It’s a well-established fact that it’s never too early to plan your next holiday.
So, with that in mind and the new year upon us, we’d like to humbly suggest a few cars perfect for your next road trip. You could glam it up and buy a grand tourer, but if that's not an option because it's a little too rich for your blood or you need just a teensy bit more space.
More than just comfort and space (enough for the family, their luggage and the kitchen sink), some of our greatest road trip cars also boast great speed, should you decide that the destination is more important than the journey.
Would a VW Tiguan by any other name be just as sweet? Well, if it was priced at least $10,000 cheaper, then certainly, why not?
Actually, the Karoq has a leg up over the Tiguan, in that it has a more advanced engine, one that the latter hasn’t been updated with (here, anyway) yet. The all-new 1.5-litre motor has a slightly rougher burr than the outgoing 1.4-litre unit, but it produces the same 150hp and with technology that can shut down two of its four cylinders while cruising, it sips just 5.6L/100km, crucial to get you that much further between fuel stops.
Boot space is a very generous 521-1,810 litres, and if you so choose, the rear seats can be removed from the vehicle entirely turning the Karoq into an ersatz panel van. Now, we’re not sure what sort of road trip involves carting around more luggage than people, but hey, we don’t judge.
Volkswagen Golf Variant
The VW Golf Variant is conclusive proof that you can never really have too much of a good thing. The Golf Variant takes everything we loved about our (unofficial) Car of the Decade and adds a heaping spoonful of practicality.
Even with the rear seats up, it can boast a 605-litre cargo bay. Drop the rear seats, load items all the way up to the roof and that number swells to 1,620 litres. And its loading sill is a relatively low 630mm. You never really appreciate what a boon a low load sill is until you nearly suffer a hernia dragging a huge bag into a car.
And all Golf Variant, uh, variants sold in Singapore come standard with racy R-Line body styling. No, the Golf Variant sold here isn’t the fire-breathing 310hp Golf R Variant, but merely a bodykit. The 125hp Golf Variant we get here is some way off the Golf R, but still, at least it looks the business, hey?
Land Rover Discovery
There are very few cars on sale today that can confidently claim the ability to transport seven occupants across virtually any sort of terrain—from paved tarmac to post-apocalyptic wastelands. The Land Rover Discovery is one of those vehicles.
True enough, the new 2-litre four-cylinder petrol powerplant isn’t a patch on the ones equipped with a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel that launch models came with, owing to its (relative) lack of smash-anything torque, but still 300hp and 400Nm is plenty.
But even if you’re not all that interesting in smashing through terrain, as opposed to go around or above, the Discovery is still monstrously practical. Yes, with the third row of seats up, you get just 258 litres, but drop that and the second row, and you get—are you ready for this—2,406 litres.
Mercedes-AMG E43 Estate
There are some out there for whom practicality is not enough. They also demand plenty of speed while doing so. After all, the reasoning goes, a car that goes like stink while also having the ability to haul around plenty of cargo is more than a little hilarious.
Yes, this isn’t quite the full-fat E63S with its brutal twin-turbo V8, but we doubt anybody would call 401hp from its 3-litre twin-turbo V6 pokey. This results in a 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds, which is the sort of performance you’d expect to see in a supercar from 20 years ago. An all-wheel-drive system ensures surefootedness no matter the weather, too.
The luggage compartment, as you’d expect, is cavernous. It starts at 640 litres and with the rear seats folded down, the E43 gets 1,820 litres. Just the ticket, especially if you want to break some land speed records… with the family and their luggage in tow.