The second article in our road trips series this week is all about the cars you should be driving. We've capped our budget at £10,000 and trawled through our classifieds to bring you the best used cars to take on those summer road trips.
What you can find below:
- Best Convertibles
- Most Comfortable Cars
- Most Spacious Cars
- Best People Carriers
- Most Eonomical Cars
- Best Off-Roaders
- Most stylish Cars
That wind-in-your-hair feeling is very difficult to beat. Here are our best three for under £10,000:
1. Mazda MX-5
A predictable choice, simply because it is the undisputed king of the roadsters. There are few cars as fun to drive as the MX-5, and the used ones offer hard-to-beat value in terms of smiles per £.
You can pick up good Mk2 examples from as little as £2,500, but the Mk3 offers a giant step up in interior quality, ride comfort and performance - so that's the one to go for.
Search Used Mazda MX-5
2. Volkswagen Eos
VW's lesser known convertible makes it into the list thanks to its genuine four-seat capability. You and three friends can comfortably enjoy cruising down to your favourite beach while enjoying the sunshine.
There are plenty of diesel models available under £10,000 which will provide great fuel economy - especially on motorway stints.
Search used Volkswagen Eos
3. BMW 3 Series Convertible
The definitive 4-seat convertible also makes the cut. Few four-seater convertibles can match the handling prowess of the BMW 3 Series.
Along with a luxurious interior and great driving position, the 3 Series makes a great car in which to cruise down motorways and enjoy the B-roads. Choose between automatic and manual models, whichever you prefer.
Search used BMW 3 Series
Most Comfortable Cars
Some people may want a more relaxing road trip, and we recognise that, so we've come up with three cars that will get you to your destintation in complete comfort:
1. Jaguar X-Type
You can get plenty of X-Types for under £10k, including 2008 and even 2009 models, with frugal diesel engines and prestige styling.
They're very comfortable, you'll enjoy the soft leather seats and glorious ride quality as you eat up the miles with ease. If you go on a long journey and share the driving, you'll get a great nap before hitting the wheel again.
Search used Jaguar X-Type
2. Volkswagen Passat
The VW Passat is a practical, affordable and (most of all) comfortable family hatchback. They're well equipped and have very supportive seats that ensure you won't get back ache driving down the motorway. The diesel engines are very economical and they feel solidly built.
There's plenty of 2010 highline models in our classifieds under £10,000, and those particular models offer things like full leather and climate control as standard.
Search used Volkswagen Passat
3. Lexus IS
Lexus vehicles are known around the world for their refinement - it's well and truly legendary. There aren't many cars that match the feeling of driving a Lexus, it's a feeling of pure satisfaction.
The 2009 diesel 220d models are just sneaking in under £10k nowadays, and 08 plates are available under £9k - stunning value for what is quite possibly the most refined car featured in this entire list.
Search used Lexus IS
Most Spacious Cars
If you're venturing on a long journey, of course you will naturally want to bring more luggage etc. Here are 3 excellent load luggers for under £10,000:
1. Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
Similar to the Mondeo estate in many ways, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer just pips it for boot space - boasting an impressive 540 litres.
Another way in which the Insignia has the edge, is due to how comfortable and plush it is. The engines are strong and frugal, too. It's a favourite amongst company car drivers for all these reasons.
Search used Vauxhall Insignia
2. Citroen Berlingo Multispace
It might not be the most stylish car in the world, or the best vehicle in which to enjoy the B-Roads, but boy can it carry a lot of stuff. If you want to bring the kitchen sink, then you'll need a Berlingo.
It has a giant 675 litre boot, so there's plenty of room for every single item on the top 40 essential items you need to take with you, and a few extras as well. There are plenty of low mileage 2011 models for around £8-9k in our used car pages, so bag yourself a bargain and pack up all your summer gear!
Search used Citroen Berlingo
3. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento has a huge 900 litre boot, without even dropping the rear seats. That's why you should take it on your road trip. I'd struggle to think of something that would fill that amount of space!
Add to that strong diesel engines and high levels of specification with each example, and the fact a low mileage 2008 example will cost you under £10,000, and you really are onto a winner. Not an obvious choice at first, but definitely worthwhile considering.
Search used Kia Sorento
Best People Carriers
Cars that can carry up to seven people are invaluable if you have lots of friends or a big family. Be sure to bring everyone along with our top 3 used people carriers for under £10,000:
1. Vauxhall Zafira
Road trips can be made more fun by taking as many people as possible. Quite possibly the king of all 7-seaters is the Vauxhall Zafira, which is renowned for its space and flexible 7-seat system.
The best thing about the Zafira is the stunning value it now offers buyers looking for a used car. 2013/13 plate models can be had for under £10,000 - all of which come with air conditioning. They've been around for a while and are still very popular with new car buyers too.
Search used Vauxhall Zafira
2. Ford S-Max
Probably the best-driving 7-seat vehicle ever made, the Ford S-Max has masses amount of space, a plush interior and great specification. The 2.0 TDCi and 2.2 TDCi diesel engines are strong, powerful and yet economical enough to manage 47mpg on the combined cycle.
They're renowned for their car-like handling and their practicality levels are fantastic. A solid 7-seat choice.
Search Used Ford S Max
3. Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
The C4 Grand Picasso was recently replaced by a new, space age model, but the previous model still has plenty of virtues. It built on the huge success of the Xsara Picasso, which sold in the millions thanks to its combination of interior space and passenger safety.
The C4 Picasso has a 5-Star NCAP safety rating, thanks to its front airbags, driver's knee airbag, side body airbags and side head airbags, with later models adding curtain airbags too.
Search Used Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
Most Economical Cars
The fuel economy of your mode of transport can play a big factor in your overall budget for the trip. Spend your money on things other than fuel by taking one of these fuel-sipping motors:
1. Ford Fiesta ECOnetic
If fuel efficiency is a key priority, then the ECOnetic range of Fiesta's is perfect for your road trip. It manages a gigantic 85mpg on the combined cycle, meaning a theoretical range of 748 miles on one tank of fuel.
The Fiesta has plenty of other virtues as well, as it is probably the best handling car in its class. It has a decent boot and in Titanium spec (plenty under £10k), it comes with cruise control, enabling you to sit back and relax.
Search used Ford Fiesta
2. Seat Ibiza Estate
You might consider this a more practical option to the Ford Fiesta, and based on a VW polo platform, the Ibiza has plenty of good stuff under its skin.
This includes the tiny fuel-sipping 1.2-litre diesel engine in the Ecomotive models that manages 80.7mpg on the combined cycle. This means a theoretical range of 798 miles - slightly higher than the Fiesta thanks to a larger fuel tank.
Because it is an estate however, it offers fantastic boot space - 410 litres in fact. A sensible, practical and economical choice for your road trip this summer.
Search used Seat Ibiza
3. Mini Cooper D
The Mini is a popular car thanks to its brilliant driveability and funky retro looks. It also has a practical side, thanks to the great fuel economy (diesel).
It manages 74.3mpg on the combined cycle, and is refined and enjoyable to drive long distances thanks to exceptional build quality. There's plenty of 2010 or even 2011 models in our classifieds, all with low mileage and good service history - most buyers chose to take out TLC service packages when they purchased them from new.
Search used MINI Hatchback
If you're planning a trip on the rough stuff, then you'll need a 4x4. Here are the best used ones under £10,000:
1. Land Rover Freelander
Let's face it, if you want to go off road - you'll be better off in a Land Rover. The Freelander is the most affordable of that range and it may surprise you to know that you can get good, average mileage 2007/2008 examples of the Land Rover Freelander for under £10,000.
They're very capable vehicles both on and off road and they're practical too - the boot is a massive 755 litres. Should you want to tow anything, a caravan or boat for example, it has a towing capacity of 2000kg.
Search used Land Rover Freelander
2. Ford Kuga
Released in 2007, the Ford Kuga is truly an excellent car, both on and off the road. The features a lovely, plush interior and fantastic specification.
It used Ford's tried, tested and trusted 2.0-litre Duratorq 140PS (or 163PS) diesel engine for power, and is available in either 2 or 4-wheel-drive format. It handles well and offers a decent enough 360 litre boot. Interestingly, the 4X4 Kuga can tow 2100kg - 100kg more than the Land Rover Freelander.
Search used Kia Sportage
3. Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage became popular thanks to its excellent value for money, practicality and overall equipment levels compared with rival products. It was one of the models that took Kia further upmarket, because of its massively improved refinement, comfort and interior quality levels of the first-generation Sportage.
It has a spacious 667 litre boot, so there's plenty of room for all of your road trip gubbins. There's plenty of used examples available, with plenty of 2009 and even 2010 models to choose from, priced well below the £10k budget.
Search used Kia Sportage
Most Stylish Cars
If you're going somewhere special, meeting friends, or you just want to be noticed, sometimes it's good to arrive in something that says 'look at me!'
We've chosen three of the most noticeable cars we could find in our used car pages for less than £10,000:
1. Citroen DS3
The Citroen DS3 is one of the most stylish cars to be released in the past four years. It was Top Gear's Car of the Year 2010 because of its desirability, driveability and stunning looks.
Used values are creeping under £10,000 now for 2010 or 2011 cars with average mileage, so they're really affordable for the style-conscious buyer. Diesels achieve extraordinary amounts of MPG, and the petrol ones are just plain fun. The yellow one we've chosen is the most outlandish one we could find and it still looks fantastic to our eyes.
Search used Citroen DS3
2. BMW 1 Series
Whether it's to the beach or a restaurant, a hotel or a shopping centre, arriving in a BMW is cool. The 1 series is a great value BMW, with plenty of good specification, low mileage examples for well under our £10k budget.
The white 3 door Sport we've chosen here is especially good-looking, but if you can find an M-Sport model you're in for a real visual treat. The M-Sport has more pronounced front and rear bumpers, as well as upgraded alloy wheels.
Diesel models at this price will be older or have higher mileage - so stick to the excellent petrol variants for the ultimate look-at-me impact.
Search used BMW 1 Series
3. Renault Megane
Perhaps a bit of an oddball choice, but the stylish Renault Megane Coupe is a real head turner. They're more expensive than their 5-door counterparts, but they're so much better looking.
For under £10,000 you can your pick of several diesel models, which return a fantastic 68.9mpg on the combined cycle.
The I-Music trim level we've chosen comes with fantastic 17" 'Sari' alloy wheels, which look great, and an upgraded iPod/MP3 compatible stereo, which sounds great.
Search used Renault Megane
So there you have it. Our comprehensive guide to the best cars for whatever type of Road trip you're planning this summer. If you have a suggestion for another car we haven't included, get in touch at @evanshalshawuk
on twitter and let us know!
Above all though, wherever you're heading, and whatever you're doing, remember to enjoy your trip, take loads of photos and #DriveSafe
NOW READ…Road Trips: What to take and Top Tips