Top 10 Road Trip Vehicles
Whether you're trekking up north to catch a Van Halen reunion concert or getting roped into another two weeks at Grandma's house in Orlando, you're gonna need a serious vehicle to get you there in comfort and style. But in this case, style comes in a distant second to comfort — more than four or five hours on the road can be brutal if you choose the wrong car. Minivans are the obvious choice for a family road trip, but we've tried to offer some variety here — frankly, a list of minivans would be kinda boring. Big and small, vans and cars; here's a list of 10 vehicles we'd love to take on a road trip.
- Toyota Sienna: OK, so minivans are not the most thrilling vehicles in the world, but, man, is this one plush. The XLE Limited is especially nice. With such available features as side sunshades, DVD entertainment, navigation system, adaptive cruise control, rear side windows that go down, household-style electrical outlets plus dual power side doors and a power rear liftgate, the Sienna is the perfect road trip companion.
- Honda Element: A super-spacious rear seat, durable interior and backseats that fold flat into a bed make the Element a great car for "roughing it" in style. It's also available with all-wheel drive to handle the occasional summer downpour. Add the smooth ride, quiet engine, sub-$20,000 price and an EPA fuel economy rating as high as 26 mpg and the Element has the value end of things covered as well.
- Mazda 6 Wagon: Love the 6's good looks and crisp handling but need a little more space for that trip to the big city? The wagon version of the Mazda 6 has you covered. You'll get more cargo capacity than both the 6 sedan and five-door, plus the 6 wagon comes standard with a 3.0-liter V6 and a five-speed manual transmission. A stylish wagon that handles like a BMW for a fraction of the cost makes your stint behind the wheel more a reward than a punishment.
- Maybach 62: With features like a beverage cooler, video monitors, 600-watt Bose stereo and its own stemware (held in place by magnetic "cupholders"), the Maybach is in a class of its own. Four-zone climate control and power privacy curtains help keep you cool. Finally, the 543-hp twin-turbo V8 will have your driver thanking you when the passing lane opens up.
- Dodge Magnum: The Magnum may be a big station wagon but it's a vehicle one of our editors called "an extremely attractive car." Its low-slung stance and beefy tires make the Magnum look like it can gobble up hours of blacktop without flinching. The 340-hp V8-powered RT would be our choice and thankfully that big engine won't put you into single-digit fuel economy with Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System. With its long wheelbase and comfortable seating for five, the Magnum's wagon configuration still allows room for luggage. A Boston Acoustics sound system should help pass the time as you watch endless amber waves of grain.
- Volkswagen Touareg: A great-looking SUV that offers plenty of interior space and comfortable seating. Despite the VW logos on the exterior, the interior is just plain luxurious. The V6 version will offer some savings at the gas pump but still feels smooth and provides adequate passing power. The Touareg also offers something many others in its class can't — excellent off-road ability. With comfort on- and off-road, the Touareg and its deluxe accommodations make it an SUV you want to spend time with.
- Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer: After a redesign in 2002, the Explorer is, once again, a stellar SUV. The driving dynamics are nearly sedanlike and the Mountaineer offers a comfortable interior with a little extra luxury. Should you decide you need to tow something on your road trip, these Ford/Mercury twins have a 7,000-pound capacity that should cover most motorists' needs. The independent rear suspension makes for a spacious cargo area as well as an optional third-row seat.
- Mercedes-Benz CL-Class: Maybe you don't need a huge SUV or van for your road trips. The kids are in college, and the distractions are few — sounds like the perfect opportunity to take that trip to the coast you've been planning for the past 15 years. And since you prefer to explore five-star resorts rather than campsites, hiking trails or even airport terminals, you can put the CL Coupe's elegance to work for you. Should you need a little more thrust, opt for the CL55 and its nearly 500 horsepower of supercharged fun. Now you can arrive at your destination relaxed and knowing full well that your car is the best-looking coupe parked in front of the valet stand.
- Acura TSX: Well, we can't all afford a Mercedes-Benz but many of us would sure like to enjoy the quality and comfort of such a car. And what better way to enjoy the open road without breaking the bank than in an awesome but affordable sport sedan. A beautiful interior and incredible handling make the TSX an excellent companion on a long journey and its frugal four-cylinder power plant will save you time and money at the pump.
- Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: Surprised? We were. The new Malibu is much better than its rental car predecessor and the stretched Maxx version is a decent car as well. The Maxx offers added features that make it very road trip-friendly. The Maxx's longer wheelbase and sliding rear seats offer plenty of room in back to stretch out and the optional DVD player is a terrific bonus on a car this size. The rear-seat passengers won't miss out on any of the mountainous or cityscape scenery with the standard glass roof panels. Add the very travel-friendly options of XM radio and OnStar and the Malibu Maxx is a great road trip companion — all at a relative bargain price of about $25,000.
Copyright Edmunds.com, Inc. All rights reserved. First published on www.edmunds.com and excerpted with permission.