Best Family Wagons of 2021

Family wagons spent the better part of four decades representing middle-class families; although the first types of wagons were introduced in the 30s, sales peaked between 1950 and 1970 in the USA, with a variety of automakers offering these large, spacious vehicles in a myriad of flavors. Many of these had space for up to nine passengers. The humble station wagon was considered the best family transport available, but with SUVs and crossovers taking over in terms of practicality and versatility, these types of cars have slowly faded from the lists of most-desired vehicles. That doesn’t mean they should be forgotten, however: the newest family station wagon models have loads to offer and represent great value for money. 

What Makes a Station Wagon Best For Your Family

Modern station wagons truly offer the best of both worlds when it comes to balancing the practicality and space required to transport the wife and kids while still being comfortable, plush, and stylish. Some even offer exciting performance. But to qualify as the perfect family wagon, these elongated beauties should tick the following boxes:

  • Safety: A priority when hauling your loved ones, safety is as much about airbags, crumple zones, and a sturdy structure as it is about advanced driver assistance features. Station wagons that cover all these bases, including such features as blind-spot monitoring, lane keep and lane change alerts, automatic braking, driving attention monitors, and the like, usually score highly in crash test evaluations with the NHTSA and IIHS.
  • Reliability: No family wants to struggle with cars that break down all the time or that will leave them in the lurch with consistent problems. Wagons that have positive consumer reports, a good rating from J.D. Power, and comprehensive warranty plans are reliable, making them ideal for family duty.
  • Space: Naturally you need a spacious interior to seat at least five passengers in relative comfort, and you should be able to fit their goods in the trunk, too. The best wagons have impressive dimensions, not just for head- and legroom, but in terms of trunk volume as well.
  • Cost: Family cars need to be affordable - it’s that simple. Not just in terms of price, but also when it comes to maintenance costs and fuel economy. Many wagons are now available as hybrids, too, which helps to keep gas costs low. Still, they aren’t necessarily cheap off the showroom floor, but offer a great deal of car for the money you pay.

What You Should Know About the Best Family Station Wagons

There are a lot of advantages to owning a station wagon, from the versatility and practicality they offer to the plush interiors. There are, of course, some disadvantages that need to be considered, too:

Pros

  • Balanced and enjoyable drive dynamics
  • Commodious cabins and capacious trunks
  • Stylish and contemporary designs
  • Excellent safety ratings and good reliability
  • Typically more economical than most SUVs
  • Performance-oriented and hybrid models are available

Cons

  • Length makes them difficult to maneuver
  • Design may be polarising
  • Rearward visibility can be rather hampered
  • There are some exasperating stigmas

FAQs about Family Station Wagons

What features are must-haves in a family car?

Apart from a variety of driver-assist systems and safety features, an easy-to-use infotainment system is perhaps one of the most important features to include. A large touchscreen makes navigating the interface easier especially whilst driving, and connectivity options such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay simply help keep everybody entertained.

Are there any three-row station wagons?

Yes, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon is offered with a third-row of rearward facing seats but they are only suitable for young children as they don’t offer much foot or leg space.

Why are SUVs more popular than station wagons?

Americans seem to prefer the high-riding and large dimensions of SUVs. There are also more crossover SUV options on the market that cater to a range of buyers across various brands, pricing brackets, and specifications.

Are station wagons expensive?

This depends on what you’re looking for in a wagon. One of the highest-scoring wagons on our listings is the Subaru Outback with a starting MSRP of around $27k. It offers loads of interior space, a solid safety record, more than enough standard tech, and a pleasant drive. On the other end of the spectrum, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S wagon will set you back at $113k, while the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo can easily top out at $170k when fully optioned. Granted, the latter two are performance-focused, while the humble Subaru is definitely oriented to daily family duty.

Are there hybrid and electric station wagons?

There are hybrid station wagons on the market at present, including the Volvo V60 Recharge Plug-In hybrid, as well as the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo range. As far as electric wagons go, the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo is the only EV wagon available at present, although we look forward to VW’s ID.Space Vizzion, expected in 2023.

List of the Best Family Wagons

Here is a list of the best family wagons in our rankings:

BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo
9.4
BuzzScore
10
Design
10
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#2
2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
9.3
BuzzScore
10
Design
10
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#3
2022 Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo
9.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
10
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
Unrated
2022 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
N/A
BuzzScore
N/A
Design
N/A
Performance
N/A
MPG
N/A
Interior
N/A
Infotainment
N/A
Reliability
N/A
Safety
N/A
Value
2022 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
N/A
BuzzScore
N/A
Design
N/A
Performance
N/A
MPG
N/A
Interior
N/A
Infotainment
N/A
Reliability
N/A
Safety
N/A
Value
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