The Top Cars For Long Trips
Whether it's a holiday on the other side of the country (or heading into Europe), taking your pride and joy to university for the first time, or visiting family, many of us take long-distance journeys these days. If you're going to be heading up and down the motorways quite a lot, you'll need a car that can go the distance AND keep you comfortable the whole way there.
We've rounded up some of the best cars for fuel consumption and comfort, so you can sit back, see what suits you best and then start planning your road trip playlist.
BMW 5 Series
Starting this list with a strong entry from BMW, the 2017 5 Series is a formidable contender in the executive saloon class thanks to its style, technology, handling and comfort.
With 0.99m for headroom and 1.05m legroom in the front (0.95m and 0.93m in the back), the 5 series gives plenty of space for passengers on long drives - although it is worth noting the prominent gearbox takes some of the legroom away from the rear-middle passenger. The seats themselves provide great support and comfort, and the interior is finished with the precision and luxury you'd expect from the German manufacturer.
The average mpg you're looking at with the BMW 5 Series is 43.5 mpg (miles per gallon), and every BMW 5 Series comes with a supportive driver's seat, with electric seat height and backrest adjustment. Depending on the model, electrically adjustable lumbar support and memory for different driving positions may be available. Enormous armrests add that extra level of comfort for long journeys. The 5 Series also comes equipped with a 12.3inch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat-nav and DAB radio for in-car entertainment, and of course, cruise control.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
The Grand C4 Picasso, also known as the Grand C4 SpaceTourer, from Citroen is a spacious seven-seater vehicle and its second generation was unveiled in 2013.
It is lauded for being very practical and family-friendly, with much of this directly attributable to its size and being able to fold seats flat, ideal if you need to ferry bulky items about. When the seats are upright, passengers in the back have a headroom of 0.97m and those in the front have 0.97m headroom. The Grand C4 Picasso is known for its high comfort levels and its spaciousness.
Fuel efficiency for the Grand C4 Picasso comes in at a respectable 48.6 mpg and comes with air-con, electric windows and a 7-12 inch screen, depending on the model, and those made after 2013 benefit from cruise control.
The Ford Focus is good to drive and reliable, with a practical load area and a clean finish, perfect for families.
With 0.99m headroom and 1.09m legroom in the front and 0.96m and 0.85m respectively for the back, this American estate car gives plenty of room for a long drive, at least for those in the front. The smaller legroom in the back is more suited to younger, smaller passengers so perfect for popping the kids in the back. The seats are comfortable albeit a little firmer than some of its rivals.
Beating the BMW but not the Citroen on fuel efficiency, the Ford Focus has a reasonable average mpg of 45.5. Almost every Ford Focus features air-con, USB and Bluetooth for in-car comfort and entertainment, with the Zetec also offering a DAB radio and heated windscreen. The steering is also a highlight of the Focus, its accuracy and responsiveness surpassing that of its rivals, making it a fun car to drive with tidy handling.
All Mk2 (2011-2018) Ford Focus cars come with air-con and electric front windows, while the Titanium trim adds automatic lights & wipers, and dual-zone climate control.
Moving into luxury cars, the wide, low XE from Jaguar is described as having a "muscular stance and a stylish presence" and is certainly at home on the open road.
With a decent mpg of 46.4, the XE ranks highly for ride comfort and sheer joy of driving, although any passengers in the back may remark on the limited space. The low profile impacts upon the headroom, with 0.94m for front and rear passengers; while those in the front benefit from 1.05m of legroom, those in the back will have to make do with 0.89m.
Cruise control, navigation and automatic lights & wipers come as standard, while the Prestige trim brings sports suspension and the Portfolio spec has an upgraded multimedia system and electrically-adjustable front seats.
The Skoda Superb is a large hatchback, offering its driver and front passenger a comfortable 1.0m headroom and 1.04m legroom, and 0.98m headroom for those in the back. With an impressive 660-litre boot (1,950 litres when the back seats are down), it's ideal for ferrying around bikes, luggage or your furry friend.
As well as its size, the Superb is a comfortable, quiet and relaxing car to drive, and averages 46.7mpg. Some may say the Superb is more functional than fun to drive, which may come as a disappointment to some but is ideal for those looking for a practical family car.
Navigation and front parking sensors come as standard on the Mk3 (2015 onwards), and the Laurin & Klement trims both feature three-zone climate control and heated windscreens.
The Vauxhall Astra is a good drive with a large boot and ample passenger space (0.98m headroom and 1.01m legroom in the front, 0.96m and 0.92m in the back).
The Astra is a comfortable ride, if a little on the firm side, and is quiet and free from vibrations making it ideal for those longer journeys. It also handles well and the body leans less during cornering than its rivals.
The Astra also comes with an impressive engine range and an excellent mpg of 52.3 - the highest on our list. The Astra K, released in 2015, comes with air-con, cruise control and a seven-inch touchscreen as standard, while the Tech Line trim also features heated front seats and sat-nav built into the infotainment centre and the SRi has sports seats and automatic lights and wipers. Some Astras also have seats that provide massages and can cool/heat whoever is sitting in them.
How we can help
Whether you prioritise fuel efficiency, interior space or comfy seats, we have cars suited to your long-distance needs. Each one is packed with driver conveniences, added safety features and in-car entertainment solutions, so get in touch today or visit one of our 6 dealerships around the Bristol, Weston-super-Mare and Bath areas to find your next car.