Before you venture out into nature, you have to consider what you’re taking to get there. That is half the joy of the journey, right? A road trip isn’t a road trip without a great ride - if you’re packed in, knees shoved up against the front row of seats than how is that trip any more enjoyable than an extra-long commute?
Anyway, assuming you’re not dog sledding into the great unknown anytime soon, you need an awesome car for camping to enter nature the right way. These cars will definitely get you where you’re going and home again in plenty of comfort, leaving you to just enjoy making memories.
10. 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
Jeep is going to dominate this list and that’s not surprising - they’ve been making durable, versatile vehicles for a lot longer and a lot better than most. Their Wranglers, old and new, are gorgeous, sturdy cars that make the shift from city to hinterlands more effortlessly than almost any other commonly owned car. Not that the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel is common- it’s got 240 hp @ 3600 rpm and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 7.3-7.4 seconds. With 420 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm of torque, it’s your not-so-secret weapon for going camping and looking great doing it.
9. 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Seriously, if you’re not a fan of Jeeps of all colors and sizes - this list might annoy you. They’re everywhere because they just keep making an awesome car better and better - the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is an awesome car for those who love the outdoors without modifications, but a little love and ingenuity goes a crazy long way. The “Badlands” Wrangler RV thought up by American Fastbacks is… well, it’s everything. A powerful Jeep as well a literal home in nature- most of these cars can’t double as tents (and who would even expect that of them?) but wow, this one sure can.
8. 2014 Chevy Impala
More than a few Chevys have come off the production line looking like a parade of children’s drawings, but this is not one of them. It’s not a new car or an exotic car - maybe your cousin owns one. That said, the 2014 Chevy Impala is a car to trust when you’re going off the grid. It's adored for its 196-horsepower engine, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes and electronic stability control, 10-airbag system, huge cargo space and 21 miles per gallon in the city (31 on the highway). It’s not the flashiest car, but it’s definitely the one you put your loved ones in.
7. 2013 Jetta Sportwagon TDI
Another oldie but a goldie - it’s not the car for the bona fide outdoor obsessive, but it is the perfect ride to slide out of the office Friday afternoon and take a little adventure. Your regular Jetta can seriously pop with a few mods (or go pretty south), but even without those special touches the 2013 Jetta Sportwagon TDI is a 2.0 L 4-cylinder diesel superstar. The mileage is pretty impressive- 42 on the highway so you won't have to stop for a very, very long time. Stock up on diesel before hitting the national parks but after that, feel free to lose yourself.
6. Ford F150
The 2018 Ford F-150 is full of fun (not so) little surprises- it’s not only a car with a near entire aluminum construction, it’s a power-efficient workhorse with four V6 engines that produce from 290 to 450 horsepower as well as a single V8 with 395 horsepower. Sure, it’s a beast that can dominate nature but it’s a gentle giant - one that can explore the wild without leaving too big of a footprint. This car has been a long time in the making, as the rebranded Canadian Mercury-M Series and we’re so happy it’s here to stay.
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Maybe the inclusion of two of Jeep Grand Cherokees feels redundant, but if that’s how you feel - ask yourself this; is it redundant to have cartons of chocolate ice cream as well as chocolate peanut butter, double fudge and whatever other incarnation of chocolate has been dreamed up? Of course not, because when you find a good thing you can make variations of it. But the obsession stays the same. That said, enjoy the car equivalent of a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s finest Chocolate Fudge Brownie - which is watching the Jeep Compass and Grand Cherokee practice intense swerving to pass “the moose test”.
4. 2017 Nissan Xterra Pro-4X
This is a controversial one - it may not be a looker (remove 'may' - it’s a weird looking duckling) and its V8-powered engine has a smaller towing capacity than its colleagues at is just 9,660 lbs. (vs over 10k lbs on V8-powered Ford or Ram trucks) and a max bed payload of 1,860 lbs. That said - there’s no competition on the market for its audio system and every great road trip comes with a great soundtrack. The 12-speaker (10-speaker on the King Cab) Fender Premium Audio system is on another level- you definitely won’t be taking in the sounds of nature so much as blasting old favorites.
3. 2017 GMC Acadia
Aesthetically, the 2017 GMC Acadia is the salve for the unsightly Nissan. GMC has had its fair share of leaks but this car is airtight. It’s a sleek, elegant car with a roomy 12.8 ft³ of cargo space, or 79 ft³ with seat area down (if this is just a couple’s trip). That’s more than enough room for any number of supplies - and it’s a ride with incredible safety ratings. The Acadia tows up to 4,000 pounds, which isn’t the most, but is more than enough for a gorgeous SUV. It’s not just a car for escaping the city, so much as escaping humanity.
2. 2014 Honda Crosstour
This car has to be one of the classiest common cars on the market today- that’s the only way to explain it really pulling off this chocolate brown paint job! The Nissan couldn’t do that. This one is like the English muffin of cars. Sure, you might have it at home but there’s a reason you keep coming back to your favorite. It gets the job done and it makes the day that much better. Sure, snobs can dismiss it as a boring choice, but they clearly don’t know all the possibilities (we’re still talking about English muffins as well as the 2014 Honda Crosstour here).
1. Citreon Cactus M
Let’s end with a bang. This car wouldn’t even need to be anywhere near the coast and you’d still be able to smell the ocean breeze. Seriously, how much fun is this car? How do you even open the door to get in when you could just hop in? It’s so unique and unusual but awesome. That design is gorgeous and could only come with a convertible top, and the electric blue might not be everybody’s cup of tea… but it’s definitely a refreshing glass of lemonade. Those hubcaps just add to the intrigue of the car- it practically screams getaway.