If you are an ardent road tripper and love to travel long distances for pleasure then you should have a car that can live up to all your expectations. But how do you find the best cars for long drives? Some of the important features a long-distance car should have are that it should be spacious enough for driver and passengers, have ample luggage carrying capacity, have a frugal and fuel-efficient engine, and good suspension and ride quality to make the journey smooth and enjoyable. The cars should also be reliable enough for long distance travel and have safety features like airbags, ABS and traction control.
Best cars for long drives
India has lengthy highways and choosing the right car to travel is very important. Not all cars are good for highway driving or long-distance trips.
To decide on the best cars for long distance driving, have a look at the following list to help make your decision.
Toyota is known to have cars that are reliable, durable and easy on the pocket to run. On our roads, a good choice to make is the Toyota Innova. It comes with three engine options, a 2.4 litre diesel, 2.8 litre diesel and a 2.8 litre petrol engine.
The Innova comes with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission option. In terms of mileage the Toyota Innova offers 11 to 15 kmpl depending on the engine and transmission type. These are quite economical figures for a car that can comfortably seat 8 people and carry their luggage.
The Toyota Innova is the car of choice for taxi drivers who often travel several hundreds of kilometres every day. The car offers ample space for passengers and who can arrive at their destination without feeling claustrophobic.
The Kia Carnival is great for long distance travel. The MPV is slightly on the expensive side. The Kia Carnival is extremely luxurious for passengers and its superb suspension and ride handling makes it great for Indian roads.
Although the Toyota Innova is more reliable and durable, the Kia Carnival is definitely more comfortable and feature rich. It has a V6 engine that gives fairly good fuel economy. The best part is the relaxed ride and superior handling.
The interiors of the Kia Carnival are made with upscale materials and it has a spacious 3 rows of seats. There is also a lot of cargo room to carry your belongings.
The Ford Endeavour is an extremely capable SUV that has a go anywhere attitude and the ride is plush enough to soak up all the bumps and inundations on the road. The engine now available on the Endeavour complies with emission norms and does a great job of cruising down the highway.
The Ford Endeavour is also equally capable off-road thanks to its high ground clearance and sturdy suspension. Although the Toyota Fortuner comes close to the Ford in terms of ride quality and powerful engine, the Endeavour's ride quality and sophistication give it an edge over its rivals.
The Honda Civic is perfect in terms of comfort and excellent ride handling, and is one of the best cars for long drives. It has a very refined engine to keep up the pace on highways and twisting roads that you may encounter during long road trips.
The Honda Civic amalgamates superb ride quality, with a comfortable cabin and impeccable road manners. The chassis is able to handle any sort of driving making the Civic a very versatile vehicle on long distance runs.
The Skoda Octavia is a close second in this category of cars, but the Honda Civic wins in ride handling and in cabin comfort.
This is a favourite of many for long drives. The Skoda Rapid wins over many drivers with its superb ride quality. It comes with a very sophisticated DSG transmission setup that makes for interesting driving on the open road.
The Skoda Rapid is well known for its affordable running costs. Having stablemates within the VW group means that the Skoda Rapid shares technology and parts with its siblings, making them reliable and durable.
The Rapid performs excellently on the highway, with a smooth riding experience and a slick gearbox.
In the hatchback category, the Honda Jazz comes out on top because of its road trip capabilities, feature rich options, ample cabin space and economical and refined engine.
The Honda Jazz has a spacious and practical interior, that can seat 5 in comfort along with a large cargo space for luggage. It feels sure-footed on the road and ride comfort is one of the best in its class of hatchbacks.
The VW Polo is a fantastic car for long drives owing to its smooth engine mated to a refined gearbox. The rear seat is quite comfortable and will ensure that passengers are well cosseted even on bumpy roads.
The VW Polo is now available with a TSI 1.0 litre, three cylinder, MPI engine that is frugal and performs well. The engine makes 110 PS and 175 Nm of torque making it more than adequate for highway speeds.
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz
The Ciaz seats 5 passengers in comfort and is an ideal vehicle for family road trips. It receives excellent fuel economy thanks to a mild-hybrid system that assists the petrol engine and brings fuel consumption down.
The engine is a 1.4 litre with manual and automatic transmission options available. In terms of safety, it comes with dual airbags, ABS with EBD, hill assist system and rear parking cameras.
The boot space on the Ciaz is 510 litres which makes ample space for all your luggage on a long-distance trip.
If you are looking for fuel economy on a long road trip, then look no further than the Renault Kwid. It is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market today. The ex-showroom price is one of the lowest in India, yet the car is feature rich, having decent ride comfort.
The Renault Kwid comes with two engine options: an 800cc and 1 litre petrol version with a 5-speed manual transmission or an AMT gearbox.
Fuel economy depends on the variant but it is in the range of about 22-25 kmpl. Boot space is an impressive 297 litres.
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios
The small hatchback from Hyundai is also very fuel efficient, provides generous headroom and leg room and has an extremely smooth engine that is very refined. Fuel economy figures are around 25 kmpl and the Grand i10 Nios comes with two engine options, a 1 litre mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox and a 1.2 litre diesel and petrol version that comes with a 5 speed manual transmission or AMT gearbox.
Hatchbacks offer good value for money, and superb fuel economy making them great for long distance drives. The Tata Tiago is no different. Not only is it fuel efficient, it has sturdy build quality and 4-star safety features. It comes with dual airbags, ABS with EBD and boot space is a roomy 242 litres.
The Tata Tiago is a good all rounder and has a spacious, comfortable cabin. Its peppy engine performs well on the highway and is well suited to highway speeds and long drives.
Maruti Suzuki Dzire
The Dzire is a high selling car from the Maruti Suzuki stable and is well suited for long distance drives. The engine is a 1.2 litre petrol unit that is silky smooth to drive. It is available with a manual 5-speed or AMT transmission. Headroom and legroom are ample and the seats make for comfortable
The Dzire has a good suspension set up and is able to absorb impacts from bad roads very well. Ride handling is superb, ensuring a safe and comfortable drive.
The Amaze is comfortable on long drives because its suspension is able to handle bumps along the way very well, keeping the passengers safe and sound. The car is also well insulated from noise and vibrations while the cabin is spacious offering good legroom and headroom.
In fact, the Amaze has one of the best cabin spaces in its category. Boot space is an amazing 420 litres offering lots of room for all your luggage. The Amaze’s engine and gearbox options also make this a very good car to go on long drives.
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
The best-selling SUV from Maruti is one of the best cars for long-distance driving. The cabin is spacious and can accommodate 5 passengers with ease. There is also a lot of boot space to carry luggage. The SUVs suspension is well suited to Indian roads, capable of soaking up bumps and potholes on the road.
Best cars for long drives in India under 5 lakh
If you are looking to go on a long drive in a budget car under 5 lakhs, you have the option of the Tata Tiago and the Renault Kwid.
The Renault Kwid comes with either an 800cc or 1 litre engine. Both engine options are frugal and there are options of automatic or manual transmissions. Of course the manual transmission variant will give a higher mileage of around 22 kmpl. It can seat 5 in comfort and the ride quality is decent. The Renault Kwid has an ex-showroom price of 4.49 lakhs.
The Tata Tiago is another budget car under 5 lakhs that is ideal for long distance drives. It has a spacious cabin and large boot space. The Tiago’s petrol engine is one standout feature that has people choosing this car for long distance driving. It has a 1.2 litre engine that returns 23 kmpl, a good fuel economy figure by any standard. The Tata Tiago’s ex-showroom price is just about 5 lakhs.
Best cars for long drives in India under 7 lakh
In the under 7 lakhs category, you have the choice between the Honda Amaze and the Maruti Suzuki Dzire.
Both are small sedans that have great engines and lots of features. The Maruti Suzuki Dzire costs around 6 lakhs while the Honda Amaze is 6.5 lakhs.
Out of the two, the Honda Amaze feels a bit more premium because of the lack of hard plastics and it has a slightly more upscale cabin. The Maruti Suzuki Dzire has a more tough and sturdy feel to it.
On the highway both cars have very capable engines and provide ample cabin space for the driver and passengers.
Best cars for long drives in India under 10 lakh
At this price point the best car for long drives under 10 lakhs is the Maruti Suzuki Brezza. A fantastic SUV with lots of ground clearance, spacious interiors and a robust diesel engine makes this a favourite for long distance driving.
The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza costs around 8 lakhs ex-showroom price.
Essentials you need on a road trip
Long drives become especially fun when you plan well for them in advance. Organising essentials you need on a road trip go a long way in making the whole experience an enjoyable one.
After choosing the right vehicle for the journey, you have to plan to pack the right things that you need out on the open road. You definitely don’t want to be stranded away from home without essentials.
Here are some of the things you may want to carry along with you:
These include your driving licence, insurance, emission certificate and vehicle registration. Carrying another ID proof is always a good idea.
First aid kit
Medical attention may be needed at any time, and while cars usually have a first aid kit in the glove compartment, it is always better to carry additional first aid supplies with you.
Keeping yourself well hydrated is always important on a long journey. You can never be sure of the sources of water that you encounter, so carry a few bottles with you in case you can’t find a store to buy water from.
There are some other essentials that you need, including:
· Mobile chargers and USB cables
· Extra cash
· Snacks and other eatables
· Hand sanitizers
· Tissues and napkins
· Garbage bags
· Torch or flashlight
Tips for your road journey
Here are some tips to help you on a long-distance drive.
· Keep the fuel tank filled and plan out your fuel station stops beforehand.
· Avoid over speeding as this is not only unsafe, it also leads to poor fuel mileage.
· Maintain a constant speed on highways
· Ensure to keep a cars length distance between you and the vehicle ahead
· Drive within your lane and always use indicators when changing lanes
· Use the correct gear when overtaking
· Avoid any sudden movements and warn other drivers before attempting a manoeuvre
· Ensure the spare tyre, puncture kit, jumper cables and
tow strap are in the car
A long road trip is the best escape from a hectic lifestyle, especially if it involves bumper to bumper traffic and rush hour road jams. But in order to have a safe and convenient journey, you need the right vehicle to take you there.
The car should be safe, have good fuel economy, be spacious
for passengers and be able to carry enough luggage. At the same time, ride quality should be comfortable and the whole experience should not burn a hole in your pocket. Excellent road manners and a convenient drive has to be on top of your list.
This article should help you narrow down the perfect car, for the perfect road trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are the features to look for in cars on long drives?
Ans. You must look into the cabin space that the car offers. Can you seat all passengers and carry their luggage comfortably? The car should also be comfortable to drive and be seated in. Another feature to look into is the ride quality and fuel economy of the car, fuel tank capacity and boot space in litres. Long journeys should be easy on the pocket too.
Q2. Which budget cars are good for long journeys?
Ans. The following cars are budget friendly and well suited for long drives:
· Renault Kwid
· Tata Tiago
· Hyundai Grand i10
· Honda Jazz
· Renault Triber
· VW Polo
In addition to being small hatchbacks, these cars are affordable to drive on long distances and are very comfortable as well.