13 Crossover Wagons You Could Buy Instead of an SUV
Buck the trend, get a wagon!by Andy Nedel, on
High-riding vehicles, like crossovers and SUVs are at the height of popularity right now, but they’re not the only way to go if you want practicality and some off-road capability. Crossover style raised wagons are a great alternative and while they can still drive you over a rough field or rutted road with ease, they’re better to drive on road and actually pretty stylish.
They are essentially the wagon versions of different cars which have gained extra ride height and plastic cladding on the outside to protect them from scratches in their most vulnerable points. These vehicles usually have standard all-wheel drive and are usually a higher trim level, so they are not cheap (compared to the vehicle they’re based on) but they also come with a lot of equipment.
Here’s a list of the 13 coolest crossover-style wagons you can buy today.
Audi has been making Allroad versions of their wagons since 1999, but it didn’t offer an A4-based model until 2009. This is the second generation A4 Allroad, based on the fifth generation A4 launched in 2016. Highlights include a weight shedding of up to 260 pounds over the outgoing model, a fully digital gauge cluster and that staple of all desirable Audi estates, Quattro all-wheel drive.
The A4 Allroad differs from the regular A4 Avant through its higher ground clearance, unique bumper designs and the plastic protection around the wheel arches, side skirts and pretty much all around the lower part of the car.
Do keep in mind that while in Europe it’s offered with either gasoline or diesel engines, in the US you are limited to a 252 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder exclusively mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission - pricing kicks off at $44,950.
Read our full review on the 2018 Audi A4 Allroad Quattro.
Moving up from the A4 Allroad to the larger and more luxurious A6 Allroad is justified if you want that little bit more road presence and prestige.
The current model is only available in Europe, but it’s based on the previous iteration of the A6. An all-new model will debut sometime in the future based on the rolling tech fest that is the new A6.
In Europe, it’s available exclusively with a 3.0-liter TDI diesel engine with up to 315 horsepower and Quattro all-wheel drive is standard. Pricing starts from the equivalent of $76,500, although it does come pretty much fully loaded.
Read our full review on the 2013 Audi A6 Allroad.
Buying a Buick Regal Tour X, you’re essentially buying what in Europe is known as the Opel Insignia Country Tourer, albeit with slight US market differences.
It’s the first Buick-badged wagon for over two decades (the last one was the mid-1990s Roadmaster), but its crossover twist makes it unique in the brand’s history.
Buick calls it a “luxury wagon, ready for adventure,” and while in Europe the model is not perceived as premium, it’s not far off either. It’s well-built, it looks about as classy as a crossover wagon can (wearing its extra exterior plastic with dignity), and it matches rivals like the A4 Allroad for power and performance. The only engine offered is a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 250 horsepower and an intelligent all-wheel drive system which features an active twin clutch (it can do torque vectoring).
Even so, it undercuts its established premium rivals by a considerable margin, with pricing starting from just under $30,000.
Read our full review on the 2018 Buick Regal TourX.
Opel Insignia Country Tourer
Essentially the same car as the Buick, but with minor detail changes and more engines to choose from, the Opel Insignia Country Tourer makes a great case for itself on the Euro crossover estate scene.
Unlike the Buick, though, you can buy one without all-wheel drive and this does bring down the price, although doing so kind of defeats the purpose of buying one of these cars.
Engines range from a 1.5-liter turbo gasoline unit with 138 horsepower all the way up to the 250 horsepower engine that powers the Buick. For Europe, however, opting for either the 167 horsepower or 207 horsepower 2.0-liter diesel (with all-wheel drive) still makes sense as they provide unmatched pulling power and efficiency.
Base models start from the equivalent of $28,800, but you can pay as much as $44,000 for the most expensive diesel.
Volvo is one of the manufacturers which has been making raised, plastic-clad wagons about as long as Audi has and its latest V90 Cross Country is definitely a hugely desirable buy if you want a large, raised premium wagon. It’s based on the very stylish V90 estate and gets the usual taller ride and plastic armor and Volvo says it borrows suspension and all-wheel drive components from the XC90 SUV.
Ground clearance is also above average - 8.4 inches, according to the manufacturer, which is on par with some actual crossovers and SUVs.
Points also need to be awarded for its wonderful interior which is right up there with the one in the all-new Audi A6 in terms of design, quality and technology. In the US, Volvo sells it as a “luxury crossover wagon,” exclusively available with all-wheel drive and two flavors of four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine: 250 horsepower T5 and 316 horsepower T6. Pricing kicks off at $52,300.
Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country
Volvo will also sell you the V90 Cross Country’s smaller brother, the V60 Cross Country, which offers pretty much the same deal, albeit with a tad less space and luxury.
Don’t get me wrong, it has one of the best interiors of any car in its size and price bracket, but it is smaller and less expensive than the V90 and if you compared them side by side you can spot where they’ve managed to cut some costs.
An all-new V60 Cross Country was just revealed online not long ago and the manufacturer has not provided all the details yet. In the US, it will probably debut next year as a 2020 model year car and if the outgoing model is anything to go by, pricing will start from around $42,000.
Read our full review on the 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country
But you don’t need to spend over $30,000 on an all-wheel drive crossover wagon that is very capable and feels plush inside - the VW Golf Alltrack ticks those boxes with a starting price of $25,955. Like any modern Golf, it punches well above its weight in terms of premium feel and really offers all the off-road capability you’d ever need if you do most of your driving in town or on the highway.
It is especially good to drive on road, despite riding one inch higher compared to regular models, it corners quite flat and is actually quite a bit of fun to throw around a twisty road. In the US, it’s only offered with a 1.8-liter turbo-four with 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque which it sends to all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Read our full review on the 2017 VW Golf Alltrack.
If you feel like the Golf Alltrack is too small for you, and you want something larger and more upmarket feeling, then the Passat Alltrack should definitely make your shortlist (although you can’t have one in North America, since it’s based on the Euro market Passat).
The Euro Passat wagon, to be precise, and it offers much of the same plastic-clad, higher-riding, all-wheel drive goodness you get in the Golf, but feels and drives like a more luxurious, grown up car.
In fact, any Euro Passat you buy today feels more expensive and luxurious than you’d give it credit for, begging the question of whether or not it’s worth spending extra on one of its Audi stablemates. In Europe, the Passat Alltrack starts from the equivalent of $40,000 for a 148 horsepower diesel with manual gearbox.
Read our full review on the 2016 VW Passat Alltrack.
It may be mechanically related to the VW Golf wagon, but the Skoda Octavia Scout has a different feel about it - the styling clearly distinguishes it from the VW and it also offers slightly more space and practicality too.
Mainly built for the European market, the Octavia Scout is an Octavia estate at heart, but with a hint of go-anywhere capability built in.
The two engines it’s offered with are borrowed from VW: 1.8-liter turbo with 174 horsepower and 2.0-liter diesel with either 148 or 178 horsepower. The gasoline engine can only be mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, as with every other version, but the lower-powered diesel can be had with a seven-speed unit instead. Converted from its price in Euros, the Octavia Scout costs from $38,200, although now it is strangely not available to configure on any official Skoda website - the car should still be available, since it’s too new to be killed off, but for the time being it isn’t.
Read our full review on the 2014 Skoda Octavia Scout.
If you don’t like the look of either the Octavia Scout or the Golf Alltrack, there is a third way to obtain pretty much the same package (including the standard all-wheel drive), albeit wrapped differently and wearing a different badge: SEAT Leon X-Perience. It may be unfortunately named (SEAT could have come up with something better than “X-Perience), but it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Based on the same underpinnings as the other two, but featuring its own exterior styling and interior design, the high-riding Leon has its own charm.
Available with many of the same engine and transmission choices as the others, it can be had with the same 2.0-liter TDI diesel in two states of tune (148 and 178 horsepower), as well as the 1.8-liter turbo with 174 horsepower. The very cheapest Leon X-Perience, with the 148 horsepower diesel and a manual six-speed gearbox is considerably more reasonably priced than its VW Group stablemates, kicking of from the equivalent of $28,800.
Read our full review on the 2014 Seat Leon X-Perience.
Peugeot 508 RXH
Peugeot has already revealed its new 508 sedan and wagon, but you can probably still find examples of the old one sitting on dealer lots new and on sale at a heavy discount.
That sounds like the perfect scenario to buy the previous-gen 508 RXH (discontinued in late-2017), a high-riding hybrid version of the 508 wagon.
It is available without the hybrid system, where all of its 174 horsepower from the 2.0-liter diesel engine is sent to the front wheels, although it isn’t the one you want. The hybrid adds an electric motor on the rear axle to provide almost 200 horsepower and all-wheel drive.
PSA didn’t manage to sell that many of these, though, so if you find one for yourself, you’re likely not going to see another any time soon. But there’s a lot to like about the 508 RXH: it looks unique for what it is, the hybrid powertrain provides good performance and efficiency, and the interior feels surprisingly upmarket, all priced new from just under $50,000 and subject to big discounts.
Subaru Outback needs no introduction as it was one of the original nameplates associated with the crossover wagon trend - it was initially called the Legacy Outback, but for the latest model they dropped the Legacy.
The first generation was also quite pleasant to look at, but then they launched the second one which really wasn’t and now with the latest one it’s finally decent again.
It boasts an impressive ground clearance of 8.7 inches, has permanent symmetrical all-wheel drive and can be had with one of two boxer engines - a 175 horsepower 2.5-liter four-pot and a 256 horsepower 3.6-liter six-pot; the latter is really enjoyable to rev out, although some pleasure will definitely be detracted as all Outback engines are exclusively paired with a continuously variable transmission. Pricing starts at $26,345.
Read our full review on the 2017 Subaru Outback
Mercedes was a bit late to the crossover wagon party, but its E-Class All-Terrain, now that it’s here, shouldn’t be overlooked, and is available with four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines as well.
Not available in the US, the E-Class All-Terrain is currently only available as a with diesel engines: either a 220d model, powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine with 191 horsepower or a 400d model with Mercedes’ new straight-six oil burner which makes 335 horsepower.
The only transmission option is a nine-speed automatic and both versions come with standard all-wheel drive and air suspension which is connected to the driving mode selector - when you switch it to its off-road mode, the suspension rises by 20 millimeters to make it more capable off-road. Base price for the four-pot is equivalent to $71,500 based on its Euro price tag.
Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain.