Hyundai Genesis Estate – Is the Wagon Style Coming Back?

Hyundai Genesis Estate side

With big SUVs and even smaller crossover SUVs becoming less popular as the price of gas rises (and the economy sinks,) Americans still need a vehicle with enough utility to carry their stuff around, and sedans just don’t hold enough cargo. For example, the 2009 VW Jetta TDI sedan has 16 cubic ft of truck space. Get that same car in the SportWagen edition, and the cargo capacity increases to 67 cubic ft with the rear seats folded down.

Another example: The 2009 Audi A4 sedan is spacious, but the truck can only hold 34 cubic ft of cargo. That’s big for a trunk, but the Avant (wagon) model can hold 51 cubic ft with the rear seats down.

As useful as they are, the wagon style has one inherent problem: they’re ugly. They’re not sporty, and are generally seen as uncool by Americans. It’s time we got over the uncool factor of wagons, and start using them for their exceptional blend of utility and practicality. Europe has…

Hyundai Genesis Estate

Slowly but surely, some manufacturers are beginning to release wagon versions of their sedans in America, hoping they catch on. Cadillac just announced the 2010 CTS Sport Wagon, which looks better than I expected. Nick just reviewed a 2009 Volvo XC70 – a fairly odd-looking wagon that he mostly enjoyed. The recently announced BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is a sort of wagon, and many other sedans (like the Jetta and A4 mentioned above) are available as wagons. So what’s the next step? Who’s next?

When we reviewed the 2009 Hyundai Genesis Sedan last month, we were blown away with how much car you get for the money. It’s one of, if not the best value on the road today. Theophilus Chin, a damn-fine Photoshop expert, thought the Genesis would look good as a wagon, and created the Hyundai Genesis Estate, based off of the excellent sedan. As you can see for the pictures above and below, he kept the same dimensions, but added on the rear, which would add significantly more room to the already large cargo area in the Genesis. He also changed the front grille to more closely match that of typical Hyundai, instead of the Mercedes-esque, logo-less grille currently on the sedan. In his words, “Hyundai shouldn’t be ashamed to show its logo at the front. The Genesis is after-all a good car.”

Hyundai Genesis Estate rear

Should Hyundai create the Estate? Probably not, but it’s a good thought. First of all, the wagon isn’t going to appeal to the same buyers that the sedan attracts. The Estate would likely be a good value, but buyers probably wouldn’t stray from the proven luxury wagon-makers like Audi and Mercedes as easily as they will with a sedan or coupe; styles that have been popular in the States for so long. Also, Hyundai is taking a big risk releasing the Genesis line; the sedan and coupe are high-end cars; something Hyundai hasn’t been known for in the past. Let’s let those two models pull up Hyundai’s image a bit before they start releasing more styles and models; people need to know they can make a high quality car for an inexpensive price before they look into other styles not so popular in the States.

Renderings courtesy of Theophilus Chin

  1. Nice try guys, but why the Genesis? It's already an expensive item and turning it into a wagon would put it out of the reach of even more people.

    Case in point, the VW JEtta TDI sedan and The Jetta TDI 'Sportwagon'. The latter carries a few thousand dollar premium price, and has less features!

    A Huyndai wagon is still a great idea, but make it a Sonata

    Wagon, that I could afford.

  2. For what it is, the Genesis is very inexpensive, actually. It's a luxury sedan, and comes with lots of features starting at $32K. If they were to make a wagon, I would expect it to be the Genesis instead of the Sonata.

  3. Two things:

    (1) It's about time. Enthusiasts with kids will finally have options, as they do in Europe. In my opinion, the best-looking A4 has always been the S4 Avant, along with the RS6. The Genesis wagon is nice looking. VW TDIs may carry a premium, but, at least you have the torque needed to deal with that 67 cu. feet of space when loaded. Cheaper options will appear, and used models will trickle into the market. Consider: a $60K '06 S4 Avant with a killer Certified warranty and 30K miles can be had in the mid-twenties if you shop around.

    (2) What nobody seems to be paying attention to is that this has more to do with marketing than conservation. Our Outback XT hauls ass but gets crappy gas mileage, as do most Subarus compared with the competition — yet they SEEM more efficient than a Honda Pilot simply because they are cars. To carmakers, now that frugality and conservation are sexy in the U.S., it's going to be easier/more necessary to market wagons here now than it has been for 30 years. Psychologically, the country is looking to downsize. In reality, the CTS Estate is going to get comparable MPG to a Chevy Traverse or a new Caddy SRX.

  4. Bring the wagon back?

    It's a nice idea, but it depends on how you apply it. First off, like the article said, wagons aren't generally considered cool. Which is why you have to make the wagon super-cool to compensate, that is, it has to be cooler as a wagon than as a sedan. If you take a normal car and wagonize it, it's not going to draw in buyers, because it makes them look like a dweeb.

    Solution? Don't wagonize, instead create the wagon as a seperate vehicle. A great example would be the Dodge Magnum. It's a wagon, yeah, but with that big grille, pimp sled-low riding look, and shiny 22s it's a pretty fly ride. Too bad it's gone.

  5. I fell in love with the WRX wagons when I first rode in one back in 2001 after a week of riding around in MKII MR2's. The wagon was just as fun (well, almost) but 1000x more practical. I bought a WRX wagon a couple of years ago and put almost 20k miles a year on it, and on some longer trips I even slept in the back! The wagon style does seem to have a niche appeal to it, but I agree with the post that it's mostly about marketing.

  6. As someone that often times has to carry around a drum set or huge amounts of art supplies wagons have been something I've been looking at for my next car. It would be great to see wagons start moving up from the uncool area and get some slick styling.

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