Last updated July 06, 2022
When planning a road trip, there are a lot of factors to consider. Which route will you take? What are the attractions along the way? What kind of food do you need to pack? But one of the most important decisions is what type of car to take.
No matter the route, the attractions, or the items you take, your car will be essential for getting you around.
The best road trip cars are those that can accommodate a variety of needs and transportation styles. They should be comfortable, safe, and able to navigate a multitude of different driving surfaces.
Some of the most popular road trip cars are SUVs, vans and sedans – each has its own unique benefits, so it’s important to work out which is the best option for your trip.
The BMW 2-Series 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 400-litre boot (which grows when the back seats are folded down).
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 serious performance. BMW’s optional Live Cockpit Pro feature gives you a fully digital dashboard with a second tablet-like digital screen to control car and infotainment functions
Prices start from £28,745 for Sport, £30,695 for M Sport, and £40,730 for M235i. Find out more about the BMW 228i Gran Coupe, here.
The Mini Countryman is a compact crossover SAV (sports activity vehicle) from Mini. Roadtrippers will want to opt for this PHEV, as it provides the option of a petrol engine alongside an electric battery. You can plug in and charge the Countryman and drive on electric power alone for about 17 miles, giving you the flexibility of a hybrid with the mileage and environmental benefits of an EV.
Inside, the Countryman is more spacious than you would think, with room for five adults and cargo 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 30mpg on the motorway, and in the Sport mode, it can be fun to drive on a winding country road.
Even the entry-level Cooper Classic comes with rear parking sensors and a 6.5” infotainment screen. Upgrade to the Exclusive for leather sports seats, cruise control and 18” alloys.
Prices start from £30,970 for the Cooper Classic, £31,645 for the S Classic, £32,370 for the Exclusive, and £33,660 for the Untamed Edition. Find out more about the Mini Countryman, here.
With seating for five, lots of cargo space, reliability, and 50+mpg, it’s hard to go wrong with a Prius. For long distance driving, the full suite of available in-car infotainment options makes 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 50mpg. The petrol powered, non-plug-in Prius L Eco is the best road trip Prius, getting you 58mpg on the motorway.
These compact cars are surprisingly roomy inside, easily seating five adults. The rear space is also big and can fit a lot of luggage. You could even camp in your Prius by putting down the rear seats and sleeping in the large cargo space.
Even the entry-level Active comes with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, keyless go and dual-zone climate control. Business Edition adds wireless phone charging, heated front seats and a head up display.
This car is no longer available new in the UK, meaning prices will vary dependent on the seller and the condition of the car – but deals are certainly available.
If you’re ready to go electric, the Audi e-tron delivers the size and space of an SUV with the modern silhouette of a four-door coupe. 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 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 entry-level Technik comes with 20” wheels, 3D sat-nav, heated electric leather seats and surround view cameras, which is all the equipment you’ll need for a great road trip.
Prices begin at £62,035 for the Technik, jumping to £64,735 for the Sport, £68,835 for the S Line, £88,435 for the S, and £94,935 for the Vorsprung. Find out more about the Audi e-tron, here.
The Lexus UX is a small, entry-level compact luxury crossover. The little UX hybrid gets the highest mileage of any non-EV 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 Standard model, you can get the F-Sport, with its performance trim and suspension or the Takumi. 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 reliability. The UX is nimble – it has a special suspension that gives it a super tight turning radius.
Prices start at £30,965 for the Standard, £35,700 for the F-Sport Design, £36,210 for the F-Sport, and £43,775 for the Takumi. Find out more about the Lexus UX, here.
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 is a luxury hybrid, providing that smooth ride at the fuel cost of only 44mpg. In fact, it’s considered by some as the most fuel-efficient luxury hybrid sedan you can buy without going full plug-in. The luxurious ride, inimitable 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 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 24-7, 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.
Prices start from £38,765 for the entry-level, £39,265 for Premium Edition, £40,930 for the F-Sport, and £52,315 for the range-topping Takumi. Find out more about the Lexus ES, here.