With the holiday season just around the corner, it means different things for different people. For many, though, it at least partially involves some traveling, be it in the air or on the ground. On the topic of the latter, having the right vehicle can make all the difference between an enjoyable family voyage or a complete hassle that casts a shadow over what is supposed to be an enjoyable time of the year.
For those who will be traveling great distances, the readers of Edmunds.com earlier this year threw together a list of what they believe to be the best vehicles for long-distance hauls – and the site is currently taking votes for its Best Cars for Getting to (and Away From) Holiday Gatherings list. It should be noted that the first list, detailed below, was compiled over the summer and does not take seasonal variables (i.e., the weather) into account.
Here are 12 cars that Edmunds.com readers felt offered the most if long-distance driving is a regular factor.
12. Kia Forte
The Kia Forte managed to eke out 12th place on the list, with 0.6 percent of voters opting for the Korean compact, though which body style — the Forte comes in hatchback, sedan, and coupe forms — was left undetermined.
11. Ford C-Max Hybrid
Despite its fuel economy fiasco earlier this year, the Ford C-Max is still an efficient, capable, and useful car that has more than enough room for an average family plus some gear, all bundled into a 40 mile per gallon or so package. About 1.8 percent of Edmunds.com readers agreed.
10. Hyundai Santa Fe
While it offers many similar features as its competition, the Hyundai Santa Fe (the Sante Fe Sport is pictured) — once the go-to affordable option — now offers the quality, power, comfort, and style that makes it a legitimate contender among firmly established crossover staples; 2.7 percent of voters chose the Santa Fe as their vehicle of choice.
9. Toyota Prius V
The Toyota Prius V sacrifices a bit of fuel economy for a larger profile, which certainly comes in handy once luggage and extraneous road trip items come into play. The combination apparently floats the boats of 3.2 percent of Edmunds.com readers.
8. Nissan Altima
Nissan’s staple sedan, described by Edmunds.com as the “most refined, fuel-efficient and upscale Altima ever,” is a winner of 4.2 percent of voters who’d pick the sedan over the rest.
7. Ford Mustang Convertible
If fuel economy and family cabin space are not prime concerns — but fun and performance are — the Ford Mustang would be a safe bet, as it resonated with 4.3 percent of Edmunds.com voters. It may not be the vehicle of choice to spend endless hours in, but it’ll certainly get you to your destination in style.
6. Mazda CX-9
Mazda’s new design language, with its swooping lines and updated front fascia, make the CX-9 appear smaller than it actually is. The result is a car that can meet all the necessary needs of a family but doesn’t compromise driving excitement. About 5.9 percent of Edmunds.com voters selected the CX-9 for those reasons, presumably.
5. Honda CR-V
In fifth is Honda’s venerable and time-proven CR-V, as well as its loyal following of 6.3 percent of Edmunds.com’s voting body, as decent mileage and a versatile cabin make the CR-V a family staple for a range of demographics.
4. Chevrolet Impala
Completely redesigned from the ground up, the Chevrolet Impala has gone from near-worst to near-first in its segment, and it offers a totally new experience from the fleet-fillers past. “A spacious, well-built cabin, a comfortable ride and a host of new tech features” lured in 6.6 percent of voters, according to Edmunds.com.
3. Volkswagen Passat Diesel
Sporting some of the most impressive numbers for fuel economy in its class, the Volkswagen Passat TDI — with 13.3 percent of the vote — won bronze for long-distance trips, as it offers more than 40 miles per gallon on the highway and no shortage of cargo or passenger space.
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
In second place is the Jeep Grand Cherokee with 15.3 percent of the vote, when equipped with the new EcoDiesel engine. “If you want a midsize SUV that does a little of everything, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is tough to beat,” Edmunds.com says. As an added bonus, the Jeep is great in the event that the highway turns into a dirt road, should that ever happen.
1. BMW 3 Series Wagon
Finally, with an overwhelming 35.9 percent of the vote is the BMW 3 Series wagon, which makes no compromises to performance in order to accommodate the extra cargo real estate. Further, the BMW has the option of all-wheel drive, and “is a well-rounded and highly desirable entry-level luxury car,” Edmunds.com says.
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