Could Volkswagen be trying to make the station wagon cool again?
The company is debuting the ID. Space Vizzion concept at this year’s Los Angeles motor show. It’s a rather strange debut location for a station wagon as the US is virtually enemy territory for the body style, arguably even more so than Australia.
The ID. Space Vizzion is another vehicle based on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform. It previews a production model which will “come in different versions” and arrive in the North American, Chinese and European markets in 2021.
The ID. Space Vizzion is said to achieve an electric range of 590km under the more stringent WLTP measures. For comparison, the top-spec ID.3 with its 77kWh battery has 550km of range.
To enthusiasts, a station wagon is an utterly logical and often highly desirable body style. Nevertheless, they’ve waned in popularity in markets like Australia and the US.
In its press release, Volkswagen appears to appeal to SUV buyers, touting the ID. Space Vizzion as combining the “aerodynamic characteristics of a Gran Turismo with the spaciousness of an SUV”.
The last ID. Vizzion branded concept was a sedan which debuted at last year’s Geneva show. That Vizzion had a very, uhh, visionary interior, lacking a steering wheel and a conventional dashboard and was designed for Level 5 autonomous driving.
The ID. Space Vizzion isn’t quite so forward-thinking but its interior is still resolutely modern with a Tesla Model 3-style, landscape-oriented touchscreen. It also features AppleSkin trim, an artificial leather partially made of the residual matter from apple juice production.
Though Volkswagen hasn’t released dimensions of the ID. Space Vizzion yet, the ID. Vizzion was a big ‘un – measuring 5164mm long and 1948mm wide, it was bigger than a Tesla Model S and almost exactly the same size as the regular-length Audi A8.
As the ID. Space Vizzion is set to debut on 19 November, it may also be the unspecified, new ID. concept set to appear at the Petersen Automotive Museum the following day.
Once the family chariot of choice for US buyers, minivans left wagons in the weeds in the 1980s and SUVs drove the final nail into their coffin in the 1990s. The remaining station wagons on sale there, such as the Volvo V90, are largely niche, luxury-branded models that attract a select few of the monied elite.
Volkswagen offers one of the tiny handful of mainstream-branded wagons on sale there, the Golf SportWagen, but has recently announced it’d be discontinued. On the other end of the spectrum, they’re reintroducing the magnificent Audi RS6 Avant there. Perhaps Volkswagen sees an opportunity there for more upscale wagons, even as mainstream options continue to be whittled down.