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.

​2019 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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

This rare 1976 Porsche 911 2.7 S Targa is one of the models headed to across the block.

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Silverstone Classic Live Online Auction will put 35 Porsches up for sale July 31 through August 2, 2020. The collection of hand-picked Germans features a host of extremely rare and low mileage vehicles. Four stand out from the rest.

"The Stuttgart Collection is quite an amazing group of Porsches. Some have extraordinarily low mileage and others are the best examples of that particular model and there are two highly desirable and rare UK supplied C16 993 Turbo S of the 26 made," said Nick Whale, Silverstone Auctions Managing Director. "For any Porsche aficionado, this is a collection that provides a superb opportunity to acquire one of the best- selected Porsches."

1976 Porsche 911 2.7 S Targa

As seen above, the 1976 Porsche 911 2.7 S Targa has just 562 miles on its odometer from new. Described by the auction house as a "time warp" the car is currently unregistered and comes with the NOVA Certificate and a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.

The 911 had been redesigned in 1974 for the first time. This generational change included a raised bumper design, which was the direct result of an increase in U.S. safety regulations.

1996 Porsche 911 (993) Turbo

1996 Porsche 911 (993) Turbo

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

This 1996 Porsche 911 (993) Turbo is featured in a triple yellow. It has 745 miles on the odometer from new. The C25 was one of the fastest cars of its time. It could get from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. The 993 generation was the first time that Porsche install all-wheel drive in the 911 and marks the first time Porsche equipped a model with a twin-turbocharged engine.

1963 Porsche 358B T6 Super 90

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

The very rare 1963 Porsche 356B T6 Super 90 was supplied new by AFN in London. It has undergone a complete ground up restoration with the aim of returning the model to its original specification of Slate Grey with red leatherette interior. The engine was rebuilt and tuned by Porsche specialists Andy Prill.

According to Silverstone Auctions, "In 1989 this 356 was granted FIA Competition Papers and used on road rally events including Le Rallye de Monte-Carlo Historique three times in the 1990s. The extensive history file has pictures of the car on the rally, the original green and brown buff log books, old FIA papers and Porsche's Certificate of Authenticity."

The auction house says that a matching numbers 1963 356B T6 Super 90 is an "extremely rare and collectable car". At the time of consignment, this model was the only right-hand drive version on the market.

1998 Porsche 911 (993) Turbo S

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

The Turbo S was introduced by Porsche in 1997. This 1998 model is one of 345 built by Porsche's Exclusive Department. According to Silverstone Auctions, " The Turbo S was the last of the air-cooled Porsches and 26 cars were supplied to the UK in right-drive cars. This is one of two 1998 911 (993) Turbos S' being offered in this auction."

A full list of cars in The Stuttgart Collection is listed below, with details on each car on the Silverstone Auctions website:

  • 1997 Porsche 911 (993) C2 Targa
  • 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera
  • 1997 Porsche 911 (993) C4 Coupe
  • 1973 Porsche 2.4 S Coupe
  • 2000 Porsche 911 (996) GT3
  • 1998 Porsche 911 (993) Turbo S
  • 1986 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo 'Flachbau'
  • 1998 Porsche 911 (993) Turbo S
  • 1989 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo LE
  • 1991 Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet
  • 1995 Porsche 911 (993) RS
  • 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera
  • 1988 Porsche 924 S
  • 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe
  • 1963 Porsche 356B T6 Super 90
  • 2002 Porsche 911 (996) GT2
  • 2007 Porsche 911 (997) GT3 RS
  • 2003 Porsche 911 (996) Carrera 2 Tiptronic S
  • 1967 (1968 M/Y) Porsche 2.0 S Coupe
  • 1991 Porsche 911 (964) Carrera RS
  • 1976 Porsche 911 2.7 S Targa
  • 1988 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo Cabriolet
  • 1996 Porsche 911 (993) Turbo
  • 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa Super Sport
  • 2014 Porsche 911 (991) 50th Anniversary Edition
  • 2005 Porsche 911 (996) Turbo S - Manual
  • 1955 Porsche Chamonix 550 Spyder
  • 2011 Porsche 911 (997) GTS - Manual
  • 1993 Porsche 968 Club Sport
  • 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster 3.2 Turbo Body
  • 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo
  • 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa Sport
  • 1995 Porsche 928 GTS Auto
  • 1987 Porsche 924 S
  • 2010 Porsche 911 (997) Turbo S

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Mazda has a rich 100 year history that includes a number of less well known models.

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

This year Mazda celebrates its 100-year anniversary, having produced some memorable models along the way (hello, Mazdaspeed3). However, there are a number worth forgetting, and maybe you have. Scroll down to take a walk down Mazda's memory lane.

Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. headquarters

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Mazda began as a cork products manufacturing company in 1920. A year later, Jujiro Matsuda took charge of Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. (shown above in 1929) and changed the business to make it a machine tool producer. The company wouldn't be known as Mazda until years later.

Mazda Go

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

A decade after the changeover, the company was transformed again, now making three-wheeled trikes like the 1931 Mazda Go (shown above) and a prototype motorcycle.

Motorcycle racing was a popular pastime in Japan in the late 1920s. However, most of the models were imported, or assembled in Japan from imported parts.

Mazda 1930 motorcycle

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

In 1929, Toyo Kogyo, as Mazda was then known, decided to build a domestic Japanese bike. They began development of a prototype in 1929 and from that a 250cc two-stroke prototype motorbike (shown above) was born. It was revealed in October 1930, winning its first race by beating an Ariel, one of the most-popular bike brands in the 1930s.

Following that success, the company produced 30 more motorcycles in 1930. The company priced the motorcycles at 350 to 380 Japanese yen, which is about $31,800- $34,500 in today's U.S. dollars.

But, a changes was, once again, afoot. The company decided to focus on developing the Mazda Go rather than the two-wheeler.

Then, it was time for a car.

Mazda PKW prototype

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

In 1940, Toyo Kogyo built a small two-door prototype car called the PKW prototype (shown above). By that time, however, the tides were turning. The world was waking up to news from the battlefields of World War II every day and it wouldn't be long before the war expanded to the Pacific Theater. The PKW prototype would never make it to production.

The company, like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and Ford began creating products to help assist the war effort. Japan was on the side of Germany and Italy. Toyo Kogyo began producing series 30 through 35 Type 99 rifles instead of cars.

Post-war, Toyo Kogyo focused on their Type GA and Type GB three-wheeled Mazda Go-inspired three-wheeled trucks.

Mazda Type-CA

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Along with three-wheelers, Toyo Kogyo produced another prototype, one of the four-wheeled variety. The Type-CA (shown above) was a one-ton four-wheeled truck with a small, open-sided canvas roof and split-screen open deck. It was reminiscent of the Willys Jeep, which helped the Allies win WWII.

The truck pre-dated the company's first production car by 10 years.

A new era at Toyo Kogyo was ushered in with the 1960 Mazda R360 (shown below), the company's first car. The kei car was a two-door, four-seat coupé. Production of the model lasted for six years.

1960 Mazda R360

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

That same year, Toyo Kogyo sold its first bus. The 13-seater was based on the company's D1500 cab-over compact truck and was sold to the Japanese Defense Agency. The bus's interior had seats that folded so the model could be used to transport injured officers on stretchers.

The D1500 was exported to the Middle East where it was equipped with center-opening freestyle rear doors, which allowed it to be used as an ambulance.

1965 Light Bus Type-A Mazda

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Five years later, the 1965 Light Bus Type-A (shown above) was introduced, based on the concept the company showed at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show. It featured a curved laminated safety glass windshield and unique styling that set it apart from the traditional bus.

In the 1970s, the automaker continued to produce upscale mini-buses using the Parkway model name. It was in the 1974 Parkway 26 that the company introduced the world's first rotary engine-powered bus.

Mazda CVS Personal Car Concept

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

During that same timeframe, the CVS Personal Car Concept (shown above) debuted, moving the story of the Mazda brand along. CVS stood for computer-controlled vehicle system. The concept had a wheel at each corner box with sliding doors and a spacious interior that was designed for passenger comfort complete with big leather chairs and a telephone.

Mazda designed a rail track to "drive" the model on. The automaker says that, "this 70s self-driving pod looked like futuristic fantasy in 1973, but today strangely familiar to anyone who's ridden on the business parking pods at Heathrow airport terminal five."

Mazda Road Pacer AP

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

The roster of vehicles in the 1970s was rife with oddities. The company wanted to make a a large executive car to be used by Japanese government officials so the Mazda Road Pacer AP (shown above) was launched in 1975. The car wasn't entirely from the company's R&D team.

According to Mazda, " It used Holden HJ bodies, which were shipped to Japan without engines, whereupon Mazda fitted the 135ps 13B rotary engine. Designed to take on the grandly named Toyota Century, Nissan President and Isuzu Statesman De Ville, the Road Pacer AP featured luxuries such as speed related central locking and even an inbuilt dictation machine."

The car was only sold for three years - 1975 to 1977. Just 800 were sold, only in Japan.

Mazda Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Nissan wasn't the only automaker with a Pathfinder. The Mazda Pathfinder (shown above) was a 4x4 exclusively assembled and sold in Burma. It gained popularity with the military and police who appreciated its rugged off-road abilities. It was powered by a 90ps engine and came with a canvas roof or as a fully enclosed nine-seat model. A few can still be seen on the roads of Myanmar.

Mazda Suitcase Car

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

It wasn't just the 70s that gave the world unique Mazda cars. In 1984 the company officially changed its name to Mazda and in 1991 the Mazda Suitcase Car was born. The Australian-based limousine came about thanks to the 1991 "Fantasy yard" event - an inter-departmental contest to see which group of Mazda employees could come up with the most innovative and creative solution to produce a moving machine.

More go kart than passenger car, the model was the brainchild of seven Mazda engineers from Mazda's manual transmission testing and research group. They purchased the largest Samsonite suitcase they could find and a quarter size pocket motorbike and set to work.

To construct the model, engineers put the rear wheels into slots onto the outside of the case, while the front wheel popped through a removable hatch in the front. The suitcase car took mere minutes to assemble and had a top speed of 19 mph.

Sadly, the original prototype was accidentally destroyed just a few months after the "Fantasy Yard" event, however, one Mazda suitcase car still remains in existence.

London Royal College of Art taxi concept

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Inn 1993, a collaboration with the London Royal College of Art resulted in a taxi concept (shown above) designed to operate in the future where space would restrict vehicle size. Though it wasn't an official Mazda concept, Mazda assisted by building the prototype, which was a futuristic looking narrow-track pod shaped mini-car.

Intersted in seeing more historical Mazdas? Click here to see 60 years of pretty/pretty ugly Mazda family cars and vans.

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