Crossover and SUV alternatives
We get it. SUVs and some crossovers generally offer high seating position that affords the driver a great view, and that can feel awesome. But if you don't have something heavy to tow, what else are you getting that these alternatives can't provide?
Wagons aren't just practical. They're also lower, which provides better handling for those who enjoy that, or a greater margin of safety in bad weather for those who don't. And the latest crop is handsome. Just look at this Jaguar XF Sportbrake, which makes the handsome F-Pace crossover seem almost homely. Depending on the wagon, you might also get significantly better fuel economy and even a crossover-like ride height.
Don't forget about minivans, or sedans equipped with all-wheel drive. All of these alternatives offer many of the advantages of SUVs and crossovers without some of the compromises. Check them out.
2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
The Crosstrek is the soft, gentle introduction to wagons for those thinking of stepping off the crossover train. It's a practical, AWD hatchback that's both utilitarian and spacious, but it's wearing a crossover costume. And to further burnish its credentials, it's now available as a plug-in hybrid with a 17-mile EV range. While the battery pack diminishes cargo capacity somewhat, the fuel economy figures, versatility and quality of this Subaru make up for what, in the larger picture, is but a minor shortcoming.
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Information
2020 Volvo V60 Cross CountryVolvo's raised midsize wagon is bigger, more refined and just plain gorgeous. With slightly softer springing, a BorgWarner all-wheel drive system, and an extra 2.4 inches of ground clearance over the regular V60, it’s a capable and versatile people-and-stuff hauler. Most important, it offers most of the utility of the XC60, but in a much sexier form factor.
Volvo V60 Cross Country Information
2019 Jaguar XF SportbrakeAn AWD Jaguar station wagon is a classy way to offer snowbelt drivers a practical, all-weather performance car with a twist: It isn't an SUV. It exposes the compromises required to make SUVs and crossovers handle in a sporting fashion. Because the Sportbrake sits low to the ground, there's no need for rock-hard suspension to restrain the body through turns or over rough surfaces. And because it weighs less — at least 130 pounds less than an equivalent F-Pace — the suspension can be tuned for fluency and comfort as well as composure. There's now a lower-priced 2.0-liter turbo option in addition to the supercharged V6, too, making the Sportbrake available to more buyers.
2018 Volkswagen Golf AlltrackThe 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is the latest in a long line of Golf variants (including the Golf Variant wagon in Europe). It's basically a Golf Sportwagen with the 4Motion all-wheel drive system with a slight suspension lift and some plastic cladding. Think Subaru Outback or Audi Allroad. It's a handsome little hatch that, like the Outback or Allroad, meets the new crossover craze somewhere in the middle.
Volkswagen Golf Information
2019 Toyota Prius AWD-eWith 50 miles per gallon combined, the Prius AWD-e is the most efficient all-wheel-drive vehicle you can buy without a plug. For those who swear by high mpg but want AWD (or vice versa) this is a great thing. It's also less weird-looking than its predecessor, which is a great relief. It still offers a great deal of crossover-like utility, too: a large cargo area, a fairly roomy interior, and now the all-weather security of all-wheel drive.
2018 BMW 3 Series GT
We love wagons, sure, but if we don't include the 3 Series GT, what is this gallery other than a big list of wagons? The real party trick for the GT is, somehow, even more utility than its Sports Wagon counterpart, thanks to the GT's stretched chassis (borrowed from the Chinese-market, long-wheelbase model). This creates a passenger space that offers more rear foot and knee room than the 5 Series sedan. The trunk is one cubic foot larger than that on the 3 Series Sport Wagon. But take note: the GT and the Sports Wagon won't return for the next generation, so get them while they're here.
2019 Audi A4 Allroad
Like its predecessor, the 2019 Audi A4 Allroad is a rather good-looking alternative to a mid-size SUV. It's based on the lovely A4 Avant, a wagon that isn't sold in America, and powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The Allroad has a slightly raised suspension and a part-time version of Quattro AWD, but the rest of the drivetrain is standard A4. The Allroad is a compelling package if you're not looking for the visual bulk of an SUV, and you're just too proud of yourself to drive a Subaru Outback.
Audi A4 Allroad Information
2019 Mini Clubman
The new Mini Clubman has, perhaps predictably, grown somewhat in its newest generation. The biggest changes are four real doors (instead of the tiny third door on the passenger side and two conventional ones up front) and a heavy restyling. While some may lament the increased girth, the truth is that this new Clubman adds enough comfort and versatility to take aim at many of the smaller crossovers on the market. And now, there's All4 all-wheel drive, too. Driving the Clubman should still put a smile on your face. All of the brand's offerings offer at least a modicum of fun and a lot of attitude. In Cooper S trim, it'll make a solid 189 hp. If you want more personality than most crossovers offer, the Clubman has it in spades.
Mini Cooper Clubman Information
2019 Chrysler Pacifica
The new Pacifica, which combines some of the cleverest features of its predecessor (and a few from its rivals) into an inherently practical and – dare we say – attractive package. The regular Pacifica's 9-speed automatic's significant weight loss make it one of the most efficient vehicles this size around, and the hybrid model should blow the rest of the segment out of the water. For 2019, there are a couple new colors and some trim and interior revisions. Minivans might not be cool yet, but they sure look compelling when you measure the Pacifica up against its three-row crossover rivals.