4 in terms of off-road capability. This is due in large part to their lower ground clearance. But if you're looking for a vehicle that can handle light off-roading, then specific station wagons are undoubtedly worth considering.
Which station wagon is best?
We are big fans of the Audi RS6 Avant, which is renowned for its luxurious interior, sophisticated styling and powerful engine. But at the end of the day, it ultimately depends on your individual needs. Do your research and look at what models are out there before making a decision.