Best cars for a staycation

Remaining UK-bound for your holiday this year? You may want the perfect motoring holiday companion. Here are some of the best road trip cars

Matt Rigby
Sep 30, 2021

Whether you choose to describe a holiday in the Great British countryside or seaside as a staycation or simply a holiday in the UK, you’re going to want to make sure your car is up to the job. And even if your staycation truly means staying at home when you take your holiday, you’ll still need to get around, so we’ve rounded up both the best cars for various road trips and for making the most of those stay-at-home holidays.

So whether you’re headed for a beachside holiday, a driving trip to the wilds of the UK’s most remote regions or are planning a city break or two, we’ll list the cars that are going to be the best companions for your adventures. And if those adventures are home-grown, we’ve got that covered, too.

Best road trip cars

1. Ford Puma

Best car for UK holidays to the seaside

Ford Puma side view

Used deals Limited stock

Small SUVs - also known as crossovers - are among the most popular types of car at the moment, being affordable, stylish and offering a high driving position, but the Ford Puma is undoubtedly one of the best.

Based on the ever-popular Fiesta supermini, it’s strong value, well equipped, and enormously good fun to drive. But not only will you have fun on the way to the beach, but the Puma’s compact dimensions will mean it should also be relatively easy to find a parking space when you get there.

However, the Puma’s real USP as a beach car is its ‘Megabox’. This is a waterproof under-boot compartment with a drainhole, so it’s perfect for acting as an impromptu icebox, a container for soggy swimwear, or even an improvised foot bath to finally get that pesky sand off your feet.


2. Volkswagen Golf R

Best Car for UK driving holidays

Used deals Limited stock

If you’re heading off on a holiday road trip where the driving is going to be part of the fun, then you’ll want something that’s both powerful and fun on twisty roads. And with the security and grip of four-wheel-drive, plus a substantial 320hp of power (300hp in the pre-2021 models), the Golf R can dish up driving fun in bucketloads.

However, you’ll still need some space for all your stuff, and the VW Golf R’s boot can easily cater to all your standard holiday needs there. Plus, with reasonable size rear seats, there’s room for the kids - or a couple of mates.


3. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

Best car for UK city breaks

Used deals Limited stock

Depending on where your city break actually is - and how far away that is from home - you may not be able to get there on electric power alone with this Hyundai. As it's a plug-in hybrid, it only has a small battery pack compared with an electric car, so its range from a full charge is much reduced. However, you do get the backup of a petrol engine for completing long journeys in one go.

Once you’re at your destination, though, the Ioniq plug-in hybrid’s 39-mile electric-only range from a full charge should be more than enough for shuttling between city sights. That means you’ll be able to cruise around with zero tailpipe emissions, which is good for the environment and should also help you avoid emissions-related charges such as London’s ULEZ.


4. Land Rover Defender

Best car for UK outdoor adventure holidays

Used deals Limited stock

The original Land Rover Defender can trace its lineage all the way back to 1948 and was, frankly, quite an agricultural experience, feeling like a tractor to drive compared with most modern off-roaders. But it was great for adventurous holidays, with loads of boot space, huge off-road ability, and an interior you could literally hose down.

The latest Defender, launched in 2020, is a much more modern beast. It gets niceties like a cutting-edge touchscreen media system, power-folding mirrors, heated seats, and a 360-degree camera. It’s also a thoroughly 21st-century driving experience.

This is still a true Defender, though, so there’s plenty of room for all your camping and outdoor gear, it won’t leave you stuck in the mud, and, yes, you can still hose the floors clean if you really want.


5. Honda e

Best car for staying in the city

Used deals Limited stock

The funky-looking Honda e is perfect if you live in a big city like London and don’t plan on going anywhere for your holiday. It has a relatively small electric range of around 120 miles per charge, but that means its battery pack is small and light, allowing for a smaller car overall without compromising on interior space.

Plus, with a spin-on-the-spot turning circle of 8.6 metres, the diddy Honda e is perfect for urban U-turns. Its compact dimensions and lighter-than-light steering make parking an absolute doddle, too.


6. Skoda Kodiaq

Best car for staying in the countryside

Used deals Limited stock

Even if you’re staying at home for the holidays, you’re going to want to get out and about. And if ‘out and about’ means the meandering country lanes of the British countryside, then what better way to do so than in a Skoda Kodiaq SUV?

Its high-up seating position means all occupants will be able to enjoy the views that might be obscured by hedgerows in normal, lower-riding, family hatchbacks while the fact that most Kodiaqs are seven-seaters means that the kids can even bring a couple of friends along for the ride.


7. Citroen Berlingo

Best car for day trips

Citroen Berlingo rear three quarters view with boot open

Used deals Limited stock

The thing about day trips, especially if they’re with the whole family, is that it’s amazing how much stuff you need. Snacks, drinks, picnic kit, push chairs, wheelchairs, umbrellas, rugs, games - the list is almost endless.

Fortunately, ‘stuff’ is exactly what the Berlingo is built for. Being based on a small van, its capacity for swallowing cargo is deeply impressive, plus the passenger compartment has a seemingly limitless supply of cubbyholes, door pockets, and other storage options. The fact that it’s a comfortable place to be as well is the icing on the cake.


8. Nissan Leaf e+

Best car for eco-conscious staycationing

Used deals Limited stock

If you want to get out and about during your staycation, but want to keep your vehicle emissions to a minimum, then an electric vehicle seems like an ideal choice. And of those, the Nissan Leaf e+ could just be the perfect vacation companion.

It’s a longer-range version of the popular Nissan Leaf and can theoretically manage 239 miles from its 62kWh battery pack before it needs a charge-up, so it’s ideal for short hops or longer excursions. Its 405-litre boot means you’ll be able to haul about plenty of clobber too.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best premium cars

  2. Nice cars

  3. Electric cars with a 300-mile range