Some details: Manufacturers like Jeep are replacing both the Compass and Patriot with a new crossover platform for 2017 and Honda expects their new subcompact crossover, the HR-V to outperform its best selling Pilot next year. If you look at the concept cars popping up from American, Japanese and European manufacturers over the past few years, they’re all pointing at a more streamlined, efficient and compact vehicle. Of course, there are always exceptions, Lexus and Infinity continue to sell a ton of their LX and QX vehicles respectively with no plans to trim down– but at this point they are the exception rather than the rule.
If this trend continues, where might we end up? Back to the beloved family wagon perhaps? Let’s take a look at why this might be the inevitable full-circle scenario starting with this snippet from Charles Moss at The Atlantic:
“At one point in America’s automotive history, the station wagon defined the typical modern, middle-class family. For more than 40 years, we trusted it to get us where we needed to go, to haul what needed to be hauled. And when it finally petered out, the station wagon left an indelible imprint on the future of automotive design.”
Toward the end of its 40 year reign, the station wagon’s ubiquity continued through the 1970s and then slowly ended. By now, all the kids who grew up in those modern, middle-class families, who spent all that time in station wagons, now have kids of their own. They don’t want to drive their shiny new children around in that horrendous boat that mom and dad owned. It hadn’t evolved; it looked dated and sad. The current model Caprice wagon still had simulated wood grain stickers on the sides and handled like a shopping cart. So, why would new parents choose this outmoded platform? They shouldn’t and didn’t – they went with something different.