School’s out and the weather is warm. That can only mean one thing… summer break. This is the time of year when families tend to plan vacations to destinations across the country. The age old tradition of a summer road trip is as popular as ever. Whether you’re taking the kids along with you or not, you’re going to need an awesome ride to get you from point A to point B. Take a look at this list of great vehicles perfect for hitting the road, and a few possible parts modifications to make the experience even better.
1. Mercedes–Benz Sprinter Van
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is known as the original Euro-style full-sized van. Updated over the years, the van is now one of the best vehicles to hit the road with family. Front-wheel and four-wheel drive features make it easier to get to remote camping sites. The Airstream camper referred to as the Interstate Grand Tour EXT is your best choice of all the versions.
If you’re planning on hitting rough terrains or mountains, you’re going to want a van with a soft suspension system. Investing in wider tires will give you better road-precision as you’re traveling through rocky roads and bumpy campgrounds.
2. Four-Door Mini Cooper
Perhaps not a vehicle you were expecting to make the list, the Mini Cooper is indeed great for long-distance driving. Not only is the car roomy enough to seat a small family, but it’s also fast which is great for getting around your trip from start to finish. It also has sizable trunk space large enough for a few suitcases. The Mini Cooper’s back seats have special parts so it can fold back in case the passengers want to get some shut eye along the way.
Though the Mini Cooper comes with pretty good gas mileage with its standard parts, improving that fuel-efficiency even more for long-distance trips would be a worthwhile investment. A couple Mini parts you might consider replacing are new air filters to keep the engine running clean, thus more efficiently, and new oxygen sensors to improve accuracy in monitoring exhaust flow , which then adjusts fuel injection levels and results in better gas mileage. Browse through a Mini Cooper parts catalog to find the right parts in your price range that meet the specs you’re looking for.
3. Challenger, Mustang or Camaro
If it’s just you and your significant other or a friend, then why not go with a vehicle built for both speed and distance. You really can’t go wrong with either of these choices and if you’re fortunate enough to have a convertible, get ready for the best driving experience of your life.
Two of the best parts modifications you can make to these muscle cars would be the exhaust system and cold air intake. Dropping the restrictive stock pipes and upgrading to a high-quality exhaust will give you a serious increase in power and torque. A new cold air intake system will keep your engine running cool, which again adds to horsepower and torque while also improving fuel efficiency.
4. Volkswagen Golf TDI
When it comes to MQB platforms (modular transverse matrix), Volkswagen reigns supreme. The platform is known to be one of the best in the business as it pertains to stability and handling. Complete with Volkswagen’s high-quality 2.0-L diesel engine, the TDI rides smooth but packs plenty of torque. Not only is this car great for maneuverability along windy roads with its track-tested suspension parts, but it also gets good gas mileage. You can get about 30 miles to the gallon in the city and 45 on the highway.
If you’re looking for better handling while on the road, you might invest in a parts upgrade like sway bars. Sway bars connect to your car’s suspension. As you go over bumps or corner sharply, the bars stiffen the suspension. This helps keep the tires flat on the ground as your corner, preventing the ever fearsome body roll as you maneuver.
Selecting the best ride for your road trip will really come down to your personal preferences, situation, budget and the distance you’ll be traveling. While you might have assumed the best car for a road trip was an RV, as you can see from the above list, there are other automobile options that can be just as accommodating. As you’re choosing the best ride for your road trip, remember to keep in mind factors like speed, maneuverability, comfort and fuel economy. Last but not least, don’t forget to have the car’s parts and systems checked out – and repaired as needed – by a mechanic, so you don’t end up on the side of the road, putting a huge damper on your adventures.