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Vaguely badass...
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CNN Money/Yahoo Autos said:
The news came like a blow to the gut for this child of 1950s suburbia: Volvo, the company most associated with station wagons for the last 20 years, will stop selling wagons in the U.S. The market is drying up.

The Volvo wagon had been on life support for months. After dropping the larger V70 Volvo in 2010, Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, told Automotive News he was giving the V50 another year because there "is a bit more energy in the small wagon segment." Not enough, apparently. Volvo, which was sold to China's Geely in 2010, sold just 480 V50s last year, about two per dealer.

Edmunds.com, the online-car buying site, lists 115 kinds of SUVs and 92 types of crossovers but only 31 varieties of station wagon. Even that count is suspect. It includes a Ford Flex, which is a minivan in disguise, and the bizarre Dodge Caliber.

American buyers first turned away from station wagons during the 1973 oil crisis. Their extreme length, emphasized by long rear overhangs to accommodate a third seat, made them natural targets. In the 1980s, the minivan came along and stole the people-mover business. SUVs moved to the fore in the 1990s. Far more utilitarian, they offered a lot more cargo space, a command seating position, and four-wheel-drive. And the 2000s were the decade of the crossover, combining the best features of both van and SUV. With their combination of capability and capacity, they remain one of the fastest-growing segments.

Before I get carried away by nostalgia, caution should be observed in writing off an entire vehicle segment, because they do have a habit of coming back to life. The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado was lionized as the last American convertible -- until Lee Iacocca brought out the 1982 Chrysler LeBaron ragtop.

The station wagon may rise again.

Source: http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/1736/the-death-of-the-station-wagon/
The "bizarre" Dodge Caliber? :huh:

I'm waiting on a response from the author, but what exactly is so bizarre about the Caliber?

Why no mention of the Lincoln MXT (which, if one is using looks at the criteria, MIGHT be just as "bizarre" as the Caliber?)

Part of this is Edmunds' fault. The Caliber is listed as a wagon, but the Accord Crosstour is listed as a hatchback and not a crossover. The Honda Fit is listed as a hatchback and not a wagon. The Hyundai Elantra Touring is listed as a hatchback, not a wagon (and if you can't tell the Elantra Touring is a wagon, you need to get your vision checked.)

I was going to think that it's because of the rear door - if it's a one-piece "hatch" door, then it's a hatchback. But then Edmunds goes and puts the MINI Cooper Clubman in the hatchback list, complete with it's rear "barn" doors. :facepalm:

What?
 

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Chrysler can be directly blamed for the death of the station wagon, at least according to the History Channel's piece on the minivans. They claimed that one of Iacocca's hidden motivations for pushing the original Caravan and Voyager was because he knew it would cut into the traditional station wagon market (a market Ford dominated). He could use an old Ford idea with some old Ford people to get back at Ford.

Chrysler tried to resurrect the wagon I guess, with the the Magnum. Didn't do as well as their resurrection of the convertible though.

It's funny how people go out of their way to define and reclassify - wagons, minivans, hatchbacks all sort of changed into crossovers.
 

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Is this where someone steps in and points out the obvious???

Far from going away, the station wagon is nearly EVERY vehicle out there. The Volvo may be a sales failure, but my list of "station wagon" includes Caliber, Patriot, Compass, Liberty, Grand Cherokee, Durango, Journey, Caravan, Town & Country, Nitro, Flex, Edge, Murano, Traverse and just about every vehicle out there except the few coups and sedans running around... :huh:

The author needs to get his glasses repaired...
 

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Since I'm not a fan of the Caliber's looks, I have to agree with the author. I have always thought they were fugly, mostly because of the curve and complexity of lines of the roof at the rear.
 

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Vaguely badass...
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Discussion Starter #5
Point taken, Bob. But looks alone seems to be a pretty superficial way to class a car. A Caliber gets classed as a wagon, while a 4-door VW Golf is a hatchback? Makes no sense - since both are the same type of vehicle, 4 doors with a rear hatch.

Do the Golf's rear seats fold down? Maybe that's the defining criteria - if the rear seats can fold down, that makes it a wagon.
 

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Since I'm not a fan of the Caliber's looks, I have to agree with the author. I have always thought they were fugly, mostly because of the curve and complexity of lines of the roof at the rear.
Ugly or not, it was still a wagon...and contrary to the authors myopia, they are around in abundance, albeit called everything except a wagon, the darn boxes are indeed wagons... ;)
 

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Ugly or not, it was still a wagon...and contrary to the authors myopia, they are around in abundance, albeit called everything except a wagon, the darn boxes are indeed wagons... ;)
The Caliber is a 'fastback wagon'. Since the minivan did everything so well, it kind of doomed the conventional station wagon.
I have been to service websites (Alldata) that classified the PT, Magnum and Caliber as a 'truck'.
Utility was the station wagon's forte. Many were still made of wood (woodies) long after cars had gone to all metal. Didn't Plymouth advertise the first all metal wagon?
 

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IMHO every crossover out there is just a wagon. How is it that every car out there can get larger, but when the wagon gets bigger its a crossover SUV?
 

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I was still working at a Dodge store before the Magnum was dropped.. I got a lot of feedback from buyers that were interested and wanted to look at the wagon for the extra seating; until they found it did not offer a 3rd row.. then they decided they needed to look at the minivan or a Durango.. I feel a 3rd row option could have saved it.
Now, I've gone to selling Toyotas to make a living; and I have the Camry wagon back as the Venza.. Funny.. seems an awful lot like the Pacifica to me.
 

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Vaguely badass...
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Discussion Starter #13
Along the same theme, yet different - Ron Kiino from Motor Trend did an excellent article on how the minivan compares to large 3-row SUVs.
http://www.motortrend.com/features/editorial/1104_the_kiinote_minivans/index.html
 

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Wikipedia:

A station wagon or estate car is a body style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward[1] over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door (the liftgate or tailgate), instead of a trunk lid. The body style transforms a standard three-box design into a two-box design — to include an A, B & C-pillar, as well as a D pillar. Station wagons feature flexibility to allow configurations that either favor passenger or cargo volume, e.g., fold-down rear seats.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a station wagon as "an automobile with one or more rows of folding or removable seats behind the driver and no luggage compartment but an area behind the seats into which suitcases, parcels, etc., can be loaded through a tailgate." The dictionary also calls the term an "Americanism." [2]

When a model range includes multiple body styles such as sedan, hatchback and station wagon, the models typically share their platform, drivetrain and bodywork forward of the A-pillar. In 1969, Popular Mechanics said "station wagon-style follows that of the production sedan of which it is a counterpart, most are on the same wheelbase, offer the same transmission and engine options, and the same comfort and convenience options."[3]

Station wagons have evolved from their early use as specialized vehicles to carry people and luggage to and from a train station, and have experienced worldwide marketing.
 

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Thank you - that made things as clear as mud. ;)
Any vehicle that is associated with domestic child rearing behavior gets panned..so marketers have to find a way to make those vehicles acceptable to image conscious men who have a fear of being labeled a "family man." SUVs are so popular because they provide an image of adventure which men appreciate. They offer the safety of a larger car, and they offer the utility that the Minivan and Station Wagon offered without the stigma. AWD is available as well and the high seating position is something a lot of people prefer. The old story used to be that the guy sells his muscle car or his Pick Up Truck for a minivan and he is accused of being "whipped." Now he can get the Man Vehicle that the wife can also appreciate. Im not a big fan of SUVs, but I see why they are so successful. I call a lot of them "Jacked Up Wagons" but they are technically not station wagons in the traditional sense.

The most utilitarian vehicle is the Minivan hands down. That is why it is still around. The sliding doors make it very easy to get in and out. If you don't care what others think and driving is just a basic chore, then it is the best solution.

The wagon? It offers basically nothing at this point. I still like them because you sit lower and when I take a hard corner I don't feel like I am falling off a bar stool. Unfortunately, they have the stigma of being family cars and they have utility...it's just not as good as the minivan in the utility department. They also do not have the high seating position many people like. It's become a nearly extinct species in the US because the two other evolved modes of utility transportation offer more in various areas.
 

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The most utilitarian vehicle is the Minivan hands down. That is why it is still around. The sliding doors make it very easy to get in and out. If you don't care what others think and driving is just a basic chore, then it is the best solution.

The wagon? It offers basically nothing at this point. I still like them because you sit lower and when I take a hard corner I don't feel like I am falling off a bar stool. Unfortunately, they have the stigma of being family cars and they have utility...it's just not as good as the minivan in the utility department. They also do not have the high seating position many people like. It's become a nearly extinct species in the US because the two other evolved modes of utility transportation offer more in various areas.
More mud? B)
Beyond the sliding rear doors, there is absolutely no difference between a wagon/Suv/minivan except scale and drivetrain.

 

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Mud? My point, exactly. I really don't think there is a definitive definition of "station wagon".
 

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The wagon does have one potential advantage over the minivan: weight. Okay, two: weight and lower center of gravity. As I recall the Legacy wagon weighed less than the Outback -- a wagon and "crossover" on the same platform. I have no proof re wagon vs minivan but I'd generally think the wagon SHOULD be lighter all else being equal which it never is.

but yes, a "wagon" becomes a "crossover" or "SUV" when you add all wheel drive or four wheel drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If guys are so worried about being seen as a "family man" then perhaps they should have thought a bit more about starting one in the first place. But that's another discussion for another place.

Still no response from the author as to why he considers the Caliber "bizarre."
 
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