We’re coming to that point in summer when most of us have either made the big getaway-vacation plan or otherwise come to fear that it may be too late. Not so! The great North American landscape is full of potential for thrill-seekers, weekend warriors and of course, the most rugged outdoorsy type. The car you drive is just as important as the company you keep when it comes to the summer road trip. If you don’t already have a solid travel vehicle, you can always try your local car rental. They probably have just what you need. Below are five of our favorite road-trip-worthy vehicles for an old-fashioned American vacation, whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or an opportunity to make the world laugh, we have you covered. Note: we’ve made the exutive decision to remove the year from the make and model in many cases (no discriminating against old jalopies here).
Best in Comfort: Honda Odyssey
Some of you are going to have to choke this one down, we get it. But if you have kids, a dog(s) or just a ton of gear to stow, the Odyssey is a pretty sweet option. The infamous 15-cup holder extravaganza comes standard. Road trippers will enjoy the Touring Elite package that gets you so much by way of road trip glory: the 16.2″ screen that can play two videos at once (how far we’ll go to keep children quiet); fuel efficiency to get excited about; low insurance costs; built-in navigation system. Six-speed automatic transmission. The Odyssey is always on the forefront of family-friendly design. And even if you’re packing a smaller crew, your road trip couldn’t be any more comfortable.
Best in Style: Corvette Stingray
Okay, so we were originally going with a Bentley here but felt the title of this article would have to change to “The 5 Cars You Need to Take on a Road Trip… That Cost as much as a House.” Let’s face it, the Corvette Stingray design is one of the most, if not the most, recognizable American production lines ever assembled. The new redesign looks sweet (but the classic pre-1982 models are just as sweet), and with a 6.2-liter small block V8 engine and 455 horsepower, the starting price of 55K is… well, it’s a Corvette! So while you’re at it, be sure to get the Bose surround-sound audio package and your cross-country road trip for two will be the sexiest thing on the highway for hundreds of miles around. If you have an older model, be sure to get a good tune-up before you embark, but with a Corvette you’re bound to have an adventure you and your significant other will remember for the rest of your lives. Thanks, Chevy.
Best in Hilarity: Amphicar Model 770
Are you travelling a relatively short distance on a well-paved road? Can you get there safely? Can you get there in less than a couple hours? Can you find a lake or river where there aren’t really waves… or a tide… or an undertow? If you answered yes to any of the above, consider the Amphicar one of the most strangely exciting vehicles to vacation in. Roam the urban terrain and err… not-so-high seas… in a car! Come on, that’s a pretty hilarious road trip adventure. Imagine the look on people’s faces when you drive straight off the boat ramp into the water. The Amphicar didn’t last in production very long (because it didn’t work very well), but a small community of dedicated followers hold the faith that this little rough gem of the 1960s deserves its dues. So why not have a hilarious road trip and always recall “that time we went sailing in an Amphicar.”
Best in Speed: 2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4
Sorry, had to wipe a little drool off the keyboard. Or a lot. Speaking of cars that cost as much as a house, this speedster is road-trip-ridiculous in every way. Ready for it? 5.2 L V10 engagine, 602 HP, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, top speed of over 202 MPH and still somehow 21 MPG on the highway. Taller individuals will probably struggle with the smaller cabin size, and don’t really think about packing heavy. In fact, if you’re in for a solo trip or ride next to a non-fussy individual who’s just happy to be there, you can travel distance in relative comfort (with frequent stops, no doubt). Any way you cut it, this car sings. Just check it out:
Best Overall: Mazda Miata Mx-5
Surprised? Let’s take everything into account that matters in a car or a road trip, even factors that weren’t explicitly mentioned in our above categories: affordability, style, comfort, fuel efficiency, fun… the MX-5 is a fun, accessible road trip vehicle to the average driver. Its base model costs about 24K new and gets 36 MPG highway, which is pretty darn impressive for a non-hybrid convertible. Obviously not a “family car,” the MX-5 seats two and has enough trunk space for light packers. Sporty, elegant and fun, it’s a great car for those who don’t want to spend twice its asking price on a new Corvette. Car and Driver even ranks the MX-5 among the 10 best cars of 2016. There isn’t much not to love here, unless you were just born a hater.