Six Best Road Trip Cars for 2008

Sam Smith
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#Volvo, #S80

BEST FUEL ECONOMY: Toyota Corolla/Honda Civic Hybrid (tie)

Contrary to what you'd think, road-trip fuel economy isn't just about the numbers. It's also about the compromises that you make. If you go strictly by EPA ratings, then the Toyota Prius's 48-mpg highway rating wins the day. But not so fast--as pump-thrifty as the Prius is, more than a few hours behind its wheel will have any sane enthusiast screaming for mercy. The Toyota's floaty suspension, numb steering, tiny rear seat, and strung-out highway manners leave us wanting. With that in mind, we suggest two alternatives: the Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Civic Hybrid. Their EPA highway ratings (37 and 45 mpg, respectively) rival that of the Prius, but they're both much nicer to drive. The Corolla is a little less strained at high speed than the Civic is, which helps make up for its lower highway fuel economy. Tie.

Runner-up: Toyota's Camry Hybrid, for its combination of spacious interior, couch-comfy seats, and 34-mpg highway thirst.

BEST TO SLEEP IN WHILE MOVING: Lexus LS460L/LS600hL

What good is a road trip without a co-driver? And what good is a co-driver if they don't drive while you sleep? In long-wheelbase form, Lexus's LS luxury sedan trumps all road-snooze comers, and it turns every highway into a one-way road to Dreamsville. Sure, the Lexus's back seat offers up seemingly endless legroom, but that's not the cake-topper. What sells us is the LS's optional reclining rear seats--yes, you read that right--extendable rear footrests, and tomb-quiet interior. All four seats are comfortable for days, but the reclining rears are a gift from God. Couple them with the LS's famously serene interior, and you have a recipe for miles and miles of snooze.

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