From the time we're born until the time we roll down that final highway it seems the majority of us love road trips. The promise of new vistas, the hope that there is greener grass on the other side of the hill, the expectation that what comes next will be better than what has come before, all create in us a desire to get in the car and get gone. Who among us doesn't remember a special family vacation, college trip or spring break adventure rolling down that long, lonesome highway? And who among us has not had the sudden urge to simply get in the car, point it out of town and hit the gas?
Kelley Blue Book has spoken to these urges and desires that dwell within us by choosing the Top 10 Road Trips Cars. This time around, as an added public service, not only did they identify 10 cars they feel are the best choices, but have also indicated the "life stage" for which each car is most appropriate. Are you a student? There's a road trip car for you. Going through a midlife crisis? There's a road trip car for you. Ready to enjoy your golden years? Well, you get it. No matter where you are in this giant road trip we call life, there is a car that can make the journey that much better. Here, without further ado, is Kelley Blue Book's 2011 list of Top 10 Road Trip Cars. Enjoy!
Student Years: 2012 Ford FocusYou're a student who longs for the open road. What to drive? Try the new Ford Focus. It looks cool, sports an upscale interior, rides and handles incredibly well and costs about the same as some of the more boring compact cars. For road trip duty we're inclined to suggest the five-door variant with extra cargo room, and not to be overlooked is highway fuel economy up to 38 miles per gallon (40 mpg for the sedan with SFE Package). Remember students, the less you spend on your car, the more you can afford to drive to cool places. Class dismissed.
On the Prowl: 2011 Camaro ConvertibleIt's Friday. You're young, you're hip and you're about to embark on a weekend road trip getaway with your closest friends, all hoping to meet someone special. But in order to be seen, you, like Rebecca Black, have a decision to make: Do you kick it in the front seat? Or do you sit in the back seat? If you're in the Camaro Convertible, you can chill in either row and still grab the eye of the hottie in the next lane. And if you're behind the wheel of the 426-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8-enhanced Camaro SS, you can quickly chase down any car trying to play coy.
First Real Paycheck: 2011 Buick Regal TurboHave you recently entered the ranks of young folks working for the weekend? Aside from moving into a new tax bracket, being a worker bee also means long, parent-subsidized excursions will be replaced with weekend road trips. For this stage in life, we recommend the Buick Regal Turbo. It's stylish enough to make a favorable impression on a new employer, while its quiet ride, Euro-like driving dynamics and 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will help any new nine-to-fiver forget about that upcoming PowerPoint presentation when redeeming those hard-earned vacation days.
The Dating Years: 2011 Audi A5 CabrioletSpend it while you got it. A successful dating relationship just might lead to the altar, a diaper budget and a suburban mortgage, so now would be a good time to indulge. The Audi A5 Cabrio is classy enough for nice restaurants, comfortable enough for long drives and convertible enough to soak up all the sun you and your sweetheart can track down.
Young Family: 2011 Honda CR-VWhen starting a new family, some tough decisions need to be made: Do we make the "man cave" the new baby room? Do we trade the IROC-Z for something more practical? Should we get rid of the cat? The Honda CR-V can't help with all the hard calls, but it deftly answers the transportation needs of any 2+1 family. Its high riding stance makes it easier to buckle in the baby, its fuel-efficient, 2.4-liter engine means fewer stops at the gas station and the available satellite-linked navigation can ensure smoothly guided trips to the nearest Disney property. And while it might not save the man cave -- or your precious kitty -- it will at least provide peace of mind for the budding new family.
Full-on Family Mode: 2011 Honda OdysseyA bigger family usually means a bigger car, but that doesn't have to mean an SUV. The Honda Odyssey provides seating for eight and is available with a multi-view rearview camera, a 16.2-inch rear entertainment system and a cool box up front to keep drinks and snacks chilled. It also gets better fuel economy than most similar-capacity SUVs. For those looking to expand their families and take some grand vacations, an SUV could do the trick, but the Odyssey does many things better.
Mid-life Crisis: 2011 Chevy CorvetteThe hairstyles and jewelry choices change, but when it comes to midlife crises, the Corvette is a constant. While the stereotype remains strong, one fact is little known: The 430-horsepower Corvette returns up to 26 highway mpg. It's not going to win a Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Green Cars award anytime soon, but for a car that can shoot to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 190 mph, it's downright fuel efficient. So, when he decides to follow the southern swing of his favorite band's reunion tour, midlife crisis man can have his new girlfriend leave her Jetta at home.
The Golden Years: 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class CabrioletRecently divorced, she has money in hand and she's ready to hit the open road. What cougar wouldn't want to road trip in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet? In addition to being lavishly equipped to meet the needs of any recently liberated lady, this convertible can be outfitted with Mercedes-Benz's "Airscarf" neck-warmer system to keep delicate skin warm while trolling top-down through beach communities in search of young cubs. Plus, a new "Aircap" system deflects air over the passenger compartment keeping every hair in place, ensuring a perfectly coiffed head of chemically colored hair for baiting her prey.
The Golden Years: 2011 Toyota AvalonArthritis getting you down? Does every little bump in the road leave you reaching for the Flex-a-Min and Advil? The last thing you want on that road trip to visit the great-grandchildren is to be feeling stiff and achy from the expansion joints on the highway. The Toyota Avalon floats along the road, absorbing all of the potholes so you don't have to. In addition, it's easy to get into and out of, offers a massive trunk for luggage, and you can fit three full-size adults in back when you want to treat the whole family to an early-bird dinner special.
[Asset Included(Id:1199429100242;Type:maImageAsset)] The Last Ride: Cadillac DTS Hearse In days past, folks had to shuffle off this mortal coil like chumps. But this is the 21st century -- why slum it? When it comes to the ultimate road trip, consider riding in style aboard a Cadillac DTS Hearse. An incredibly soft ride, tasteful (some might say somber) exterior styling, and a dignified, tomb-like interior help the miles slip by unnoticed. Extended excursions while still among the living might call for a more interesting chariot, but for trips to the infinite beyond, the choice is obvious.