Kelley Blue Book’s Top 10 New Vehicles Best Suited for Road Trips
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10 best road-trip cars and where to take them

Kelley Blue Book’s Top 10 new vehicles best suited for road trips

In Southern California, the call of the road is hard to ignore as summer grows closer. And even with gas prices being what they are, we long to experience the radio crankin’ in a car worthy of whisking us down the highway in style.

Just in time, Kelley Blue Book has provided a list of the top 10 new vehicles best suited for road trips. Based on factors such as driving enjoyment, passenger comfort, cargo space, and -- perhaps most important -- fuel economy, the experts suggest travelers consider the following options. To sweeten the deal, we’ve offered some fun destinations to consider.

The Top 10
Audi S5
Bugatti Veyron
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Dodge Grand Caravan
Ford Flex
Infiniti EX35
Mini Cooper Clubman (pictured)
Toyota Prius
Volkswagen Eos (Mini)
Audi S5

KBB says: “Combining a silky 354-horsepower V8 engine, impeccably tuned suspension and quattro all-wheel drive, the Audi S5 delivers high levels of both performance and comfort, along with the elegance to arrive in grand fashion. “

Where to take it: Look for some challenging winding roads to test the gripping ability of the S5 in Big Bear or Idyllwild.

Audi A-Z
Top 15 California destinations (Audi)
Bugatti Veyron

KBB says: “If the price of fuel has impacted your yacht time more than your driving habits, you might find the $1.5-million, 1,001-horsepower, 16-cylinder, quad-turbo, 250-mph Bugatti Veyron an ideal alternative the next time the jet is in the shop. Just keep in mind that at full speed, the Veyron burns through its 26-gallon fuel tank in about 12 minutes.”

Where to take it: Cruise the Sunset Strip valet stands or pull into the Thompson Beverly Hills on Wilshire. Or drive your own hooptie to Las Vegas and rent a Bugatti to cruise the Vegas Strip.

Autos A-Z
Ultra-luxury cars dressed up in couture
A dozen places in L.A. to feel like a star.
Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas(Amy Sussman / Getty Images)
Chevrolet Malibu

KBB says: “We recently drove six top-selling mid-size sedans in a back-to-back comparison test, and the remarkably quiet and comfortable Chevy Malibu handily outshined the competition on the highway. The first car in the category to combine a flexible six-speed automatic transmission with a gas-sipping four-cylinder engine, the Malibu is capable of an impressive 32 highway miles per gallon.”

Where to take it: Take a day trip to Malibu or to the Santa Ynez Valley. Or, since the Malibu gets higher gas mileage, make it an altogether thrifty weekend and check out these nice, yet affordable Santa Barbara hotels.

Chevrolet A-Z
Rumble Seat: 2008 Chevrolet Malibu LT
Malibu Beach Inn’s revamp leaves room for improvement
A Santa Barbara wine country harvest picnic
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

KBB says: While the Tahoe Hybrid’s highway fuel economy rating of 22 mpg is only two mpg better than that of its gas-only counterpart (the hybrid’s bigger advantage is in city driving), it’s nevertheless the most fuel-friendly full-size SUV on the road and provides seating for eight, plenty of cargo solutions and the ability to tow your boat to the lake.”

Where to take it: Take me to the river! The super-size SUV hybrid can haul your boat to Yosemite or to the Kern River.

Chevrolet A-Z
Rumble Seat: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Yosemite National Park: Sleeping in a bag or in a hotel bed?
A ranger’s guide to Yosemite National Park’s best day hikes
The fishing’s fine along California‘s Kern River (Chevrolet)
Dodge Grand Caravan

KBB says: “They say that getting there is half the fun. In the Dodge Grand Caravan, getting there can easily be all the fun. The Grand Caravan’s wide variety of entertainment options includes multiple DVD players, video game inputs, two overhead video screens, SIRIUS Satellite TV and radio as well as rearward-swiveling second row seats, all helping to transform the once humble minivan into a virtual party on wheels.”

Where to take it: The swivel seats make for easy lunch breaks in the parking lot before taking the fam to the San Diego Zoo or SeaWorld. Or for something a bit more outdoorsy, an adventure at Warner Springs Ranch.

Dodge A-Z
10 family vacations for Southern Californians
Campland, San Diego (Dodge)
Ford Flex

KBB says: “Due in dealerships this summer, Ford’s new full-size, three-row crossover will be turning heads from coast to coast all year, while treating occupants to cold drinks with its class-exclusive refrigerated console.”

Where to take it: The refrigerated console makes hot drives to desert hikes in Joshua Tree much more bearable.

Ford A-Z
Will folks flock to Ford’s Flex?
Destination: Palm Springs & The Desert (Ford)
Infiniti EX35

KBB says: “In addition to a plush, flexible interior, the EX35 offers a Lane Departure Prevention System that can help keep any driver -- quite literally -- in line. A small camera detects lane markers in front of the vehicle and, when inadvertent lane departure is detected, the system applies a small amount of left or right brake force to nudge the vehicle back on course.”

Where to take it: This car just screams Vegas, baby. Just don’t fall asleep on the way there.

Infiniti A-Z
Rumble Seat: 2008 Infiniti EX35 Journey RWD
How to navigate Las Vegas traffic & the Strip
Racy Las Vegas: Where to test drive hot wheels in Sin City (Infiniti)
Mini Cooper Clubman

KBB says: “With excellent fuel economy and a fun-loving attitude, the Mini Cooper has earned its way onto our list of top road-trip cars for the second year in a row. The new Clubman 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.”

Where to take it: As long as you’re going for the old-school look, take a trip back in time and check out these examples of Googie architecture in Southern California.

Mini A-Z
Rumble Seat: Taking the Mini Cooper to the max
Look closely for L.A.'s whimsical architecture of yesteryear (Mini)
Toyota Prius

KBB says: “The iconic Prius doesn’t just deliver the best highway mileage of virtually anything on four wheels, it also features a flexible hatchback design and enough interior volume to qualify as a mid-size vehicle.”

Where to take it: Get all the way to San Francisco for less green.

Toyota A-Z
Toyota’s Prius has a Monopoly in space
States taking an interest in ‘green’ hotels too
Starwood launching green hotel brand called Element (Toyota)
Volkswagen Eos

KBB says: “The Volkswagen Eos is 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 when you want the open-air experience without getting that wind-swept look.”

Where to take it: Put the top down and plan for an educational trip up the coast to Hearst Castle or take the gang to explore California‘s historic missions.

Volkswagen A-Z
VW Eos 3.2L -- fast and loose?
Memories of the castle by a former Hearst family chauffeur
Planning your trip to four California missions (Volkswagen)