With summertime upon us, the great American tradition of taking a road trip is also imminent for many. Road trips take many forms, from a couple’s outing over a weekend to week-long Griswold-style adventures to infamous destinations. Sometimes we want the top down, sometimes we want to haul a lot of gear or even a trailer. Whatever you need it for, here are our top choices in five road trip categories for your next adventure.
#1 – The Top-Down, Couple’s Good Time Machine: Chevrolet Corvette or Mazda Miata
This category is for the quick trip made for two. The goal is as much about the drive as it is arriving and having a good time before coming back home. With great weather and the possibility of getting your tan before you arrive in time for dinner and cocktails, the topless vacation is in.
Our choice is a tie between the affordable 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata and the more quintessential 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The Miata will get you there in stylish, lower-cost fun while the Corvette offers a rumbling good times and a more exciting arrival time. Both cars will make you take the side roads and byways for more adventure along the way.
#2 – The Well-rounded Family ‘Get There’ Machine: Subaru Outback
If your goal is to get the family there, bring their stuff, and get to the location, whether there is a well-established road or not, the 2015 Subaru Outback is your best bet. It’s roomy, comfortable, has plenty of cargo options inside and out of the car, and with that legendary Subaru all-wheel drive system and over seven inches of ground clearance, it’ll make it happen.
For the 2015 model year, the Outback is all new and it really shines. The back seat is now habitable by full-sized adults with knee and headroom to spare and the interior accoutrement is top shelf in quality. Definitely not your mom’s knockabout Outback from the day and comfortable for the long haul.
#3 – The Comfort for the Long Haul and Look Good Once You Show Up Ride: Nissan Murano
Finally, we come to the best category of all. The one where you get to ride in comfort and class and show up looking like a million bucks. All without spending anywhere near what the vehicle’s looks warrant. This is a singular category where many top-shelf vehicles might be comfortable. Our choice is the 2015 Nissan Murano, which is all-new for this year and is now the best crossover you can get for the money.
The 2015 Murano is eye-catchingly stylish, beautifully made, extremely comfortable to drive or ride in, and has more than enough versatility to make the road trip easy. Once you arrive, onlookers will assume you are way classier than you probably are. The downside to that is that the valet will expect fat tips. Don’t let him down, he’s got student loans to pay.
#4 – The Haul Your Toys Go-getter: Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
If your goal is not so much the road trip itself as it is the arrival and the toys you brought with you, then the 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the “get ‘er done” vehicle of choice. With plenty of towing capacity, great fuel economy, and available soft-ride air suspension to augment the already legendary coil spring-loaded rear axle for highway comfort, the Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel engine option is an easy list topper.
The interior of the Ram 1500 with its Crew Cab configuration comfortably seats four full-grown adults and can carry as many as six if some are up to date on their Atkins regimen. The V6 turbodiesel engine makes pulling a boat or camper trailer a no-brainer and fuel economy stays high, even under load. This makes the 2015 1500 EcoDiesel a great option for toy hauling.
#5 – The Haul the Whole Fam-damily and Their Toys Mega-machine: Ford Expedition
There are a handful of choices in the gargantuan SUV category still available on the market, even in today’s fuel-conscious soccer mom world. The 2015 Ford Expedition has a new V6 EcoBoost engine providing more power and higher fuel economy than ever before. So all is not lost for the Whole Foods crowd who still want to haul a platoon of people and pull a boat at the same time. The really good news is that the Expedition doesn’t drive like the tank it might be compared to and looks a lot better than anything Abrams ever designed.
The Expedition has seating for up to eight with an adult-usable third row and plenty of space and cargo room besides. A roof rack is available for even more stuff toting and, depending on configuration, the 2015 Expedition can tow up to 9,200 pounds when properly equipped. How’s that for “do everything at once” capability?