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Planning a Road Trip? Here Are Cars.com’s Best Road-Trip Car Picks

toyota sienna woodland 2022 02 exterior front angle scaled jpg Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition | Cars.com photo by Jennifer Geiger

The school year is winding down, which means summer road-trip season is just spooling up. According to AAA, records will be broken this summer, starting with Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to the season of sun. The agency forecasts 38.4 million people will travel by car over the holiday weekend, the highest number for that holiday since AAA began tracking in 2000. The rest of the summer is forecast to follow the trend.

Related: 2024 Cars.com Affordability Report: Best Value New Cars

If you’re one of the millions and you need a new ride, check out our list of Cars.com editors’ favorites by vehicle category. These rides will help ease the drive — from comfy sedans and fuel-thrifty hybrids to SUVs and minivans chock-full of creature comforts to rival even the most comfortable living room. Thinking about going fully electric? We have some road-trip favorites for those, too. Read on for the details.

Sedans

volvo s90 recharge 2024 05 exterior profile scaled jpg 2024 Volvo S90 Recharge | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Topping our list of road-trip-friendly cars is the budget-friendly 2024 Honda Accord. Our editors praised its nice balance of comfort and efficiency, and despite its mid-size dimensions, it’s roomy enough for even our tallest editor — and his luggage.

For those with a bigger budget, the 2024 Volvo S90 is our pick. It stands out for its ample safety and active driver-assist features, as well as its beautiful, spacious interior.

SUVs

toyota grand highlander hybrid limited 4wd 2024 10 exterior rear angle scaled jpg 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Limited 4WD | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

For those in need of a lot of space for both people and cargo, an SUV is in order. Our first pick is the new-for-2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid, which is grander in every way compared to the regular Highlander. “With the best ride quality in our three-row SUV comparison, the best fuel economy, the quietest interior and the best space behind the third row, the Grand Highlander is ready for long-haul drives with the family in tow,” said Managing Editor Joe Bruzek.

The 2024 Hyundai Palisade is also a staff favorite — again (and again). The three-row SUV took home back-to-back wins in two of Cars.com’s three-row SUV comparisons. It excels as a long-haul driver thanks to plenty of space for the whole family and their gear, pleasant road manners, and a full roster of comfort and convenience features. Upgrade to the top Calligraphy trim for a truly luxurious feel.

Minivans

chrysler pacifica 2024 exterior oem 01 jpg 2024 Chrysler Pacifica | Manufacturer image

As gas stations continue to take all our money, fuel economy is likely on every road tripper’s mind, but our favorites in the minivan class have an eye on efficiency. The 2024 Chrysler Pacifica, which comes as a gas model or a plug-in hybrid, is an excellent travel companion. With a stellar rear entertainment system, oodles of people and cargo room, and clever storage cubbies, the Pacifica has been an outstanding road tripper. What’s more, it’s among the nicest-driving minivans in terms of ride and handling, and the PHEV version has great fuel economy for the class.

Toyota’s Sienna minivan only comes as a hybrid (without a plug) and also offers great fuel economy compared with other minivans. The 2024 Sienna has plenty of room thanks to generous cargo space, as well as ample small-items cubbies, and it also offers lots of comfort and convenience features for both kids and adults.

Trucks

ford f150 hybrid lariat 2024 37 exterior front scaled jpg 2024 Ford F-150 Hybrid Lariat | Cars.com photo by Leslie Cunningham

Can you road-trip in a pickup truck? Absolutely — even with a family in tow. Topping our list is the 2024 Ford F-150. Standouts include Ford’s BlueCruise system that allows for hands-free driving on mapped highways, as well as the hybrid variant’s impressive fuel economy.

Offering less fuel efficiency but more luxury (especially in Tungsten trim) is our second pick, the 2024 Ram 1500. “The interior is still the benchmark for luxury, and the auxiliary entertainment screen for the front-seat passenger keeps them from changing the radio station from what I have it set to. The new high-output turbocharged straight-six is also a sweet powerplant, delivering quiet power and super-smooth operation,” said Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman.

Hybrids

honda accord hybrid sport 2023 01 exterior front angle scaled jpg 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid | Cars.com photo by Leslie Cunningham

In this category, we have two repeat winners: the Toyota Sienna minivan and Honda Accord — but this time, the hybrid version of the Accord tops our list.

The Toyota Prius and Prius Prime have great fuel economy, but if their out-there styling, backseat headroom and rear visibility challenges are deal breakers, the Accord Hybrid is a great choice. It offers up to 48 mpg combined, according to the EPA, but that’s just a start. In a real-world mileage test, we took an Accord Hybrid Sport-L, EPA-rated at 44 mpg combined, on a 200-mile route with faster interstate driving, plus rural and suburban driving; it averaged 51.3 mpg. What’s more, it’s got a decent-size backseat and large trunk.

Electric Vehicles

cheapest evs 2024 exterior oem 08 jpg 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Manufacturer image

Road trips in an EV sound daunting — and definitely can be — but ensuring you have plenty of range (and knowing where to get more along the way) is key. Our top pick, the 2024 Tesla Model Y, hits both marks.

“After owning a Model Y for 2.5 years, we found it easy to road-trip, even in frigid temperatures when range plummets, because of its onboard trip-planning tool and Tesla’s numerous on-the-road DC fast-charger Superchargers,” Bruzek said. “For better ride comfort and quietness, the new Model 3 certainly has an advantage, however.”

The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is another favorite — and some editors would definitely choose it over a Model Y. In fact, the Ioniq 5 took home our Best Electric Vehicle award for the second year in a row. The EV continues to hit a near-ideal balance of attributes with a roomy, versatile cabin; avant-garde-yet-practical styling; and a simple, easy-to-use control layout that still packs in lots of useful technology features.

“These days, anything on the Hyundai E-GMP platform comes with excellent range and fast-charging capability, so the Ioniq 5 is my choice for a road-tripping EV,” Bragman said.  “It’s spacious, comfy, has plenty of room for cargo or people, and has a vastly superior interior to anything Tesla has ever made. It has a multimedia system that’s easy to use and flush with features, and it also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (unlike Teslas).”

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Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Jennifer Geiger
News Editor Jennifer Geiger joined the automotive industry in 2003, much to the delight of her Corvette-obsessed dad. Jennifer is an expert reviewer, certified car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats — many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

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