Car Summer

How To Choose Between a Station Wagon and SUV This Summer

As you approach the Christmas holidays, you might be presented with the ultimate car question…. how are you going to fit all that gear in? There’s nothing more Kiwi than loading the family wagon with everything but the kitchen sink and heading to our favourite beach, lake or peaceful holiday spot.

So what’s the best fit for your needs? Station wagon or SUV?

When making the choice for your family, it’s best to weigh up what you intend to use it for, what you love to do, and how the two bodies match up when it comes to rubber on the road.


Kiwis are the kings and queens of summer hobbies and we don’t like leaving the city without our toys. Kayaks, boogie boards, fishing rods, sports gear of all shapes and sizes, BBQs, furniture……the list is endless and finding room for them can be a nightmare. Many station wagons and sedans on the market have fantastic room in their boots and in some cases superior space to their SUV counterparts. Where the SUV triumphs is in the cartage of human cargo with the spaciously raised rooflines and long bodies leaving the family feeling less like sardines. And, if they’re not already fixed, roof racks can be fitted to almost all medium to large sized vehicles and you’ll find the amenity value is comparable across the models.


Mum, dad, the kids, nana and grandad, the family dog… might need to shift the whole family around to squeeze them in this summer. Especially on those longer road trips, a comfortable ride can be the difference between passengers singing on the way or asking how long to go. If you’re a big crew, a station wagon might not suffice with five seats and sedan-sized leg room. Many of the SUV offerings cater for the larger family and models like the Toyota Landcruiser Prado has eight spacious seats, which are also movable for ease of access for those in the back row. Seats in the back can also be individually folded down to fit more gear in.


Gone are the days of the cumbersome ‘Remuera Tractor’ but some can still find SUVs chunky on the road when travelling long distance. This is where the station wagon wins out especially with the all-wheel drive Subaru Legacy, which holds the road like a dream and has the extra pep when safely passing a train of campervans. Where you’re heading for the holidays and over what terrain will also have a bearing on your vehicle decision. Whether you leave the tarmac or not, the 4wd options in the SUV range will welcome a tiki tour over paddocks, gravel or sand and yes, you will get back. The high ride height compared to the more aero-dynamic sleekness of a station wagon is designed for this versatility.

Sadly, holidays don’t last forever so it’s important to think about how much will it cost to drive the team around the city once you’re back to reality. While not on par with a Suzuki Swift for fuel economy, the modern SUV doesn’t have to be a gas guzzler and there’s versatility from the cheap to run Mitsubishi Outlanders and Honda CR-Vs to the thirstier Land Rover Discovery or Mitsubishi Pajero. All our vehicles have their fuel economy ratings on display and if you’re unsure, feel free to ask one of our reps. Many of the station wagons have comparable fuel efficiency of your average sedan and small urban cars and around the city, it’s are easier to park in the tight spots. Towing a boat or hope to be? The extra torque in an SUV will make pulling your watercraft around the countryside that much safer and easier and here’s a tip – load the boat up with the supplies to save room in the car.


Tossing up between a touring station wagon and the comforts of an SUV is all about your lifestyle and passenger requirements and can take a little bit of research. That’s where we can help.

Give us a call to discuss your needs or come in for a test drive and let us help you find the perfect vehicle for you and your family. And remember - when the kids have finished testing out the seats, they can amuse themselves in our play area.