Cir­cle th­ese

There is no rea­son a safe, prac­ti­cal favourite can’t re­live its glory days

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - COVER STORY - PAUL GOVER

The Com­modore Sport­wagon sur­vives but who knows for how long?

Yet wag­ons still rule in Europe, where size and en­ginebased tax­a­tion — not to men­tion twisty roads and su­per-tight park­ing spots — work against the SUV hordes that have be­come the firstchoice fam­ily trans­port in Aus­tralia and other coun­tries.

The three cus­tom­ary Euro pace­set­ters — Audi, BMW and Benz — have a wide range of wag­ons and the Volk­swa­gen Group punches out plenty of Golf, Oc­tavia and Su­perb five-doors.

Volvo would not be Volvo with­out sta­tions wag­ons, which are thank­fully far more stylish than the box-on-the-back ef­forts of decades past.

Prov­ing that wag­ons still have a global fu­ture, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz each tacked a big­ger back on to two of their best sellers, the XF and CLS, dur­ing 2012.

At the other end of the ac­tion, Hyundai con­firms that the i30 will con­tinue as a sta­tion wagon for the forsee­able fu­ture with an up­dated model — based on the car that just fin­ished run­ner-up in our 2012 COTY con­test — ex­pected in March.

SUVs may be the dom­i­nant force in fam­ily mo­tor­ing but wag­ons are the sur­vivors. Lots of peo­ple like to ride high, like the tough look of a pseudo of­froader, and love the idea that they are get­ting more bang for their bucks in some­thing like a Nis­san X-Trail or a Mit­subishi ASX. But it doesn’t al­ways work out that way.

The bluff back end of an SUV might look cav­ernous and prac­ti­cal but too many of them have height and no

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