Top 10 Vehicles For A Beach Road Trip

2008 Honda Element

2008 Honda Element 1
2008 Honda Element

What we think

With 64 seating options and 77 cubic feet of cargo room, we think the Element was made for a beach trip. Suicide doors and a rear dropdown tailgate will give you access to the beach umbrellas, chairs and surfboards that can easily be stowed in the car. Covering the front seats is a waterproof seat fabric - perfect for those who can’t be bothered to dry off before hitting the road. 

At a glance
MSRP: $18,980
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter DOHC engine, 166 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission
MPG: 18 city/23 highway (2WD Manual), 20 city/25 highway (2WD Auto), 18 city/23 highway (4WD Manual), 19 city/24 highway (4WD Auto)

2008 Jeep Wrangler X

2008 Jeep Wrangler 2
2008 Jeep Wrangler

What we think

The tough-as-nails Wrangler is the ideal summer car. With a removable cloth roof cover and doors, you’ll be able to feel the wind in your hair while driving along the coast. Fabric protectant on the seats keeps the interior free of saltwater stains. The Jeep’s fantastic off-road capabilities mean that parking on the sand will be of little consequence to its standard all-wheel drive. 

At a glance
MSRP: $19,360
Engine and drivetrain: 3.8-liter V6 with 202 horsepower and 237 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MPG: 15 city/19 highway (Manual), 15 city/19 highway (Auto)

2008 Chevrolet HHR LT

2008 Chevrolet HHR 3
2008 Chevrolet HHR

What we think

The HHR has more functionality than a universal remote. The rear seats fold down pancake flat and are backed with a tough plastic that’s easy to clean and hard to scuff up. An optional sunroof will give you a head start on your tan, while an auxiliary jack means beach playlists will be available en route.

At a glance
MSRP: $18,190
Engine and drivetrain: 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine with 149 horsepower and 152 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic 
MPG: 21 city/ 30 highway (Manual), 22 city/30 highway (Auto)

2008 MINI Cooper Clubman

2008 MINI Cooper Clubman 4
2008 MINI Cooper Clubman

What we think

Not only will the Mini Clubman turn beachgoers’ heads with its cool exterior, but storing all your beach gear is easy for this little car. Anything you stow away in its 32 cubic feet the car will be accessible via the rear barn-style doors and third door on the passenger side. Its 12-feet 11-inch size also means getting to the beach late won’t require spending the hours circling for a parking spot – it’ll fit pretty much anywhere.

At a glance
MSRP: $19,950
Engine and drivetrain: 4-cylinder engine with 118 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque; front-wheel drive; 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with manual mode and paddle shifters
MPG: 28 city/37 highway (Manual), 26 city/34 highway (Auto)

2008 Honda Fit

2008 Honda Fit 5
2008 Honda Fit

What we think

For the money and size, no car can beat the Fit’s 41.9 cubic feet of space. Bikes, surfboards or four friends can fit depending on the configuration of the seats. Its stellar gas mileage encourages fewer stops to fill up and more time on the road – exactly what you need when the beach is calling your name.

At a glance
MSRP: $13,950
Engine and drivetrain: 109 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque, 4-cylinder VTEC engine 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission 
MPG: 28 city/34 highway (Manual), 27 city/34 highway (Auto)



2008 Volvo V50 T5

2008 Volvo V50 6
2008 Volvo V50

What we think

While the company is known for its safety, Volvo also provides maximum usability in the V50. Fold-flat seats are perfect for the usual beach items, and optional roof racks can hold anything that won’t fit in the 62.6 cubic feet of cargo space. The T5’s 5-cylinder turbocharged engine will ensure you get to the beach before the crowds arrive.  

At a glance
MSRP: $29,715
Engine and drivetrain: 5-cylinder turbocharged engine with 227 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque; front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive; 5-speed automatic transmission with shifter controlled manual mode.
MPG: 19 city/27 highway

2008 Nissan Xterra

2008 Nissan Xterra 7
2008 Nissan Xterra

What we think

The Xterra is built for carrying bikes, kayaks and other large sporting equipment. Movable roof rack bars provide infinite overhead storage options, and sandy shoes and clothes can be contained in the roof mounted gear box. The trunk and back of the rear seats are covered in plastic, making your life easier when there’s a half ton of sand piled up in the interior.

At a glance
MSRP: $21,240
Engine and drivetrain: 4.0-liter V6 engine with 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel or all-wheel drive
MPG: 16 city/20 highway (2WD Manual), 15 city/20 highway (2WD Auto), 16 city/20 highway (4WD Manual), 14 city/20 highway (4WD Auto)

2008 Audi A4 Cabriolet

2008 Audi A4 8
2008 Audi A4

What we think

With German functionality and superior drivability, the A4 will drop its occupants off at the beach in style. This cloth top convertible can sit four and is the perfect car if your beach trips involve minimal gear. Still, the trunk holds a surprising amount of cargo: 10.2 cubic feet. That’s more than the MINI Clubman’s when its seats are up.

At a glance
MSRP: $39,750
Engine and drivetrain: 2.0-liter inline-4 engine with turbocharger with 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque powering the front-wheels; all-wheel drive available in the Quattro; CVT transmission
MPG: 21 city/30 highway

2008 Ford Edge SEL

2008 Ford Edge 9
2008 Ford Edge

What we think

Nothing beats a summer drive under the sun, so the Edge’s standard panorama roof really seals the deal for us. The front passenger seats and rear seats fold flat to give the cargo space maximum flexibility. The rear liftgate opens with a touch of the key fob, letting you keep your grip on the cooler and pile of beach towels loaded in your arms.

At a glance
MSRP: $27,730
Engine and drivetrain: 265 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque from a 3.5-liter V6 engine; 6-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel or all-wheel drive
MPG: 16 city/24 highway (FWD), 15 city/22 highway (AWD)

2008 Subaru Tribeca

2008 Subaru Tribeca 10
2008 Subaru Tribeca

What we think

The Subaru Tribeca holds seven occupants, perfect for bringing the family plus a few friends on a beach trip. A 12V outlet in the cargo area is available to plug in necessities while you’re hanging out at the beach, and eight cup holders give everyone a place to put their water bottles. All five rear seats fold down for if your family is comprised of a couple of dogs instead of kids.

At a glance
MSRP: $30,995
Engine and drivetrain: 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine with 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed automatic transmission with manual mode; all-wheel drive.
MPG: 16 city/21 highway


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