We here at Jalopnik know you want to get out on the open road this summer to make some memories, so we've chosen our favorite fuel-sipping road trip vehicles for those of us who may be hit by a little thing called "the skyrocketing price of gas." Yes, unlike the other "road trip lists" we've seen lately, these are for you, the cost-conscious consumer. And, since we're living in an increasingly globalized economy, we decided to go the extra mile and take a look at what the entire world has to offer. We're new to this whole "dealing with expensive gas" thing in America, but most everyone else got used to it years ago. But, we couldn't just pick any old hypermilling-for-the-masses vehicles; they also had to embody some of that adventurous road trip spirit as well — with a little bit of Jalopnik rolled in for good measure. The rules and the list await you below the jump.
In agreeing with your sentiments from yesterday, a good road trip vehicle should:
1.) Embrace the inevitable discomfort and uncertainty that comes on a long trip
2.) Have a degree of iconic style, so that when you're looking back at snapshots of the trip, you have that warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia
3.) Be equipped with at least four doors — how else can you do a Chinese Fire Drill at a stoplight?
With that in mind, we submit to you, in no particular order, the World's Best Road Trip Vehicles.
Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon JTD
Because most vacations are supposed to be a getaway from hectic everyday life, why not have a car with the same philosophy? You don't need to go to Italy, Italy can come to you! The Alfa offers the same sort of romance you'd get from a Maserati, but with more practicality and a fraction of the cost. With the 1.9-liter turbo diesel, you'll get nearly 39 MPG, or you can get a 2.4-liter version with a bit more power. But above all, it's beautiful. No need to go out of your way sightseeing, because the Alfa will make every stop a photo-op, even without a scenic vista in the background.
Peugeot 308 HDi
With fuel economy the name of the game, you can't ignore the Peugeot 308 HDi. This was the car of choice for the Guinness Book of World Records hypermiling inductees, who averaged over 75 MPG in their unnecessary quest to use as little fuel as necessary. Of course, to get those kind of MPGs, you'll have to travel at a snail's pace, but remember, it's all about the journey! The little French miser is also available in 3-door hatch or station wagon body styles, and comes with either a 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine.
Fiat Panda 100HP
This is the perfect example of a practical, efficient and fun-to-drive European small car. And by small we mean that it's not even as long or wide as a Chevy Aveo; however, it is taller, and thus has good head and leg room for both front and rear passengers. Despite its boxy shape, the Panda is anything but boring. That's because the 100 HP model has key features, like a 6-speed gearbox and grippy tires, in keeping with the tradition of Euro superminis known to be true driver's cars. If your budget road trip involves carving through twisty country roads, the Panda will deliver roller-coaster thrills, eliminating the need to buy tickets to the amusement park. Best of all, that 16-valve 1.4-liter engine will easily return over 30 MPG, even with spirited driving. [source]
So, you want to save cash by avoiding hotels, but you don't want to cross the continent in an RV the size of a blue whale? May we suggest a modern camper van such as the VW California? Coming from the factory with a pop-up roof and a pull-out awning, it even saves you from having to buy a tent. Don't want to spend money eating at roadside restaurants? No problem: the California even has a kitchen. Of course, this being a VW van, the kitchen is essential for any, ahem, baking that goes on. Most importantly, the 2.5-liter inline-five turbo-diesel engine gets about 27 MPG, which isn't bad for a studio apartment on wheels. [source]
Volkswagen Citi Golf
Remember the good ol' days of motoring simplicity? Yeah, maybe they weren't so good. But if you don't mind rekindling memories of cramming into a tiny hatchback with your buddies during the original gas crisis of the early '70s, look no further than the VW Citi Golf. Yes, this is a new car, and no, your eyes do not deceive you: The Citi is essentially the original Mk.1 Golf/Rabbit, and it has continued to roll off an assembly line in South Africa for decades. The fuel-injected 1.4 and 1.6-liter gasoline engines will return around 38 MPG on the highway, and prices start at the equivalent of under $10,000.
The people carrier of choice in Europe, the Renault Espace gives a view of the road to all seven passengers that a full-size SUV can only dream of. Sure, you don't tower over people like you might in an Expedition, but you don't have the horrible fuel economy either. What you do get is an interior available with any entertainment option you could want, surrounded by big panoramic windows and a massive available sunroof. The entire package merely sips fuel, to the tune of a gallon every 31 miles or so if you opt for the 2.0-liter diesel.
Geely TX4 London Taxi
A staple of England, and a novelty to the rest of the world, the London Taxi now has a version being cranked out by Chinese automaker Geely. Powered by a 2.4-liter diesel engine, the cab is sure to be economical. Plus, if you find yourself running dry on cash along the way, why not just pick up a fare and charge a premium? If 28 Days Later was any indication, these things should be great in the event of a Rage virus outbreak, meaning the TX4 is the perfect car if you come across hitchhikers or zombies. Just not both. [source]
So, no matter where you are in the world, there are great vehicles in which to embark on a road trip — and most of them are better choices than what we've got here. These are just a handful, but what do you want to take on your next Fantasyland road trip?