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  1. #1
    Whoo Guest

    Default best car to use on cross country trip

    i've been planning this road trip across America since i was 7, now that i'm getting closer and closer to the date i find that i may need a car! being 17, i can't afford a car right now, but was wondering if anyone has suggestions on what kind of car i should buy. i won't have enough for a brand new one, so keep in mind it has to be used. and something small.

    also! i plan do go all over America seeing as much as i can, does anyone have some fun suggestions on where to go? tourist traps, cheap thrills, great historic sights, lets me know.

  2. #2


    My recommendation is for a late model Japanese car. Civic, Accord, Protege, Corolla, and Camry all come to mind. Savings on gas is great compared to an SUV or large car.

    Make sure you test drive a bunch of cars to see which one feels best to you. After all, long hours in the saddle can be torturous even in a $50,000 car if it's not comfortable to you.

  3. #3

    Default My bias...

    I may be a little biased, but my vote would be a VW Jetta TDI (esp. wagon) - comfortable seats, awesome mileage (avg. 50mpg), decent room up front, good cargo space. Some maintenance costs are relatively higher, but the intervals are longer. Diesel fuel is available anywhere. As far as reliability, do your research when buying a used car (maintenance records, etc). Any web search can get you started in the right direction learning about these cars. They are a little hard to find, though.

    If mileage is less of a factor, a used Civic or Corolla would be your best bet. They've shown they're remarkably reliable cars, running for years without any major repairs.

    Just don't make yourself car-poor at such a young age. Good luck and happy auto hunting!

  4. #4

    Default Jetta?

    TimboTA, do you have a Jetta? How reliable has it been? There was a time in the recent past when VW cars were NOT as reliable as they once were -- I am interested to know if they've gotten better. What about the quality of fit and finish? Bob

  5. #5


    Diesel is great, very reliable, gets great milage, but is still not a common as gas in California. I don't know about other states. The only places I see diesel are along trucker routes, not at neighborhood gas stations. So if you're the type who's always looking for a gas station because you're car is about to run out of gas, then that might be somethign to keep in mind.

    If you're looking for a car specifically for a road trip, you might want to consider something a little larger than the economy compacts, especially if you plan on driving with other people. A civic or corolla is fine for one or two people, but if you have friends or are carrying camping equipment you'll want the added room. You'll pay a little more in gas money, but the extra space and comfort is something you can't make up. Also, once you start adding on rooftop carriers and other stuff, you're milage might drop up to 20% (at least on my car). Plus, if you can ever have to sleep in your car, you'll be thankful. If you plan on doing a solo trip, it's not as big of an issue. Just get a car you really like and something that is reliable, don't worry about having the perfect roadtrip car. As long as it moves, you can take a roadtrip in it.

  6. #6

    Default The Perfect Roadtrip Car

    I could have fun thinking about this all afternoon, but not in keeping with the point of the original question in this thread. I have done road trips in everything from old VW beetles to 65 ft semis. Yes, I'm probably the only (former)truck driver in the universe that considered OTR trucking to be a VACATION!

    My dream is when I am finally free (of the work world), I will hit the road in a motorcar exactly fit for that purpose, and not come home for many months. So what would I drive, if money was no object? A Jaguar XK-8 perhaps. Or a Cadillac Eldorado Northstar. Maybe a new T'Bird. New Mazda RX8? Something that's made for driving and the open road. Maybe something with no top for those perfect sunny days. If none of the above, I still favor the V8 Mustang Convertible over most all others. My present vehicle is a big Dodge pick-up -- and it works just fine, although better gas mileage would be nice. But there's trade-offs in everything.

    Now, in answer to the above PRACTICAL question posed by Whoo, I'd have to agree with Darrell & Timbo -- a small 4-cylinder machine with a history of reliability. My own first choice would probably be the Corolla, but no slight is intended toward the other choices, that's just my own personal preference.

    For road-tripping, the attributes of the diesel machine might make one of those a great choice, and along the highways where roadtripping happens, obtaining fuel is no problem anywhere trucks go, and THAT'S everywhere. Diesel cars typically have a longer range, so worries about fuel would be even less of a problem.

    Whoo, you might also consider a small, older import pick-up, like a Toyota or Nissan. They can be very reliable and economical also, and they have the added advantage of rear-wheel drive, which is a major plus in my opinion. Plus, it's easier to camp! The only extra you need is a plastic tarp to cover up your stuff.

    And for the where to go part -- come to the southwest! It's vacation and roadtrip paradise out here! Anytime after March and the weather is guaranteed perfect! (No promises, though).

  7. #7

    Default My perfect roadtrip car

    But probably not practical for this kind of roadtrip

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default I agree

    We have our "eye" on one of these too!

  9. #9

    Default Hmmm

    Pretty impressive.

  10. #10

    Default thanks!

    i just wnat to tank you all for your input!!!!

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