Best cars for camping

We can’t guarantee fine weather, but these cars will be worthy companions on your next camping trip, with space and comfort to spare

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Jul 28, 2020

Ah, camping. The thrill of sleeping under the stars and the constant fear of things that go bump - or squeak - in the night. If there’s one thing you can guarantee about camping in the UK, it’s that you can’t guarantee fine weather.

At BuyaCar, we can’t promise to turn you into an expert in erecting a tent - it takes years to perfect those skills. We can’t even recommend a decent campsite. But we do have a list of cars that would be perfect for your next camping trip, with plenty of boot space on offer for filling with tents and other outdoorsy kit. And low costs that mean that you'll be able to afford a posh tent in the first place.

Remember, the car could be pitched on your driveway within five to 10 working days and covered by our 14-day guarantee. It’s our way of ensuring we have a nation of happy campers.

We've rounded up affordable models that offer all the boot space you could need for tents, folding chairs, gas stoves - and even the kitchen sink in several cases - and should be able to deal with rough campsite tracks and muddy quagmires if you choose a model with four-wheel drive. So, keep reading to decide which option best suits your needs.

Best cars for camping

1. Audi Q3

Our pick Audi Q3 2.0 TDI
Used deals from £10,000
Monthly finance from £189

In most cases, a small SUV, would be a worthy companion on a camping trip, so what makes the Audi Q3 different? Is it the range of powerful and economical engines? Is it the feeling of quality? Is it the fact that PCP finance deals start from just £200 per month for used models?

It’s all of the above and the fact that the previous generation Q3 was available with an optional camping tent. The genuine Audi accessory connects to the boot via a specially designed locking system and provides sleeping space for up to three people. What could be better than an Audi tent?

You don't even have to pitch it like you would a traditional tent. It's connected to a pump which inflates the inner and outer tent simultaneously. The tent is unpacked, rolled out and inflated - no fuss, no bother and when it’s not in use you can fold it away into a bag no larger than an overnight case. If you love camping, but hate setting up, this could be the car for you.

AUDI Q3 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Jeep Renegade

Our pick Jeep Renegade 1.4 Multiair Longitude
Used deals from £8,995
Monthly finance from £147

With its go-anywhere styling and legendary Jeep name, the Renegade looks ready to conquer the wilderness - even if that's a Wiltshire camp site rather than a Wyoming mountainside. Pick a Jeep Renegade with four-wheel drive and you’ll be able to venture further off-road than the vast majority of compact SUVs, so either way, you should be covered.

Following an update in 2018, all cars other than the entry-level Sport feature a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This means you can fire up a podcast if the conversation with your fellow campers runs dry.

As with the Audi above, you can get a manufacturer-sanctioned branded tent that can be attached to the car. It costs £340, which isn’t cheap, but it sleeps four - that's one more than the Audi equivalent - and can be attached to the rear of the Renegade with the tailgate open.

It includes an inner tent and, crucially from a British perspective, it’s waterproof. You can also use it as a standalone tent, which will be handy if you change car or if you can't park directly alongside your ideal camping spot.

JEEP RENEGADE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Vauxhall Mokka

Vauxhall Mokka X front

Our pick Vauxhall Mokka 1.6 Tech Line
Used deals from £6,699
Monthly finance from £131

With Vauxhall Mokka prices starting from just £125 per month, you can afford to splash out on a new tent and an entire wardrobe. The Mokka is one of the UK’s most popular new cars, so finding a used example will be far easier than pitching a tent in even a mild breeze.

Originally launched in 2013, the Mokka was updated in 2016 and renamed the Mokka X. We'd recommend the older X-less verison because it’s cheaper and you can buy a bike carrier extension for the rear bumper if you enjoy a bit of cycling on your camping trips.

This costs £225 and allows for the transportation of two extra bikes, which adds up to three in total. Because it’s tiltable, you don’t need to remove the bikes to access the boot, which will be handy when you reach the campsite and need to unload.

VAUXHALL MOKKA BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Mini Countryman

Our pick Mini Countryman 2.0 Cooper S All4
Used deals from £10,999
Monthly finance from £203

Rooftop tents have their roots in the Australian Outback, where the elevated sleeping position keeps campers safe from most dangerous critters that may be roaming around. This type of roof-mounted living quarters are now popping up across the world, however, as travellers embrace the idea of upstairs camping.

This is where the Mini Countryman comes in. It’s a great SUV, offering space for five, styling inspired by the smaller Mini Hatchback, and a unique and interesting cabin. Opt for a four-wheel drive version and it’ll take you way beyond the confines of the campsite, too.

But that’s not the reason why we’re recommending it to budding campers. A company called Autohome has produced an official Mini Countryman roof tent and, quite frankly, it’s brilliant.

It turns the Countryman into a two-storey living accommodation with space for two adults. Features include a mattress, pillows, LED lights and a ladder. It comes at a cost of £2,500, but that’s still far more affordable than buying a motorhome.

2010 MINI COUNTRYMAN BUYERS' GUIDE
2017 MINI COUNTRYMAN BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Peugeot Rifter

Our pick Peugeot Rifter 1.5 BlueHDi Allure
Used deals from £15,273
Monthly finance from £223

Head across the English Channel and you’ll discover that van-based people carriers are as popular as ever. Beneath the rather dowdy styling you’ll find vehicles that offer unrivalled practicality, brilliant flexibility and low running costs - they're based on vans, after all.

With the Peugeot Rifter, you also get an MPV (that's a large car with lots of seats and plenty of space) that’s good looking and boasts one of the nicest cabins you’re ever likely to find in a car of this type. There’s also a pair of sliding doors and enough cabin space for a camping expedition. Five- and seven-seat versions are available.

We also like the fact that the cabin is loaded with storage boxes, some of which are hidden from prying eyes. This means you can secure your valuables while camping in the wilderness - or Glastonbury. They're handy wherever you are.

PEUGEOT RIFTER BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Our pick Volkswagen Golf Alltrack 2.0 TDI
Used deals Limited stock

We’re aware that not everybody has bought into the SUV craze. Some people appreciate a good estate car for the smarter styling and improved driving behaviour on the road. If you’re going to take one on a camping trip, you should consider the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

It’s essentially a Golf Estate with a raised ride height, protective body cladding and four-wheel drive. So it shouldn't have any problems dealing with even the most waterlogged of British campsites, but on the road, it's not really any different to drive than an ordinary Golf.

Thanks to the raised suspension, it should feel supremely comfortable on the way home, which will provide some welcome relief after a night on a floor mat. You also get the same amount of boot space as a standard Golf Estate - that should be plenty for all but the most glampy of camping trips.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Our pick Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.4 SZ5
Used deals from £13,800
Monthly finance from £208

The SX4 S-Cross is Suzuki’s answer to the Nissan Qashqai, with a price tag that rivals the smaller Nissan Juke. As a result, it’s one of the best value crossovers you can get - assuming you can look beyond the uninspiring styling.

It’s light, which means all versions are economical, and it’s also surprisingly good to drive. The 1.4-litre turbocharged 'Boosterjet' petrol engine in the SZ5 offers a great blend of performance and fuel economy, along with the benefit of Allgrip four-wheel drive.

Standard specification is substantial, with the SZ5 featuring heated leather seats and a panoramic sunroof. Perfect, if you fancy a night under the stars but the weather forces you to take sanctuary inside the car.

SUZUKI SX4 S-CROSS BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE

Our pick Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE Advance
Used deals from £30,000
Monthly finance from £439

Finally, if you’re after a stylish estate car that also tips its hat to the environment, check out the Volkswagen Passat GTE. Its hybrid petrol-electric powertrain switches seamlessly between petrol and electricity, and emits just 39g/km CO2 provided you charge up the batteries regularly.

You can also travel up to 34 miles in all-electric mode after a full charge, so you can make a silent exit from the campsite in the middle of the night if the lure of an Airbnb proves too much.

Our biggest gripe with the Passat GTE when new was the high price, but this isn’t a problem if you purchase a used one via the BuyaCar website. Indeed, we can offer cars for less than half the original price.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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