Buyer's guide to the best station wagons of the year: Sleek and stylish cars with enough storage capacity for family life.
Station wagons aren't what they used to be. The days of long gas guzzlers with rear-facing seats are gone. Today's wagons are sleek and stylish but still feature easily accessible storage space in the rear, making them excellent family vehicles.
The best station wagons combine safe interiors with plenty of room for storage. Family road trips and gear-intensive adventures are much easier with a wagon. The five wagons that follow have been ranked among the best for the year based on interior comfort, exterior appeal and safety.
The Subaru Outback continues a long stretch of quality wagons from Subaru. Subaru has matched maximum interior space with comfortable driving, creating a car with the room of an SUV on the inside but with the miles per gallon of a sedan.
The version has plenty of cargo space plus a lane monitoring system and phone and music connectivity. Performance varies based on what options are chosen, but you can expect the following from a new Subaru:
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Four- or six-cylinder engine
- 28 highway mpg
- Cost starting around $23,000
The Hyundai Elantra doesn't have quite the interior storage of a Subaru, but its lower cost makes it a bargain among wagons. Reviews and test drivers report that the Elantra gets the miles per gallon of a small car but with the interior comfort of a sedan. You can look for the following from your new Elantra:
- Cost starting around $16,000
- 31 highway mpg
If you are willing to sacrifice some storage space for a significant increase in fuel economy, the 2013 Ford C-Max hybrid is the wagon for you. Car rankings report that the C-Max has good handling and strong acceleration for a hybrid. It seats five comfortably, making it a good bet for long trips. The following highlights are what make the Ford C-Max hybrid so special:
- All-new model for 2013
- Cost starting around $25,000
- 47 highway mpg
The Honda Crosstour stands out among these wagons for its lower profile and curvier exterior. The extra style does sacrifice some interior storage space though. Test drivers report a comfortable interior and sedan-like horsepower. Honda is known for strong fuel economy, and this wagon doesn't disappoint. Expect the following from a Honda Crosstour:
- Cost starting around $26,000
- 31 highway mpg
Buying a new wagon is a big decision, and you'll likely be driving the one you choose every day for many years. Read a trusted buyer's guide for additional reviews and manufacturer's specifications, including safety data from crash tests.
You might also try a car buying guide that includes feedback from user test drives. When you're ready to learn more or shop for a car, use Reply! to find the lowest local price quotes on best station wagons of the year. Compare what you've learned here with other reviews, and then test drive your favorites before making a decision.
About the Author Alex Gabriel
Alex Gabriel is a content editor at Reply! with several years of digital marketing and and copywriting experience. A native of Portland and graduate of the University of Oregon, Alex has a passion for test-driving new cars he can’t afford. Click here to connect with Alex on Google+.