Getaway Vehicles: The Best Cars for Summer Road Trips

When summer arrives, you will start to scrutinize your car or SUV for its road-trip capabilities. Vehicles that lack cargo space or have a rough feel on the highway usually get left in the garage. The same goes for models that guzzle gas or feel cramped when the weather gets hot. Summer is too short to deal with these disadvantages.

True getaway vehicles handle the challenges of a summer getaway from all sides. They allow you to pack camping equipment, surfboards, and whatever else you need to enjoy the weather. Meanwhile, they don’t force you to stop at the gas station every few miles so you can pump more money into the tank.

With some help from the folks at car-buying site Vroom, we’ve compiled a list of vehicles that handle these challenges and more. Here are seven cars that make the perfect getaway vehicles this summer.

1. Subaru Outback

View of Subaru Outback on the beach at sunrise

2017 Subaru Outback | Subaru

Four-wheel drive comes in handy for summer adventures, and it comes standard in every Subaru. The folks at Vroom endorse Outback for its impressive ground clearance (8.7 inches) and optional trailer hitch, both of which you’ll love for road trips. In addition, we’ll point out Outback’s solid fuel economy (32 mpg for the four-cylinder), interior space, and safety profile for the price ($25,645). Of course, the standard roof rails mean this car is made specifically for surfboards and other gear you want to take with you.

2. Chrysler Pacifica

Profile view of gray Chrysler Pacifica with back door open

2017 Chrysler Pacifica | Fiat Chrysler

Road-tripping in a minivan gives your family a more comfortable option compared to SUVs, and Chrysler Pacifica offers a quality interior to go with the space. While you drive, your kids can focus on the UConnect Theater with dual touchscreens and Blu-ray player. Fuel economy is among the best in the class here (22 mpg), and you’ll like the option of fold down seats for more cargo space. For the most efficient big car out there, choose the hybrid model offering an impressive 84 mpg.

3. Toyota Prius Prime

Prius Prime, Malibu

2017 Toyota Prius Prime | Eric Schaal/The Cheat Sheet

The Toyota Prius line starts at 52 mpg and works its way up from there, making it the ultimate car for a road trip that’s light on gas. At the top of line is Prius Prime, which tops the U.S. market among family sedans with 133 mpg in electric mode (54 mpg in hybrid mode). We verified Prime’s extraordinary economy with a 101 mpg average over 500 miles in spring 2017, and this car goes way beyond that in road trip bona fides. Its hatchback utility, fold-down back seats, and excellent tech features keep you traveling the right way.

4. Dodge Challenger

2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

2017 Dodge Challenger R/T with Scat Pack| Dodge

You will find thrills on the open road in any American muscle car. But which one has interior space and room in the trunk to make it work for 500 miles? Dodge Challenger wins the prize here. Its 16.2 cubic feet of trunk space and 94 cubic feet of passenger space smash the capacities of Mustang and Camaro, and you can thank the Chrysler 300 platform for that.  Meanwhile, you never give away any power in a base or V8 Challenger, so you can get your kicks on the road as well.

5. Volvo XC90

Fron three quarter view of white Volvo XC90 outside a garage

2017 Volvo XC90 | Volvo

If you want to road-trip in a more luxurious SUV, we recommend the Volvo XC90. Interior finish is exceptional here for a car starting at $45,750. Tech (head-up display, Spotify app) and safety (Top Safety Pick+) are also top-notch in XC90, which averages 24 mpg in the four-cylinder models. Consumers who have the cash and prize economy can opt for the T8 plug-in hybrid model that offers 400 horsepower and peaks at 54 mpg in electric mode.

6. Tesla Model S

Road view of Tesla Model S P100D at sunset

Tesla Model S P100D | Tesla

Once upon a time, people would laugh at the idea of road-tripping in an electric car. These days, the industry-leading Tesla Model S 100D offers 335 miles on a full charge and the ability to Supercharge at 5,600 locations. That type of plug gets you 170 miles in a half-hour, giving you the range to roam at will on summer days. More importantly, the comfort and driving experience of Tesla’s best car make traveling long distances a pleasure. Add the rear-facing seats behind the second row for kids who want a better view.

7. Toyota RAV4 hybrid

Overhead shot of Toyota RAV4 Hybrid on sunny day in the country

2017 Toyota RAV4 hybrid | Toyota

You’ve seen the dramatic markups for hybrids and plug-in vehicles, but consumers get a break on Toyota RAV4 hybrid ($29,030). This model peaks at 34 mpg city and features the nameplate’s excellent reliability ratings. Meanwhile, you get the same cargo space and interior room so four people can travel in comfort. We imagine RAV4’s ability to deliver for owners on weekend and day trips is what makes this car a keeper.