The Ten Worst Cars For A Summer Road trip

Nothing is better than a perfect summer road trip. That's why the the really hot, cramped, boring ones are so very bad. Jalopnik readers know ten terrible road trip cars that will guarantee an awful time.

It's really not the hardest thing in the world to build a good road trip car. Make the ride reasonably soft, give the car plenty of room inside, and keep the fuel economy up. Just about any station wagon is going to be fine.


So you almost have to search out a bad road trip car. You need something small inside with bad ventilation, a choppy ride, poor seats, bad gas mileage, and no space for your stuff.

It'd be very hard to find anything worse for a road trip than these ten cars.

10.) Aston Martin N24

The N24 was basically Aston Martin's 24 Hours of Nurburgring race car with a license plate. It sounds awesome at first, but you quickly realize you are driving around in an non-insulated metal box heated quite well by a race engine, and you have the world's smallest windows.

As James May found out, you get hot.

Suggested By: 472CID, Photo Credit: Aston Martin

9.) The Old Dodge Viper


Speaking of getting hot, the Viper has its exhausts vent out the side of the car and not the back. This means that 1) the car gets massively hot, not counting the fact that you're driving around in the summer and 2) you burn your ankle every time you get in and out of the car. Like when you fill up for gas, which is all the time, because the car has an 8.4 liter V10.

Suggested By: 6cyl, Photo Credit: Dodge

8.) Chevrolet Impala Diesel


An old Impala wagon seems like a great road trip car. It's body on frame, with a soft ride and plenty of space. Not so, argues My X type is too a real Jaaaaaaag.

Speaking only from childhood experience, my father's 1980 Chevrolet Impala Station Wagon, with Vinyl Seats, no Air Conditioning, and infamous Oldsmobile Diesel Engine. Every summer drive from Maine to family in Michigan my 2 siblings and the dog. The lack of AC meant the rear window was open the entire way, so for me (the youngest) I not only had to sit in the way back as we called it facing the cars coming up behind the slow moving beast, I also got to smell that lovely diesel exhaust at every stop. Now since the car had no AC, we wore shorts, and thank to those beautiful vinyl seats every movement involved unsticking yourself to the seat. Not that my siblings had it any better, my father is 6'5" so the bench seat was always in the fully back position.


Suggested By: My X type is too a real Jaaaaaaag, Photo Credit: Chevrolet

7.) Smart Car


If you don't get blown over by a crosswind or run over by an 18-wheeler, surely you'll die of embarrassment road tripping in one of these.

Suggested By: Rockchops, Photo Credit: Smart

6.) Modified Nissan 240SX


Not only does modifying an S-Chassis Nissan makes it a loud, gas-sucking pig, but it turns the car into a total cop magnet. Enjoy getting pulled over in every state you visit.

Suggested By: Rainbow Dash, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

5.) Fiat 126


Our Eastern European friends are quite familiar with these rear-engined econoboxes. If you're driving a short distance with a friend or two, they're okay. If you're looking for long distance comfort or room for stuff, you won't find it here.

Suggested By: Hoccy, Photo Credit: Credit_00

4.) DeTomaso Pantera


Midengined Italian exotics are the very pinnacle of the car world, but as a road trip tool, they suck balls, as owner TheSpin explains.

Two seats. No back and no real trunk.

8mpg city, 10mpg highway.

Loud as hell. No radio and talking loudly is necessary.

Relatively unreliable. Normal old-car type stuff. Certainly hard to get parts for while on the road.

Physically uncomfortable compared to modern standards. Throw in the heat and noise to make for an unpleasant long trip. It does make up for it though be being hard to get in and out of.

Still, it does redeem itself at highway speeds and in the corners.

Suggested By: TheSpin, Photo Credit: Playboy

3.) Caterham Se7en


Imagine driving around in a very loud coffin that likes to break down. That's the Caterham road trip experience.

Suggested By: ejp love love love love loves slush-o-matic transmissions, Photo Credit: Caterham


2.) Nissan Leaf


With a range of about 60-80 miles and a full recharge time of four hours even with the extra onboard charger and a ready supply of 240V outlets, a drive from New York to Los Angeles would require 139 hours (over five and a half days) of being plugged into a socket.

Suggested By: SennaMP4, Photo Credit: Nissan

1.) Peel P50


In the world's smallest car, there is only one seat, the engine is next to your feet (see picture here), and the top speed is roughly 38. The Leaf might not be able to make a whole road trip possible, but in the Peel P50 you will instead wish for the sweet release of death.

Suggested By: Jay_Hoff, Photo Credit: Peel

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Photo Credit: National Lampoon's Vacation

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