What is a good vehicle for long, long car rides

My definition of long (5+ hours) may not be everyone elses, but I’ve done trips up to 40 hours at a stretch before and sometimes find myself doing 5-10 hours in a day as a driver or passenger. I’ve done them both as a driver and as a passenger in an economy pickup, full size sedan, midsize sedan, full size luxury sedan, station wagon and minivan.

The luxury sedan (Lincoln town car) is much more comfortable than any of the others, including the minivan.

So if a person is doing a lot of traveling, what is a good car that is comfortable and easy to ride in?

I would assume the obvious answers are a full size luxury sedan and possibly an RV (at least for the passengers) are going to be far easier to tolerate a long car ride than anything else. Is there any consensus on the issue or any input individuals have?

It has to fit you as passenger and driver. We have taken multiple long trips in my 2005 Corolla, and it is comfortable and economical and holds everything we need for a two week vacation easily. It doesn’t necessarily depend on the size of the vehicle; my husband rented a CRV for a day, and found it very uncomfortable for him.

ETA: Our definition of a long car ride is Calgary to Chicago and back. :slight_smile:

If we’re talking realistic “what should I buy” advice, then it’s all down to individual seat fit/gas mileage ratio. I had an Olds Cutlass Sierra Brougham that I could drive for ten hours without a twinge. But Ooh! The fill-ups.

My current Nissan Sentra is nearly as large, but it lacks left leg stretch room for the driver. I get perms-cramp by Friday each week just from the commute, and spen the weekend stretching ti out again.

If we’re talking Price-is-no-object, then yes, Rvs are made for long cruises and the drivers’ seat is a little block of heaven in most of them. Most important, though, it has a bathroom. Nothing beats the discomfort of waiting for a likely exit. Even if you are driving alone, the ability to pull over and take care of business at will is a God-send. (hush men, you can not, and will never understand.). Add to that the option to just stay put if the weather turns foul, and you’ve got an unbeatable option.

Our Chrysler Town & Country is great for long trips. All 3 rows recline to nearly 90 degrees allowing all non-drivers to sleep well. The back row reclines a full 90 degrees to form a small bed.

A big, honking two-door or four-door sedan with a wheel base that stretches from New York to California.

Depends on who you ask. I drove 1100 miles alone in two days in a Honda Fit, puttered around for a week, returned the same. Averaged about 44 mpg. It was great and I plan to do it again this year. Also made it from Bend, OR to Cleveland with a friend in a VW Bug.
Being 5’4" with similarly heighted friends opens up a lot of options, I suppose.
Of course, the first trip was MY car and the second trip was HER car. I’m more comfortable in my own car for obvious reasons, and I like knowing the individual quirks of whatever I’m driving.
I also prefer small cars if I’m going to be driving and looking for parking spaces in crowded metropolitan areas.

My grandparents used to drive all over the country for antique shows, and once they gave up on hauling furniture (in their 70s) and stuck to jewelry and small objets d’art, their preferred vehicle was a Caddy sedan. Plenty of trunk space for their luggage and merchandise, and when I drove it, I had a hard time not speeding because I could barely feel the road.

The obvious question is to what extent putting in the highest quality struts and other parts of the suspension system will make things better.

Honda Odyssey?

Possibly Highlander?

Another ‘it depends’ reply - with an addendum. If you’re a guy who regularly puts his wallet in his back pocket, take it out when you start driving. I’ve found that it makes the drive much more comfortable.

Key elements to comfortable long-distance driving seem to be a relatively long-wheelbase, firm seats that offer a range of adjustment so that you can vary your body position, and good sound insulation to reduce fatigue. Not surprisingly, my best long distance trip was in my old Rolls-Royce, which met all those criteria. I bought it for $7k on eBay, flew to Philadelphia and drove it back to Chicago over the weekend; you simply didn’t feel the hours in that thing. Of course, is got ~15mpg on the highway and held almost 30 gallons, so fuel stops were hilariously expensive and that was 10 years ago.

I did a similar trip in an old Porsche 928 (ebay again, $5k, Warwick, RI) and while the ride comfort was there, noise levels weren’t as good, though I loved the rumble of that V8.

We did a road trip last spring in my 2006 Jetta diesel automatic. Got 44 MPG, held us comfortably, what luggage we decided we needed and a fairly nice one of those plug in refrigerated coolers. [I really can’t eat fast food, my gallbladder is fractious and it tends to send me to the bathroom for long periods of time we really didn’t want to waste.]

Front seats go down to 90 degrees, we opted to take an occasional nap after lunch. Cockpit ergonomics is OK, sound system had a 6 disc cd changer, but I also had the optional ipod cord so we listened to audiobooks much of the time. I have not found a noncustom seat with the perfect lumbar support so I always travel with a small pillow that works but mrAru finds the lumbar support just fine. Car was freshly tuned and inspected, new tires and suspension adjustment and whatever else one does in a VW 100K miles tweak.

I bought the car in 2009 just off lease with 60K on it for 16K [we specifically were looking for diesel though honestly we also wanted manual. That was not happening :frowning: ]

Road trip was CT to Fresno CA, down the coast to LA, then across to Key West and back up to CT.

Mercedes Benz S550 4Matic.

Those who disagree are simply wrong.

Sure, you can opt for a Bentley or a Roller, but then you’re just showing off.

If you want comfort I’d say a full-size car like a Lincoln Towncar or an SUV would be best. Even though you’re just sitting there, riding is often tiring I guess because your muscles are always at work keeping you sitting upright. Larger vehicles ride smoother and don’t move you around as much.

I want to feel the road…but I don’t want to hear it.


My road trip car is my 2011 Challenger SRT. I get low 20 in gas mileage when I’m cruising about 90. I can stretch out so far that I can’t reach the steering wheel and the bucket seats caress you perfectly. It’s one of the quietest cars I’ve ever been in and it’s also got a 13 cuft trunk so I can comfortably fit two people and tons of luggage (and if I have to my dog) easily for trips us to about 2 weeks. I can’t imagine anything better.

As far as requirements for a road trip car I would say that quiet, ability to stretch and can handle driving 90 for hours without excessive rpm or needing to battle steering.

The one thing I have never found is something that (for the driver) allows the foot on the gas pedal to not experience undue fatigue. Especially in stop/go traffic, my driving-side knee is often screaming in pain by the end of the drive. I believe that would be helped by the ability to stretch the leg out much straighter than most cars allow. So, whatever you look for, that’d be a big consideration. If you’re tall, this is nearly impossible (I could put the seat back far enough to stretch my leg out, but then I couldn’t reach the steering wheel!!).

Beyond that: anything that allows all passengers adequate legroom and elbow room (both in short supply), as well as reachable space to put snacks and drinks. For that, you really need either a very wide car (to put between the two front seats), or one with a lot of extra space between front and back seats (if back seats aren’t occupied, that’s less of a concern). Also adequate cargo space so you don’t have to have your luggage occupying passenger space, and so you can get to short-term needs (e.g. overnight bags on a multi-night trip).

Our CRV is fine on a long drive if it’s just the two of us. For the whole family, it’s a bit cramped.

I don’t personally like anything sedan-like on a long trip, mainly because I find higher vehicles easier to get into and out of, and the visibility isn’t as good. They may ride comfortably, but I don’t like a mushy ride so my CRV is fine.

I have one of those, but I must tell you in all candor, that the ride in the back seat of a Rolls Royce automobile is beyond compare, and that a Maybach 62 sucketh not at all.

You never mentioned economy. So my vote, based on: (a) 40 years of driving and, (b) having owned over a dozen cars…

A 1973 Buick Electra 225. It remains (by far) the most comfortable car I’ve ever driven, and I traversed most of this country in it. Tipping the scales at nearly 3 tons with a 7.5 Liter V-8, this machine rode like a dream. You could back over a landmine without noticing, and it didn’t matter whether you’d hit a curb or a Camry, it would cruise on without so much as sloshing your coffee.

Of course, the fuel mileage rarely hit double-digits, so that might be a drawback…