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  1. Default Best Vehicle to Roadtrip

    Hey all,

    I've been lurking for a while, but didn't have much reason to post as of yet. But I finally have a question for you all...

    My '91 Buick Century is on it's last legs and I'm trying to figure out what the best car/truck/suv/etc would be for a daily driver, as well as for road tripping. My budget is for a max of about $6k (not including taxes and fees). Right now I'm looking at a 2000 Ford Mustang (v6, not gt, auto trans, 80k miles) for about $5800. Does anyone have any experience with that car for road tripping?

    Any other recommendations of cars/trucks/suvs/etc to look at?


    PS - and just a little background on me. the longest roadtrip i've personally taken was from Rochester, NY to Chicago, IL on a normal 2-day weekend in the Buick :-P

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default The Variables of Best

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I don't think I or anyone else here can tell you what your best car for a roadtrip is, because the perfect car for me could very well be the worst possible car for you.

    There's nothing wrong with a Mustang, and it can be a very fun car to drive (although, personally I think its a sin that anyone would even consider a Mustang without a manual transmisison).

    While I really enjoy driving a Mustang, It would be pretty much worthless for MY roadtripping needs. It simply wouldn't have enough space, and a rear-wheel drive sports car would be about the worst possible choice when I need to drive across snow covered country roads on my way to work. But my needs probably aren't the same as yours. If you don't do much winter driving and don't need much space, then the Mustang could be a fine choice.

    As with anything, its best to think about your goals -how you would use it, what you would enjoy driving, etc- and then see which makes and models would be the best fit for you.

  3. Default

    Heh, as much as I would love to have a manual tranny (I learned to drive on my dad's '87 rx-7 w/turbo and no power steering about 6 years ago), it's been difficult trying to find one for sale (at least in my price range). I'd reallly like to have a nice V8 GT manual, but no chance of it being in my price range, and the horses would be wasted on long roadtrips.

    My other thought was that since I live in Rochester, NY (TONS of snow), it probably wouldn't be too practical. I have heard though that if you get some really good tires and weigh down the back end with sand bags it improves winter handling a lot...

    I had been thinking about getting a truck before, but from what I've heard, the insurance is bad (because you can take them offroad), and the gas mileage is horrible. The couple I've test driven as well, don't seem nearly as comfortable as the Mustang.

    As far as things that I would find important to me, comfort and gas mileage are tops, sportiness/fun are probably second, and space (backseat/trunk) not nearly as important since I'm usually only with one other friend at most. The other reason I thought an auto would be better is because it would also be a daily driver, and I live in a decent sized city, so stop and go would be killer on a clutch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Mustang Fun

    A Mustang is certainly a fun car to drive, and other than it being a poor winter car, it would seem like it would work well for you. I certainly understand that it can be difficult to find a manual transmission, but if it were me, its still something I would hold out for (and sorry, but worrying about burning out a clutch because you drive in Rochester is a pretty weak excuse, while they do wear out, if you know how to properly use one it doesn't matter if you are driving in NY or LA) but that's me.

    I do wonder if the gas mileage might be a bit disappointing for you, and no matter what tires or how many sandbags you use, it will never be a car that is good in the snow - for the exact same reasons its a great car in the summer, but those aren't impossible elements to overcome. Since you don't need the space of a truck (although I bet the mustang will be more expensive to insure than most trucks) or even the space of a sedan, this certain seems like a car that could work for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Best vehicle

    If I were shopping purely for a road trip vehicle (as opposed to for some other reason and/or need) my list includes:
    - Comfort (legible and usable dash, good seats, good visibility)

    - Space (will it hold my gear? if I had to, could I sleep in it?)

    - Economy (which will last longer, my bladder capacity or the fuel? what is the overall cost of owning this vehicle? is maintenance easy?)

    That's the short list. There are other factors but for me these are the top ones.

  6. Default it depends upon what you want..

    I've road tripped in everything from a VW Campervan to a Mercedes 2-door Diesel Coupe to a Lexus GS300 to a (current) Toyota Sequoia.

    It depends upon what you need, and what you want. A sportier car with lots of Vrrrooomm is a really cool car to roadtrip in, but is sometimes limited by what you can stuff inside. When I was alone or travelling with just one other person, a 2 door worked fine -- although I found we typically had to stuff stuff into the back seat as well on camping trips. And you may be restricted from taking those bumpy dirt roads you find every so often.

    Now, I use the Toyota Sequoia SUV -- One of the mid-to-large SUVs, but with reasonable mileage (20 mpg on the highways), and with enough room to put camping gear for 4-6 in the back, plus seats for at least 5. It's also got some off road capabilities, so I feel more comfortable on unpaved roads than my low-slung cars. Pretty comfortable -- with enough room no one feels squashed -- at least until you get more than 5 inside. And in a pinch I can sleep in the back (never have, though...) Not quite as much Vrrrooommm though...

  7. Default

    My current roadtrip vehicle is a 1999 Ford Mustang V6 Auto. I love this car! I was looking for a cheap work car when i came across a killer deal, so I made the purchase.

    I get around 25-28 mpg highway, which is awesome considering the amount of power I have if I ever need it. Although it may not be as built as the GT Mustang, its still more than most if not all of your rice burners out there! The ride and handling are right up to par, I love to just kick back the seat and cruise in this car.

    I was actually amazed the first time I opened my trunk, its huge! I can fit enough gear for a two and maybe three person camping trip (not counting the rear seat).

    The "cockpit" area is just ok for road trips, there could be some things improved but for the most part its acceptable. (cup holders arn't deep enough, not alot of storage for small items, ect)

    I'm actually throwing the idea of taking my Mustang on a 10,000 mile camping roadtrip at the end of this summer (with one other person).

    My idea is to, at the end of March, take a "trial run" and pack up everything we would need for our big trip, and take exactly one 10th of the cost of the trip (big trip is 10 weeks, this one's a week) and trek to the Smoky Mountains in TN and NC, just to see if we can make it with the set budget and car situation.

    As far as winter driving goes, Im not sure the level of driver you are, but for me, its just plain fun taking this car out in the winter! We got a pretty bad storm here a week ago and although im also the owner of a Ford Explorer, I still drove the Mustang. It does slide around alot more (rear wheel drive) than most cars I've driven in the snow, but its nothing that can't be controlled by a driver who uses their head. If you're planning on going offroading or on roads that are not plowed, then this might be a problem, but if you're going to be on city/state roads that are maintained, then this car should be fine, all four seasons.

    I'll let you know how my trial run goes next month, if you're still looking then.

    Feel free to ask any questions...

  8. #8


    '98 Audi A4. Way better that a V6 Mustang, but to each his own. The Mustang is a solid rear axle car. It is small. It is of poor build quality. I'm sure as the previous poster has comented it will be a blast doing donuts in the snow, but as far as a comfortable, driver oriented vehicle good for putting a lot of miles in the saddle I would look at the Audi or a Subaru Outback or Forester. Any of those can be had for within your price range; can be slept in comfortably; have good reliability records; handle and accelerate acceptably. They will have over 100K miles on them to be in your price range, but that Mustang with 80K is a ticking time bomb. Seriously.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    South FL for now, but in June 2007 - the Pacific NW!


    How funny! I am selling my Mustang (99, manual, V6) specifically because it is too small to use for car camping roadtrips. It has been a fabulous car and I love it to death, (its my third Mustang) but being six feet tall, there is absolutely no way I could ever be comfortable sleeping in it.

    It has taken me on many great trips and does have a huge trunk. The only real drawback with the trunk is that it has a fairly narrow opening, so if you have wide bags you will be in for some pushing and shoving.

    For me personally, an SUV is ideal. Large enough to sleep in, can carry plenty of gear and a cooler on the back seat. I am an avid photgrapher, so I would like to use it as a blind too, so I need the extra space to move around in. I am looking at Honda Elements and Ford Explorers. Man I wish the old Ford Broncos were still around!

  10. Default

    Just thought I'd give yall an update on my choice. So after looking for a vehicle for a while, I had first settled on a 98 ford ranger (which turned out to have some fairly expensive mechanical issues), then I was thinking about the mustang (reconsidered it, not too practical).

    So on probably the coldest night of the year, my 91 buick century decides it's had enough, and so my search was somewhat hastened. Fortunately my best friend and I were able to share her car while I continued to search for a couple of weeks.

    I ended up finding a 2000 Ford Focus SE Wagon, with under 50k miles for a good price ($5500). I had my mechanic check it out, and it only needed about $150 worth of minor work (cleaning battery compartment, cleaning back-right brake, and replacing a couple of hoses).

    So far, so good with the car. I think it'll make a fairly ideal road trip car, good gas mileage (averages about 30mpg), lots of space (I can sleep in the back if I want), not the most reliable, but not the worst either, fairly comfortable, not exactly hot looks, but could be worse :-P

    Probably going to take a trip from Rochester, NY to Atlanta, GA at the end of April! :-D

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