Summer is upon us and for some that means it's time to hit the open road with friends and family. Road trips can be fun, and for some even liberating. Aside from beef jerky, one of the most important parts of a road trip is the vehicle you take. This decision can end up dictating whether the journey ends up being an epic nightmare or a memory you'll cherish.
This week we chose some of the best road trip vehicles we could think of. While you may think for a second that a Lamborghini would be an awesome road trip vehicle, you'd be wrong. Things we considered were fuel economy, speed, comfort, technology, and above all else, not being stranded on the side of the road.
2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel
The 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel is an easy choice for a road trip. It's large, comfortable, fast, and rather fuel efficient for what it is with an EPA rating of 29 mpg on the highway. It can also tow, and if things get really bad, you could fold down the rear seats and sleep in the back end in a pinch. It also handles well, so if you find some fun roads you''ll be able to put a nice grin on your face. And even though it's a Porsche, it only costs about $56,000.
2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Another great road trip vehicle choice is the refreshed 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The base powertrain is a four-cylinder turbo diesel and a more powerful six-cylinder turbo diesel is available. It's large, comfy, and also fuel efficient for what it is. If you want to take things a step further Winnebago will convert a Sprinter van into a luxury liner. New technology in the Sprinter such as Lane Keeping Assist, Highbeam Assist, Blind Spot Assist, and Collision Prevention Assist will make the journey even safer.
2003 Audi S8
If you don't have the budget for a newer vehicle for your road trip, then a nicely sorted 2003 Audi S8 might be up your alley. These luxury sedans have fallen in price to an affordable level with a nice example costing around $10,000. With over 350 horsepower and Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, you'll be able to tackle whatever weather you might encounter. The leather Recaro seats up front will keep you very comfortable, and the all-aluminum body of the S8 will keep you safe if the unthinkable happens. At about 23 mpg on the highway it's also rather fuel efficient for its size.
2013 Porsche 911 Carerra 4S
If you want speed, fuel economy, and a sports car for your road trip, then the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S is the ticket. It has all-wheel drive which will help if you run into a snow storm. The seven-speed manual transmission is just cool, and it helps with fuel efficiency while cruising on the highway. If you opt for the PDK dual-clutch transmission the EPA says you'll average 28 mpg on the highway. It has a trunk up front that could hold a week's worth of luggage, and that's before you start loading the rear seats with any gear you might need.
2013 Ram 1500
If you plan on making a road trip you just never know what you might end up picking up along the way, and for that reason alone we suggest a Ram 1500. Now fuel efficiency is also a key factor while taking a road trip so a diesel engine is preferred, and the Ram 1500 is the only light-duty truck to both offer a diesel engine in the past, and offer one in the near future. A new 3.0-liter turbo diesel V-6 engine will be available later this year in the Ram 1500, but a Cummins turbo diesel inline six was available in the Ram 1500 back in the early and late 90s. The cab of one of these trucks has more than enough room for you and a friend, and the long wheelbase makes for a comfortable ride on the highway.
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is the first electric car with nearly 300 miles of range. It seats five (seven if you opt for the available rear jump seat) comfortably, and it has plenty of room for luggage. The best part of course is no fuel cost if you use Tesla's Supercharging stations. Tesla just announced it's expanding its Supercharger network rapidly over the next six months with expansion to continue through 2015. By the end of 2013 Tesla says you'll be able to drive your Model S from New York to Los Angeles using Supercharging stations along the way for free, as the Supercharger network is included in the cost of the Model S. It's fast, it's comfortable, it's good looking, and did we mention free fuel?