10 Best station wagons of all time

The 10 best station wagons of all time. Image compiled by Ray Leathern.

Top 10: Best station wagons of all time

Great for ferrying dogs, surfboards and people – and slaying the occasional supercar – these are the best stations wagons of all time.

10 Best station wagons of all time

The 10 best station wagons of all time. Image compiled by Ray Leathern.

10. Mercedes-Benz W124

Best station wagons of all time
Mercedes-Benz T-Model 124. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Choosing between a 300 TD and a Merc-AMG E63 wagon isn’t easy. One will be remembered for the two lines of rubber left in its wake, the other for the five vent slots in its right front fender. We’ll take the former that’ll still be on the road thirty years from now.

9. Citroen DS Break

Image: Citroen.

Extra-terrestrial style, avant-garde engineering and quirky ergonomics: wagons don’t come more unique than this. Although Citroen’s GS, CX and XM aren’t far behind. Also, self-levelling hydro pneumatic suspension makes it one of the comfiest cars ever made. Done deal.

8. Audi RS6 Avant

Image: Audi.

This supercar-slayer shows Ingolstadt hasn’t forgotten its roots: freakishly fast and family friendly, though using its 441 kW and 800 Nm to drop kids off at school is like cracking a nut with a piledriver. Twin-turbocharged 4,0-litre V8, quattro grip, blistered arches and street cred to burn, it’s an icon.

7. Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

Image: Alfa Romeo.

In its final, 125 kW, 2.0 JTDm diesel version, fitted with the largest set of alloys its arches can take and painted a wicked shade of black, the 159 Sportwagon represented everything great about Italian station wagons. Enthusiastically under-engineered, characteristically flawed and utterly gorgeous.

6. Audi RS2 Avant

Image: Audi.

Partially developed and finally assembled by Porsche (check those 964 Turbo side mirrors and rims), the 232 kW, 2.2-litre five-cylinder turbo all-wheel drive RS2 Avant is the car that launched Audi’s revered RennSport moniker. Devastatingly quick. Uber practical. Daddy to the RS6. Ridiculously cool.

10 best station wagons of all time continued

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5. Buick Roadmaster

Image: Buick.

Complete with a 5.7-litre V8 derived from the 1992 LT1-powered Corvette, simulated wood-grain decals, a rear-facing third row that takes the seat count up to eight and the coolest name ever, the Roadmaster is five and a half metres of road-tripping Americana.

4. VW Passat Variant

Best station wagons of all time
Image: Volkswagen

With a bold visage and sweetened proportions, the Passat has always been something to behold. Still, our T-Cross, T-Roc and Tiguan uber-alles buying behaviour means South African families have completely missed out on one of the best station wagons of all time.

3. Subaru Impreza

Image: Subaru.

Forget the gold wheels, car-alarm-firing exhaust boom and sky-high boot-lid wing of the WRX STIs, it’s the original 2.0 Sport Wagon you really want. Symmetrical-drive, five-door, flat-four and no trouble with the law – Japanese driving perfection in a practical station wagon shell.

2. BMW M5 Touring

Best station wagons of all time
Image: BMW.

The new M3 Touring is quote something. But, with a 400 kW 5.0-litre V10 providing a thrilling soundtrack and brutal acceleration no backseat-dwelling dog has ever smiled so hard. Or hit its head on every SMG-botched gearchange either. Space, pace and primal mace, this is one of the best corner-carving, race-you-to-the-vet weapons ever.

1. Volvo 850 T5-R

Volvo 850 T5-R. Image: Volvo.

In a list of the best station wagons of all time, how can the winner not be a Volvo. And you already know why this particular one is here in number one, right? Three words: Tom Walkinshaw Racing. At no other time has a box on (admittedly seriously cambered) wheels looked so right, machete-ing kerbs like a BTCC race car on a track. Buy a T5-R. C’mon, it’s the right thing to do.

If you enjoyed this list, also check out our Top 10: Rags to riches cars.