Best Small Wagons of 2021

Station wagons are traditionally long, large vehicles that offer oodles of passenger and cargo space, so small wagons seem a bit counterintuitive. However, it is clear that something more compact and well-packaged is what a lot of buyers want, which is why crossovers sell so well. Smaller wagons offer the practicality of the body style while boasting the maneuverability of slighter vehicles.

What Are The Characteristics of Small Station Wagons?

These are the characteristics that define small station wagons:

  • Size: The defining factor in this segment is obviously the overall footprint of the vehicle. This makes them more maneuverable around town at the cost of reduced cargo and passenger space.
  • Practicality: Despite being smaller, these cars still need to be practical, otherwise you may as well buy a small sedan. Lots of legroom for rear passengers is a must, and there should be enough cargo room for the whole family.
  • Appearance: There is no mistaking a station wagon for any other type of car. They are generally long and bulky. They do get a decent amount of ground clearance though, since all-wheel drive is often standard.
  • Design: A compact wagon may not be the lounge on wheels that larger models are, but it still needs to be comfortable with all the modern conveniences available to it.

What to Consider Before Buying a Compact Wagon

There aren’t a whole lot of wagons on sale in the USA, since the body style has largely fallen out of favor as crossovers and SUVs score top marks in the rankings. Nevertheless, there are a few brands that still have faith in the style and the best small wagons share a lot of characteristics:

Pros

  • Focus on comfort
  • High levels of practicality
  • Better handling and driving dynamics
  • Small models have a more appealing price

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Cost more than similarly practical crossovers
  • Mediocre fuel economy

FAQs

What is the cheapest small station wagon?

Despite the fact that most modern wagons are produced by premium automakers, there are still a few affordable options, particularly within the small category. The Fiat 500L is such a one, as is the Mini Cooper Clubman, both with pricing below the $30,000 mark.

Does anyone make a hybrid station wagon?

There are a few models that fall into this category, though most are mild-hybrids like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-terrain and Audi A6 Allroad. There are a couple of plug-ins, too, namely the Volvo V60 Recharge and Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. Porsche is also responsible for the only fully electric wagon, the Taycan Cross Turismo.

What is the difference between a minivan and a station wagon?

In the mid-1980s, station wagons lost a lot of popularity as minivans hit the markets in greater numbers. This is because minivans are higher, much like modern SUVs, giving drivers a better view of the road, while still optimizing practicality. Wagons, on the other hand, are more car-like, with better driver involvement. Their extra length also means they have more legroom to go around.

What is the coolest station wagon?

If you want to keep things cheap while still driving a car that looks like a genuine station wagon, the Subaru Outback is a good option. However, for the true cool factor, one of the performance derivatives like the Mercedes-AMG E63 is hard to resist.

Are station wagons making a comeback?

Fashion comes and goes, and our cars are more than just a means of transportation, they are also an expression of ourselves. Daredevils like sports cars, outdoorsmen like SUVs and trucks, and family-minded individuals prefer practical crossovers. Nevertheless, sedans, hatchbacks, and even station wagons continue to sell. Now that technology has helped to shore up the weak points of styles that have fallen out of favor, it is very likely we will see them return to the limelight.

List of The Best Small Wagons on the Market

Here is our list of the best small station wagons:

BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2021 Volvo V60
9.3
BuzzScore
10
Design
9
Performance
9
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#2
2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country
9.1
BuzzScore
10
Design
8
Performance
9
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#3
2022 Audi A4 allroad
8.6
BuzzScore
8
Design
8
Performance
9
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#4
2022 Mini Cooper Clubman
8.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#5
2022 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman
8.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
7
Value
#6
2020 Fiat 500L
7.1
BuzzScore
5
Design
5
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
6
Reliability
8
Safety
7
Value
Unrated
2021 Volvo V60 Recharge
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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