July 16, 2005

LA Rag: Jag Wag Lags

A wagon? From Jaguar? Who even knew? In the LA Times, Dan Neil says he loves the Jaguar X-Type SportWagon for it's body, not for it's money: "Try as I might, I can't help liking this car. Buying one is another matter. A fully equipped X-Type Sportwagon with navigation and xenon headlamps will cost more than $40,000, which is a rough part of town. I know a bargain when I see one, and this isn't it."

But what's most entertaining is his out-loud ruminations on what should actually constitute a "sport wagon":

Under the category of "sport wagons," you will find vehicles such as the Toyota RAV4, Lexus RX 330, Buick Rendezvous, Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe, which is odd, given these vehicles' dearth of sport and essential wagon-ness. If these gawky moot-utes are sport wagons, what do you call the BMW 325xi wagon, the Audi A4 and A6 Avant or the coming-soon Saab 9-3 SportCombi? This last one sounds like the surf-and-turf at Hooters. [gratuitous Hooters reference: 10 points. -ed.]

And, please, these are not "touring wagons" unless they appear on the bill with Weezer.

Why not "not 'wagons like you remember from your childhood and swore you'd never be caught dead in' wagons, totally cool wagons"?

Jaguar jumps on the wagon. Ready to jump in? [lat]
Overview of the X-Type [jaguar.com]


After living in Japan, where sporty wagons are a dime a dozen, I really love that segment of the market... unfortunately, in North America, our options are limited... there are a few bright spots though...

The Mazda 6 Wagon is a great deal, although it comes with a Ford V6, and not a Mazda powerplant... bleah... I also like the Subaru Impreza and Legacy wagons a lot. The new front end on the Impreza this year looks very high-end compared to before...

If I had a few more bucks, I'd look at the Volvo V50 (although that thing is a lot of money for a hopped-up Mazda3 with a funny Swedish engine) or the Audi A3. The V50 was a blast to drive, and I only tried the non-turbo base model.

One note about the term "sport" in car names; I've noticed that more often than not, it follows the same usage rule as the term "democratic republic" in country names...

Cam, none of those cars you mention are really what I would call "wagons", except for the Legacy. The Mazda 6 is the smallest car in it's category, and the wagon version hardly qualifies for the moniker. The Audi A3 is really a tarted-up VW Golf, and the Mazda 3 platform (including its Ford and Mazda guises) and Impreza are about the same size.

Now, if you want to talk real wagons, you ought to be looking at something the size of a VW Passat, BMW 5-Series, or Audi A6, at the very least, and those are not what I would call "large" cars by any margin (having grown up with my mom's gimungous Ford LTD land yacht of a wagon). The new Legacy is quite a beauty--it's the first Subaru I would ever consider actually buying...well, that is, except for the WRX STi, of course. For smaller wagons, the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 fit the bill nicely, especially if your one of those lucky people to have access to the Audi RS4 Avant...

I agree, the world needs more sport wagons and less SUV's/crossovers.

SWEEEEEET vindication.

I was dining in the Toronto Beaches on Saturday morning, enjoying my pouched egg and smoked salmon when the most curious thing happened, a jaguar wagon went by, in green. My eldest (a daughter) and my grandmother saw it.

Fast forward to the evening at a restaurant downtown (no change tables in the gent's of Crush, sorry) Anyhooos, when I divulged my delightful discovery, noONE believed me. Nope, nobody, they laughed instead.


By the way, when I go out these days, I always ask the guys at the table to let me know if there is a change table in the gents. Sadly, the answer is usually NOPE.

As an owner of a 2001 BMW 325 wagon (not AWD), I feel compelled to provide a Dad's review.

1. The smoothness of the engine is unparalleled in my car-owning life. It's a treat.

2. The quality of service is unparalleled in my car owning life. While not a treat, it's not the godawful nightmare to which I have become accustomed with my Saab.

3. The car drives noticeably better than any other car I've had.

4. My family (one wife, one labrador, one husband, one 1-yr old boy) barely fits in this car. It's just too damn small.

In short, it's the perfect family car if you don't have an actual family. It may be possible without the dog.

The tortuous decision is whether to surrender to the need for room and get a Sienna or get an X3 and a roof box. The 325 just isn't working.

There is a new 325 AWD wagon arriving in the US on Sept 1. I hear it's a little more roomy.

Wagons are great! i currently have a boy due in Oct, and we have a 2004 audi A4 avant ultrasport 6 speed. Its really my wifes, but i said if we were getting a wagon it needs to be sporty. As for the jag, i don't like them.

Adding to Island Dad's comment, you should never think about an X3. They're way overpriced for what you get. For a true sport wagon, look no further than the Subaru Forester XT. I know, it looks like an SUV, but my insurance company and the US govt. calls it a wagon. It's got the same 230 HP powerplant as the WRX, but it's much roomier. BTW, you will still need the roof box.

Michael, I think the Mazda6 is actually a pretty big wagon... I don't know about how it stacks up to anything other than the Legacy, but I do remember hearing a Mazda wag at the auto show saying that the cargo area is actually bigger than the one in most full-size SUVs, due to the fact that despite their massive exterior size, the rear suspension, axle, etc. in most big trucks dictates a fairly high floor.

I've never been a big-car guy, despite being 6'4"; living in a fairly high-density urban area (I believe downtown Vancouver is #2 or #3 for population density in North America after Manhattan and possibly San Francisco) I just hate the idea of having a massive vehicle that invites scrapes in the parking lot and scorn from the "green" crowd... :)

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