Monday, June 6, 2011

Car-Shopping Guide Names Top 10 Road-Trip Rides

With the summer driving season getting started in a week, many people will be traveling soon for vacation, to visit family and friends or just to get away alone for a weekend. Having the right road-trip vehicle can make the journey easier, but what qualities should you look for?

That depends on the driver. Our mid-size station wagon is well-suited for long family trips, but I always wind up wishing for something roomier. Couples without kids may wish for a fast, two-seat convertible.

Kelley Blue Book, a company that tracks pricing and compiles information to help car shoppers, named its top-10 road-trip cars for 2011. In a funny, at times irreverent departure from previous years, Kelley identified 10 life stages for drivers in the U.S. and picked the best car for each one.

Here’s the list of life stages, the vehicles to match and a few comments. Which car fits into your ideal road trip?

1. Student Years: 2012 Ford Focus. The less you spend on your car, the more you can afford to drive cool places.

2. On the Prowl: 2011 Camaro Convertible. It’s Friday. You’re young, you’re hip and you’re about to embark on a weekend road trip.

3. First Real Paycheck: 2011 Buick Regal Turbo. You have entered the ranks of young folks working for the weekend.

4. The Dating Years: 2011 Audi A5 Cabriolet. A successful dating relationship just might lead to the altar, a diaper budget and a suburban mortgage, so now is a good time to indulge.

5. Young Family: 2011 Honda CR-V: Once the first child arrives you’ll need more cargo space for strollers, portable playpens, diaper bags and other gear.

6. Full-on Family Mode: 2011 Honda Odyssey. This van has seating for eight, a rear-seat entertainment system and a cooler to keep drinks and snacks chilled.

7. Midlife Crisis: 2011 Chevy Corvette. The hairstyles and jewelry choices change, but the Corvette is a perennial midlife-crises favorite.

8. The Cougar Years: 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet. Recently divorced, she has money in hand and she’s ready to hit the open road.

9. The Golden Years: 2011 Toyota Avalon. This car’s floats along the road, is easy to get into and out of and has a big trunk.

10. The Last Ride: Cadillac DTS Hearse. Why slum it on a trip to the Great Beyond?

You can see more details on the Kelley Blue Book road-trip favorites and read the full commentary here.


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