Buying Advice

AutomotiveMap Picks: Best Car for a Road Trip

AutomotiveMap's team of writers has picked their favorite cars for road tripping.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

If you're one of the type who just can't wait to get on the road again, you know that there are some vehicles that are better than others for making travel great. While some may argue that cars with pointed steering and agile handling make the best road trip warriors, there's a strong voice among consumers that says it's better to be in a balanced ride with plush seats.

The vehicles that AutomotiveMap's writers have chosen walk the line between the two preferences. Take a look.

2020 Hyundai Sonata

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motors America

Sue Mead: The Hyundai Sonata has been updated for 2020. The family-friendly five-seater features a stunning exterior presence; premium and comfortable cabin; upgrades to body structure, safety, and technology; and smooth ride. its nifty remote parking assist feature maneuvers the vehcile in/out of parking spaces and garages to load passengers or luggage hands-free.

‚Äč2019 Volvo V60 T5 R Design

Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars USA

Harvey Briggs: Long live the long roof! Wagons are the ultimate road trip cars, especially this one. Sedan-like handling and the room to take everything with you, including a few friends if you must. I love the 2019 Volvo V60's Scandinavian design ethos and the understated beauty of this car.

2020 Bentley Continental GT

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Chad Kirchner: Though the 2020 Bentley Continental GT eats the miles as quickly as it'll eat the fuel, it has more tech and features than a comparable Aston Martin or Rolls-Royce two-door.

2019 Mazda Mazda6

Photo courtesy of Mazda North America

Jesus Garcia: The 2019 Mazda Mazda6 offers trunk space that could rival a Lincoln Town Car, and a stylish interior that makes miles fly by without fatigue. The Mazda6 was one of the most comfortable vehicles ever I've driven across Texas, a route I take often.

2020 Nissan Altima

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Perry Stern, AutoNXT: Nissan's Zero Gravity seats stay comfortable for the duration of the drive, while the new variable-combustion turbo engine delivers great power and fuel efficiency in the 2020 Nissan Altima.

2020 Nissan Maxima

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nicole Wakelin: The 2020 Nissan Maxima delivers a smooth ride and it has a comfortable interior. It's fun to drive and has good cargo room in its trunk.

2020 Porsche Panamera

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull: The Porsche Panamera is the best of both worlds - precise Porsche drivability and a high-tech cabin. It has a PHEV variant, which can save gas money on a trip. The Panamera also has plenty of passenger and cargo space in most grades.

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The 2022 Frontier gets a brand-new face and updated tech.

Nissan

After 16 years on sale in its current form, the Nissan Frontier is a familiar face on our roads. The truck, which is technically old enough to get a driver's license and drive itself, is being totally overhauled for 2022, and the new look is a big departure from the ute we've seen for so many years. Nissan announced that production has started, so we don't have much longer to wait to see it in action for ourselves.

The new truck's 3.8-liter V6 has already been in action powering the 2021 Frontier. It produces a class-leading 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, and sends its power to either the rear or all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.


2022 Nissan Frontier Production is underway in Mississippi.Nissan


This is the first new Frontier we've seen in over a decade, so the upgrade in technology is steep over the previous truck. The 2022 Frontier can be optioned with a surround-view camera system with off-road mode that automatically displays terrain around the truck when it's shifted into 4LO. The system displays guidelines and can help the driver navigate tough obstacles on the trail. A host of safety features will be available that includes automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, high beam assist, and more.

Other than its age, there was nothing particularly wrong with the previous Frontier's interior, but the new truck looks to be considerably more upscale and modern. Various trims come with interesting contrasting color schemes and the truck gets Nissan's excellent Zero Gravity seats as standard. New hydraulic cab mounts should help quell vibrations inside, and traditional hydraulic power steering will provide excellent steering feel and feedback.

Nissan is building the new frontier in its Canton, MS facility, while the truck's engine is being built at the automaker's powertrain plant in Tennessee. We'll start seeing the new model on dealers' lots sometime in late summer 2021, and you can find a first drive review of the truck right here in a few weeks.


2022 Nissan Frontier The new trucks will arrive on dealers' lots later this summer.Nissan

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New compact pickup truck

Hyundai announces pricing for Santa Cruz pickup

It's small, but the Santa Cruz can do plenty of truck stuff like the big guys.

Hyundai

Looking at American trucks over the years, it's hard to ignore their growing size and price, but 2021 might just be the year that bucks that trend. Earlier in the year, Ford announced the compact Maverick pickup truck, and after months of rumors, Hyundai did the same. The Santa Cruz will be a small unibody pickup designed in California and built in Alabama. Today, the automaker announced pricing for the upcoming vehicle.

Pricing for the Santa Cruz starts at $23,990, which after the $1,185 destination charge comes to $25,175. That reasonable sum buys the base SE trim, which comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Hyundai estimates that the base engine produces 190 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, while the available turbocharged 2.5-liter engine makes 275 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

Other standard features include:


2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz The Santa Cruz rides on a unibody frame, which gives it a better ride than most trucks.Hyundai


  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • LED taillights
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Driver attention warnings
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Speed limit warnings
  • Leading vehicle departure alerts

Despite its size and unibody construction, the Santa Cruz does offer traditional truck capabilities. With the base engine on board, the vehicle is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, and with the turbocharged engine that number increases to 5,000 pounds. The unibody setup also gives the Santa Cruz a more car-like ride and handling, which improves comfort. It's a configuration that is also used by the Honda Ridgeline and the upcoming Ford Maverick pickups.


2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz The Santa Cruz has a useful bed that can be configured a few ways.Hyundai


Hyundai started building the Santa Cruz at its Montgomery, Alabama factory in June. The automaker says that its production will eventually add 1,200 jobs to the facility, and notes that the vehicle will go on sale sometime later this summer. We're heading out to drive the new Santa Cruz in early August, so stay tuned for a first-drive review in a few weeks.

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