Like many of you, I’ll embark on a road trip this summer. My plans will take me from the plains of Eastern Washington down to Bend, Oregon, then on to Tahoe City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and back up north to Washington with passes through Arizona, Utah, and Idaho.
It’ll be my wife and me for most of the trip, and we’ll have some children on various legs, so we’ll take the SUV and sacrifice gas mileage for much-needed storage space. As much as I’d love to have a vehicle that delivers comfort and 30+ miles per gallon on the highway, it won’t happen on this trip.
Instead I’ll dream of my ideal car for road tripping while remaining thankful for the vehicle I do have. It sure would be nice to have one of these, though.
People go on road trips for many different reasons, in many different scenarios. Sometimes it’s just a couple enjoying a break from real life, sometimes it’s a large family embarking on the trip of a lifetime to a theme park, and sometimes it’s just one person out seeing the country and finding new experiences.
There’s not one type of car that fits all those needs, so I’ll try to include some that would appeal to everyone. One consistent requirement: They all have to have an impressive range from a single tank of fuel.
Porsche Cayenne Diesel
This one’s on my personal wish list. It’s the whole package: luxury, comfort, performance, fuel economy, and range. With 29 mpg on the highway and a range of 607 miles, there’s little reason to stop when behind the wheel of this brute.
I have an aversion to road trips with kids in sedans. I guess I blame my parents for that, but for those who don’t mind, or for groups of two, the Passat diesel offers 44 mpg on the highway and a stellar 648-mile range.
Toyota Avalon Hybrid
If you’re of a certain age, the Avalon is the perfect road-trip car. And by “of a certain age” I mean any age at all, because who wouldn’t enjoy a mighty 680 miles on the highway and a fill-up that costs somewhere around 40 bucks at current gas prices? You may eat all of your meals at the Golden Corral, but at least you’ll arrive in posh comfort with money to burn.
I tend to avoid the obvious choices in lists like this, but sometimes a car is so darn good I can’t ignore it, despite my greatest efforts. The Accord Hybrid is the king of the open road because of its range of about 743 miles. That would get me from my home in Washington to Salt Lake City on a single tank of fuel and cost about 40 bucks.
Apparently I’ve made some poor decisions in life, because I can’t currently do that. Then again I don’t particularly enjoy Salt Lake City, so I guess I’m not out too much.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
Getting back to SUVs that would fit my personal needs, I’d like to mention the Grand Cherokee Diesel. These tend to get very expensive very quickly, but for those with the means, it’s hard to argue with a stout diesel engine that returns 30 miles per gallon and 615 miles of open-road driving.
Honorable mention goes to my workhorse 2008 Audi Q7. It gets 20 miles per gallon on the highway, tops, and delivers a range of somewhere south of 450 miles.
That won’t even get me to Utah.
What’s your dream car for taking on a road trip?