Late-Model Wagon Comparison: Separated At Birth?

The other day I went to the library during lunch hour. Parked right behind my wagon I found another wagon, a late-model Jetta. I enjoy comparing and contrasting cars parked together (I posted a similar Accord/Crown Vic piece a couple of months ago), so naturally I was interested enough to shoot a few pics of my car and its neighbor. Since station wagons are a dying breed here in the States, I thought it would be interesting to compare two of the last ones available in the U.S. market. You might have noticed my wagon in the background of many of my posts, but I think this is its actual CC debut.

It struck me how much the current Jetta resembles the V50, which debuted in Europe in 2004 and in the States the following model year. (The P2-chassis S40 sedan had debuted a bit earlier, as a “2004.5” model.) Where the Volvo has a speedboat-like prow (shared with its C30, S40 and C70 sibs), the Vee Dub presents a happier visage–it looks like it’s actually smiling. In keeping with its Swedish maker’s heritage, my wagon’s nose is a bit more conservative. The Volvo does have a more wagon-like rear end, with a properly rectangular quarter window. In comparison, the Jetta has a slightly shorter rear deck and less glass area; in fact, its rear quarter window is even smaller than the rear door glass, as you can see in the side shot at the top.

Sadly, the V50 was absent from Volvo’s U.S. lineup after 2011, although it remains available in Europe. But for those of you who want a bit of space and can’t see themselves in an SUV or CUV, the Jetta is available, in both gas- and diesel-engine flavors, for those willing to brave the sometimes less-than- congenial VW dealership experience. Hail the modern station wagon–at least, as still exists on our shores. I and many others mourn the loss of wagons, but the fact is that we are a minority, judging from all the tippy-toed CUV’s sharing our roads. Time marches on…