Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Best Cars for a Summer Road Trip

Everyone dreams about one day setting off into wilderness in a sleek and shiny sports car, with the roof rolled back and nothing but the open road ahead of them. The allure of a cross-country summer road trip need not be just a fantasy however; all it takes is a little organisation, a map, good company and away you go.

Perhaps you want to country hop, or just explore your own country in more detail. Either way, with the help of a satnav or an old school A-Z, a road trip promises to be an unforgettable summer experience, whether you take to the road alone or gather a group of friends for the backseats.

The most important thing to think about before you set off is your choice of car. For the more money-struck, it might not be a case of choice so much as a scrabble for the cheapest piece of metal on the market, but it still helps to consider your options. Are you going to be driving along gritty, country roads, or do you need something that’s going to zip you down those winding mountain lanes in style? Or perhaps you’re thinking about the environment and want the most atmosphere-friendly ride on the road.

Here’s a little peak at which cars are the most suitable for your trip category by category:

Great for long distances

Volvo S40 1.9D S

For those planning seriously long journeys, it’s important to check if your car is capable of covering the miles. The Volvo S40 1.9D S has been voted one of the best long distance and commuter cars by owners. With air con, leather seats and built in CD player, you definitely won’t be in for an uncomfortable ride. And at less than £2000 for a second hand model, this car shouldn’t break the bank.

The most economic

Peugeot 308 1.6 HDi 

With all eyes on the environment, especially with this summer’s heatwave well underway, it’s crucial to think about which car is going to be the kindest on the fuel gage. Make sure you don’t have to face the additional stress of hunting down petrol stations every couple of miles by taking a look at more fuel (and wallet) friendly vehicles. The Peugeot 308 1.6 HDi has consistently been voted one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road, sipping lightly at the tank and emitting just 120kg of CO2 per km. As an added bonus, it has a huge boot and under floor storage bins for those needing extra space.  

Ideal for the budget conscious

Volvo 740

Great for cash-strapped students or those on a budget. It’s never going to win the car catwalk, but the Volvo 740 is certainly one of the most reputed cars in terms of reliability, and price. You can pick up a pre-owned version for under £1000, and with enough space for a small family or group of four, if times get really tough it can also double-up as temporary accommodation. No matter what mileage is listed on the clock, it’s not going to break down half way down the road.

Comfiest ride

Land Rover Range Rover

A little more on the pricy side, if you’ve got money to spare this car certainly comes up trumps in terms of comfort. Which? users rated this car at 98.6% for satisfaction, making it one of the most highly praised cars on the block. It may not be the most practical urban vehicle, but if you’re hitting the country hills, or plan to enter snowier climates, this car won’t disappoint. And the best bit? It’s got gadgets galore, with 11 speakers, a 7-inch touch screen TV, parking sensors, and rear view cameras.

Best for off and on road

Land Rover Discovery

Depending on where you plan on heading, you might need a car which can tackle the dirt lanes without signs of discomfort and displeasure. The 7-seater Land Rover Discovery is not only the best on and off road car, but it’s also perfect for big families or those who like a little extra wiggle room. The car comes with a top sound system, intuitive satnav, four wheel drive and even the option of a 360 degree camera operation system to navigate you through those extra tight spots.

Doing it in style

Ferrari California

Winner of the style awards, the Ferrari California is one of those racy, red rides that most people can only dream of. Enjoy the envious stares from onlookers as you glide luxuriously through the streets in this flash sports car. Brand new, this will set you back £120,000, or around the £80,000 - £90,000 mark for one that’s been pre-loved.

Reliable old banger or glamourous, celebrity-style motor – which one are you going to choose for your summer road trip? Whichever vehicle makes the cut, don’t forget to get your shades on, wind the windows down and enjoy life on the road. Oh, and stock up on oil, a spare tyre and water.

Hollie Mantle is a blogger writing in association with car dealership JT Hughes.

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