What car for a cross-country run?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jun 16, 2022 | Road Trip, Discussion

Photograph Courtesy Cadillac

You, a buddy, and miles of road ahead of you. Whatcha driving?

Do you go for comfort or speed? Choose economy in these times? Hardtop or convertible? Something stylish? Do you place reliability above all? Or just something that will make for a memorable trip?

[Project Rabbit GTI: Time to Retrieve a Car via Another Road Trip Adventure]

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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/16/22 9:35 a.m.

As much as I'd want ultimate speed, I'd place a higher value on comfort and economy.

So I'll pick a Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. wink

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/16/22 9:50 a.m.

Road trip?  Something big, quiet, powerful, decent handling but not at a major compromise for comfort.  That Caddy would be ideal.  If you really want, one of the sportier GT cars.  Audi S5?

I love convertibles but they are not made for long trips, unless you're talking about a Bentley Drop Head Coupe or something like that.

If it was me I'd probably go for this:

2020 Volvo V90

Big, fast enough, quiet, comfortable but nice to drive, invisible to most cops.  25+ mpg at 80 mph.

 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/22 10:02 a.m.

Comfort and economy.  Top speed is almost useless when going on a cross country cruise, as pretty much every single vehicle sold in the US can clear the speed limits by a comfortable margin.  Or uncomfortable, considering traffic, I suppose.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
6/16/22 10:08 a.m.

Did it in a Fiat 500 Abarth, which definitely fit the memorable criteria.  When I do it again next year, comfort is going to be a much higher priority than last time.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/22 10:20 a.m.

I'll report back if a 997 makes a decent cross-country road trip car in a few weeks

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/16/22 10:29 a.m.

I've done cross-country twice. Need to do it again.

Porsche 944: comfortable, cool, not great a/c.

Honda S2000: a little less comfortable, good a/c.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/16/22 10:35 a.m.

For me, it depends on why I'm driving across the country.

Most of my long drives involve mtn biking, so having secure inside space for my bikes is the #1 priority.  Being able to go almost anywhere to ride and not have to think about where to stay is also something I think about. So for me, the ultimate road trip vehicle is a custom camper van.

If it's more of a meandering trip to see the countryside, then a Volvo 1800ES. Interesting and comfortable. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/16/22 10:38 a.m.

My record so far:

77 Maverick- handled like crap, kinda cool, too slow
77 DeVille- handled like crap, more cool, too slow
RV- way too big, you can sleep in it, too slow
Penske Truck- way too big, you can sleep in it, too slow
16 Forester- relatively efficient, not cool, too slow

So it seems like next time I need something faster.  I disagree with alfadriver, depending on your route the ability to cruise at 85mph+ can be very important.

Evanuel9
Evanuel9 Reader
6/16/22 10:46 a.m.

I can't imagine you could go wrong with most any modern sports or GT car. A porsche 911 or a ferrari gt car would probably be awesome. Panamera hybrid would also probably be awesome.

 

I'd love to do it in an MG Midget for the hell of it, but that would be neither fast, nor comfortable. Wonder how a miata would do....

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/16/22 10:51 a.m.

Money no object, probably Bentley Continental GT Speed

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/22 10:52 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

What car sold these days can't cruise at 85mph?  And the amount of road where you can actually do that would shave barely any time off of the route anyway.  There's hardly any space that you can do that for any decent distance- too many other cars already on the road.

Extrapolating from 55 limit cars to modern cars, well....  

We recently did a road trip from MI to NYC in a 1.5l Fusion.  It was just fine at the 70mph cruise ability.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
6/16/22 10:54 a.m.
Evanuel9 said:

I'd love to do it in an MG Midget for the hell of it, but that would be neither fast, nor comfortable. Wonder how a miata would do....

Done a Lemons Rally in a Midget, and have done a near two thousand mile round trip in a NA Miata.  The Midget wasn't that bad, but it probably helped that we were doing a lot of driving off the interstate, and stopping at checkpoints pretty regularly.  The Miata was mostly okay, except for the wind noise.

Puddy46
Puddy46 New Reader
6/16/22 10:55 a.m.

Assuming it's summer driving conditions, I'd go with a Chevy SS. Big American sedan that can fly under the radar.  

If I need to go off the beaten path, or winter may be a factor, I'd look for a Grand Cherokee Overland.  Posh, and can still get you most anywhere.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/16/22 11:04 a.m.
Colin Wood said:

As much as I'd want ultimate speed, I'd place a higher value on comfort and economy.

So I'll pick a Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. wink

Shotgun. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/16/22 11:24 a.m.

My favorite was my post USNavy trip from San Diego to Minneapolis in my MGTD.  
   I drove non stop until I hit an Indian reservation  sometime about midnight.  Threw my sleeping bag on the ground and went to sleep.  
   Sun came up and I rolled my sleeping bag back up and headed back down the road. 
   Second day I followed Route 66 and spent the night in a little cabin aside the Hwy.  got a nice shower and again left early in the morning.  Arrived in Minnetonka about 4:00 in the morning. 
     65mph was my average cruising speed  and I used 2&1/2 quarts of oil plus achieved 22mpg 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/16/22 11:27 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

The Forester for one- 85mph is under 20mpg.  It'll do it but not for long between stops.

This also depends heavily on your route, I've never done a minimum distance, point to point cannonball; there are plenty of places to cruise at high speed for long, LONG stretches if you're not taking the most direct route.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/22 11:33 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Where?  I've driven all of the freeways in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada, and there is enough traffic that you won't spend more than 20 miles over 85. 
 

And the non freeways are not really good enough for extended high speed cruising. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/16/22 11:34 a.m.

Do you (like me) consider making stops on the road as part of a road trip experience? How many stops is the right amount then?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
6/16/22 11:40 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Our experiences of Montana are apparently different, western Texas sticks out as well in my mind.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/16/22 11:42 a.m.

When I'm traveling cross country I'm usually pulling a race car trailer.  If I'm not then I usually want to explore trails that require some ground clearance and/or four wheel drive.  Wherever I'm going I want to be able to cruise at 80 MPH in quiet comfort with HVAC, satellite radio, heated seats and cruise control at my disposal.  This is my current vehicle of choice for cross country trips.

Here in the Southwest there are vast stretches of road where the speed limit is 75 or 80 and you can, in fact, set the cruise control at 85 for hours.  I usually set it at 82 because you're unlikely to get a ticket at that speed.

gearheadE30
gearheadE30 Dork
6/16/22 12:14 p.m.

I drive cross country several times a year. I don't feel that top speed is a big deal, but having some extra power on tap is important to me. 85 mph is not uncommon out west, and extra power makes things like passing and mountain passes (I70 corridor for example) much easier. If you're putting in long hours, I also put a lot of value in great headlights, good on-center steering, and low wind/tire noise. Suspension travel and reasonable ground clearance are a bonus for long haulers; there are some truly horrible roads out there. Perfect for me, right now, with trailer is my GMT800 suburban 2500, without a trailer would probably be my old E34 525iT 5 speed that was super smooth and quiet while still being fun.

I'm usually trying to get where I'm going, so I only stop for the restroom and gas generally.

Cars I've driven from the midwest to the west coast and back in:

  • E30 318is - worked great, but no AC was rough. Boost + 3.73 diff made it great on the highway, 28 mpg. I like small cars.
  • Cummins 5500 Mega Cab long bed, 14,000 enclosed trailer - did the job well and comfy, but slow. Good for 75ish maximum on flat ground and low elevation.
  • 1989 Caprice Classic with a 5 speed and ~375 hp. 16 mpg towing an open trailer with 2 bikes. Lots of wind noise at speed, but very comfy and lots of space. Lots of glass + '80 AC made for some very sweaty sections. This car really highlighted the need for good wipers - driving in the rain, tired, at night isn't great.
  • 2000 Tahoe Limited, lowered. Great with a bike on the hitch hauler, though dodging potholes can be fatiguing. Really highlighted the need for good on-center stability from the steering as I did a few trips before fixing the tramlining properly. Too slow with 6x12 enclosed trailer. 8.5 mpg trying to go 70 most of the time. Planning for hills in the mountains and planning passes is also fatiguing. Getting caught in a blizzard sucked because I had to wait until the snow melted - pushing a bow wave of powder with 2wd and a trailer is sketchy. Gas tank is too small for towing mpg - 180-200 mile range means a lot of time stopped for gas.
  • mid 2000s Express 2500 6.0 - great view of the road with the short hood, whoever tuned the front dampers didn't talk to the guy who did the rears. Ride frequency mismatch is pretty aggravating on long bumpy segmented sections. Not a lot of room for my feet. Stabilitrak re-engages over 20 mph wheel speed, resulting in getting stuck unnecessarily numerous times in sand.
  • 2004 Suburban 2500 8.1 - current road trip rig. 10 mpg towing, about 14 not towing after some tuning. Not great, but better than the Tahoe was since I normally am dragging the trailer. Really highlighted how much good headlights, extra torque so no issue maintaining 80 mph in top gear, lots of suspension travel, fairly low wind noise, and very stable steering make in terms of driver fatigue. This is the only vehicle I have ever been able to comfortably drive from Indy to Vegas in 2 days solo with the trailer. 4wd has saved the day several times in snow storms that I previously would have had to wait out. 37 gallon fuel capacity is great.
  • Bonus round: 2006 KTM 950 Adventure. On a bike, I definitely want extra power on the interstate. Loaded for camping, 80-100 hp feels like the right ballpark since power is such a good escape route at times. Long travel suspension was great for crappy roads, but I would have loved a bit more weather protection. I put up with it on this bike for 100k miles (and still own one) because it is so good off road and I'd rather make that tradeoff. For pounding pavement across the country today, I'd pick a BMW R1250GS or KTM 1290 SAR.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
6/16/22 12:19 p.m.

I was at a car meet in Tahoe once and got a call to head home to Canada for an emergency.  Drove straight through, 14 hours (average speed 65 mph including all refueling etc. stops) and was comfortable when I got out of the car unlike some people that I have seen crawling out of convertibles after that sort of run.

 

My nomination for a great vintage class long distance car: 1971 Jensen Interceptor

 

 

 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/22 12:24 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to alfadriver :

Our experiences of Montana are apparently different, western Texas sticks out as well in my mind.

The roads themselves may be fine for speed, I just see it interrupted enough to not be worth it. There are more than enough trucks 5 mph below the posted limit that the ones just over pass enough to make high speed more of a pain than a gain. 
 

One other thing I've noticed is that the less passing one does allows you to enjoy the trip a lot more.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/22 12:28 p.m.

Earplugs make a big difference to driver fatigue in the more, umm, interesting cars. I've done 2000+ mile trips in a classic Mini, a 1967 Land Rover (55 mph using the hand throttle as cruise control), several modified Miatas, the Big Dodge Truck (a very good mile eater) and a few other, more forgettable cars.

If I wanted to be comfortable and rested when I got where I was going, I'd drive an EV. Second choice would be the E39 M5, which shares a lot of the same characteristics.
If I wanted the trip to be memorable for the cool factor and still good on the interstates, I'd drive the '66 Deville Hardtop.
If I was hunting awesome roads, I'd grab an LS3-powered ND Miata.

kevinatfms
kevinatfms GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/16/22 12:54 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

As much as I'd want ultimate speed, I'd place a higher value on comfort and economy.

So I'll pick a Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. wink

TIL about the Taycan Sport Turismo....that is a crazy looking wagon.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
6/16/22 12:57 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

For vintage my Volvo 142E was great. I flew to Reno to pick it up and wasn't the least bit tired when I got to Vegas (it was a 420 mile trip).

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
6/16/22 1:07 p.m.

For me personally I need want good A/C, comfortable seats, reliable and fun to drive cause I am going to take lots of detours and get off the interstate a lot. If we are talking a reasonable budget of cars I could actually afford, it would depend on who was with me.

Just me, ND Miata with a Flyin Miata Hush-O-Matic exhaust.

Just me and my wife, a hot hatch with a DSG /DCT probably GTi. DSG so my wife could drive some

My wife, me and the kid, I am not really sure. It would have to be bigger then a GTi. Maybe Kia Stinger GT?

 

If budget is no option

Just me, Aston Martin Vantage

Just me and the wife, Aston Martin DB11

All of us, Maserati Quarttroporte GTS>

madmrak351
madmrak351 Reader
6/16/22 1:31 p.m.

No big time crush: the motor home with enclosed trailer. Trailer contents 2 bicycles, a kayak and a motorcycle. Did that trip 2 years ago with my wife and the 2 dogs. SE Georgia to Colorado and back Great Trip. Currently fuel prices make a repeat unlikely. In a hurry: I would take a 228i, to me a reasonable compromise of comfort, economy and fun. If I was on someone else’s credit card maybe an AMG sedan of some sort. Regardless of what I drove there would be extra time spent out west. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/16/22 3:01 p.m.

All this talk is making me realize I need to make a road trip happen soon.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/16/22 4:40 p.m.

With a Taycan, charging locations need to be planned in advance.  I think the Chevy SS choice would be awesome.  My wife's new Tahoe would be good too, but expensive on fuel.  I'm about to do a longer drive in it to get another car.  Big sedans would be most comfortable.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/16/22 4:46 p.m.

2022 Genesis G80 3.5T Sport Sedan Exterior Shown

Fully optioned G80 3.5T with all the doo-dads including active noise canceling. Speed, power, comfort, handling and ammenities. 

sfisher71
sfisher71 New Reader
6/16/22 4:52 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

I owned a '51 TD that had been previously owned, twice, by the same guy, named Lou. He bought it in 1954, sold it in '55, then bought it back in 1960 and kept it till he turned 83 and said it was too hard to get in and out of the suicide doors. Lou sold it to his friend Jackie, who sold it a few years later to me.

I entered it at the Forest Grove Concours outside of Portland, Oregon, the first year I had it. Mid-afternoon, Jackie -- the guy I bought it from -- walked up with Lou, the longtime owner. Lou spent about 45 minutes telling me all about his time with the car, but ended with the story about a road trip he and his buddy made, from Portland down the Pacific Coast to San Francisco, camping all the way. "We put our sleeping bags behind the seats and stopped whenever we got tired." Lou and Jackie went on their way, leaving me to wish I'd recorded his stories.

About 15 minutes later, another guy in his 80s walks up, looks at the TD, and says, "I KNOW this car! My buddy and I took it on a road trip from Portland to San Francisco about sixty years ago. We put our sleeping bags in the back and camped whenever we got tires."

"You just missed him," I said, and pointed in the direction Lou and Jackie had gone. "He passed through here about 15 minutes ago, going that way. You might be able to catch him."

For a long time, in the collector (or just plain old) car hobby, it used to be common to see ads with the words "No stories" included in the text.

Stories like this one are the best part of messing about with old cars. 

sfisher71
sfisher71 New Reader
6/16/22 4:56 p.m.

I'm planning my next road trip, to Monterey for Car Week. My lovely and talented and oh-so-fashionable wife will be joining me. 

What are we driving?

Same car we took last year. Yes, it really IS Always The Answer.

But this year we'll try out the fitted luggage.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/16/22 5:53 p.m.

5 times across in my Cayman. It's magnificent.

Don49 (Forum Supporter)
Don49 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/16/22 6:21 p.m.

I've done it in a Honda S600 and a full length school bus. The Honda was a lot more fun. 

Dogboy
Dogboy New Reader
6/16/22 7:45 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I borrowed an E39 M5 for a trip from Reno to the San Francisco and back.

Great car, plus it had a built in Valentine One with a display in the dash.

Saved me a ticket on the way down.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/16/22 8:26 p.m.

I basically built my Porsche 924S for a cross-country trip (eventually, when I have time and gas isn't $5/gallon). Why?

- Driving a modern car on a long road trip is pleasant, but not really an adventure. You pretty much know there won't be any drama, which makes it less fun.  Plus, in a modern car the driving part of the trip is not a story - only the places you go. An old car becomes part of the story and the memory. 

- Gets near 30mpg highway cruising and in the mid-20s overall

- Handling is excellent for the twisty fun roads with grip for days

- Has enough torque to deal with mountains

- Very good ride for a classic car, especially on highways

- Makes decent noises, but very little wind noise, and I insulated the floor well when I put new carpet in. 

- Gigantic sunroof is totally removable (and fits in the hatchback) for when I want to pretend to be a targa.

- Cavernous hatchback with room for plenty of gear. The side compartments near the back can fit at least four one-gallon jugs (oil, water, etc.) and other stuff.  I don't think a roof rack would be necessary (as @briansquestionabledecisions on Instagram needs for his cross-country Ferrari). Also fits a full-size spare in the OEM spare well (originally used for a collapsible spare). With the seats tilted forward, there's actually close to 6 feet of flat area that could be used to sleep, if I really wanted to (pass on that, I'm too old to sleep in a sportscar...).

- Reasonably reliable, as classic cars go.

- Can fit small all-terrain tires if I decided to go that route so as to be better able to explore. 

I removed the rear seats (haha, the ones for people with no legs) and replaced them with a lockable storage compartment to keep things out of sight (and/or spare parts, tools, etc), which is actually quite large. These cars have far more space than you'd expect for something that is essentially the same dimensions as an NC Miata.  I'd put a skidplate under the engine and transaxle. It has Boxster seats, which are better than the OEM ones and pretty comfortable for long distances.  Also replaced the center dash speaker with a Chinese tablet so I can run navigation, etc. 

There's actually a guy (goes by "edredas" on social media) who is a 924/944 dude and has done a number of XC trips in his 924S with very few issues and seems to have a blast doing it.  And there's a guy who has done trips across Africa and Europe in his, usually off the paved roads, and has found it very capable on the rough stuff as well (though I do hate the term "Safari" applied to cars...)

 

--

 

Alternately, I'd do it in a 4x4 (assuming gas prices were really low) so I'd be able to easily car-camp and go well off the beaten path. It would be dull for the long empty highways, but maybe the adventure aspect would make up for it. I think ideally for that I'd go with a 4th-generation V6 4Runner, which is a good mix of reliability, offroad capability, on-road manners, and not too huge. Would be cool to do it in my Raider or another vintage 4x4 but man...old 4x4s really suck on long highway hauls across the Dakotas or whatever....

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/16/22 8:29 p.m.

Trips over 2000 miles? Suburban. 

Hands down the best way to eat up the miles. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/16/22 8:49 p.m.

In reply to sfisher71 :

I've traveled across country more times than I can count.  Just guessing but at least 100.  The ones that meant the least were the easy ones. Cruise control on, freeway driving. Stories on the tape deck or CDPlayer.  
     The adventures were fun.  No A/C, breakdowns, or massive tickets never relieved. Helped people with troubles or went out of my way for a hitch hiker.  
     The broke down Dodge, with a not quite all there lady and her children.  She was convinced her car blew up but all it was is a loose hose.   Plenty of other work needed including an oil change, low trans fluid, low diff fluid,  plugs needed cleaning. Points reset,  and a full tank of fuel.   I bought her and the kids some food and gave her enough cash to get where she was going. Took most of the day. But felt good as she drove off.  
     
  

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
6/16/22 9:10 p.m.

A coworker's father travelled from Pasadena to Detroit in an Autobianchi. He's 6ft tall.......it must have been quite the adventure.

STM317
STM317 PowerDork
6/16/22 9:14 p.m.

AMG wagon for under the radar cruising and room to sprawl

Mercedes-Benz E-Class, AMG E63 S Estates Recalled As Rear Spoiler Could Fly  Away | Carscoops

Vanquish Volante if you want to be more conspicuous

One-off Aston Martin Vanquish Volante AM37 Edition by Q can be yours...

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/16/22 9:19 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

I've done them in uncomfortable hot noisy cars/trucks. I like being able to hold a conversation with my co-driver for hours on end and not being horse trying to yell at each other. Bringing the c10 home from Tucson was definab adventure with plenty of stories from along the way. And it was also extremely tiring and stressful. I'm past the point in my life where I feel I have to prove something about how I travel or how tough I am. I want comfort, convenient and quiet. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/16/22 9:19 p.m.
Toyman! said:

Trips over 2000 miles? Suburban. 

Hands down the best way to eat up the miles. 

Yeah, but when you get there you're stuck in a Suburban ;)

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/16/22 9:20 p.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

You're not wrong. A crew cab short bed truck is almost as good. Set the cruise at 80 and fill up for gas every 500 miles. But our fuel tank is only 26 gallons and not the 36 of the 'burb. 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
6/17/22 6:15 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Rather that than a sports car ot sedan. The urban is classy enough for the fanciest restaurant and still capable of wandering off the beaten path. 

There is a reason you see so many on the road compared to everything else that has been posted in here. 

Bob, a full size truck would be second on the list.

I don't recommend a 56 Ford bus.

Masterdebator
Masterdebator New Reader
6/17/22 6:53 a.m.

E39 M5

 

/thread

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/17/22 8:08 a.m.

In reply to Toyman! :

I don't recommend a 78 C10 with the SM465 and 4.10's.

KyAllroad
KyAllroad MegaDork
6/17/22 8:18 a.m.

I've done a lot of long drives but only a couple that I'll consider "cross country".  In January of this year I drove from KY to Las Vegas to deliver my son's Miata to him.  The comfort wasn't bad, the level of noise was a bit higher than we loved, but the big problem was gearing.  The poor car was turning 4,000 rpm at 78 mph and while I know intellectually that the car can do more without damaging itself it just didn't feel good.  So for superslab driving I want something with longer legs that can "relax" at 85 mph.  

I drove my brothers 2012 T&C minivan out to Colorado a couple years ago and while it was roomy and quiet, the transmission simply WOULD NOT stay in 6th gear while climbing any sort of hill.  So again, a bit more power and better transmission tuning would have made the trip a lot more comfortable.

Of my fleet I've done long drives in the Suburban 2500 and the VR6 Passat.  The burb is fine and capable, the Passat is much better.  Cars built for the autobahn are just more comfortable for covering mega-distance,

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/17/22 9:07 a.m.

Hellcat Charger. It's a big sedan with plenty of room to pack stuff, it's got enough power to make things interesting, if something breaks there are Dodge dealerships everywhere that can service it.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/17/22 9:13 a.m.
KyAllroad said:

So for superslab driving I want something with longer legs that can "relax" at 85 mph. 

That's one of the reasons I like DD#2's plebeian 2006 Impala.  At 70 mph it's ticking over at a casual 1800 rpm.

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
6/17/22 9:15 a.m.

In reply to Duke :

That's our Crew Cab Sierra. 80mph is 2k rpm on the little 4.8 that redines at 5700

NickD
NickD MegaDork
6/17/22 9:22 a.m.
Duke said:
KyAllroad said:

So for superslab driving I want something with longer legs that can "relax" at 85 mph. 

That's one of the reasons I like DD#2's plebeian 2006 Impala.  At 70 mph it's ticking over at a casual 1800 rpm.

You oughta try one of the '12-'13 Impalas, the last year of the W-body but with the 300+hp 3.6L and a 6-speed auto. They're freakishly fast for what they are and cruise at high speeds like it's nothing. I remember when they were new, any time techs were sent to Buffalo or NYC for training, they would grab one of them off the lot and then do 90-95 the whole trip, and nobody would even look twice at them.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/17/22 9:36 a.m.
Duke said:

Road trip?  Something big, quiet, powerful, decent handling but not at a major compromise for comfort.  That Caddy would be ideal.  If you really want, one of the sportier GT cars.  Audi S5?

Audi S6, IMHO.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/17/22 9:53 a.m.

Tesla Cybertruck with a small pull trailer for my generator and bbq grill.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
6/17/22 10:14 a.m.

Out of the cars I've owned, my '88 626 Turbo would easily be my pick.  Boost to deal with higher elevations, excellent seats, mid-30's on the highway with the A/C off (and the A/C was decent).

I always figured the first generation Acura Legend Coupe would be a good distance cruiser (it seems pretty perfect for anything, really).  Also an E46 BMW with either a sunroof or convertible.

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/17/22 10:37 a.m.

I'm in the middle of a cross country road trip at the moment. I'll comment on the suitability of my chosen vehicle once I'm done.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/17/22 11:02 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Earplugs make a big difference to driver fatigue in the more, umm, interesting cars. I've done 2000+ mile trips in a classic Mini, a 1967 Land Rover (55 mph using the hand throttle as cruise control), several modified Miatas, the Big Dodge Truck (a very good mile eater) and a few other, more forgettable cars.

If I wanted to be comfortable and rested when I got where I was going, I'd drive an EV. Second choice would be the E39 M5, which shares a lot of the same characteristics.
If I wanted the trip to be memorable for the cool factor and still good on the interstates, I'd drive the '66 Deville Hardtop.
If I was hunting awesome roads, I'd grab an LS3-powered ND Miata.

To expand on these choices:

The EV (specifically the Model 3 in my case, but probably any modern long range EV) and the E39 M5 are both quiet and refined. And the cruise control is so smooth as to be imperceptible because both have ridiculous amounts of torque available. The M5 is like a small plane, built to eat continents and it struck me immediately how much the Model 3 feels the same. Need to cross the desert? No worries.

Want to hold your head up at Bonneville?

The Deville will cruise at 75 happily with that low frequency Cadillac ride, but it feels like you're really moving. Fingertip controls, all the visibility in the world and everyone loves an old Cadillac. It would make the trip into an event, and you'd be taking pictures of the car in front of things all the way. Vegas, baby.

The LS3 powered Miata will get remarkably good fuel economy with the engine kinda burbling away in the background, but is huge fun when you get to open it up or if you encounter a good road. It'll have you seeking out the back roads. I once drove one from Monterey back to Colorado via some of the craziest mountain roads I've ever seen.

The Big Dodge Diesel Truck has similar attributes to Toyman's Suburban choice, just a little more whiff of "oilfield worker" and less of "soccer mom". Big high sightlines, a big engine grumbling away in the background, world-class AC, a commanding presence and if you hang a few tons off the rear bumper, quite a good ride. But other than the ride height, the EV/M5 combo has it beat for overall serenity. Now, if you're carrying a bunch of kids, you may want that interior space for interior balkanization :) The Tahoe/Suburban/Denali is the modern version of a GM station wagon.

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
6/17/22 11:09 a.m.

My 99 Intrepid.

The car absolutely EATS highway time, it averages 33mpg (7L/100kms) at about 75mph (120km/h) is comfortable, minimal road noise in cabin, fly's under the radar and easy to drive with a huge trunk space for general spares/fluids/tools and luggage, all while having been modified enough to be enjoyable in some more 'spirited' roads with choice parts in the suspension/brakes department. 

And space for 4 full size adults with ease. Almost every time I have taken passengers they fall asleep during the trip. 

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
6/17/22 12:28 p.m.

I'd happily take the E38 on a cross-country run.  Not quite as much power or as sharp handling as an E39 M5, but more space for stuff, a little more comfortable, still quite capable in the handling department and good at cruising fast.  Gets a bit better mpg than the M5 as well and has a bigger fuel tank.  

Oddly, I don't find the BMW cruise control all that smooth.  It's worse than the vacuum servo cruise in the Jeep IMO.  The BMW cruise tries to regulate speed too tightly, so it can be a bit too aggressive with the throttle, especially if you change the set speed.  But it's got plenty of torque, as I've never seen it drop out of top gear.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/17/22 12:59 p.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

The super-smooth cruise may be an M5 thing, as it's got all those drive-by-wire throttle bodies. I don't know about the E38. I think it's also because the engine never has to strain to maintain speed. I'm just never aware it's doing anything, which is the best thing you can say about cruise control.

The M5 tank has more range than my bladder does, so that's not a limiting factor. Fuel economy is not an M5 high point, that's for sure, but the tank is big enough for 450+ miles. An E38 would be a good highway cruiser, though.

GTwannaB
GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/17/22 9:52 p.m.

I think A5/S5 convertible would my choice. GT cruiser that can drop the top. 

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
6/18/22 8:57 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

In reply to rslifkin :

The super-smooth cruise may be an M5 thing, as it's got all those drive-by-wire throttle bodies. I don't know about the E38. I think it's also because the engine never has to strain to maintain speed. I'm just never aware it's doing anything, which is the best thing you can say about cruise control.

The M5 tank has more range than my bladder does, so that's not a limiting factor. Fuel economy is not an M5 high point, that's for sure, but the tank is big enough for 450+ miles. An E38 would be a good highway cruiser, though.

My E38 is an 01, so it's also electronic throttle body, etc.  The cruise is pretty good if you just leave it alone, but if you hit the speed up or slow down buttons, it tries to do it "right now".  So slow down is often "cut throttle, oh crap slowed down too much, throttle hard, then back off and maintain".  I figure it's just excessive German precision. 

Mileage-wise, it sounds like I don't get much further on a tank.  I generally figure ~480 miles to be comfortable before refueling with the sport package gearing (figure 24 - 25 mpg at 75, car turns 2200 rpm at 70).  A non sport pack car or one with the bigger V12 fuel tank swapped in will go further (V12 cars should have similar range to mine, only slightly worse mileage and a slightly bigger tank). 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/18/22 1:09 p.m.

Teh R can go 510-530mi on a 17gal tank, and cruise RPM is irrelevant because between the small engine, turbo, converter, mufflers, and Swedish interior quality, you cannot hear the engine.  I think it is about 2200-2400 at normal speeds?  Not that it matters, it may as well be electric.

The cruise control is maddening if you use it like me and use it as a kind of minimum speed and accelerate over that manually. 10 seconds of that and it shuts the cruise off.  Solution: Don't use it, just drive the dang car smiley

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/18/22 2:18 p.m.

I don't spend a lot of time messing with cruise settings. If I can't proceed at my set cruise speed, I don't use the cruise :) So for me it's set and forget. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
6/18/22 5:10 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Man, the one time I rented a car with adaptive cruise (2017 Prius) that I know of, I loved it.  Long trip around NYC to west of Philadelphia was a lot nicer having it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/18/22 5:28 p.m.

Oh, adaptive cruise is a different animal. You do get more speed variation and acceleration/deceleration as you work through traffic, but after using it normal cruise seems so crude. Why does my car want to ram the one in front?

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/18/22 9:48 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Regular fixed speed cruise control is next to useless. If there are 3 cars on any given mile of road I guarantee you will wind up pinned behind one car that is going 1 mph slower than your set point while the other car sits off your quarter panel going 1 mph faster than your set point.

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/18/22 10:03 p.m.
Duke said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Regular fixed speed cruise control is next to useless. If there are 3 cars on any given mile of road I guarantee you will wind up pinned behind one car that is going 1 mph slower than your set point while the other car sits off your quarter panel going 1 mph faster than your set point.

 

At least they are PASSING.

I blame adaptive cruise control for the supreme shiny happy person maneuver of speeding up to someone and then... just sitting there, blinding you with their headlights.

Me: Car coming up behind, as soon as they pass I'll pull out to pass this slow guy in front of me

Car behind: *zooms up then locks into formation*

Me: WTF?  pass already

Car behind: *headlight glare*

Me:  OK i'd pull out to pass if I could see anything in my mirrors that wasn't headlight glare

Car behind: *durrrrrr there is no intelligent life here, i am a zombie*

Me: Berk you, i am going to slow down until you pass so I don't have your HID LED TLA BS lighting up the inside of my car

Car behind: Is okay doing 45 in a 70, changing lanes is scary

te72
te72 Reader
6/19/22 2:22 a.m.

Apparently nobody in here has driven a Lexus LS on a roadtrip. Never thought I would ever appreciate a 4-door car (drove an old Cavalier for the first 5 years of driving) and never had any interest in them. Bought a beater of an old LS400, because I knew the suspension and drivetrain were surprisingly good, and I had a project in mind. Never realized the whole car was that good...

 

Seriously, might be my favorite car overall. Comfortable, quiet, efficient, fantastic stereo, powerful, and yet... someone put a sport sedan in this thing. Not even kidding, throw a set of sticky tires on these things, and they handle surprisingly well. Transitional handling isn't Miata quick, but it weighs  nearly twice as much.

 

My only nitpick would be that I wish it had a faster shifting transmission, or a manual.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/22 9:44 a.m.

Can confirm E38 is a destroyer of miles. There are days when I wish I had kept my 98 740iL.

Toward the other end of the girth spectrum, 2nd gen Probe GT was also a capable road-tripper. Good seats, good enough power, hatchback luggage capacity. 

 

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
6/19/22 11:14 a.m.

Lexus ES350 F-Sport. Rented one while in Florida on Turo for a day trip and fantastic mile eater I will say. Very comfortable car, good sound system, solid planting at highway speeds (75-80), ice cold ac in Florida sun and good on gas (I averaged 30mpg.). That was one car I didn't want to give back.

Turbine
Turbine GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/19/22 12:58 p.m.

If gas money was provided, I'd choose an Audi S8, either a 6mt swapped D2, or a new 2022. Otherwise, probably an A6 TDI

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
6/19/22 1:46 p.m.

Under the heading of "I never travel with more than I need" I have found the frs to be the perfect mile eater.

Sturmchase
Sturmchase
6/19/22 2:13 p.m.

Just did a couple 4-hour trips in my C8 Corvette last week.  It's the most comfortable sports car I've ever owned, at any speed (and I varied mine a lot) and it averaged 28 mpg.  I wouldn't hesitate to take it cross-country.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/22 3:58 p.m.

Comfort is key.  You are going to be sitting there for 12+ hours a day.  Whatever has a driving position for you that does not leave you with weird cramps or twinge.

A late 60s/early 70s Ford is perfect for my structure, others find it maddening.  Sort of a semi upright fetal position with the steering wheel in your lap.

wawazat
wawazat SuperDork
6/19/22 4:06 p.m.
Toyman! said:

Trips over 2000 miles? Suburban. 

Hands down the best way to eat up the miles. 

Agreed.  Long wheelbase, body on frame, V8 with OD make for easy long days behind the wheel.  

te72
te72 Reader
6/19/22 4:45 p.m.
NOHOME said:

Under the heading of "I never travel with more than I need" I have found the frs to be the perfect mile eater.

These are surprisingly good for longer trips too. Fantastic seats, adequate power, great mpg, reasonably quiet...

 

Another one of my favorites was my first Supra. Basically any Supra with a quiet exhaust (think, stock or one of the quieter HKS variants) and a decent stereo makes for a phenomenal road tripper. I've put tens of thousands of miles on Supras over the years, between the Mk2, Mk3's, and Mk4 over the years, and when they're well sorted (or just "boring" stock) they're great for eating up the miles or chasing down some back roads.

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