Best cars for travel

If your journey is just as important as the destination for you, you need a good set of wheels. Here are our best cars for travel

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Feb 16, 2021

Whether you’re planning a staycation, a weekend break or a family holiday, chances are you’re going to need a car to get you to your destination. Perhaps you’re after something small and nippy for a romantic getaway. Maybe you need something bigger for the family. Or maybe you’re planning on driving to somewhere off the beaten track.

At BuyaCar, we understand that for some people, the journey is just as important as the destination. We can’t reserve the best parking bay in the seaside car park, or find an alternative route to avoid the inevitable congestion on the way to the coast, but we can promise a range of used cars to suit all budgets.

Here, we’ve rounded up the best cars for travel, including cars that are comfortable enough to make even the longest journey a pleasurable experience. Others are perfect for some epic adventures when you reach your destination. Grab your road atlas, stick a tin of travel sweets in the glovebox, and prepare your road trip playlist. It’s time to hit the highway.

Best cars for travelling

1. Skoda Superb

Best for a long-distance road trip

Used deals from £9,000
Monthly finance from £195*

Picking a Skoda Superb is like booking a standard double room at a hotel and being upgraded to the penthouse suite for no extra charge. It offers the space, comfort and upmarket features of an Audi or Mercedes, but at a far more affordable price. Indeed, BuyaCar prices start from around £10,000.

Even the entry-level SE trim comes with dual-zone air-conditioning to allow you and your front seat passenger to select different temperatures - perfect if one of you is always hot when you head off for a road trip and the other one normally shivering away. That alone should help you avoid a number of travel arguments.

You also get 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen media system, front and rear parking sensors - useful with a car this large - and a handy driver fatigue sensor to tell you when you’ve been on the road for too long. It’s a good excuse to stop for a coffee.

We’d recommend choosing a Skoda Superb with the upgraded Amundsen media system, as this adds sat-nav and Apple CarPlay to the mix. This means you’ll have a choice of maps, so there will be no arguments over which turn to take when you’re trying to find that isolated Airbnb after the sun goes down.

SKODA SUPERB BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Kia e-Niro

Best for a zero-emission trip

Used deals from £29,995
Monthly finance from £535*

For whatever reason, you might be planning an eco trip. Maybe it’s to take your family off-grid for a week by camping in a scenic national park. Perhaps you’re hoping to be at one with nature. Or maybe you’ve simply had enough of expensive fuel prices or getting diesel all over your hands every time you fill up.

Going completely off-grid might be a tad tricky in an electric car - you’re going to have to find a charge point on your travels in most cases - but a zero-emission vehicle should be central to a green holiday. The Kia e-Niro is a good option for a number of reasons.

It has the potential to deliver up to 282 miles of electric range, so you might not need to charge the batteries on your travels at all. It’s also as practical as more conventional SUVs, with enough space in the back for three of your mates. The boot is large enough to swallow the luggage of five people, too, plus you get a long list of equipment as standard.

3. Land Rover Discovery

Best for a cross-country trip

Used deals from £33,995
Monthly finance from £528*

If you’re going off the beaten track, you need a vehicle that’s up to the challenge. Few cars are as good off-road as the Land Rover Discovery, so you might be pleased to discover that prices of the current version have dropped below £35,000. If it’s good enough for the Red Cross emergency fleet and off-road expeditions, it’s probably fine for your wild camping weekend.

It’s incredibly spacious, with up to 1,137 litres of luggage capacity available in five-seat mode, or a useful 258 litres of space if all seven seats are occupied. For some context, that’s about the same amount of boot space you’ll find in a supermini.

The optional sliding or fixed panoramic roof will allow you to take in the wonderful vista as you make your way through a mountainous valley, while the 3,500kg towing capacity will enable you to take your caravan, boat or horsebox along for the ride. Stick a roof tent on the top and you won’t even need to book any accommodation.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Fiat 124 Spider

Best for coastal drives

Used deals from £13,999
Monthly finance from £240*

Picture the scene. You’re on a romantic weekend break with your significant other, taking in the sights and sounds of the Amalfi Coast. If you’re not imagining a radio playing 'That’s Amore' as you steer a two-seater convertible along a coastal road, you’re doing something wrong.

You need something Italian, which is where the Fiat 124 Spider comes in. It combines classic Italian styling with the brilliance of the lightweight and agile Mazda MX-5 (as many of the parts underneath the skin are shared with the Mazda), which is a match made in heaven. It’s enough to make you sing 'Vita Bella!'

Although it’s based on the platform of the MX-5 - and is actually built in Japan - the car uses Fiat’s 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, which gives the 124 Spider an authentic Italian flavour. The punchy performance and softer suspension are the perfect accompaniment as you wind your way back to old Napoli as the sun goes down.

FIAT 124 SPIDER BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volkswagen Arteon

Best for long motorway jaunts

Used deals from £17,490
Monthly finance from £269*

The Volkswagen Passat is one of our favourite motorway cars, but we’re going to offer something slightly different. The Arteon is to the Passat what the Orient Express is to the packed commuter train you squeeze into on a Monday morning. Not that we can promise a lobster thermidor lunch.

The Arteon is based on the Volkswagen Passat, so don’t expect much in the way of excitement. Indeed, you might be slightly disappointed by the rather sombre interior, which is lifted straight from the Passat. But don’t be, because the quality is very high and you get an excellent level of standard equipment.

Even the entry-level version comes with LED headlights, sat-nav, wireless phone charging and three-zone air-conditioning, while top trim levels pack the kind of kit you’d expect from a more expensive upmarket machine. There’s enough room for five adults, all wrapped in one of the most striking used cars you can buy. Even a 2018 model could cost the same as a new Ford Fiesta, which makes it tastier than a seafood platter.

VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Dacia Duster

Best for travellers on a budget

Used deals from £5,999
Monthly finance from £135*

The Dacia Duster is one of the cheapest cars you will find on the BuyaCar website, which makes it perfect for travelling on a budget. In travel terms, it’s the equivalent of backpacking, staying in inexpensive hostels and living on street food rather than going to the international supermarket. Don’t worry, you don’t have to work nights at a bar to make ends meet.

The Duster is based on tried and tested Renault mechanical parts, while the spacious and practical interior is perfect for packing the gear required for an extended getaway. Granted, the cabin is far from what’d you’d class as five-star accommodation, but it’s more comfortable than those hostels you stayed in during your gap year.

Highly capable four-wheel drive versions are available if you intend to venture off-road, but we’d avoid the entry-level Access model, unless you like the smell of your armpits and the sound of your passenger’s voice, as you don’t even get air-conditioning or a radio.

If you do fancy a four-wheel drive model, we'd recommend a punchy diesel engine or a more powerful petrol model, as the heavy four-wheel drive system is a bit too much for the weedy entry-level 1.6-litre petrol engine to manage.

DACIA DUSTER BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Ford Mustang

Best for taking the long way

Used deals from £26,990
Monthly finance from £424*

On a road trip, the journey is just as important as the destination. Which is why you need something that’s great to drive, stunning to look at, and delightful to spend time in. Step forward the all-American Ford Mustang. Yee-haw!

It might be difficult to live the American dream on Route 66 in your own car if you're UK-based, so may we recommend getting your kicks on the A66 from Workington to Teesside? The Mustang is an automotive icon. One of the most famous names in motoring history, with as much presence as a supercar costing 10 times the amount.

For the full-fat American experience, get a Mustang GT with the 5.0-litre V8 engine. Not only does it sound fantastic, it can also hit 62mph in an impressively rapid 4.8 seconds. If you can’t live with the thirst of the V8, the Mustang is also available with a more economical turbocharged 2.3-litre 'Ecoboost' engine. You get most of the drama, with the potential to achieve up to 35mpg. It still offers an enjoyable drive, too.

FORD MUSTANG BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Jeep Wrangler

Best for living the dream

Used deals from £38,995
Monthly finance from £531*

We finish with a wildcard. One that is perfect for wild adventures. A car that will send you wild with excitement. Or something. It's more capable than the Dacia Duster above off-road and has the ability to get through tight gaps that the supersized Land Rover Discovery could never manage.

The Jeep Wrangler is as famous as the Ford Mustang, with a history that stretches back to the Second World War. It’s the kind of car you’d love to be in when travelling between surf shacks on the American West Coast, but it’s just as adept for adventures in Weston-super-Mare or the coasts of West Sussex.

Launched in 2018, the current Jeep Wrangler is the best yet, but it retains the iconic look, including the famous seven-slot grille. Granted, it’s not the most comfortable of cars on the road, but few cars are as great off the road as the Wrangler. You could buy a sensible SUV, or you could take the bold option by living the Jeep dream.

JEEP WRANGLER BUYERS' GUIDE

*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.

 

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