QOTD: Road Trip Wheels

qotd road trip wheels

Today marks the start of that nebulous week in which the Fourth of July lands on a Thursday. A good many people will pretend to do some semblance of work today. Goof off on the second, then pack it in early on the third. Friday? Just make sure not to buy a car with a build date of 7/5/2019 is all I’m saying.

We’re giving you a fictional budget of $30,000 with which to buy a new rig to take on this weekend’s road trip. Be sure to consider fuel mileage, fun, and family before signing on the imaginary dotted line, mmmkay?

Know this about today’s question as well: you can miss the mark a little bit if you’re confident in your negotiating skills or there’s proof if significant cash on the hood. My pick, for example, is the 2019 Dodge Durango SXT, a machine which retails for just over thirty grand yet is advertised by FCA itself as under $30,000. Alert readers will remember this pick from a different QOTD last year.

It can carry the whole family and their gear, plus it looks aggro enough for my annoyingly extroverted tastes (yet I chose the color purple; go figure). The base Durango and has a raft of snazzy standard features like tri-zone climate control, so let’s all give a shout out to big-business economies of scale. That Pentastar V6 engine and rear-drive architecture will serve well into the next epoch, as well.

How about it? What’s your $30,000-ish pick for this weekend’s road trip?

[Images: FCA]

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2 of 42 comments
  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Jul 02, 2019

    The Durango is an interesting idea, but for me, there is no better (new) distance cruiser than a minivan. More room, easier to get in and out of. Even the old "classic" Grand Caravan isn't terrible at long distance hauling, though the vocal rasp of the Pentastar is noticeable in the old vans, not so much the Pacifica. Put your phone in hotspot mode or buy a hotspot so everyone can use their devices and roll on. Or, if you're like me and have one child (or adult) who cannot look at screens heads down, buy a portable DVD or Blu Ray system. I use to rail against those systems, but the factory Blu Ray player in our Sienna helps to eliminate the "are we there yet" question. I don't know how my folks did it. My kids still notice things out the window too. Runner up would be the big FCA cars, the nod going to the more plush 300 series. But I've put miles on an SXT Charger rental and it excelled at it, even in V6 form. The V8 could be dangerous for me (and not found less than 30k) because I had a Ram V8 rental and it was effortless at moving, even into extra-legal speeds.

  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Jul 08, 2019

    "aggro"? Good lord.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.