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Did SUVs kill off the humble estate car?

Wagons -- estate cars -- used to dominate the world's roads. But in recent years, SUVs and crossovers have indeed taken over. We explore why this shift happened, and ask, was it for the better?

There was a time when wagons dominated the family landscape. Folks who needed room for kids, dogs and plenty of luggage looked to wagons, or estate cars, to get them where they needed to be.

Now, however, the humble wagon is seen less and less on our roads, replaced by vast swaths of SUVs in all manner of shapes and sizes. Their ride heights may be taller, and shapes a bit boxier, but their utility isn't too different from the shapely estates they replace.

Now playing: Watch this: Why did SUVs take over from estates?

Why did this happen? Was it as simple as a change in driving styles? Did the needs of modern families become vastly different?

The Carfection team fancied finding out, and took one example of each car out for a drive to discuss the benefits, in an attempt to get to the bottom of why folks prefer the boxier sport utes.

Representing estate cars, we have the fabulous Volvo V90 Cross Country -- a perfect example of what a wagon can be these days. Spacious, stylish and super safe, and with all-wheel drive to boot, it waves the flag for what longroofs can bring to the table.

In the SUV corner, we have the Land Rover Discovery Sport, a typical example of the type of car families have been buying in droves. Comfortable and nicely equipped, this Discovery Sport is actually Carfection's long-term test vehicle.

Come with us on a pleasant drive down country roads to learn why SUVs seem to be king of the parking lot these days, and why we think that might not necessarily be a great thing.