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Best Cars For Road Trips

Storage galore in the Honda CR-V

For students (and adults) across the country, Spring Break means fun in the sun, but getting to a sun-soaked beach can mean a long road trip. Although a lot of mental energy will be spent deciding between Coppertone and baby oil, the number one consideration for spring-breakers may be what they'll drive.  Before you hit the road this Spring Break, do your research. There's no need to let your ride ruin your trip.

In our selection of the Best Road Trip Cars (Spring Break Edition), we analyzed our database of automotive information and, as you might expect, the 2008 U.S. News car rankings.  We began our search with vehicles that average at least 26 mpg in mixed driving and rank in the top half of their class overall. Next we looked at vehicles that achieved high safety and performance ratings in their class. Most importantly, we limited our list to vehicles for students on a budget. All the cars listed have an MSRP under $25,000.

1. Honda CR-V

Cramped quarters and uncomfortable seats can quickly put a damper on any road trip. Luckily, the 2008 Honda CR-V features fully adjustable backseats designed to accommodate different body types. The small SUV also features numerous bins, cubbies, and cup holders. With plenty of storage space for luggage and other spring break essentials, this car must have been built with road trips in mind. Best of all, the cabin is quiet with little to no road noise.

2. Honda Fit

Gas mileage is another important consideration. Nothing's worse than driving into Daytona and discovering you've blown all your fun money on gas. A solid road trip vehicle should get at least 25 mpg or more. The 2008 Honda Fit averages 34 mpg on the highway and features Honda's "magic seat" which allows for four seating configurations. The front seats can even convert to lounge chairs, perfect on-road relaxing.

3. Dodge Magnum

As for storage capacity, it's definitely important. Some vehicles get great gas mileage, but don't have much space to pack luggage and other essentials. The 2008 Dodge Magnum, offers plenty of storage space, with 27.2 cubic feet of trunk capacity, and averages 26 mpg with the 6-cylinder engine option. Did we mention the car's a looker? Its aggressive stance turns heads wherever you go. Definitely a perk if you want attention. But hurry up if you want one.  Dodge announced that it's discontinuing the Magnum after the 2008 model year.

4. Toyota Camry

The only lemons at spring break should be in the drinks. Make sure your road trip car is reliable and safe. The 2008 Toyota Camry both ranks high in these areas. The Camry offers seven air bags standard for all its trims, and gets good marks for reliability. May not be the top pick for young people, but it's hard to beat for family trips.

5. Hyundai Elantra

Another vehicle on our list, the 2008 Hyundai Elantra, is fun to drive and is loaded with standard safety features. Plus, it has a low price tag. The only downside is its conservative looks, which just don't go with typical spring break fashion.   

The table below lists all of our top picks for road trips.


 

Car MSRP MPG Cubic Ft Pros Cons
Honda CRV $20,700 27 33.5 Spacious, reliable, good gas mileage No third row seat, lacks power
Dodge Magnum $24,095 26 27.2 Great looks, plenty of power, lots of space Blind Spots
Chrysler 300-Series $25,270 26 15.6 Stylish exterior, luxurious interior Small cargo capacity
Toyota Camry $18,270 31 15 Great gas mileage, high safety marks Small cargo capacity
Honda Accord $20,360 31 14 Many safety features, good gas mileage, moderately priced, roomy interior Small cargo capacity
Hyundai Elantra $13,525 33 14.2 Spacious interior, great gas mileage, many safety features, economical Conservative interior and overall looks, small cargo capacity
Honda Fit $13,950 34 21.3 Responsive handling, fiel efficient, eye catching looks, roomy cargo area, reliable Lacks power
Volkswagen Rabbit $15,600 29 15 Fuel efficient, economical Small cargo capacity
Volkswagen Jetta $16,990 29 16 Great gas mileage, affordable, many safety features Cramped rear seat
Volkswagen GTI $22,800 29 14.7 Safety features, fun to drive Rough ride


- Jonathan Lamas