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Best car for really, really long drives...

Hi --
<br/> So, in the summer of 2011, my and a buddy are going to do a mad drive around the continental U.S. We've got a long list of destinations -- cameras at the ready! We'll probably add 20, 30, 40 thousand miles to whatever car we drive. No biggie... we don't mind if we recoup nothing from the cost of the car - although, the more the better, obviously. Together, we don't mind putting out, maybe, 8,000 grand total. Give or take a few grand.
<br/> So, with really, really long drives, comfort is a big issue, reliability, mileage, and the ease and cost of maintenance and repairs. What's the best car?
<br/> Thanks!
<br/> Theo Warner


  • edited September 2009
    You can get some ideas on expected reliablity by picking up a Consomer Reports Car Buyers' Guide at teh local bookstore.

    Comfort is entirely, totally, 100% subjective. I can drive all day in my Scion tC, but a close friend of mine cannot even ride in it. You need to take long test drives. Nobody can tell you what the most comfortable car is for you. You'll need to find that one out all by yourself.
  • edited September 2009
    If you don't mind people thinking you're a police officer, a Crown Victoria or Grand Marquis should be something to keep in mind. Smooth ride, bench seats should make for real comfortable driving, reliable, and should have no trouble finding parts for if something goes wrong.
    Police and taxi services use these vehicles almost religiously, so you'll spit and hit about 20 people who can work on your car, as opposed to something like Volkswagen or Audi.
  • edited September 2009
    "...comfort is a big issue, reliability, mileage, and the ease and cost of maintenance and repairs. What's the best car?" You have too many competing variables here to give a definitive answer. One goes up, the other goes down. What's best for me may not be best for you. Will you be sticking to paved roads or off-roading up logging trails?

    One criteria missing from your list is "safe". If you will be driving 20k - 40k miles that's what most Americans do in five years. You will be in five years worth of people not paying attention, drunk, text messaging, looking at their nav screens, screwing with their ipods, etc. Get a car with ABS, traction control and as many air bags as possible.

    For $8k, I'd look for a 1997 - 1999 Mercedes Benz S500 or BMW 5 Series safe, comfortable and reliable.

    No matter what you drive, putting 20,000 to 40,000 miles in one summer is a hell of a lot of driving. Do you plan on sleeping or eating?


    PS: Spend a few extra bucks and get the Escort 8500 X50 radar/laser detector and ZR4 laser shifter before you hit the road.
  • edited September 2009
    A Lexus ES300/ES330/ES350 would give great comfort, reliability, and about 28 mpgs. Hard to beat.
  • edited September 2009
    For $8,000,000 you can have anything (8,000 grand is 8-million bucks). But you really meant $8000. Hey, I couldn't resist! Anyway, do you guys plan on camping or sleeping in the car? I doubt you can afford hotels - that's almost as much as the car. If you camp, almost anything will do. Maybe a nice 2001/2002 Miata. If you sleep in the car, I suggest a van. Seats that fold into beds would be nice. Maybe a small truck camper. You could find the camper and pickup truck separately, or maybe together.
  • edited September 2009
    I'm going to differ from the other posts and recommend a full size pick-up truck with a cover over the bed. The truck is easily serviced or repaired, the highway mileage isn't too bad and I find the seating position in a pick-up much more comfortable on a long drive than a car.
  • edited September 2009
    Do either of you have a car now? That would be worth looking at?
  • edited September 2009
    I thot he meant $8,000 grand-total
  • edited September 2009
    I think the best car for this adventure would be a motorcycle. I would look for a 1999-2000 Honda Goldwing. In terms of comfort, it is like a couch on wheels. You will have to pack light, especially if you want to camp out, but all you really need is two sets of clothes each with a spare pair of shorts, an extra t-shirt, and a pair of flip flops for each of you to wear when you do laundry every few days. Try to find one with luggage racks on top of the trunk and on top of the saddle bags so you can strap bags on top of them.

    If you have never ridden a motorcycle before, I suggest you both start by enrolling in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider's Course and take it together. By the time the course is over, you will know if motorcycling is for you.
  • edited September 2009
    The most comfortable car for long distance driving is the car with the best seats, and that means Volvo. However on the reliablity and cost of repairs Volvo goes to the worst of class. Toyota Camry and Honda Accord seats are pretty bad for long distances, but they are best in class for reliablility.

    Something in the middle would be a used BMW. Good seats, pretty reliable, and some fun factor is nice to help make all those miles more enjoyable. If Beemer's are out of range of your budget, take a look for some Saabs. Very comfortable seats, good fun factor, and perhaps reliable.
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