Author: Steve Allen |
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Want to know which wagons are made mostly from American parts? Here is our rating of the most American wagons for 2015.

A station wagon, also called an estate car, or simply wagon, is an automotive body-style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door (the liftgate or tailgate), instead of a trunk lid. The body style transforms a standard three-box design into a two-box design — to include an A, B, and C-pillar, as well as a D-pillar. Station wagons can flexibly reconfigure their interior volume via fold-down rear seats to prioritize either passenger or cargo volume.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a station wagon as “an automobile with one or more rows of folding or removable seats behind the driver and no luggage compartment but an area behind the seats into which suitcases, parcels, etc., can be loaded through a tailgate.

Station wagons have evolved from their early use as specialized vehicles to carry people and luggage to and from a train station, and have been marketed worldwide.

5. Ford C-Max Hybrid

2016 Ford C-MAX Energi © Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.

2016 Ford C-MAX Energi © Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.

  • Percent U.S./Canadian Content —  40
  • Final Assembly Country —  U.S.
  • Engine Source —  U.S.
  • Transmission Source — U.S.
  • 2015 Kogod Made in America Auto Index Score — 70

Ford’s C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid line continues to excite for 2016. Both C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi feature Ford’s acclaimed next-generation power-split technology that enables operation in electric mode at higher speeds than any other hybrid.

Two new colors are offered for 2016 – Shadow Black and Kona Blue. With 20 years of Ford research behind the development of these hybrids, the C-MAX line offers impressive handling performance. C-MAX hybrids were Ford’s first dedicated hybrid vehicles for North America.

“With C-MAX, you get road-holding capability, sportiness and performance, in addition to great versatility, great features and great technology in a package designed to exceed customer expectations,” said John Davis, C-MAX chief nameplate engineer.

C-MAX hybrids are built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.

4. Subaru Outback

2015 Subaru Outback © Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.

2015 Subaru Outback © Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd.

  • Percent U.S./Canadian Content — 50
  • Final Assembly Country — U.S.
  • Engine Source — Japan
  • Transmission Source — Japan
  • 2015 Kogod Made in America Auto Index Score — 45

The combination of Subaru’s acclaimed Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and standard Active Torque Vectoring gives Outback confident grip in all weather conditions. Standard X-Mode, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist augment Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive to assist the driver in navigating rough roads, slippery surfaces or steep inclines.

In addition to the new STARLINK Safety & Security features, the Outback receives several other refinements for 2016. On all models, a new auto on/off mode operates the windshield wipers with the headlights. Subaru retuned the electric power-assist steering for all Legacy and Outback models to provide an even more linear and natural feel. In the 2015 redesign, the Outback Limited trims gained exclusive Stablex suspension dampers, and these have been further refined to reduce vibration over rough roads, especially those with washboard-texture concrete surfaces.

The Outback 2.5i is powered by a 175-horsepower double overhead camshafts (DOHC) 2.5-liter Boxer engine that produces 174 lb-ft. peak torque. It’s paired with a standard Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission) with manual mode and paddle shifters. The combination achieves 25 MPG city/33 MPG highway EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings, among the highest for midsize crossovers with all-wheel drive. The CVT features with manual mode and paddle shifters. The Active Grille Shutter system helps to improve fuel economy by reducing wind resistance.

The DOHC 3.6-liter BOXER 6-cylinder engine in the Outback 3.6R Limited produces 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of peak torque. Notably, the 3.6R sustains at least 225 lb-ft of torque from 2,000-6,000 rpm, making the Outback 3.6R Limited feel exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday driving. The 3.6R is fitted with a high-torque Lineartronic® CVT with manual mode and paddle shifters. The Subaru BOXER engines, renowned for their outstanding balance, are placed lower in the chassis than a conventional upright engine. This low center of gravity contributes to the car’s handling agility.

3. Lincoln MKT

2015 Lincoln MKT © Ford Motor Company

2015 Lincoln MKT © Ford Motor Company

  • Percent U.S./Canadian Content — 55
  • Final Assembly Country — Canada
  • Engine Source — Germany, U.S.
  • Transmission Source — U.S.
  • 2015 Kogod Made in America Auto Index Score — N/A

The 2015 Lincoln MKT full-size premium seven-passenger crossover offers available Lincoln Drive Control and an available EcoBoost® V6 engine. The Lincoln MKT also offers available inflatable second-row outboard safety belts. Rich color schemes complement the premium materials. The exterior color palette adds Luxe Metallic, Bronze Fire Metallic Tinted Clearcoat and Guard Metallic for the 2015 model year.

Highlights:

  • Available Lincoln Drive Control is an intelligent system that delivers a refined ride and engaging driving experience. Always on, Lincoln Drive Control orchestrates the performance of the CCD adjustable suspension, electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and AdvanceTrac® with RSC™ (Roll Stability Control®)
  • Available EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers an excellent combination of power and fuel efficiency with 365 horsepower and EPA-estimated fuel economy of 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway
  • Continuously controlled damping (CCD) – included with the 365-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine – continuously monitors and adjusts suspension for even better ride and handling
  • Available inflatable second-row outboard seat belts spread impact forces across more than five times the area of conventional seat belts, reducing pressure on the chest while helping to control head and neck motion
  • Available THX II® Certified 5.1 audio system delivers cinema-quality sound through 14 speakers, including a subwoofer, and produces 700 watts of power
  • SYNC® with MyLincoln Touch™ system includes standard Operator Assist and local Wi-Fi® hotspot capabilities for laptops and tablets
  • Available Navigation System features integrated SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Travel Link® include a six-year prepaid subscription in the 48 contiguous states (service not available in Alaska and Hawaii)
  • New exterior colors: Allure Blue Metallic and Black Velvet

2. Toyota Venza

2015 Toyota Venza © Toyota Motor Corporation

2015 Toyota Venza © Toyota Motor Corporation

  • Percent U.S./Canadian Content — 60
  • Final Assembly Country — U.S.
  • Engine Source — U.S.
  • Transmission Source — Japan
  • 2015 Kogod Made in America Auto Index Score — 71

Done right, practicality can make a design statement. Submitted as evidence: the Toyota Venza, a sophisticated crossover that blends sport sedan and SUV attributes in a distinctive style that’s neither sedan nor SUV. With the Venza, Toyota designers achieved midsize exterior packaging while providing cavernous interior room.

Toyota made refinements inside and beneath the Venza for 2015. Upgraded Entune® audio systems provide more features and convenience, and all models now have a standard backup camera. Power choices continue with a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine with 181 hp and a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, though the model line has been streamlined. The Venza LE is now exclusively available with a 4-cylinder engine, still with the choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). The XLE grade offers a four-cylinder or V6 with FWD or AWD, and the Limited is now available only with the V6 and AWD.

Also new for 2015, the Towing Prep Package is standard for models with the V6 engine. The package equips Venza with an engine oil cooler, larger radiator fan and heavy-duty alternator and allows a 3,500-lb. towing capacity. That’s easily enough to pull a trailer carrying recreational watercraft, for example.

The Venza seats five in uncompromised comfort. With 39.1 inches of rear seat legroom, this unique vehicle rivals full-size sedans for passenger comfort. Venza customers benefit from a raised driving position, higher sightlines and ground clearance (8.1 inches) of an SUV. Venza’s comfortable 15.3-inch step-in height makes getting in and out easy. Toyota designers concealed a surprising70.2 cu. ft. of cargo space (with rear fold-flat seats lowered) in such a sleek design.

Driving performance and ride comfort skew to the sport sedan side of the spectrum, thanks to a refined four-wheel independent suspension and quiet ride. The Venza gets its powerful stance not only from the bold body design, but also the standard 19-inch alloy wheels on four-cylinder models and 20-inch wheels with the V6 versions.

Developed specifically for the North American market, the Venza was designed at Toyota’s Calty Design studios in Newport Beach, Calif. and Ann Arbor, Mich. The Venza is assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK), in Georgetown, Ky., and more than 70 percent of Venza’s components come from North American suppliers.

1. Ford Flex

2016 Ford Flex © Ford Motor Company

2016 Ford Flex © Ford Motor Company

  • Percent U.S./Canadian Content — 65
  • Final Assembly Country — Canada
  • Engine Source — U.S.
  • Transmission Source — U.S.
  • 2015 Kogod Made in America Auto Index Score — 68

Ford Flex is a seven-passenger utility that offers new power, efficiency, technology and driver-assist features in a one-of-a-kind vehicle. For 2016, Ford offers the first-ever Flex Appearance Package with black door handles, window sills, roof, liftgate appliqué and grille, along with standard 20-inch rims to provide a signature look to this three-row people and cargo hauler.

Standard for Flex SEL and Limited editions, SYNC® 3 – Ford’s new communications and entertainment system – features faster performance, conversational voice recognition, intuitive smartphone-like touch screen and easier-to-understand graphical interface.

Other Ford Flex highlights:

  • New colors for 2016 include Shadow Black, Too Good to Be Blue and Kona Blue
  • Rearview camera standard on all trim levels
  • Adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake support, and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert are available to help drivers avoid potential accidents; technologies use radar to detect the relative position of other vehicles, and warn the driver with a combination of visual and audio alerts
  • Intelligent all-wheel drive continuously monitors vehicle and driver input, predicts traction, and automatically delivers the precise amount of engine torque needed to all four wheels – even before slippage occurs. All-wheel drive is available with the 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine and is standard on the optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost®
  • Available active park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to locate a parallel parking space; once a spot is identified, the system steers Flex into place with the driver controlling gearshift, gas and brake pedals