10 cool road trip cars at Detroit Auto Show – USA TODAY

Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014

DETROIT — What are the coolest road-trip vehicles on display on the manufacturers’ stands at the North American International Auto Show this year? Step aside, flashy Corvettes and mega pick-up trucks. Here are the favorites of Detroit Free Press Travel Writer Ellen Creager:

• Kia K900 V8. Cool “VIP Rear Seat Package” features power reclining seats for backseat passengers that tilt so far back you can doze for miles. This rear-wheel drive car oozes comfort for solidly built adults headed cross-country ($60,000; on sale in spring.)

• Fiat 500L Thalassa. Like a Creamsicle on wheels. Nobody will fail to see you in this tricked-out Chrysler Mopar customized Fiat. With its white roof, orange body and teak floor mats, it’s a playful car for sports travelers. ($50,000 customized.)

• Range Rover Autobiography Black Edition. I can dream, can’t I? Long wheelbase Rover features footrests, bottle chiller and a panoramic roof. It also has 2 flip-down desks for business travelers being whisked across the state when the jet is on the fritz. ($99,500.)

• MX-5 Miata. One of the greatest inexpensive sports cars ever made. It makes solo travel on paved country roads more fun than should be legal. Just don’t bring a lot of luggage; its trunk is only big enough for a couple of packed duffel bags. ($29,500.)

• Ford Flex Limited. I have a soft spot for this boxy family SUV; the one I saw had an impractical but luscious white interior and a ruby red exterior. Multipanel vista roof, 12-speaker Sony radio, optional V6 Ecoboost engine. Who’s up for a trip west? ($50,000.)

• Honda Odyssey Touring Elite. Yep, this is the one with the built-in vacuum cleaner. This briskly practical, slightly ordinary passenger van has plenty of seating flexibility and entertainment options to make sure the kids don’t kill each other on long trips. ($44,000.)

• Subaru Forester 2.0 XT Touring. The Forester got a jazzy styling makeover for this year, but this sturdy all-wheel drive vehicle still appeals to solid outdoorsy types headed to muddy valleys and distant snowy peaks — or those who wish they were. ($32,995.)

• Buick LaCrosse. Very fine car for long road trips, with cocoon-like refined interior. Its new “driver confidence package” includes lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control and other safety features; I also like the available power rear sunshades, zzzz. ($38,000.)

• Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback. Peppy, comfortable and so sturdy on the freeway. It’s a trustworthy trip companion, with 37 miles per gallon highway. Hatchback opening helps when packing the fairly wimpy sized trunk ($24,400.)

• 1965 Ford Mustang. Mint-condition convertible — the serial No. 1 Mustang — on loan from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, is just be part of Ford’s Mustang exhibit. But its clean lines promise a wind-in-your-hair road trip transporting you all the way back to the ’60s. (Priceless.)

Full disclosure: Creager’s daughter works for Toyota North America, her brother-in-law works at GM, her nephew works at Ford and her stepmom is a GM retiree, Creager once worked for Chrysler and owns a 2000 Miata and a 2008 Saturn. Her husband owns a Nissan.


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