QOTD: What's Your Preferred Spring Break Chariot?
When people are forced to interact with each other via a common employer, it’s only a matter of time before the what-if games start up in earnest. We’re frequently guilty of it ourselves — a discussion about one author’s automotive preference naturally encourages everyone to contribute two cents of their own.
The sad truth is that not a single TTACer is the correct age to properly enjoy Spring Break or the associated wooing, though we are excited about warmer weather. This, plus various airline controversies, prompted the question of what vehicle we’d select for a week-long vacation, were one handed to us. It provided a good springboard for a QOTD, too. Unfortunately, the main takeaway from this exercise was that TTAC’s staff is comprised mainly of people with rather humble tastes.
The rules of the game were simple. You could choose any new vehicle currently available in North America, take an entire week off, and would only be responsible for fuel and lodging costs. It should have provided ample opportunity for people to pick a Ferrari GTC4Lusso, but that’s not how things played out. Here are our choices, in no particular order:
Matthew Guy – Ford F-150 Limited 4×4
“This choice is about as on-brand for me as freaking out in an interview is for R. Kelly. Given the opportunity to hit the road this Spring Break with the family, you know I’m choosing a pickup truck. But why the Ford? In this case, I’m being an engine nerd. By choosing to stuff the Raptor’s mill under the hood of an uber-lux pickup, they’ve allowed the well-heeled to enjoy 450 horsepower without the requirement of pretending to be interested in off-roading.
Second-row heated seats and airbags keep the minions quiet and safe, while the 510 lb-ft of torque and Pro Trailer Backup Assist keep me and the Better Half sane while hauling our 9,000-lb camper. Not to mention the massaging seats. At $72k it isn’t cheap – but neither was a Cadillac Fleetwood in the ’70s, which is this vehicle’s historical amalgam.”
Steph Willems – Dodge Challenger SRT 392
“I’m not taking a weeklong swing through the Gulf Coast without sufficient interior (and trunk) space, and I’m sure as hell not covering those kind of miles in something finicky, wallowy, fuel-sucking, boring, or limited to two very bolstered seats. Hellcat? I don’t see the need. I can get sideways on backroads and do donuts in dusty lots just fine without the need for hp and lb-ft figures topping the 500 mark. Plus, it’ll get 25 mpg on the highway. For me and another occupant, this’ll do fine.”
Matt Posky – Volkswagen Golf R
“While my default impulse was to select a minivan and angle its nose westward, I quickly realized I didn’t have the family unit necessary to make that not seem utterly pathetic. The most I could realistically hope for is an attractive navigator and occasionally offering up the back seat any friends or family I happen to visit along the way.
My hypothetical Spring Break involves several days of nearly non-stop driving in the hope I could make it all the way from New York to Chicago before moving on to a full day at Yellowstone National Park – where the vehicle would be abandoned to simplify things, I decided. That mandates a comfortable car and my all-time favorite mile eater is the Dodge Challenger. But that isn’t the auto I settled on. As this is a fantasy, I would have felt obliged to take one of its more raucous variants and that’s going to put a dent in my fuel budget every time I exit the highway. I can’t afford that on top of lodging and the huge ticket I am guaranteed to receive the second I cross into Ohio.
Instead, I branched out and selected Volkswagen’s Golf R. It’s less eager to drain its tank or draw ‘unwanted attention’ while still being surprisingly comfortable and barrels of fun – even at moderate speeds. It’s also probably not a car I would ever buy for myself at $41,000, so I’m considering this an automotive spring fling. Shit, for that kind of cash a person could get the R/T Scat Pack… which really would have been a much better choice on my part.”
Tim Healey – Ford Mustang GT
“I am going with old-fashioned pony car fun. I may have to stop for gas more often, but getting there will be half the fun.
Something about spring break makes me think Mustang. It’s a time for cutting loose, and the warm weather means I won’t worry about snow. I can drive fast and burn through gas, but not so fast that it will cut into the beer budget. And no, I won’t go for the convertible. Going Mustang is cliched enough. Sure, soft-tops make for more fun in the sun, but the coupe will get me seen.”
Adam Tonge – Ford Mustang GT
“It’s cliche and boring, but if I were to take a spring break trip, I would do it in a Mustang GT convertible. There is enough room for myself, my wife, and my 6 year old.
My family is going to Marathon, in the Florida Keys, later this year. We are, in fact, renting a Mustang convertible. I would just push that family trip up to next week and enjoy the sunshine. Winter has been so gray, that we are nearing the point that Midwest and Northeast residents will slit their wrists to see some color.”
Tim Cain – Chevrolet Suburban
“There’s a little something inside all of us that makes us want to go back where we came from. It’s been 24 years since my family moved back to Canada after a brief foray in Texas, and I haven’t been back since. I can’t help but think that my vivid memories of every frequent route through San Antonio – to school, to the tennis courts, to the H-E-B – are wholly inaccurate. But I want to see the old house, I want to know whether the driveway was as perfect for street hockey as I thought it was then, I want to swim in the pool down the street where I used to lap for hours.
How do I get there? If I’m going to drive for 50 hours with my wife, our two kids, and our 60-pound dog, and if I’m going to reach my destination only to soon prepare for a return trip, I want space. Acres of space. Space for toys and books and bikes and empty chip bags; space for shoes and rubber boots and a mobile laundry room. I want a Chevrolet Suburban. I want the Suburban’s living room-worthy cargo area, its surprisingly efficient V8 engine, its beat-the-road-into-submission ride quality, and its commanding view. It’d be perfect.”
Chris Tonn – Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
“I’ve done plenty of road trips. It’s a challenge to come up with somewhere new that is feasible within the typical ten-day Spring Break window — and within a reasonable drive from my Ohio home.
Incidentally, I asked TTAC’s editors for clarification – apparently ‘Pagani Huayra with Scarlett Johansson’ isn’t ‘in the realm of possibility.’
So, big surprise. My choice is a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – especially since I need to pay for gas out of pocket. TTAC doesn’t pay that well, you know [shakes fist in the general direction of downtown Canada] so I need to be frugal. Good mileage and plenty of room for everyone to stretch out – and luggage space aplenty.
I’m taking the wife and kids, naturally. Place? Since I’ve never been, I’m thinking the Gulf Coast of Alabama/Mississippi. Google Maps tells me that Biloxi is a 13 hour drive from my home in Columbus — an easy trip for me solo, though the kids would want me to break it into two days. Maybe day one in Nashville, explore for a bit, then head south. Visit historical civil rights sites in Alabama, then hit the beaches for a few days. From there, New Orleans just to say I’ve been there, then follow the Mississippi (Highway 61) up to at least Memphis. Yeah, I’ll stop in Clarksdale and pay my respects.”
Corey Lewis – Chrysler Pacifica
“I’d choose a Chrysler Pacifica, in Limited trim. Comfortable and plenty of room for whoever is coming along. The storage space is flexible, and in $45,000 top trim the interior is a nice place to be. I don’t have to worry about the questionable long-term reliability, because it’s just a loaner.”
We’re prepared to endure the readership telling us how wrong or boring our individual choices are. Still, if you do decide to go that route, we’d like to hear what vehicle you’d choose — and where you might head — on fake Spring Break.
Maybe you can come up with something better. Just know that we’ll also judge your decisions, albeit privately.
[Images: Ford; FCA; VW; GM]
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