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Best car for road trips

I prefer a minivan or an SUV for road trips. We have a Toyota Sienna and a Toyota 4Runner that we use for trips and we don’t even have a road car any more. My first minivan was a 1990 Ford Aerostar. We later purchased a 1993 Oldsmobile 88. Although the Oldsmobile had power seats and all kinds of creature comforts, we found the Aerostar much more comfortable for long trips. Both my wife and I like sitting higher than you do in a car.

In a 1992 issue, Consumer Reports tested a new Oldsmobile 88, a Mercury Grand Marquis, a Buick Roadmaster and compared the cars with a 40 year old 1952 Buick Roadmaster. CR found the seats and the seating position and the seats in the 1952 Buick much better than the seats in the new cars they tested at the time. (That was about the only thing they liked better about the 1952 Buick).

On my last trip to a convention, I drove a Ford Escape Hybrid from my institution’s fleet. I’m 6’2" tall and an old geezer with long legs. I found the driving position in the Escape very comfortable. My research partner is 5’ 2" tall and very petite. She also found she could adjust the driver’s seat to a comfortable position. Her personal vehicle is a Honda Civic and has never driven anything but Hondas, but had good things to say about the comfort of the Escape.

There are some drawbacks with a motorhome I should mention. Here are some of them:

-Without a back-up camera or an extra set of eyes, backing up is dangerous.

-Many people think if you can drive a van, you can drive a class C motorhome. That isn’t true. Class C motorhomes are trucks, and should be treated as such. In my opinion, you should have to get a class B license to drive one. The turbulence caused by a passing truck can push your RV into a concrete barrier if there is no shoulder (like near Houston, TX), and so can storm drains if you hit them at the right angle (like on the bridges near Newark, NJ). Don’t let just anyone drive your motorhome. Class A motorhomes require a special license, and class C motorhomes really do require training and practice if you want to stay out of trouble.

-They require pretty much constant maintenance. For example, the TV antenna gears require lubrication twice a year. The roof needs to be sealed once a year, and in heavy rain, it still might leak. Then there’s generator maintenance, sun-worn plastic parts that break, and problems with the awning. Add to that all the maintenance and repairs of any large truck, and you better have either a lot of time, a lot of money, or both.

-Unless you live on a large piece of land, storing an RV isn’t easy. I used to rent a space at a storage facility until my RV was damaged there. Now I store it at my house, but I am lucky to have a spot where I can park it. I have seen people’s efforts to park their RVs out of the sun. Some have tall awnings to park under, and I have seen a couple large garages built specially for RV storage, but they are rare.

Owning an RV is really a lot of work, unless you have the money to pay someone else to take care of it. It is nice to have the convenience of home on the road, but it comes at a pretty big price.

Given that set of requirements I would think that any of the major family sedans or Crossovers on the market will be fine. Some of the family sedans are more hush (Camry), others are sportier (Accord, Mazda 6), others are elegant (Hyundai Sonata). I also like the new Ford Taurus and the Ford Fusion a lot.

The Venza is a fine automobile. It is essentially a Camry station wagon. You get a little more room and elegance but you pay a premium for it. The other Camry station wagon in disguise is the Toyota Highlander. It is more spacious than the Venza and may cost even less. But it is less elegant.

Hence the popularity of SUVs (4Runner in our cases). We like stretch out room and upright seating in 6 cyl. I get your point. I LEARNED TO DRIVE in a Chevy Biscayne

How much money you gots? I have five major critteria for a road trip ride: confort, comfort, comfort, comfort, and reliability.

The new Rolls Royce Drophead Coupe is nice…

That’s a little out of my budget. :slight_smile:
My budget: 25,000-30,000.
I am thinking about a Camry or maybe Volvo V50 awd. Anyone have something to say about the V50?

Instead of buying a Volvo, just find a Volvo mechanic, write him a check for $10,000, and buy a $20,000 Camry. :wink:

Seriously, every Volvo owner I know is on a first name basis with their Volvo mechanics.

Seriously, the best bet is to pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Preview at teh local bookstore, pick out those with high reliability retaings that look interesting to you, and take each on a good long test drive. Personally, I love my Scion tC for long road trips, of which I make many, but you might have a different preference.

Honda Accord EX-L and Hyundai Azera GLS are worth a test drive. With probably discounts, the Azera Limited will be less than $30,000.

For $30k you could get a Mazda 5 GT with navigation, rear DVD, Sirius radio, remote start, homelink auto dimming mirror, interior cargo cover(good for keeping prying eyes off your cargo), heated leather seats, HIDs, fog lights, rain sensing wipers, and bluetooth for your phone. And, it’s rated for 21/27 with auto trans. If you can drive stick, you could get a Sport trim with less fluff inside and have 22/28 mileage for around $20k

I’m a paralegal and have to travel a lot, and thus have to rent a lot of cars. Cars I didn’t like were the Dodge Station wagon - I forget the name, but it was just to darn big and not fun to handle in cities and tight parking lots. The same applies to any SUV. Sure, the Tahoe is roomy, but is too thirsty and too hard to get around in town. ('Course, I live in Germany. Only a fool would own a Tahoe in Europe.) I liked the VW GTI and the Dodge Caliber. Both allowed me to put the rear seats down and recline fully in the back for impromptu roadside naps. No matter the car, cruise control is a must, mostly because I’m habitually lead-footed and use cruise control to keep myself at the speed limit. Also, I’m of the firm opinion that it’s more fuel-economic. As you might expect, the Mercedes Benz C Class wagon is uber-nice but uber expensive. Personally, it had to many gizmos and gadgets for my taste. With increasing complexity comes increasing chance for malfunction. A buddy of mine has a Honda Element. If I had money to burn, it would be my road trip vehicle, partially because I’m a sucker for suicide doors. Another friend has a Land Rover Discovery that we took to Yellowstone. Up front was nice, but the back seats were a bit tight. Personally, I have a Subaru SVX that I bought specifically for road trips. Love it. Repairs are a bit pricey, $480 for a single ABS sensor that went kaput, but it rides great and is built for cruising. I would suggest perhaps a Legacy or an Impreza.

The number one priority for me, above all else, is the seats. I was very comfortable in the seat of my '83 VW GTI, a Recaro-style seat. I was extremely uncomfortable after one hour in a business associate’s Escalade, with a squishy seat that felt great for 10 minutes but was painful for hours 1-5 of our trip. And seats are extremely subjective, what you like others will not. Solution is an extended test drive before you buy.

Given those factors, I would suggest the VW GTI. Of all the cars I’ve ever rented, which amounts to dozens, perhaps over a hundred, it seems to best fit what you want. I would also suggest you take a look at the Dodge Caliber or perhaps the Honda Element, but that’s just me talking. I’m going to keep pitching any car with suicide doors.