14 Best Cars for Road Trips
When it's time to set out on that road trip, driving the right car (or SUV) can make all the difference in the world. A good road trip car needs to be sporty and fun to drive, yet also offer good fuel economy. It needs to be roomy and filled with convenience, safety, and infotainment features as well. Many current cars and SUVs offer road-trip-friendly features like in-car Wi-Fi, multiple charging ports, and even 110-volt power outlets. For entertainment, you can get rear screens, and most cars now include app-based infotainment, so you can stream content.
Roadtrippers with families may want a big SUV like the Chevy Suburban, or something more compact like the Lexus UX crossover. Those looking for something sporty may want to go with a sports sedan like the BMW 228i Gran Coupe or with the very fast Lamborghini Urus SUV.
Fuel economy is a big part of choosing the best road trip vehicle, and hybrids like the Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h, or even the Range Rover P400e HSE provide luxury, performance, and hybrid fuel economy. New EVs like the Polestar 2 or the Audi e-tron Sportback mean you can skip the gas station entirely and drive hundreds of miles on a single electric charge.
Discover the top vehicles for your next long-distance adventure with our list of the best cars for road trips.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. Audi e-tron Sportback
If you're ready to go electric, Audi's e-tron Sportback delivers the size and space of an SUV, with the modern silhouette of a four-door coupe. As with Audi's other e-tron EV models, you get the proven safety technology and driving excitement of an Audi, with an all-electric drivetrain.
Like other Audi models, you get the stability of quattro all-wheel-drive along with an air suspension that adjusts to your driving style and to the road conditions. This capable vehicle can even take you off road, with the Audi drive select system automatically controlling the drivetrain, steering, and suspension feel. With a full charge, you will have a range of about 218 miles. The e-tron charges to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes on a Level 2 public charger.
2. MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV
The MINI Countryman is the compact crossover SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) from MINI, which is owned by BMW. Roadtrippers will want to get the Countryman PHEV (Partial Hybrid Electric Vehicle), which means this MINI has both a gasoline engine and an electric motor and battery system.
You can plug in and charge the Countryman PHEV (charging time is under three hours) and drive on electric power alone for about 17 miles, or use both power sources to get 73 MPGe and a range of about 300 miles. It gives you the flexibility of a hybrid with the mileage and environmental benefits of an EV (Electric Vehicle).
Inside, the Countryman is more spacious than you would think, with room for five adults and a cargo area behind the rear seats. Everything is practical and configurable, with the ability to move each of the seats individually. The rear seats also slide back and forth laterally, giving you more rear seat legroom or more cargo area.
Under the hood is a BMW-built engine, which offers a range of driving experiences depending on the settings you select. In the Eco mode, you can see up to 30 mpg on the highway, and in the Sport mode, it can be a lot of fun to drive on a curvy road.
3. Chevrolet Suburban
Chevy's big SUV offers the total road trip package: room for up to eight of your friends, their gear, and all kinds of cool amenities like multiple power outlets, an onboard 4G Wi-Fi hot spot, and even (optional) HD rear entertainment screens and a Blu-Ray / DVD player.
A key draw for the Suburban is that second-row passengers don't have to move for the third-row passengers to access their seats or exit the vehicle. Only the big GM SUVs (Suburban, GMC Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade) offer this level of passenger convenience.
And even though it has a seating capacity for up to nine adults, this big SUV isn't as thirsty for fuel as you might think. Advanced fuel management and cylinder deactivation means the Suburban only uses four of its eight cylinders when all that power isn't needed (like when cruising down the freeway). For 2022, that means up to 27 mpg on the highway. The Suburban also gives you an 8,300 pound towing capacity, enough to haul many campers, toy trailers, or boats.
4. Lexus UX 250h
First introduced for the 2019 model year, the Lexus UX is their small, entry level compact luxury crossover. The little UX 250h hybrid gets the highest mileage of any non-EV (electric vehicle) SUV on the market with a combined MPG of 39. The hatchback design and small cargo area in the back make it practical, and that gas mileage makes it great for long distance driving. Aside from the base model, you can get the 250h F SPORT, with its performance trim and suspension or the appropriately named 250h LUXURY edition.
It doesn't feel compact inside, and you get the wonderful array of Lexus' safety and driver aid technology. You also get the automaker's legendary build quality and reputation for bulletproof reliability. The UX is nimble–it has a special suspension that gives it a super tight turning radius of 17.1 feet, that's shorter than the length of a Suburban.
5. Hyundai Palisade
The Palisade is the first three-row SUV offering from Hyundai. Its surprisingly luxurious interior and shift-by-wire transmission makes it probably the most comfortable, non-luxury brand SUV for long road trips. The Palisade is packed with available options and technology, giving you Lexus-like features and amenities at Hyundai prices.
Perfect for family adventures, the Palisade has some really cool features to help the driver manage their passengers. Driver Talk broadcasts the sound of the driver's voice through the sound system to all three rows of seats. Another helpful feature, unique to the Palisade, is a display with tiny individual warning lights on the dashboard for each seat. One glance instantly tells who is buckled up and who isn't.
6. Lamborghini Urus
The Lamborghini Urus is the ultimate road trip SUV. It truly has the heart and soul of a Lamborghini sports car, except it comes with four doors, comfortable seating for up to five adults, and a huge cargo space. The Urus is powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine, which makes it very fast but also gives it a 7,000-pound towing capacity.
Although it's fast and flashy, this is an extremely capable SUV and is ready to take you anywhere your road trip adventures lead to. The Urus has full-time all-wheel-drive with Active Torque Vectoring. To make off-roading easy, the Urus has multiple off-road modes specific to different terrains. You can select snow, sand, or dirt mode, of course represented by the Italian word for each: Terra, Neve, or Sabbia. When you're back on the pavement, you have Strada mode for regular driving; Sport mode for a more thrilling experience; or the most extreme, Corsa, or track mode.
7. Toyota Prius L Eco
With seating for five, lots of cargo space, bulletproof reliability, and 50-plus mpg, it's hard to go wrong with a Prius. For long distance driving, the full suite of available in-car infotainment options make it a fun place to spend time, whether you're a driver or a passenger.
The Prius has multiple models, including full, plug-in EV options, but even the standard hybrid Prius will easily get you north of 50 mpg. The gasoline-powered, non-plug-in Prius L Eco is the best road trip Prius, getting you 58 mpg on the highway with a base price under $25K.
These compact cars are surprisingly roomy inside, easily seating five adults. The rear space is also big and can fit a lot of luggage. Many people even camp in their Prius by putting down the rear seats and sleeping in the large cargo space.
8. BMW 228i Gran Coupe
The BMW 228i Gran Coupe is a compact sedan with all the cool BMW driving dynamics and technology in a small package. This great road trip car will seat five adults and can hold a decent amount of luggage in its trunk.
Power comes from a TwinPower Turbo 2.0L engine, and when it's put into Sport mode, it can be a lot of fun. Upgrade to the optional M Sport package with Dynamic Handling to get a serious little performance sedan.
BMW's optional Live Cockpit Pro feature gives you a full digital dashboard with a second tablet-like digital screen to control car and infotainment functions.
9. Lexus ES 300h
The midsize Lexus ES has the mass to give you a serious luxury car ride and driving experience, making it great for long road trips. It will comfortably seat five adults and has a large trunk for all their stuff. The ES 300h is a luxury hybrid, providing that smooth ride at the fuel cost of only 44 mpg. In fact, it's considered the most fuel-efficient luxury hybrid sedan you can buy, without going full plug-in. The luxurious ride, the bulletproof Lexus build quality, and the high fuel economy numbers make it great for long distance driving.
For those who seek some performance with their fuel economy, Lexus now offers the ES 300h F SPORT, with a performance-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling. For road trips, the optional Lexus Enform technology can be the perfect co-pilot. With the push of a button, you can be connected to a live person 24 hours a day who can assist with directions, fuel, local information, and other helpful things. They can even enter destinations remotely into your navigation system for hands-free guidance as you drive.
10. INFINITI QX60
INFINITI's three-row mid-size crossover SUV, completely redesigned for 2022, offers a seriously luxurious cabin just packed with all the latest driver aid and infotainment technology. The QX60 will transport you and up to six of your friends to any road-trip destination in comfort. And unlike many three-row SUVs, the QX60's third row can fit adults comfortably, not just children.
Power comes from an ultra-smooth 295 hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine with a new-for-2022 9-speed automatic transmission. That technically advanced engine gets you up to 27 mpg on the freeway, an impressive figure for a luxurious three-row SUV. That comfort and fuel economy makes the QX60 one of the best SUVs for long road trips.
11. Nissan Frontier
Sometimes, good road trips require a lot of gear, and you need a whole lot of cargo space to carry it all. Don't think of the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Extended Bed as a pickup truck, think of it as a great SUV with a full-size truck bed in back.
The long version of Nissan's smaller pickup truck comes with a big back seat area, four doors, and a bed a little longer than six feet. All that bed space makes the Frontier a great vehicle for getaways, especially ones involving a lot of outdoor activities. The truck bed space can become a real bed if you get the optional Bed Tent, which is a full tent that mounts over the bed for camping.
Go for the Value Truck trim package, which gets you road trip necessities like a spray-on bedliner and a channel system in the bed with movable tie-down cleats. You can even order an optional Family Travel Clean Up kit with a range of products (plus gloves, brushes, and sponges) to handle any spills or interior accidents.
For off-road road trips, the Frontier Pro-4X model comes trail-ready with skid plates, all-terrain tires, off-road shocks, off-road gauges, and an electronic locking rear differential.
12. Range Rover P400e HSE
Range Rovers have always been great road trip SUVs, with luxurious interiors and world-class off-road performance. Yes, you can cruise down the freeway in comfort and style, but you can also climb mountains and traverse snow, mud, or sand with ease.
Range Rover offers the P400e HSE, a plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) version of its luxurious and seriously capable full-size SUV. A PHEV has both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. Depending on the settings and condition, you can use both or one or the other. If you're going on short road trips or errands, you can even drive on electric power alone for almost 20 miles.
For longer trips, the electric motor boosts the gasoline engine for more power and better fuel economy. The hybrid technology comes with all the off-road capability you expect from a Range Rover. There's automatic terrain sensing, hill descent control, and it will wade through up to 36 inches of water.
13. Polestar 2
A new entry into the world of BEVs (battery electric vehicles), the Polestar 2 comes from Polestar, a car company based in Sweden and owned by Volvo and the Chinese company that owns Volvo.
With a range of 265 miles on a full charge, you can drive a good distance before charging up. Inside, there's a large tablet display for all your controls, which is great for looking at your huge road trip map. That map can be pinched and dragged, and everything is based on Android Auto for easy integration with your phone and home.
Polestar is also promoting an "ethics meets innovation" thinking, with an all-vegan interior that can be complemented with optional reconstructed (recycled) wood trim. The cars also use 35 percent less plastic than a similar vehicle.
The Polestar 2 is available in either single or dual-motor configurations. Go with the dual-motor set-up for all-wheel-drive stability. Polestar vehicles are available in physical dealerships, but you can also configure and pay for the car online and have it delivered right to your driveway.
14. Dodge Challenger SXT
This big, retro coupe from Dodge gives you a very smooth ride with a lot of room for passengers and luggage. Whether you're traveling alone, as a pair, or with four friends, the Dodge Challenger is a very cool road-trip car.
The SXT is the base-level Challenger, with a wonderfully smooth V6 engine. Yes, you can get the Challenger with all kinds of crazy, high-horsepower engines, including the mind-blowing SRT Super Stock version (with 807 hp) but the SXT's 303 hp 3.6L Pentastar V6 is just the right size for the car.
The Challenger SXT is also comparatively inexpensive (under $30K), and it gets excellent gas mileage, with up to 30 mpg on the highway. If you plan to drive in wet or snowy weather, the Challenger SXT is one of the few muscle cars available with optional AWD.
More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com
Best Road Trips in America: Wondering where to go on your next road trip? If your sites are set on California, Oregon, or Washington, have a read through our list of the Best West Coast Road Trips. Explore the coast, giant forest, mountains, and more with our suggestions. On the other side of the country you can also find great adventures. See our guide to the Best Coast Road Trips for ideas.