If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

Have We Had This Discussion : What Makes A Wagon?

We probably have. I mean, I'm pretty sure it's the sort of thing we'd end up discussing with the regularity with which my wife and discuss the issue of toilet seats; up or down?! And, truthfully, it's about as productive a discussion as same. That said, let's have at it.

What makes a wagon?


Well, in my opinion it's pretty simple; a wagon needs to have four doors and a hatch. A car with two doors and a wagon-ass is either a shooting brake or a hatchback (with the latter typically being relegated to the land of FWD while the former clings to that RWD heritage). But wait, am I saying that a Mazda Protege 5 is a wagon? Is a Subaru Outback a wagon? Yes and no; the Subie yes, the Mazda no. Why? Because, and this is just my opinion, size matters.

Remember when we used to use terms like 'compact' and 'economy' to describe cars? It's kind of like that, if you ask me. A wagon should be obvious, you should only have to look at the car to know it's a wagon; maybe you can't describe why it's a wagon, but you know it, you feel it. It's not unlike Raph was saying on Afterdrive - you trust your impressions of what a car is, be it super, hatch, sedan or coupe or whatever the hell else is out there. That's how I feel about wagons.

When you look at a wagon, it should be obvious and you should know, "That's a wagon." There shouldn't, if you ask me, be any hesitation and if there is, it's not. Is a five door hatch-back a wagon? No, because it's a five door hatch back. Get what I'm getting at?


In my mind, a wagon is designed and marketed with intent - that is, it has been built along the ideology of wagonism (wagoness?) and marketed as such. That in and of itself allows real wagons a level of exclusivity that also-wagon's just cannot claim.


In my mind, there is a clear difference between a wagon and a vehicle which has attributes of a wagon in the same way that there is a clear difference between super-cars and those cars which posses a few super attributes. Thus, when I see WRX hatches with wagon mafia stickers on the back I feel a pang of outrage because, if you ask me, many of those cars (WRX included) have their own characteristics which, to my mind, should be embraced and highlighted, not diluted with some over ambitious attempt to be an also-wagon.

There's nothing wrong with owning an also-wagon, as far as I'm concerned, however; when the owner of said vehicle tries to camp with real wagons, tries to hang with the cool kids, it's just an obvious attempt to try and claim as many descriptors as possible, "Mine is a shooting brake hot hatch wagon with AWD so it's also a truck..." And that does a disservice to the car and the owner.


Further, when the marketing department gets involved and try to spread a product line across as many demographics as possible, it's pretty obvious to me that it's not a real wagon, though it may be an also-wagon.

This is, at least, to my mind what makes a wagon and what disqualifies a car from being.


What of it, Oppo? Tell me how wrong I am, how much you agree, or what color underpants I should wear to bed tonight.

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