10 best cars for road trips
Holidays involving a road trip are a personal
favourite. It isn’t just about the destination but experiencing the journey. It
is about the scenery and places along the way, settling into the rhythm of the
road and the transient relationships with people you meet en route. And with
your car, you can pack a few creature comforts to take along and there is
usually room to bring home the odd memento too.
But what would the ideal road trip car be? Much
depends on where you are going, how many people you are taking and the amount
of luggage. So let’s look at a few of our capable favourites.
More than any other type of car, the classic is
an instant opener for conversations along the way. The chances of a breakdown are
perhaps higher but properly maintained - and with a good roadside recovery
contract - the charisma and gentler pace make it ideal for a potter between
towns or meander along coastlines. We’re spoiled for choice but picking
something able to eat the miles, and with its quirky design, we love the Volvo
Whether it’s the Cairngorms or the Alps, it’s
about all-wheel-drive so if you are planning a winter trip, the Mercedes-Benz
E400d 4MATIC All-Terrain Estate combines effortless long-distance cruising with
sufficient capability for when the going gets tough. Add some winter tyres and
snow socks or chains in case the weather turns.
Whether you need to pull a boat, caravan or
horse trailer there aren’t many vehicles more capable than the Land Rover
Discovery. The 240PS 2.0-litre diesel balances impressive performance with
economy and still allows you to pull up to three and a half tonnes.
The road trip is about the drive, so time spent
at filling stations isn’t a value-add activity. For its all-round practicality
and frugal diesel, the Audi A6 Avant 40 TDI promises a around 700 miles miles
on each tank along with comfort, luxury and refinement. The Avant also has a
healthy 565 litres of boot space.
The romantic getaway
The two-seater, open-topped sports car is still
the icon for carefree holidays (by which we mean without children!). So with
its wonderful poise and engaging performance, the Porsche 718 Boxter is just
the car for the romantic escape with a loved one.
Okay, you need more than two seats and loads of
room for clobber. Luckily, there’s no need to compromise: clean Scandinavian
style, meticulously designed interior and stacks of safety equipment are all
found in Volvo’s mid-sized SUV, the XC60. The XC60 hits the sweet spot in terms
of size so it isn’t too cumbersome on country lanes yet has ample room for
On a budget
When it comes down to it, there isn’t much you
can’t do in a regular hatchback. For driver engagement, more than adequate
performance and supple ride, we’d plump for Suzuki’s Swift Sport. It leans more
toward warm rather than hot hatch but it balances everything so well, we’d
happily spend many hours behind its wheel.
You want to have your independence but aren’t
keen on tents? This is where the camper comes in. Our pick is the Volkswagen
California, the brand being synonymous with free spirits and cool surfers. And
the latest California is an extremely civilised and refined way to take your
home with you.
If it is refinement you seek, look no further
than the Bentley Continental GT. GT stands for Grand Tour and this is what the
Continental excels at, gobbling up the motorway miles in a bubble of opulence
and calm. The V8 is almost a match to the W12 engine in terms of performance
but for the dash to Monte Carlo, it will mean fewer stops for fuel.
You want an SUV with all-wheel-drive, seven
seats, decent towing ability, high levels of refinement and respectable
economy? It just so happens the Škoda Kodiaq ticks all these boxes. We like its
clean-cut styling, good perceived build quality, driver engagement and…well, in
fact everything about it.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter