9 Must-Have Features for a Comfortable Road Trip Car

Comfort and safety (and music!) are huge when it comes to a comfortable road trip. Here are our 9 must-have features that all road trip cars should have.

A Girls Guide To Cars | 9 Must-Have Features For A Comfortable Road Trip Car - Road Trip Cars
Perfect road trip cars offer comfort and safety - and music of course! Photo: Shannon Entin

The Best Road Trip Cars Offer Comfort And Safety - And Music Of Course!

Perfect road trip cars offer comfort and safety – and music of course! Photo: Shannon Entin

Comfort and safety are paramount during a road trip.

Whether you’re taking a leisurely day trip or logging some serious miles for a vacation, your road trip vehicle should transport you safely, comfortably, and enjoyably. Here’s a list of 9 features all road trip cars should have.

1. Adaptive cruise control

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

When adaptive cruise control is engaged you get this notice on the dashboard. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This feature tops the list of must-haves in my road trip vehicle. With adaptive cruise, you set your cruise control speed and the car automatically slows down when it senses a car in front of you, then speeds up when it senses your path is clear. No more applying the brake and then hitting “resume” when the car in front of you moves. This feature reduces fatigue on your leg and foot by eliminating the need to brake repeatedly. It also guards against distracted driving since it brakes for you if you come upon a car too quickly. Check out this feature in the Hyundai Elantra.

2. Blind spot and lane departure warnings

Hyundai Ioniq Blind Spot Detection

Blind spot detectors are just one of the many safety features offered. Photo: AGirlsGuidetoCars

Let’s face it – we all have sleepy moments at the wheel, especially during a long road trip. A lane departure warning system that beeps at you when stray out of your lane could save your life. And blind spot monitoring makes highway driving much less stressful. These safety features will make your road trip easier, but be sure to never use them as a crutch! Check out this feature in the Mitsubishi Outlander.

3. Tri-zone climate control

Kia K900

Maybe the Kia K900’s best feature is the huge back seat; more leg room than a first class airline seat and the pull down arm rest has climate controls, heated and cooled seat buttons, others that let you recline your seat and a charge and USB port tucked inside. Photo: Scotty Reiss

When it comes to the temperature in the car, every person is inevitably going to have a different comfort level. With tri-zone climate control, the driver, passenger, and back-seat occupants can adjust the climate control to their liking. Seat warmers/coolers are also a bonus on a long road trip! Check out this feature in the Kia K900.

4. A stellar infotainment system 

Hyundai Elantra

Car Play puts the iPhone functionality on the Hyundai Elantra’s touch screen. Photo: AGirlsGuidetoCars.

An easy-to-manage and intuitive system for navigation, climate control, audio, and safety features is another essential for road trip cars. As the driver, you should be able to reach and adjust all the controls without a lot of fuss. And of course you need excellent speakers! Your perfect road trip car needs to play your perfect road trip playlist. Choose a car that syncs up with your mobile device – or make sure you have an AUX cord on hand to play your music through the car speakers – then check out our ultimate road trip playlist. Check out this feature in the Mazda 3 Grand Touring.

5. USB port for charging devices

2016 Dodge Durango

There’s plenty of leg room in the center row of the Dodge Durango, plus some nice features including heated seats, climate control, a household plug and two USB ports. Photo: Scotty Reiss

In this day and age we all need to keep our mobile devices ready to go. And the kids need to be kept busy on a road trip. Whether they are watching movies on their iPad or just texting friends, they need to keep their devices charged. Look for a car that has USB charging ports – and even a household plug – in the backseat. Check out this feature in the Dodge Durango.

A Girls Guide To Cars | 9 Must-Have Features For A Comfortable Road Trip Car - Hyundautucsonphev Kymri6. Superb gas mileage

Great road trip cars are easy on the budget. Find a car that gets excellent gas mileage, or combat high gas prices with a hybrid vehicle that uses a combination of electric and gas to power the car! While you may not always find a spot to plug it in, they get incredible gas mileage – 54 MPG for Toyota’s new Prius Prime! – even when their batteries are depleted. Check out the Prius Prime or the Chevy Volt.

7. Comfortable seating

2015 Nissan Murano

2015 Nissan Murano’s new zero gravity seats. Photo: Scotty Reiss.

It’s great to have a car with programmable seat positions so when you switch drivers, the new driver doesn’t have to reset everything individually. I’ve learned it’s best to switch drivers every time you get gas – even if you don’t feel tired. Taking frequent breaks helps guard against fatigue. (And don’t forget proper driving posture!) Lumbar support, plenty of elbow room, and an adjustable steering wheel are all necessary features in road trip cars. Check out this feature in the Nissan Murano.

8. Panoramic sunroof

Cadillac Xt5

Oh that panoramic sun roof. Love love love. A girl needs her vitamin D! Photo: Scotty Reiss

When you’re road-tripping, passengers want to see everything around them. And the driver wants a lot of light in the car to stay awake and alert. A panoramic sunroof is also fantastic for back-seat passengers – especially younger ones who will marvel at looking up into the clouds or the stars! Road trip tip: you can get amazing photos of the mountains through a panoramic sunroof. Check out this feature in the Lincoln MKC.


Car Refrigerator

The convenient refrigerator console in the Ford Flex Limited. Photo: Ford

In addition to leg room and elbow room, you want room for your handbag, luggage, snacks, toys, and games. Think about what cargo space you’ll need – obviously a camping or beach trip requires more gear than a 2-day coastal drive with a stay at a B&B. Inside the cabin, good road trip cars will have adequate cup holders for every passenger and a space for snacks (here are some that don’t make a big mess!). And who wouldn’t love a refrigerator in the car? Check out this feature in the Ford Flex.

What’s on your must-have list for road trip cars?

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Feeling most at home when on the road, Shannon Entin grew up under the impression that the highest form... More about Shannon Entin