For some people driving isn't about speed or style; it's about going distances better measured by physics calculations than odometers. These are Jalopnik readers' picks for the best ways to rack up astronomical mileage without stress or excessive cost.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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10.) BMW E28
Suggested By: Fedaykin528
Why it's good for the long haul: There was something strange and wonderful about German engineering and metallurgy in the late Seventies and Eighties: With very few, almost self-induced exceptions, the upscale manufacturers built cars that could have survived World War III. Between their no-nonsense designs, all-but-indestructible mechanicals and ultra-high-quality materials, the E28 and its peers are uncompromised distance machines in terms of both driver support and machine longevity.
Photo Credit: Al
Suggested By: tintern
Why it's good for the long haul: I can personally vouch for the long-distance charms of the 3. We rented one in Colorado last year and racked up nearly a thousand miles in three driving days. It was a complete package: it kept a low profile while being the fastest car on the road, it was all-day comfortable, and neither it nor I ever got tired of seeking out what was beyond the next curve. A pleasant rebuke to those who think that mile-eaters have to be barges. The new SKYACTIV-G technology also means the possibility of some serious fuel-sippage.
Photo Credit: Mazda
8.) 1999 Honda Civic Si
Suggested By: speedyexpress48 is Lord Zero
Why it's good for the long haul: Paul Habib, Jr. had the right idea, but the earlier Honda compacts were even sweeter. The wonderful thing about the old Civics was their perfectly-honed simplicity; other than maybe the trick VTEC head in certain models, there wasn't anything overly complex about them. They work, and they keep working, and they keep being brilliant little driving machines with a forged-steel durability that paradoxically underlines their light-and-lively nature. We still want them back.
Photo Credit: Honda
7.) Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis
Suggested By: wkiernan
Why it's good for the long haul: This is one of those things your grandparents got so completely right. These cars were made specifically to haul coast to coast in absolute stressless comfort. The Panthers were no speed cats, but with a big body full of big seats and climate control that could handle everything from Arizona to Alaska they were the swan song of a long and noble tradition of American cross-country cruisers.
Photo Credit: Keith Burley
6.) Lexus LS460
Suggested By: CRXPilot; Junior Cornering Solutions Consultant
Why it's good for the long haul: It is doubtful that any other cars ever made has been as well-suited to luxurious long-distance running in America as the big Lexus sedans. In discreetly declining to play the Autobahn game, the LSs focus on what matters in the Interstate environment: a very well-managed ride, an exceptionally smooth and flexible driveline, spa-resort interior fittings. If it's not the most involving driving machine, that's not the point; that particular degree of isolation just makes the miles slide by that much more comfortably.
Photo Credit: Lexus
5.) Volvo 240 Wagon
Suggested By: smackela
Why it's good for the long haul: The big Swedish draft horse did not earn its enlightened-bohemian-traveler credentials by being a finicky pile of aluminum foil. Built by people in a rough environment who expect things to work well and last, the anvil-like old-school Volvos will run up scarcely credible mileages in harsh conditions while standing up to the occasional idiot owner.
Photo Credit: Esteban
4.) Volkswagen Golf TDI
Suggested By: I Can be Stig?
Why it's good for the long haul: Euro-tuned road manners in an ultra-useful shape with long-range fuel economy that shames hybrids, the oilburner Golf is still perhaps the most sensible vehicle on the market. Volkswagens have come a very long way from their wheezy air-cooled ancestors without giving up their essential integrity and thoughtfulness. If you need one car that will go everywhere and do everything, this may be it.
Photo Credit: VW USA
3.) Dodge Ram 2500/3500 with the Cummins diesel
Suggested By: 1988jazrit
Why it's good for the long haul: A proper full-size American pickup truck can be a lifetime proposition with a bit of care; that's part of their charm. Combine that designed-in ruggedness with an engine from a company more used to providing power for Class 8 rigs than passenger vehicles and you will have a truck that will tow, haul, and travel until the sun burns out.
Photo Credit: Clayton Sieg
2.) Mercedes W123
Suggested By: dogisbadob
Why it's good for the long haul: Combine most of the preceding elements — German build quality, rational size, well-considered tuning, diesel motivation — and you get the Mercedes W123, as much of a granite car as has ever been built. It is among the last, and probably the most accessible, of the real old-school Mercs: not a modern luxury car in the gadgets-and-hedonism sense, but an incredibly well-built machine that feels like it will go absolutely forever in dignity and sensible comfort.
Photo Credit: Rich Luhr
1.) Volvo P1800
Suggested By: Gamecat235
Why it's good for the long haul: If we're going for real-world proof of durability and over-the-road capability, Irv Gordon has the last word: His P1800 has racked up nearly three million miles. An understressed driveline and an overbuilt body are but two parts of the puzzle, because a long-distance runner has to be worth driving to the Moon and back several times. This endearingly-styled and comfortable coupe has definitely earned its laurels, not just for Gordon but for countless others still out on the road.
Photo Credit: Volvo