10 Best Cars for Road Trips in Australia

By Alexi Falson on 06 Mar 2023
image for 10 Best Cars for Road Trips in Australia As one of the largest countries on earth, Australians are tasked with long-distance road trips more than most, and demand a new car that is comfortable, spacious, and relaxing to drive.

While some vehicles are more suited to short hops around the urban jungle, buyers looking to get out and about on weekends and holidays have certain engines and fuel economy requirements, while the right suspension hardware and interior designs and features can make a huge difference when it comes to pleasing a crowd.

With that in mind, let’s begin unpacking ten of the best cars specifically for long-distance road trips here in Australia, so let’s jump in and take a look at your best options.

Toyota LandCruiser Prado

If you’re planning on hitting the road and like the idea of getting your tyres dirty on some off-road adventures, then Toyota’s LandCruiser Prado has you more than covered.

The Prado offers seating for up to seven people, or a five-seat layout for smaller families looking for more boot space, with a spacious interior package that is perfect for long holiday drives and a heap of power for off-roading and towing.

The Prado comes powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque, which is enough to tow loads up to 3000kg and offers 7.9L/100km combined fuel economy figures.

Better still, you’ll benefit from Toyota’s famously tough designs and impressive build quality that offers a heap of confidence when you’re hours away from civilisation and comfortable suspension hardware that makes light work out of Australian roads.

Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback has long been a favourite of Australian buyers looking for a versatile platform that can tackle school runs and isn’t afraid to get its toes dirty.

In its latest form, Subaru has given the Outback a brand new 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine option pushing out 183kW of power and 350Nm of torque, joined by an additional 400kg of braked towing capacity which now stands at 2400kg.

Inside, the Outback’s cabin is perfect for road trips here in Australia, with a generous amount of occupant space and comfort features in the front and rear of the cabin, complemented by a generous 522L boot.

Hyundai Palisade

Hyundai’s biggest SUV package is also one of the best currently on sale in Australia when it comes to comfortably transporting a family of eight.

On the open road, the Palisade is a dream thanks to its soft suspension that floats over bumps and irregularities while feeling rock-solid and confident on a mix of Australian roads.

Power is supplied by your choice of a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel or a 3.5-litre V6 engine that have fuel economy ratings of 10.7L and 7.3L per 100km respectively.

The high-riding SUV package offers a heap of standard equipment which will keep the family happy with features like three-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats, sunblind's and a panoramic sunroof.

Mazda 6

In a world brimming with SUV packages, it’s easy to forget just how comfortable and practical sedans and wagons really are, with the Mazda 6 being a perfect example of a hidden gem in the Australian landscape.

When it comes to long-distance trips, the Mazda 6 hits the ground running with its comfortable suspension platform and a choice of two petrol engines that offer healthy power and torque figures, and a seriously engaging driving experience.

Space and comfort inside the Mazda 6 is excellent, with a heap of leg and headroom on offer in the rear of the cabin, and a large 474L boot for the sedan that expands to 506L in the wagon variant.

Isuzu MU-X

There’s few cars that offer the same rugged versatility of the Isuzu MU-X while remaining a comfortable option for transporting a large family on road trips.

Thanks to the fact the majority of the MU-X sources its parts and platform from the D-Max ute, it performs exceptionally well when put under the stress of an off-road trail, or while towing a load up to 3500kg thanks to its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine.

Inside you’ll find more than enough space for a family of seven to sit back and get comfortable for a long road trip, while the heavy-duty suspension takes care of all the bumps Australian roads can throw at it.

The MU-X in its cheapest form comes well-equipped with a set of bi-LED headlights, keyless entry & start, 17-inch alloys wrapped in all-terrain tyres, and a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.

Ford Ranger

While the ute segment might have originally been designed for worksites in mind, these days, utes like the Ford Ranger are a great place to spend a long holiday road trip.

The updated Ford Ranger has a heap to offer Australian families when it’s time to hit the road, with the added benefit of a generous amount of power and torque to tow large objects, and hardcore underpinings making for a great off-roader.

Power is supplied by a choice of four engines, three turbo-diesel units and a fire-breathing twin-turbo V6 petrol for the flagship Raptor that sprints to 100km/h in just 5.5 seconds while remaining silky-smooth on the road.

Space and comfort in the back of the Ranger’s cabin is massively improved over the previous model, however, if you’re planning on some seriously long road trips make sure you’re not squeezing any adults in the rear of the cabin.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi’s update for the Outlander has resulted in one of the most impressive value propositions for the seven-seat SUV segment, and is perfect for Australian road trips.

Considering just how many variants there are on offer, the Outlander range is accommodating to a wide range of budgets, the majority of which come powered by the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder producing 135kW/244Nm and is available with an AWD platform for added stability.

There’s even a plug-in hybrid option that gains a healthy power and torque premium over the standard model, while the suspension sitting underneath works wonderfully at ironing out bumps on long distance road trips, making for a great and practical touring SUV option for large families.

Kia Carnival

For large families, the Kia Carnival remains one of the best and most comfortable ways to transport up to eight people and makes for a very versatile package both in town and on the open road.

Within the Carnival range you’ll find a choice of a 3.5-litre V6 petrol producing 216kW/355Nm and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel producing 148kW/440Nm, both of which are paired with a slick eight-speed automatic that powers the front wheels.

Inside, the Carnival’s cabin is every bit as practical as it is spacious, with a clever adjustable seating design that allows you to configure your preferred setup, and the added benefit of a large 627L with all three-rows standing.

While it might not be one of the most exciting packages on the market, it is undoubtedly one of the most practical and spacious ways to transport a family of eight for hours on end without hearing complaints from children seated in the rear.

Genesis G80

If you’re looking for a more premium road trip companion, Genesis has you covered with its latest G80 sedan and wagon variants that are absolutely sublime on the road.

The range comes powered by a choice of three engines including a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, turbo-diesel and a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol in the range-topper that makes the G80 feel like a silky-smooth rocketship on the road.

Underneath, the G80’s suspension has been tuned specifically for Australian road conditions, while the flagship variant gains adaptive dampers that stiffen up for agile handling and cushion bumps in the comfort setting.

The G80’s interior is every bit as spacious as it is luxurious, with a huge amount of detail paid to its design and packaging that makes it feel incredibly special to sit inside and means some journeys just won’t be long enough.

Volvo XC90

Volvo has become synonymous with comfort and style, and the latest XC90 builds upon that reputation well with its road trip-ready platform and large interior that is perfect for families.

The XC90 has recently picked up a plug-in hybrid engine option, joining the turbocharged four-cylinder sitting at the base of the range and the turbo and supercharged petrol engines that produce generous power and torque figures.

The plug-in hybrid Recharge variant offers a massive 340kW of power and 709Nm of torque which gives the XC90 a heap of personality and makes for a lightning-fast long-distance tourer.

Inside, the cabin is exceptionally well-crafted and spacious, offering buyers a large 709L boot, while the suspension works well to keep everyone inside extremely comfortable, with the added bonus of adaptive suspension in the range-topping XC90 Recharge.

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If our list of the 10 best cars for road trips here in Australia has sparked your imagination, click here to get in contact with one of our car-buying specialists.


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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