Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
John asks: I recently got back from an extended vacation in Europe (France, Belgium, Germany) and saw as many wagons over there as SUVs here. What accounts for this? And why aren’t the wagons which are so available in European countries not available here?
My reply: You’ve almost answered your own question. Wagons aren’t sold here as prolifically because they’re not as popular. The why probably has to do with the cost of fuel – low here, high there. Over there, only the affluent can afford to drive a large SUV or crossover. Over here, many people can afford to drive a crossover or SUV – and so they do.
The wagon layout is a mid-spectrum layout in between a sedan and a crossover, in terms of its ability to carry stuff. But – being basically a car, with an elongated rear end, it doesn’t use as much fuel as a larger (and taller/less aerodynamically efficient) crossover or SUV.
Over here, a difference of say 5 MPG is almost a non sequitur. But in Europe, where fuel costs three times as much, it is a very big deal.
Hence the abundance of wagons – and the relative dearth of large crossovers and SUVs – across the pond, while the reverse is the case here.
. . .
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You can get a VW Golf or Jetta wagon.
The last new(er) station wagon I saw was a green Jaguar in Honolulu. It seemed odd with the full cat hood ornament.
BTW Eric, when were the hood ornaments outlawed?
I still wonder how people access a roof rack on a SUV or the bed of a new pick-up without a step ladder.
Have you seen the new Silverado commercial? https://youtu.be/M_e6mnXoVmk
I asked a friend of mine, a heavy equipment operator, how long that fancy tailgate would last in the field.
He said, “It would be broken by the end of the first day. Maybe before lunch.”