From an adventurer’s point of view, every vehicle is the best vehicle for going on a road trip. As long as your vehicle is roadworthy, you mapped out your journey, and you packed everything you need, you do not need to buy a new vehicle to trek across the country.
However, if this is your first time going on a long-haul trip, or you are interested in making it a lifestyle, there are some vehicles that could make your trip both safe and enjoyable.
Our Top Five Road Trip Car Picks
According to U.S. News & World Report, here are some of our road trip favorites:
The Honda Odyssey
Not only is Honda one of the most reliable, cost-effective brands out there, but in regard to long-term travel, the Honda Odyssey offers:
- 19 to 28 miles to the gallon
- Spacious cargo volume
- The ability to slide the seats forward or backward
- 280 horsepower
You can land one of the newest models today for about $31,000. Hondas are known for having long shelf lives, though. You could buy an older model for a fraction of the price.
The Kia Telluride
This car is more than just big; it also offers a state-of-the-art “infotainment system.” Instead of mindlessly scrolling through podcasts, you can:
- Use a speaker to relay amplified messages to the backseat
- The ability to control each of the car’s internal speakers
- Pair your smartphone
- Avoid future break-downs
The touchscreen console is 8 inches. For a few thousand dollars extra, you can upgrade to a 10.25-inch screen. The latest models of these cars cost the same as the Honda Odyssey, which is about $31,000.
The Subaru Outback
This car has been on the market for quite some time, but its newest model offers newer-before-seen features. Not only can you drive it off paved roads, but its cargo area is one of the biggest in its SUV class.
This car also comes with:
- A 7-inch touchscreen
- Bluetooth capabilities
- All-wheel drive
This bad boy also comes with cruise control. If you want to give yourself a little break from driving, you can set the car to a certain speed and focus on your steering. The 2021 model will run you about $26,000. Considering that it gets nearly 30 miles to the gallon, you could save hundreds on gas.
Ford’s Mustang Convertible
It can be hard to feel like you’re on the open road when you’re boxed in. While a Mustang Convertible may not be the first thing that comes to mind hewn planning your trip, consider the following:
- It gets more space than any drop-top in its class, meaning that you do not need to sacrifice cargo space for comfort.
- You can get up to 32 miles a gallon while driving on the highway.
- Mustang gets a reliability score of 8.8 out of 10, per U.S. News & World Report.
- It comes with four seats.
Like the vehicles mentioned above, it also comes with a touchscreen console and infotainment system.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Not only is the RAV4 Hybrid one of the most eco-friendly cars on today’s market, but it also has a reputation for getting the most bang for your buck.
- 38 miles per gallon
- Roomy cargo space
- A Wi-Fi hotspot
- Smartphone connectivity
- Smart drive assist
A new Toyota RAV4 could cost you $28,000.
Your Ideal Road Trip Car Will Depend on Your Circumstances
When you set out on the open road, are you planning on stopping every couple hundred miles to stay at a hotel? Are you planning on sleeping alongside truckers at rest stops? The answer to this question will determine what type of car suits your needs.
While shopping for your ideal road trip car, you should also consider:
How Long Your Trip Will Be
Although driving a truck or SUV might appeal to you, keep in mind that these cars do not always get the best mile to the gallon. If you’re looking for a car that doesn’t have you constantly stopping at gas stations, you should consider a hybrid or electric car.
Here are some models that are famous for getting great mileage:
- The Toyota Prius. These cars get about 58 miles per gallon in the city and 53 miles per gallon on the highway.
- The Tesla Model 3. This car is fully electric and does not rely on gas. On a single charge, you could get 400 miles.
- The Mitsubishi Mirage. This is currently the second-cheapest car on the market and gets 39 miles a gallon.
- The Hyundai Elantra. One of the most reliable car brands, this model gets 37 miles per gallon. If you opt for the hybrid model, you could get 56 miles per gallon.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend on Repairs?
Every car comes with something called a “lifetime cost.” This generally refers to how much you will spend on repairs throughout the course of your car’s lifetime. For example, the Dodge Dart got a bad rap for needing constant repairs, costing hundreds (even thousands) of dollars on repairs once it hit 25,000 miles.
Unfortunately, your road trip will inevitably come to an end, meaning that the car that accompanied you to the Grand Canyon will be the same vehicle that takes you to work. Here are some cars with low lifetime costs, according to Kelley Blue Book:
- The Hyundai Venue
- The Subaru Forester
- The Jeep Wrangler
- The Lexus RX
- The Hyundai Santa Fe
Toyota Corolla also has a reputation for having low lifetime costs.
Are You Ready for the RV Life?
You might be disappointed that we did not discuss RVs and AirStreams on this page. However, if you would like more information about these vehicles, we recommend checking out this article from Business Insider. Here, you can learn about how much an RV costs, the differences between the three classes of RVs, and what goes into shopping for your home away from home.
Your perfect road trip car will depend on your personal preferences. Many of the brands we listed above not only have recent resale values but provide optimal road tripping experiences.