How to Ensure You are Picking the Right Road Trip Car

For car enthusiasts, no other way of traveling matches a cross-country road trip with friends, family, or the better half. For this you need a reliable and comfortable road trip car, which is often nothing like your daily commuter. If you’re looking to replace your supermini with a thoroughbred tourer, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s see the top six considerations.

Good petrol mileage

view of car driving down a dusty road

Petrol prices can fluctuate daily and between states and cities. You need to make sure your car of choice gives you the best mileage possible. You need to consider both extra-urban and urban mileage, as you’re likely to shift between highways and congested start-stop traffic. As a comparison baseline, consider that an average vehicle squeezes about 11.5 litres per 100 km of mixed consumption.

Comfortable on long drives

Longer routes require keeping on the road for prolonged periods in order to reach the destination in good time. A good road trip car needs to have comfortable seats with fully adjustable features, including lumbar support. Big windows are important for enjoying the scenery and also for reducing anxiety and claustrophobia. Since you’re going to be spending much time on the road, the car needs a quality and easy-to-use entertainment system. This comes in especially handy during lengthy night drives when the driver’s concentration tends to slip.

Number of passengers

people in, on and next to a jeep parked by the ocean

A van that seats 12 passengers plus the driver would be on the top of the list for many road-trippers. Be realistic about the number of people you want to take, then consider how much luggage each passenger will bring.

A medium-sized family car might be great for a couple but lose road performance if a family travels together. Just because you can fit all the bags, it doesn’t mean you should compromise comfort and safety.

Size matters

Good mileage is always welcome when choosing a road trip car, but don’t automatically out rule full-size SUVs and vans. For many people, large vehicles have a lot of advantages that make up for the extra fuel cost. The elevated seating position of a SUV is a great asset, especially on long drives. Many find comfort knowing their Ford Everest will hold up in a crash against pretty much anything on the road.

Of course, the size of the vehicle also depends on whether you’re keeping your old car or not. If I were buying another road trip car, I’d first sell my car online at Carbiz. Then I’d look for a compact or mid-sized SUV that fits both the touring and commuting roles. 

Safety features and rating

You can’t envision everything that could go wrong on a road trip. But you can minimize the chance of breaking down on a busy street or being stranded in a sparsely populated area. National car assessment programs rate car safety using a five-star rating system; safety features rated include cruise control, air bags, backup cameras, lane departure warnings and automatic braking.

On the bright side, if you ever find yourself with your bonnet up in remote South Australia, look up. On a clear night, the sheer number of stars visible will take your breath away.

Extra conveniences

aerial shot of hairpin bend in road

While automakers like to showcase various amenities in their ads, most of us don’t get to appreciate these cleverly designed conveniences until we’re on a long road trip.

For example, Nissan claims that the refrigerated glove compartment of their Note-series will take 16 soda cans. Models like Chrysler Sebring feature cup holders that can either cool beverages or keep them warm.

You may not use your navigation system for your daily commute, but on a longer trip, it can be invaluable. It will give you information such as estimated time of arrival and upcoming restaurants and petrol stations. It can even help you navigate through a complex cloverleaf.

However much time you’re on the road, the right road trip car can upgrade your adventure to a whole new level. Choose the car according to your number of passengers, comfort and extra amenities. You also need to decide if you’re keeping your old one or not, as this will ultimately affect your choice.

About Diana Smith

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls and a passionate traveler. In her free time she enjoys exploring new exciting destinations with her family.

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