Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Station Wagons

Living in Norway, SUVs are rather rare. The full-size station wagon is the family car. Seriously-- if I drive to baby swimming, or day care, or the Kid-n-Care store, the lot is literally full of station wagons--- Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, Saab, Volvo, Opel, Ford, Toyota, etc. A majority of of them have a trailer hitch for running home improvement errands on weekends, and have a ski box on the roof for extra storage (or even actual skis in the winter)--even luxury cars.

We have a full-size station wagon. It handles very well, drives like an actual car, and has a similar footprint to an SUV. It just doesn't sit as tall and is lighter (and thereby gets far better gas mileage). In the US, the wagon is all but dead, unless you consider the compact wagons like a Matrix. It seems to me that the minivan replaced the station wagon, and the SUV replaced the minivan as the family vehicle of choice.

When I was a kid, the station wagon was the ultimate in cool. Of course, we never had to wear a seatbelt, and we sat in rear facing seats way in the back (where it would be considered child neglect to place a kid today). But it was long before the minivan came around.

I hereby raise my glass in honor of the misunderstood, and largely ignored, humble, practical station wagon.

1 comment:

Pete said...

I still let my kids ride in the backward facing seat of my station wagon. We took it camping this weekend. Great car.