The oldest new idea in cars

The fantastic-looking 2017 Audi A4 Allroad is looking like a shot in the arm for station wagons. Which is a good thing.

You should drive whatever you like or need. As a car buff, I’m not into shaming people for their choice of wheels.

I wouldn’t have made that choice you parked in your carport, but if you’re happy, I’m happy for you.

The proliferation of SUVs and crossovers is sometimes puzzling to me: I’ve owned them (’96 Grand Cherokee, “02 Pathfinder, ’04 Expedition) and the high-command seating position and cavernous cargo space is nice. The feeling that you’re driving the box a car came in, not so much. Do most people use the space, or need it? Maybe not, but they like knowing it’s there.

Back in the day, it was the venerable station wagon that gave you family seating and more trunk than a trunk, and many of us rode around in Country Squires, Custom Cruisers and the like. Wagons never completely went away, but they lost their market share to taller, boxier, choices like Explorers, Durangos et. al. Plus the ‘S’ in SUV stood for sport. As in, there was the possibility of excitement that a Volare Wagon didn’t suggest.

But wagons would always and still be a good choice for people that want the handling and tidy exterior dimensions of a sedan, with the versatility of a SUV/crossover. I’ve always thought that the few remaining wagons on the market, from makers ranging from Volvo to Volkswagen, were very smart and smart-looking.

So, I hope Audi has a winner in the A4 Allroad.

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