- AWD Wagons
Best AWD Wagons of 2021
Station wagons make for excellent family haulers that manage the daily runabout with aplomb; but for those who need just a little more grip while carrying the kids to school or tackling a weekend adventure, an AWD wagon is the answer. Spacious, stylish, and comfortable, an all-wheel-drive station wagon will be a boon to those who live in states plagued by adverse weather or those who enjoy mild off-road excursions. Let’s look at a few of the best options in the segment.
Characteristics of Station Wagons with AWD
An AWD station wagon has the following commonalities, other than the standard wagon features that include the classic elongated body type, large cargo area, and low center of gravity:
- Drivetrain: The all-wheel-drive system is the defining trait that sets these types of wagons apart from the regular derivative. This vehicle is equipped for better traction on wet, muddy, or snowy roads, and while it cannot do true off-roading, it will allow you to take the path less traveled a fair bit easier. Many AWD wagons also offer an increased ride height.
- Powertrain: Equipped with strong engines that provide ample power and torque specifications, AWD wagons make hauling people, cargo, and even towing a breeze. Many are now available with hybrid setups, too.
- Technology: These wagons are generally loaded with tech, not just in terms of mechanical components, but when it comes to safety, driver assists, and even infotainment across the various trim levels.
What to Consider Before Buying An All-Wheel-Drive Station Wagon
Wagons have a lot to offer, not just loads of space and longer dimensions. If you’re shopping for an AWD station wagon, here are all the positives and negatives you need to know:
- Versatile and family-friendly
- Pleasant and engaging drive dynamics
- Mild off-roading and all-weather advantages
- Typically suave and modern aesthetics
- Often more frugal than many SUVs
- Designs may be polarizing for some
- Rearward visibility can be quite limited
- Wagons carry a “for old people” stigma
- Price can be a little hard to swallow
Are station wagons with AWD heavy on gas?
Station wagons often cost less at the pumps than many midsize and large SUVs because their elongated and sleek designs are actually a lot more aerodynamic. There are also hybridized wagons that return exceptional gas mileage figures and even EVs that eliminate the need for gas completely.
Why are station wagons not very popular?
Most American motorists enjoy the commanding drive height and assertive presence of a pickup truck or SUV, as well as the versatility benefits. The rise of the crossover and SUV in the USA has led to decreased sales in sedan, hatchbacks, and wagons. While hatchbacks and many sedan lineups have been discontinued, wagons still cling to their position in the market, despite the negative stigma surrounding it.
What automakers still offer AWD station wagons?
Premium European automakers still produce wagons and brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, and even Mini have AWD offerings. Volvo also makes its wagons available with all-wheel drive, not just front-wheel drive.
What’s the best AWD wagon in terms of value?
Depending on what you define as value for money, there are many good buys out there. The Subaru Outback offers a lot of car for a low starting price of around $27k, while Volvo’s wagons manage to package loads of comfort, luxury, technology, and performance into a $45+ vehicle.
Can an AWD wagon go off-road?
Unlike SUVs, wagons don’t necessarily have the ground clearance and proper off-roading mechanics to truly rough it. But with AWD, a raised ride height, and some body cladding, cars like the Subaru Outback and Volvo’s Cross Country lineup can do fairly well in mild off-roading scenarios.
List of the Best AWD Wagons
Here is a list of the best wagons with all-wheel drive on the market at present: