5 Great Road Trip SUVs for Summer

Summer’s here, so let’s get out on the road. Modern SUVs are great on the open road. They’re tall, so you can see the sights. They’re roomy, so you can pack all your stuff. Modern SUVs are also comfy and capable.

To be good on a road trip, your SUV needs to a few things. It should be good on gas so you don’t go broke paying for fuel, as well as reliable. You’ll need room for your stuff and your family. All-wheel-drive capability is a bonus, too, because you never know what you’ll encounter on the road, and you want it to look good, too. Driver safety aids like adaptive cruise control are also a bonus when you’re on the road.

Pack the kids, the snacks, and plan your next road trip in one of these SUVs.

Mazda’s CX-9 is fun to drive

Why not have a little fun behind the wheel? Mazda channeled the fun into the CX-9 and packed in a powerful V6, quick steering, and a clever all-wheel-drive system. The Mazda CX9 is a seven-seat SUV that gets up to 26 mpg, as well as a great amount of luxury. While the Highlander is more of a traditional SUV, the CX-9 is more like a tall car. The CX-9 offers second-row captain’s chairs so even the back-seat passengers can travel in comfort, even if the way-back seats are short on leg room. The CX-9 offers a heads-up display that projects your speed and more info on the windshield. CX-9s start at $35,280.

Feel like a Kardashian and travel in a G-Class

Why not go in style? The Mercedes G-Class is a luxury beast that would take you coast-to-coast in the lap of luxury. You can find them in fast and faster trim, with two different V8s that have either 416 horsepower or 577 horsepower. A G-Class may be expensive, they start at $156,450, however they’re great SUVs for a road trip because you can order heated, cooled, and massaging seats. But, they’re heavy, blocky bricks, that only get 19 mpg on the highway.

a red g-wagon in the dirt
2019 Mercedes G-Wagon | Mercedes-Benz

Put a little Soul in your road trip

The rear 3/4 view of a Surf Blue 2023 Kia Soul GT-Line with a black roof in front of a pink building
2023 Kia Soul GT-Line rear 3/4 | Kia

Not everyone has the appetite for a G-Class. For the rest of us, there’s the Kia Soul, which starts at just $21,000. Sometimes a great road trip SUV is the one you can afford to buy and drive. It comes with an intuitive infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto and comfortably seats up to five. It gets up to 35 mpg on the highway. The Soul looks unique, but that tall boxy body hides a spacious interior. It may not be the most powerful SUV, or the biggest, but it may be the right SUV you get you on the road this summer. It’s being updated for 2023.

The Highlander can seat eight, and get up to 35 mpg

A silver 2022 Toyota Highlander could be a great road trip SUV.
2022 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The Toyota Highlander often gets overlooked in the SUV world because it’s not a Toyota 4Runner. The Highlander can hold more stuff than a 4Runner, is more comfortable, and Highlander’s get top marks from Consumer Reports for reliability, too. That’s a good recipe for a great road trip SUV. You can order a powerful 295-horsepower V6, or a fuel-sipping hybrid all-wheel-drive version that gets up to 35 mpg. They can cold seven or eight people, and the Toyota Safety Sense system offers a ton of functionality on the highway.  Highlanders start at $35,855.

The Hyundai Palisade seems to do everything well

A black 2022 Hyundai Palisade driving down a road in front of a hillside.
2022 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai Motor America

It’s hard to beat the Hyundai Palisade or its corporate twin the Kia Telluride. A Palisade is comfortable, it gets good gas mileage (26 on the highway) and it’s stylish. You can order one with all-wheel drive, or not, and as a luxury SUV, or not. It’s been a sales success for Hyundai because for $33,600 you get a lot of SUV with a ton of class. The interior is stylish, comfortable, and can be optioned like a luxury SUV. You can order a Palisade as a seven- or eight-passenger SUV. With Hyundai’s 100,000-mile warranty and complimentary scheduled maintenance, you can be sure it’ll stay reliable.

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