At a recent Enzari meet one of our readers turned up with his new Stelvio, very impressive it was too, he had picked the right exterior colour – Red of course – and the interior was as good as the outside. It was well laid out inside, plenty of room, comfortable, it really is a lovely car, ahem sorry SUV.
In light of the Stelvio, Alfa Romeo took the bold decision to axe it’s plans to launch a Giulia estate, or Station Wagon as they prefer to call it. In a market where rivals from BMW and Mercedes still make them, it is a pretty big step by the Italian car maker to say ‘No, anybody wanting a car that practical will find our Stelvio ticks all the boxes’, of course part of the reason is also to channel the funds into other new models, and not have the SUV compete against an in-house Estate. This all makes sense, strange for the Italians to do that in such a direct way.
This decision seem’s to be paying off, to date the Stelvio is enjoying good sales, picking up several accolades worldwide for SUV of the year and so on. But will other car makers follow this path, is the humble estate on it’s way out? I’m going to say yes, you see, already the hatchback is under threat from Junior SUV’s, with drivers seeming to prefer the height and sense of security an SUV gives over a more conventional car.
Of course it will be a shame in a way, Alfa Romeo’s last station wagon, the 159 was a really good looking car, and of course hats off to Volvo who shook the racing world all those years ago with the 850R in the BTCC., But yes I would say the estate is reaching the end of it’s life, cars are changing not only in the technology which moves them but also from what the majority of buying people want from their everyday family wagon….