It's vacation season, a time when dealerships can tout the assets of vehicles that would be great for summer road trips.
Despite high pump prices, Americans are expected to hit the road in droves.
Kelley Blue Book editors pick their favorite vacation cars, focusing on driving enjoyment, passenger comfort, cargo space and of course, fuel economy.
“While the current high fuel prices did influence our list, we also included a couple of cost-is-no-object choices,” says Jack R. Nerad, Kelley's executive editorial director. Here are the picks:
- Audi S5: Combining a silky 354-hp V-8 engine, impeccably tuned suspension and quattro all-wheel drive, it delivers high levels of performance and comfort. Plus it's a way to arrive in grand fashion.
- Bugatti Veyron: You might find the $1.5-million, 1,001-horsepower, 16-cyl., quad-turbo, 250-mph Veyron an ideal travel alternative the next time the jet is in the shop. Keep in mind that at full speed, the super-car burns through its 26-gallon fuel tank in about 12 minutes.
- Chevrolet Malibu: Remarkably quiet and comfortable, the Malibu outshone five competitors on the highway. The first car in the category to combine a flexible 6-speed automatic transmission with a gas-sipping 4-cyl. engine. It gets 32 highway miles per gallon.
- Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid: Its highway fuel economy rating of 22 mpg is only 2 mpg better than that of its gas-only counterpart (the hybrid's bigger advantage is in city driving), it's still the most fuel-friendly full-size SUV on the road. And it provides seating for eight, plenty of cargo space and towing capability.
- Dodge Grand Caravan: Getting there can be all the fun in this people mover with entertainment options that include multiple DVD players, video-game inputs, two overhead video screens, satellite TV and radio as well as swiveling second-row seats. The once-humble minivan is now a party on wheels.
- Ford Flex: Due in dealerships this summer, Ford's new full-size, 3-row crossover will be turning heads from coast to coast all year, while treating occupants to cold drinks with its class-exclusive refrigerated console.
- Infiniti EX35: In addition to a plush, flexible interior, this cross/utility vehicle offers a lane-departure prevention system that keeps drivers in line — literally. A small camera detects lane markers, and when inadvertent lane departure is detected, the system gently brakes right or left to get the vehicle back on course.
- Mini Cooper Clubman: With excellent fuel economy and a fun-loving attitude, it offers more passenger and luggage space than the standard Cooper, making the largest member of the MINI family an even more ideal long-haul companion.
- Toyota Prius: It doesn't just deliver the best highway mileage of anything on four wheels, it also features a flexible hatchback design and enough interior volume to qualify as a mid-size vehicle.
- Volkswagen Eos: A sporty coupe that's also a sexy convertible, thanks to a sleek, sophisticated retractable hardtop. This chameleon also has an exceptionally wide glass sunroof for open-air experiences without getting wind-swept.