Way back in the days before SUVs ruled Australia’s roads, station wagons were seen as the ideal family vehicle. They offered all the space and comfort of the sedan on which they were based with all that extra carrying capacity in the back. For many Australian families they were the natural choice for road trip holidays and carting stuff from the local hardware store, so it was hardly surprising that you saw them everywhere.
These days that’s all changed, with SUVs now the default option for many car buyers. They’re seen as offering the people-carrying comfort of a sedan with all that load-hauling space in the back. There’s also the attraction of heading off-road to the wild blue yonder, though in reality most modern SUVs offer little in the way of real off-road prowess. The majority are “soft-roaders” at best and some don’t even have four-wheel drive.
Many SUV owners appreciate the high driving position that offers that commanding view of the road, or at least at the back of the SUV in front of you, the one beside you and, well, I’m sure you get the picture.
SUVs are everywhere these days with every major carmaker offering a range of sizes to suit everyone. Good grief, even Rolls Royce is getting into the act with the utterly enormous Cullinan, though the chaps at Rolls Royce prefer to call it a “high-sided” vehicle. Well they had to build an SUV really, because Bentley had already beaten them out of the blocks with its uber-expensive and astonishingly ugly Bentayga. Apparently it’s enormously capable off-road, but do you really want to take a $420,000 car off-road?
The best choice?
SUVs may be the default option these days but they may not be the best choice for you because there are many great wagons on our roads that offer advantages that SUVs just can’t match.
Let’s dispel one misconception for starters – that SUVs offer more space in the back than wagons. A lot of them don’t. Take the modestly sized Hyundai i30 Tourer for example. With the back seats up there’s 528 litres of space on offer, with the seats down that increases to 1642 litres. The Hyundai Tucson, by comparison, offers 488 litres with the seats up and 1478 litres with them down. Advantage i30.
So you may be able to squeeze more into a wagon, but the advantages don’t end there, because in many cases wagons are also better things to drive. SUVs have come a long way in the handling stakes and no longer drive like trucks, but most of them still struggle to totally overcome the handling disadvantages that come with being higher off the road.
Wagons, by contrast, are far closer to the sedans on which they’re based. When it comes to handling they’re frequently indistinguishable from those sedans. The all-wheel drive Audi RS 4, for example, dishes up power and handling in spades in a totally practical vehicle. Who said station wagons had to be boring?
That lower profile on the road helps station wagons with fuel economy too because the vehicle slips through the air with less resistance. The brick-like aerodynamics of many SUVs, by contrast, doesn’t do much for their fuel economy, though to be fair many diesel engine SUVs are remarkably fuel-efficient these days.
Yet despite that an SUV may still be the family vehicle of choice thanks to a few factors. The larger ones can carry more passengers than a station wagon and that higher-off-the-road profile makes loading up the back with shopping, camping gear, or anything else much easier on the back.
With many SUVs coming in 2-wheel drive and some station wagons becoming a little higher off the ground and offering all-wheel drive, the boundaries between SUVs and station wagons are becoming somewhat fuzzy.
Whatever your choice of vehicle, whether it’s an SUV, a station wagon or anything else for that matter, a Fleetcare Novated Lease is the ideal way to get behind the wheel of that brand new vehicle. It offers big tax advantages while helping you save on the total running costs. But you’ll also benefit from the opportunity to regularly upgrade to the latest model with all the latest technology and advanced safety features.
For further information contact Fleetcare today on 134 333.