With the warmer months finally here, its time to start planning that summer vacation youve been dreaming of. Here are a few vehicles that are ideal travel companions whether youre heading out alone or with the family.
Kia Soul: For the money, you cant get much better than the newest Kia Soul. Currently residing as the No. 1 ranked Compact by U.S. News & World Report, the Soul was also named to the Best Cars for the Money and Best Cars for Families list. The Soul (MSRP $16,100) is available in Base, + and ! trim levels, and is now also available with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes over 200 hp. You can haul over 60 cubic feet of stuff, and the Soul can also be equipped with leather upholstery, ventilated front seats and a Harman/Kardon® audio system, making it a great choice for road trips.
Ford Mustang: There are few vehicles as iconic as the Ford Mustang, and whether you choose the Coupe (also referred to as Fastback) or Convertible, summer is always better with a sports car. Starting with the 2017 Mustang Fastback (MSRP $25,185), you get a 300 hp V6 with the Shelby GT350 cranking out a tremendous 526 hp. There are four engine choices. For those who want the open-air feeling of a convertible, the Mustang gives you the best of both worlds. For the money, in the segment, nothing can touch it. Not even excuses, says Autoblog about the Mustang. Available features include the SYNC infotainment system, Shaker Pro audio system and a navigation system.
Honda Ridgeline: A pickup may normally be associated with winter driving, but the 2017 Ridgeline (MSRP $29,475) isnt your typical compact pickup. Currently sitting atop the U.S. News & World Reports list of the best Compact Pickups, the Ridgeline has many features that set it apart from the competition and make it a great summer vehicle. A lockable in-bed trunk with drain plug can be used as a 7.3 cubic foot cooler, while the truck bed audio system and available 150-watt/400-watt trunk-bed outlets allow you to plug in a TV or other electronics, making it the ultimate party vehicle. No matter how its outfitted, the Ridgeline is a no-brainer of a truck: unmatched in smoothness and comfort, and full of innovation well beyond its unibody construction, Car and Driver writes. It deserved far more sales than it netted in its inaugural generation. Heres hoping this one realizes its full potential.
Chrysler Pacifica: A minivan is a great vehicle for any family road trip and the new Pacifica ensures everyone will be comfortable and happy. It was recently named the Best New Family Car for 2017 by Cars.com. Some of the family-friendly features youll find are the available Uconnect Theater with 10.1-inch touchscreens and integrated games, and a 20-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. The Pacifica benefits from the convenience of Stow n Go and a class-exclusive Easy Tilt Seating that gives third-row passengers easier access to their seats. The Stow n Vac integrated vacuum helps clean up any messes that may happen along the way too. All Pacifica models are efficient, but you can also get a hybrid modelthe only one in the segmentwith a remarkable 84 MPGe rating.
Best Vehicles for a Family of Five There are plenty of great automotive choices. Here is a list of some of the best:
Nissan Murano: The 2017.5 Murano hits all the right notes with design, performance, utility and amenities, so it should come as no surprise that it was named a 2017 Best 2-Row SUV for the Money from US News. Starting at an MSRP of $29,770, the Murano is available in S, SV, SL, Platinum and a striking Midnight Edition. Regardless of which you choose, its powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 260 hp and 240 lb/ft of torque with fuel economy rated up to 28 mpg highway. You can also add the all-weather traction and capability of an Intuitive All-Wheel Drive system. Cargo capacity tops out at nearly 70 cubic feet. Some of the highlights youll find in the Murano are signature LED lighting, a power panoramic moonroof, Zero Gravity seats, and a Navigation system with eight-inch touchscreen.
Edmunds says the Murano is a pleasant and versatile five-passenger midsize crossover with ample room for all passengers. It is a smart choice if you want an upscale, V6-powered crossover without having to pay a premium for a luxury brand.
Honda Accord: The Accord is one of those vehicles that youll never regret buying, and theres a reason it made an appearance on Car and Drivers prestigious 10Best list more than 30 times. It would be fair to say that no other vehicle can match the Accords blend of sophistication, reliability, safety and value. There are two available enginesa 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes up to 189 hp and 36 mpg highway, or a potent 3.5-liter V6 that produces 278 hp while still returning an impressive 33 mpg highway. Even the base model is available with the Honda Sensing system that adds Adaptive Cruise Control, a Road Departure Mitigation System Lane Keeping Assist System and Collision Mitigations Braking System. The 2017 Accord Sedan earned both a 5-Star Overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Kelley Blue Book adds the 2017 Accord remains a highly recommendable car even as rivals clamor for its benchmark status. The Accord just marked its 40th anniversary, and it shows no sign of resting on its laurels.
Toyota Sienna: You may think a minivan is reserved for those with larger families, but for those who want additional comfort, space and cargo space, its a great alternative to an SUV. And the Sienna is a great choice, as not only does it compete with the Odyssey, Pacifica and Sedona, its the only one thats available with all-wheel drive. Not only can you fit a family of five, you can also bring along an extra three people when the need arises. All Sienna models are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 296 hp and 263 lb/ft of torque thats good for a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds. Youll find three-zone automatic climate control and an Entune audio system with 6.1-inch display as standard equipment but you can also add a dual-view 16.4-inch entertainment center, leather upholstery and a moonroof.
Car and Driver notes: It's the Camry of minivans: The updated Sienna appeals to a wide range of families looking for roomy, comfortable, and high-quality transportand it succeeds.
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