The last (and only) great station wagon, Mercedes E450 Wagon

There was a time in America where families pilled into a station wagon for their annual family road trip. It was big, comfortable, and fuel efficient. Memories were created at each stop, and each mile offered a relaxing way to come together as a family. There was also plenty of room for luggage and the family dog. Outside of road trips, Moms could use the family wagon to take the kids to soccer practice, and Dads could use the family wagon for home improvement projects. All of this was later replaced with minivans and then by SUVs. While both of these modes of transportation are great from a utility standpoint, nothing compares to the drivability, fuel economy, and comfort of a station wagon.

For a week, I got to experience the forgotten love of a station wagon in the Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon. Because of its low riding architecture, the E450 Wagaon drives a sedan. It is quite and superiorly stable at high speeds. 100 mile commutes are no more fatiguing than a short trip to the grocery store. The vehicle glides with ease under the power of a 362 horsepower inline-6 cylinder. It is by no means a sports car, but it is peppy. And around corners, there is no fear of rolling over.

I rarely fall in love with 4-door vehicles, but I absolutely smitten with the Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon’s interior. The designo package with quilted stitched seats and nappa leather on the dash delivers an S-Class quality interior with utility of a 3-row wagon. It also rides like a buttery smooth S-Class, with adaptive air suspension. Its load-leveling and adjustable ride height ensure the drive and passengers a leisurely drive no matter what you are hauling. My test vehicle also had optional massaging seats, like on the S-Class. Which means after a long day of sitting at the office, you can refresh yourself while waiting in the carpool line at your child’s school.

The E450 Wagon’s only real competition comes in the form of the Audi A6 allroad and Porsche Panamera Sport Turisumo. Both are fantastic vehicles, but the Audi misses the mark in terms of stateliness, and the $98,000 Porsche is more of a sports cars than a luxury vehicle. If I were a Dad, the Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon would be the vehicle I would buy.

The 2016 Subaru Outback is a great value!

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There are two reason why I recommend people buy a Subaru: 1) Because they still make station wagons 2) Because they make one of the best all-wheel-drive systems. Subaru and Audi have pioneered all-wheel-drive fro decades – long before Mercedes, Ford, and BMW introduced their all-wheel-drive system for the masses. While all-wheel-drive may not seem important for drivers in the south (because we don’t see snow) it could mean the difference between staying on the road and sliding off during a heavy rain storm. All-wheel-drive is proven to reduce the risk of hydroplaning.

Now back to my first point, Subaru still makes station wagon. It saddens me to see manufactures pull the plug on station wagons… I know no one buys them, but they should. Station wagons offer the utility of an SUV with the road handling of a sedan. I am really glad to see that Subura has full line of wagons, including the Outback.

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The Outback is Subaru’s most expensive and most luxurious vehicle, starting at just under $25,000. What a value! The standard engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder boxer engine paired with symmetrical all-wheel-drive. But if you add $12,000 to the mix, you get a 3.6L 6-cylinder boxer engine, symmetrical all-wheel-drive, leather seats, powered moon roof, navigation, and remote start, plus Subaru’s EysSight emergency braking system. At around $37,000 I had to double check the sticker price. A similarly equipped Audi A4 Allroad will cost you over $45,000.

I recommend the Subaru Outback for buyers who want a premium station wagon without a premium price.