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The Best Cars for Road Trips and Camping

Best cars for road trips and camping – A van driving down a country road

With the days getting longer and substantially hotter, dreams of packing up the car, wrangling the kids, and hitting the road are at the top of all our minds. Most of us know where we’re going, even what roads we’ll take, but what about what car we’ll drive?

With the right car, your summer roadie can run as smoothly as that pit-stop ice cream melting in your hand. So, let’s pretend we’ve all won the Lotto for a second and go through some of the best cars for road trips and camping this holiday season.

The Best Cars for Summer Roadies

After the trainwreck that was the summer of 2022, we bet you’re eagerly anticipating open road this holiday season. From Sunday cruisers to practical wagons that can get the whole Whānau onboard with minimal backseat scraps, find a car fit for summer with our list of the best cars for a roadie.


If kids aren’t a concern, but speed is, the BMW Z4 is the car for you. Faster than an MX-5 but cheaper than a Ferrari Portofino, the Z4 will offer the perfect drop-top wind in your hair experience this summer.

The Z4 packs a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine that hits like a freight train, perfect for the spirited driving you’ll want to get stuck into on the open road. While the automatic gearbox may turn some motorheads off, it’s actually a blessing in disguise for those stretches of the trip where you just want to sit back and enjoy the sunshine and warm summer air.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

It wasn’t that long ago that the thought of bringing an EV on a road trip was just a dream, but the Hyundai has turned it into reality with the Ioniq 5. With a range-topping battery of over 400km, all-wheel-drive capabilities, and a solar panel smacked on the roof, the Ioniq 5 is the ultimate adventure EV. While the solar roof won’t completely recharge your battery, it can generate upwards of 10km of extra juice just by sitting in the sun. Long-haul driving has never been so sustainable.

VW Kombi

The best car for a road trip doesn’t have to be new! Plenty of golden oldies would qualify for this list, but the VW Kombi gets the nod here. These spacious and relatively easy-to-maintain vans gained popularity in the ’60s and ’70s thanks to the rise of bohemian culture and can only be described as shagadelic.

Today, this spacious interior is perfect for piling all your mates and their luggage in the back and hitting the road. The Kombi might not have the grunt of a modern people mover, but who cares about speed when you look this good? Besides, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

best cars for road trips and camping - feet hanging out of a car window seen through a wing mirror

The Best Cars for a Camping Getaway

With summer well and truly here, we’re all hearing that call to the wild, that urge to pack up and go somewhere secluded. But to get where you want to go this summer, you’ll need the right set of wheels. Here’s our list of the best cars for your camping trip.

Isuzu D-Max

The Isuzu D-Max has built a reputation in the ute community for getting you wherever you want to go on your camping trip. From beaches and rivers to snow-capped hills, it can handle it all. This capability comes as no surprise when you realise it’s packing a 3-litre turbo diesel engine with 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

The D-Max is especially suited for those fond of splashing through rivers to get to that perfect camping spot. With wading depths of up to 800mm and a new rear differential lock to keep your tyres from slipping, no river will stand in your way again.

Suzuki Vitara

While the new Vitara is extremely sophisticated, that trademark beast is still in there; it hasn’t forgotten its roots as the ideal off-roader for exploration and camping.

The Vitara has all the basics you need for your camping trip. With 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque, you can kiss those pesky potholes goodbye! Plus, there’s plenty of room in the back for all your camping gear.

What earns the Vitara a place on our list of the best cars for road trips and camping is its AllGrip system. This tech lets you adjust to any terrain you need to conquer. Switch to Auto for the city, Sport for country roads, and Snow for slippery surfaces. With the Vitara, every campground is within reach.

Suzuki Jimny

Every now and then, you just need something rough and ready to go: something that won’t give you a heart attack if you pick up a few dings on your drive to the camping ground. That ‘something’ is the Suzuki Jimny, quite literally an adventure in a box.

The iconic square profile isn’t exactly pretty or spacious; you won’t get any style points and might be short on space for your gear. But for these sacrifices, you’ll get a lightweight yet durable vehicle that will get you to any campground you like for a fraction of the price of most other off-roaders.

Hit the Road this Summer with Portage Cars

Hit the road with any of the vehicles on our list, and you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime. From hatchback cars to something with a little more get-up-and-go, you’ll find what you need for your summer road trip with Portage Cars.


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