The US does not much care for station wagons. I'm sure this doesn't come as a surprise to you. On the other hand, crossover sales are increasing at an incredible rate. For example, in July, 16 of the 20 most popular utility vehicles in America posted year over year improvements in sales.
So how do you sell a station wagon in a market that wants crossovers? Well, Infiniti seems to think it has found the magic bullet -- call your station wagon a crossover, raise the ride height a few inches, and put it on a longer wheelbase. These are really the only significant things that are separating the QX50 from what the average person would call a station wagon. Take a look.
What is a station wagon other than a hatchback with a longer rear end?
Just look at that side profile. Wagon-like isn't it? OK, maybe it's more of a wagon with a coupe roof.
I think that ultimately the classification was not chosen because of the characteristics of the car; it was chosen as part of a marketing exercise. Focus groups said that the QX50 crossover was better than the QX50 wagon.
Looking into the death of the station wagon I found this little analysis of history interesting:
The QX50 follows that tradition perfectly. It is most definitely a station wagon with SUV features, and that is the very definition of a crossover.“We could see the sales explode in SUVs and nobody else really produced a car-based SUV,” Michael McHale, director of corporate communications at Subaru of America told me. “They were truck-based—heavy and slow and lumbering.” So Subaru decided to bridge that gap. This was the first crossover vehicle: a station wagon with SUV features. The Outback would offer car-like handling with truck-like durability.