Best Road Trip Cars

Woman in Icelandic landscape with best road trip cars

Summer is just around the corner, which means one thing: peak road trip season in Iceland. When you’re ready to get behind the wheel, you’ll want to pick the best vehicle for a cross country road trip. Or perhaps we should say around the country; you’ll be circumnavigating the island using the Ring Road. The best vehicle depends on your travel needs and itinerary, and you’ll want to pick the right car. Iceland was made for road tripping, so we’re going to tell you the best road trip cars for your journey.

Best Car For Road Trips

We’ve got several different options of the best car for road trips, so we’ve broken them down into a few separate categories. There are many factors to take into account, including the size of your party and whether or not you’re traveling with children. Other attributes to consider are versatility, reliability, comfort, fuel efficiency, spaciousness, and more. We hope the list we’ve compiled will help you in selecting the right automobile for your once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Best Compact Car

Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is one of the best road trip cars

It’s true that in order to have an affordable auto rental, there’s no need to be squeezed into your vehicle. The Kia Rio makes an excellent choice because it’s a larger and more spacious option than a standard compact car. The roomy interior and generous trunk space mean your passengers will thank you for not packing them in like sardines. It’s perfect for a day trip to the Golden Circle or an entire road trip in Iceland. And this economy-sized vehicle is budget-friendly as well well since it gets great mileage.

Many people coming to Iceland for vacation spend their time driving on all or part of Route 1 (the Ring Road), so we’ve chosen this as our first recommendation. This is definitely one of the best cars for road trips if you plan on seeing the country by sticking to the circular highway. Most of the main sights are close by, so quick stops at Vik’s black sand beaches, Svartifoss waterfall and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon are just short detours away.

The Kia Rio is a manual car, so if you’re not comfortable driving one, opt for the slightly smaller Toyota Aygo or Kia Picanto. Both of those cars have either manual or automatic transmissions available.

Most Comfortable Cars for Long Trips

Kia Ceed

The Kia Ceed is one of the best road trip cars due to comfort and style

Just because this car is classified as an economy-sized model, that doesn’t make it small. In fact, with lots of legroom and a spacious interior, you’ll almost forget that you’re cruising in an economy class vehicle. This powerful, reliable car comes highly recommended thanks to its extremely fuel-efficient engine. It’s the perfect car for those on budget. There’s also lots of room in the trunk for luggage, suitcases, backpacks, camping gear, and anything else you might need.

The Toyota Yaris is another great option similar to the Kia Ceed.

Both cars come with either a manual or automatic transmission so you can drive whichever you feel most comfortable with. Other great options for a compact car in Iceland include the Kia Rio and the Toyota Yaris. Please note that these two models are only available with a manual transmission.

If you’re one of those road-trippers looking to get in some serious kilometers (or miles) on the highway, this is the automobile for you. It’s probably one of the most comfortable cars for long trips. You’ll definitely want enough room to stretch out your legs while traveling and this car has it in spades. It’s a great choice for couples or a small group of friends who want to explore everything Iceland has to offer while not getting too cramped or going over their budget.

Best Car For Traveling Long Distances

Kia Ceed Sportswagon

The Kia Ceed Sportswagon is one of the best road trip cars for families

If you’re looking for the best car for a family road trip in Iceland, then look no further. Considered the big brother to the Kia Ceed compact car, this medium-sized vehicle is the right choice for you and your loved ones. It’s a classic station wagon that has been updated to a sleek, modern, stylish mode of transport. Families love the Kia Ceed Sportswagon thanks to its roomy interior dimensions that give everyone the space they need to stretch out.

The road trip car you choose needs to be comfortable and spacious, especially for those long hours on the road. Fortunately, distances between the major attractions in Iceland are short (two to three hours max). But there are those days when you’ll need to drive for longer periods of time. This is where the best car for traveling long distances comes in. When returning home from a long day out doing glacier hikes, this is one of the best cars to sleep in the back of. Your kids will be passed out and slumbering peacefully in the backseat until you reach your final destination.

Best SUV For Road Trips

Dacia Duster 4x4

The Dacia Duster is a 4x4 that is one of the best road trip cars for Iceland and the Highlands

This compact crossover is a great choice due to its well-built construction. And like almost all crossovers, it comes with a 4-wheel drive. This is the perfect vehicle that will take you just about anywhere you want to go. The high clearance will help you ford those rivers and cross that difficult terrain. It’s simply the best SUV for road trips as it has all the features you need at a great price.

This gets my personal vote for best road trip car because I love the feeling of being behind the wheel of a powerful SUV. It’s got comfort, style, space, and you can conquer those unpaved, rugged F-roads (mountain roads) that you encounter in the Highlands.

For me, 4x4 SUVs are the best road trip cars for Iceland because they are not only sturdy and tough, but they also give you the freedom to roam wherever you please. Plus they handle better in icy, snowy road conditions. Driving around Iceland is considered one of the best road trips in Europe, and this is a great choice for your adventure of a lifetime.

Please note that the Dacia Duster 4x4 has a manual transmission. If you feel more comfortable driving an automatic vehicle, then the Suzuki Vitara 4x4, Kia Sportage 4x4, or Toyota Rav4 4x4 would be better options.

Best Road Trip Vehicles For Big Groups

Kia Sorento 4x4 7-seater

The Kia Sorento 4x4 7-seater is the best road trip car for big groups and large families

Finally, for those with more than just four or five passengers, we’ve got a bigger option. The Kia Sorento 4x4 7-seater is an extremely popular choice among travelers due to its style, comfort, and agility. Motorists will have an easy time maneuvering this easy to handle, extra large SUV. You’ll feel like the King of the Road as you sit behind the wheel of this fun to drive road trip sports utility vehicle.

Larger parties need more space, it’s just a fact. They’ve got more luggage and more people to accommodate. For groups of five to seven people, this is just the right automobile. The trunk of this vehicle fits up to five pieces of luggage, so you’ll have no issue getting everyone’s suitcases packed into the back. And with heated seats, your travel companions will be warm and toasty as you go happily down the highway admiring the volcanic landscapes.

Factors to Take into Account

When deciding upon the best car for your road trip there some things to consider. The first and main question you need to answer is where do you plan on going? Your itinerary will determine whether or not you need to rent a 4x4 vehicle. If you plan on visiting the Highlands (Iceland’s interior), by law you’ll need a four-wheel drive car. If you just plan on driving around the Ring Road and staying off of F-roads, any of the above suggestions will suit you just fine.

Another issue to think about is the size of your party. Make sure you have adequate space to fit everyone along with their luggage. Some people carry larger suitcases than others while some are fine with just a small backpack. Read our guide to choosing the right luggage for your trip and check with your fellow travelers to make sure everyone’s needs will be met.

Finally, if you are not from Europe, keep in mind the cars available in Iceland might be a bit different from the vehicles you are used to. For instance, most vehicles in Europe come with a stick shift. If you are not comfortable with the manual transmission, make sure you request an automatic car. If you want to know more, check our article about the differences between American and European cars.

Best Road Trip Cars For Your Trip Around The Ring Road

That’s it for our list of the best car for road trip adventures. Our entire fleet features new vehicles, so you’ll always have the most recent models on offer. Now that you know the best road trip cars, it’s time to book your Iceland car rental and start planning your trip itinerary. And as always, remember to buckle up!


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