Station wagons are so handy, if you've ever bought one, you'll probably never turn back. The only problem is there are so many good options around, which do you go for? Here are the top 10 best station wagons currently available in Australia. (All prices exclude on-road costs.)
Hyundai i30 - $24,990-$33,440
The Hyundai i30 has enjoyed huge success in Australia since its initial launch back in 2007. And with each model update, it just keeps getting better and better. The station wagon variant is one of only a few wagons available in the small car segment. It's available with either a super-frugal 1.6-litre turbo-diesel with an average economy as low as 4.6L/100km (for the manual), or a slightly more powerful 1.6-litre petrol which uses 6.3L/100km (manual). Like most new Hyundais, the i30 is packed with standard features. Regardless of whether you go for the entry-level Active or the higher-spec Elite, highlights include Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system with MP3 and USB support, cruise control, and air-conditioning. In the back you have 528 litres of cargo capacity at your disposal.
Honda Jazz - $14,990-$22,490
The funky little Jazz is one of the only compact wagons you can get. Okay, so it's not quite a station wagon in the traditional sense. But it's a great cargo runner. It's just undergone a model update too and now comes with a class-first three-mode rear-view camera as standard, as well as a full colour touch-screen infotainment system. Power comes from a spirited 1.5-litre four-cylinder producing 88kW, sipping just 5.8L/100km on the combined cycle (auto). Honda is renowned for creating active and feel-good driving machines, and the same can be said for the Jazz. It's a fun little car to drive, and it's practical. Cargo capacity is 350 litres, rivalling some vehicles in larger segments.
Subaru Outback - $38,990-$57,990
It's a nameplate that's now so entrenched into the fabric of Aussie motoring that it has become one of the most trusted wagon models on the market. It differentiates itself from the rest with a renowned all-wheel drive system and a slightly jumped up body. Power comes from either a 3.6-litre flat-six boxer engine - like a Porsche 911, sort of - or a 2.5-litre boxer four-cylinder, or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel. The 3.6 uses 10.3L/100km while the 2.0 uses 6.0L/100km. Manual and auto is available. Standard features include a rear-view camera, auto levelling suspension, tinted windows, and a limited-slip differential for all-terrain readiness. All Outback models present a 490-litre cargo area.
Volvo V60 - $55,890-$72,590
If it's safety you want, and let's face it, we all want to be as alive as possible, the Volvo V60 is the safest wagon money can buy at the moment. ANCAP has awarded the V60 a remarkable 36.34 out of 37 in recent crash tests. This score is about as high as it gets in the industry. As a bonus, the V60 covers a wide spectrum of motoring demands, with the range including an efficient yet torquey turbo-diesel, right up to a performance T6 3.0-litre turbo-petrol producing 242kW. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is on offer, depending on which variant you go for. It's both smart and sporty. Sounds good to us. In the back the cargo area is large enough to swallow 430 litres worth of things.
Mazda6 - $34,760-$50,960
Like its smaller sibling, the Mazda3, the Mazda6 is one of the very best-selling models in its class. So far this year the local arm has sold 3673 examples of the 6, making it the second best seller in the class behind the Toyota Camry. Fortunately for consumers, it is available in wagon form, unlike the Camry. It comes with either a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel offering an average consumption of just 5.4L/100km, or a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder developing 138kW. The powerful petrol is reasonably economical too, using an average of 6.6L/100km. Inside, users are treated to a modern and well-packaged interior, including a multifunction colour interface, voice recognition and Bluetooth. The cargo area offers 451 litres of volume.
Volkswagen Passat wagon - $40,990-$59,240
Reasonably priced with proper German quality and engineering. The Volkswagen Passat wagon is almost a luxury car only it's not priced through the roof. It is actually VW's flagship car in the Australia at the moment, and it can be equipped with the company's latest and greatest technologies, including an excellent radar-guided cruise control system with temporary automatic steering. Power comes from either a 130kW 2.0-litre TDI diesel, a 118kW 1.8-litre turbo-petrol, or a 3.6-litre petrol V6 with 220kW. Economy spans from 5.4L/100km, to 7.5L/100km, up to 9.5L/100km, respectively. The Passat wagon offers 603 litres of cargo capacity.
BMW 5 Series - $82,900-$122,930
If you're after the best driver's car in the large station wagon segment, this is it. The BMW 5 Series is an executive mastermind, managing to offer intelligent and advanced in-car design and features, as well as a superb chassis, driving dynamics, and handling. It's available in two variants in Australia, including the 135kW 520d and the 225kW 535i petrol. Cargo space is lower than its main rivals, offering 560 litres.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class - $87,400-$137,230
If you're after pure elegance and luxury in a large station wagon, look no further. Mercedes-Benz is not only responsible for creating the first motor vehicle ever created, it's also responsible for leading the automotive world in luxury and technology. The 'Benz E-Class wagon is available in three variant levels, ranging from the E 200 to the E 400, with the E 250 CDI diesel thrown in for good measure. Economy spans from 5.1L/100km to 7.6L/100km. Cargo capacity is rated at an impressive 695 litres.
Ford Territory RWD - $39,990-$59,990
With no more Ford Falcon wagon on the market, the Ford Territory is pleased to take over. And most customers are pleased as well. You get the benefits of a Falcon wagon as it is a Falcon underneath, only you get the adventurous side of an SUV thanks to the jumped up body and commanding driving position. Ford offers the Territory in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive forms, and, interestingly, in 4.0-litre straight-six petrol or 2.7-litre turbo-diesel V6 form. Cargo space is rated at 1153 litres (to the ceiling).
Holden Commodore Sportwagon - $37,490-$56,690
The most well-known and perhaps most trusted nameplate in this lineup. The local Holden Commodore is on its last legs with production facilities shutting down by 2017, which could mean the end of the Commodore as we know it. The VF model could be the last chance you get to relish in the huge 895-litre cargo area, expandable to a whopping 2000 litres with the rear seats folded down. No other sedan-based wagon offers this much room. As a bonus, the VF Commodore is easily the best Commodore Holden has ever made. It's more connected, more advanced inside, and much more user-friendly than ever. Australians can be proud that it is made here. It can be had with a 3.0-litre V6, a 3.6-litre V6, or a performance 6.0-litre V8. All models come with five-star ANCAP safety.