Cross-country Trip

A lady who’s 5ft tall lady called the show asking for a recommendation for a car for a cross-country. $10,000 to spend on the car, travelling from Seattle to the Southwest, then to the Gulf coast, Key West and then the Eastern U.S.

She would occasionally sleep in the vehicle.

Ray’s recommendation was a pickup with a cap, which isn’t a bad recommendation. Can be a bit hard on gas though.

A hatchback with an attached tent might make more sense: for example a Napier dome tent for a Pontiac Vibe or Subaru Legacy. In a pinch you can fold down the rear seat and sleep, and when you’re parked your belongings can be out of sight under the cover behind the rear seat.


This post has been moved to the new Car Talk Discussion Area, by a Car Talk Lackey. The original poster is Rdeschene.

I like those Buicks, Grand Marquis, Crown Vic, Ford 500, minivan, Chevy Savana.

I am a mini-van lover. When we park in McAllen, once known as the car theft capitol of the world, I put on the Club™. My wife heckles me thinking no one will steal a mini-van. I tell her if people knew how comfortable they are, and still get 24 mpg, they would get stolen before the normal cars. I mean, how much cocaine can they sneak across the border in a Corolla?

She should be able to get a good mini-van for that $10,000. Have a mechanic check it out. I am a Toyota lover but if a person does not plan to drive them a long, long time, a Caravan will give good service, and in that price range. Lots of room for sleeping, even a single mattress will go back there.

I think that there was an optional camping tent available with the Pontiac Aztec that attached to the lift gate on the back. If the lady who wants to make the trip could find a good used Pontiac Aztec, this might fill the bill. These cars weren’t good sellers and are no longer in production. However, the mechanical parts probably interchange with other GM products, and I’m certain that the depreciation on an Aztec would put it in the price range

I did a cross-Canada trip in an 02 Hyundai Accent, and did sleep in the car occasionally. Yes, it was cramped, and full, but it got decent gas mileage, didn’t give me any trouble, actually managed to get over the Rockies, and got me home safely.

That said, I would say get a larger hatchback or wagon, they offer tons of space without the fuel penalty imposed by pickup trucks. I also think a mid- to full-size sedan would work well too, especially if the rear seats fold down. Also, a Crown Vic/Grand arquis would be a good choice, because it has oodles of space, and is very comfortable.