A station wagon in American, Australia and New Zealand is an automobile with a body style similar to a sedan but with an extended rear cargo area. Most station wagons are modified sedan-type car bodies, having the main interior area extended to the near-vertical rear window over what would otherwise be the enclosed area of the sedan version.
The ‘sportwagon’ name has been popularized again in recent years by some manufacturers. A station wagon or sportwagon is distinguished from a minivan or sport utility vehicle by still being a car, sharing its forward bodywork with other cars in a manufacturer's range.
The popularity of the minivan in the 1980s and early 1990s is credited with the decline of the traditional station wagon. Since then, smaller wagons (such as the Subaru Outback) have enjoyed an increase in popularity in the U.S., as safer, sportier and (in most cases) much less expensive alternatives to SUVs and minivans.