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Road trips are a fun and exciting way to explore different parts of a country or even entire continents, and if you're planning to take your own car on a long journey it's important you have the right one for the job.

It's always nice to be able to lower the roof on a road trip, so convertibles can be a good option, but it may be that you prefer to have more space or comfort for what's bound to be lots of hours behind the wheel.

We've capped our budget at £10,000 and looked through our 15,000 used cars to bring you the best used cars to take on summer road trips.

Mazda MX-5 (third generation)

The Mazda MX-5 has proven itself as the king of the two-seat roadsters over the years, and over one million examples have been sold since its introduction over 25 years ago.

The traits that make it so popular are also what make it a great car for road trips. Mechanicals that are simple and reliable, a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and of course the ability to lower the roof will all contribute to an enjoyable road trip.

Fuel economy isn't too bad at all, so your road trip in a sporty two-seater needn't cost the earth. Whether you opt for the 2.0 or 1.8-litre, mpg will be just under 40.

You may be surprised to learn that the boot is of a reasonable size too, more than enough room for a weekend away and possibly even longer, depending on how lightly you travel.

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mazda mx 5

BMW 1 Series Convertible

The second convertible in this list is the super-stylish BMW 1 Series, of which you can find plenty of examples under £10,000.

It has a couple of obvious advantages over the MX-5, besides the desirable BMW badge.

Firstly, the rear seats give you the chance to bring two extra people along with you, and while rear leg room is tight, it's fine for children. If there's just two of you, the rear seats can double up as extra storage space.

Another advantage is the choice of engines. There are both sporty petrol and economical diesels available on the used market, and choosing a diesel will mean fewer trips to the pumps. You'll find plenty of manual and automatic versions, too.

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bmw 1 series convertible

MINI Convertible (second generation)

Whilst the MINI Convertible has four seats, its inclusion in the list of recommended cars for road trips is dependent on only two people travelling. This is because the boot is so small that you'll almost certainly need to use the rear seats as luggage space.

The fun-to-drive nature of the MINI Convertible will be super enjoyable on a road trip, especially if it involves twisty, winding roads where the sharp steering and handling characteristics will really come alive.

For under £10,000 you can get all sorts of different MINI Convertibles, with both Cooper, Cooper S, petrol and diesel models available. The great thing about MINIs is that you're unlikely to find two that look the same, because there's so many different colours and accessories to choose from when you buy a new one.

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minicooper

Jaguar XF (first generation)

Drop-top convertible cars aren't the only way to do a road trip. Perhaps you'd prefer to waft to your destination in complete comfort?

Enter the Jaguar XF, of which you can find lots of nice examples for under a £10,000 budget - even facelift models. It offers a level of comfort that the convertibles we've mentioned could only dream of, with plush leather seats and lovely soft suspension.

Other advantages when driving across the country (or through many countries) is that the boot is huge and there's more than enough space for four or even five people.

The vast majority of XFs were sold with a 3.0-litre diesel engine mated to an automatic gearbox, and makes mile-munching almost completely effortless without using too much fuel. All things considered XF makes a lot of sense as a road trip-mobile, especially at this price.

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jagxf

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Following on from the XF is another lovely luxury car, the seemingly ever-popular Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Everything we said about the XF is true of the C-Class, too. A high-quality interior is matched with excellent ride quality and plenty of interior space and comfort.

Where it arguably has an advantage over the Jag is with engine options. The most popular versions are C220 CDI diesels, which offer better fuel economy and will therefore reduce the overall cost of your road trip.

Other than that, the boot will easily swallow all of your road trip luggage and the idea of cruising round Europe in a 'Merc' certainly has its own unique appeal.

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mercedes-benz c-class

Citroën C4 Cactus

If comfort and space are a priority when thinking about a car to take on a road trip, then the C4 Cactus is absolutely worthy of your consideration.

The suspension is tuned for comfort, not sportiness, and the extra wide seats are almost as comfy as the sofa in your lounge!

The simple, de-cluttered cabin is incredibly roomy and there's lots of interior space too for the all-important road trip snacks and drinks, including large storage bins that can fit 1.5-litre bottles in.

Another huge advantage is fuel economy - some diesel versions of the C4 Cactus claim to be able to achieve up to an incredible 91 mpg - now that really will cut the cost of your holiday!

A budget of just £10,000 will get you into a fairly new C4 Cactus, even ones that are just two or three years old.

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citroen c4 cactus

Peugeot 3008

The C4 Cactus nicely bridges the gap between a regular family hatchback and and SUV, and the Peugeot 3008 does the same between an MPV and an SUV.

An SUV-like, high-up seating position is combined with MPV levels of practicality that you'll no doubt find useful on a road trip around the UK or across Europe.

Engines are tuned for economy rather than performance, and the roomy interior will comfortably seat a family of four or five.

One handy feature that you won't find on many cars is the fantastic split rear tailgate, which allows you to park up and have a picnic out the back of your 3008, all the while perching on the drop-down section of the boot lid.

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peugeot3008

Hyundai ix35

Whereas the 3008 blends MPV with SUV, the ix35 is more of a compact SUV, and is popular amongst British car buyers for its styling and practicality. It looks and drives like an SUV and there's even the option of going for a four-wheel drive model, though there are far more used two-wheel drive models available.

On a long drive you'll be thankful for the comfortable and spacious interior, as well as the excellent fuel economy from the 1.7 and 2.0-litre diesel engine options.

Even as a new car the ix35 was great value, and with lots of five to six year old used models available under £10,000 it provides a lot of practicality and features for the money.

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-hyundaiix35

Ford S-MAX

Need to transport a larger family across Europe? There's one standout option: the Ford S-MAX. On the face of it, it's just a 7-seat MPV, but in reality the S-MAX offers so much more than that - Ford even go so far as to call it a "multi activity vehicle".

As MPVs go, it looks great, particularly in the sportier trim levels with large alloy wheels and rear privacy glass - at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking this is executive transport.

Indeed, it will feel like executive transport to passengers, who will be blown away by the comfort and space offered by the S-MAX. Drivers will be happy too, as the driving experience is about as car-like as you can get with an MPV.

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fordsmax

Vauxhall Insignia Estate

The humble, honest estate car has been somewhat swallowed up by SUV sales in recent years, but they're still a great option if you need to transport your family and all their stuff across a continent on a road trip.

There aren't many better estate cars than the Vauxhall Insignia. As a hatchback it's roomy, but the estate version is on another level with a ginormous boot - so if you fancy bringing the kitchen sink, you can.

The driving experience is nice and pleasant, and the economical diesel engines will ensure you get to your road trip destination with minimal stoppages for fuel.

As an added bonus, sporty Vx-Line models like the one pictured look great too, with rear privacy glass and striking alloys making this a stylish way to travel.

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vauxhall insignia

The truth is, the best road trip car is going to depend on who and what you need to take with you, and where you're going. A couple's weekend away is fine in an MX-5, but a family holiday to the south of France will require something a bit bigger.

Now you know what road trip car you want to go for, it's time to start looking at route planners and potential destinations!