9 Best Used Cars For Road Trips: Invest On Your Memories

9 Best Used Cars For Road Trips: Invest On Your Memories

With road trips, it’s not all about the destination. Often there’s a lot of fun to be had in simply getting there. As the saying goes, the journey is the destination.

While it might seem obvious that a car that’s good on gas should be your top choice for a road trip, there are definitely many other benefits to consider beyond fuel efficiency. It also depends on what kind of road tripper you are and who’s coming along for the ride.

Here we’ve rounded up the best cars for road trips to help you compare and plan your next trip.

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BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is a sports sedan with a spacious interior and seating up to five people. With beautiful handling and a user-friendly infotainment system, you’ll want to take the scenic route home.

With a three-liter, four-cylinder engine this car has great fuel efficiency getting up to 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which makes it a great choice for daily use as well. The 3 Series is easy on the eyes — and your wallet — with used models listed at just under $10,000.

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BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is a sports sedan with a spacious interior and seating up to five people. With beautiful handling and a user-friendly infotainment system, you’ll want to take the scenic route home.

With a three-liter, four-cylinder engine this car has great fuel efficiency getting up to 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which makes it a great choice for daily use as well. The 3 Series is easy on the eyes — and your wallet — with used models listed at just under $10,000.

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Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

If you go on a lot of solo road trips, or you’d like to be up close and personal with your passenger, the Mazda MX-5 may be the car for you. This two-seater is lightweight yet strong with a two-liter, four-cylinder engine. Its sporty look blends well into a night on the town or a cruise on country roads.


You won’t have to fuel up often with the MX-5, with a fuel efficiency of up to 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. With models available for as low as $12,950 you can feel the wind in your hair for less.

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Mazda MX-5

If you go on a lot of solo road trips, or you’d like to be up close and personal with your passenger, the Mazda MX-5 may be the car for you. This two-seater is lightweight yet strong with a two-liter, four-cylinder engine. Its sporty look blends well into a night on the town or a cruise on country roads.


You won’t have to fuel up often with the MX-5, with a fuel efficiency of up to 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. With models available for as low as $12,950 you can feel the wind in your hair for less.

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Honda Odyssey

Honda Odyssey

While it’s actually a minivan, the Honda Odyssey is one of the best vehicles for road trips if you have a big family. Flexible seating options allow you to seat up to eight people comfortably with plenty of tech to keep everyone entertained. Its many safety and assistive technologies will also help you stay alert on the long road ahead and help you keep tabs on your back passengers.

With a 3.5-liter, V6 engine, the Odyssey has a good fuel efficiency of up to 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which makes it a great choice for both carpooling the kids to school and getting out on the open road.

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Honda Odyssey

While it’s actually a minivan, the Honda Odyssey is one of the best vehicles for road trips if you have a big family. Flexible seating options allow you to seat up to eight people comfortably with plenty of tech to keep everyone entertained. Its many safety and assistive technologies will also help you stay alert on the long road ahead and help you keep tabs on your back passengers.

With a 3.5-liter, V6 engine, the Odyssey has a good fuel efficiency of up to 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which makes it a great choice for both carpooling the kids to school and getting out on the open road.

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Chevy Bolt

Chevy Bolt

The Chevy Bolt is one of the best electric vehicles for road trips. It reaches up to 259 EPA estimated miles of range on a full charge, depending on the model, and it comes with an app that helps you find charging stations along the way. 

The Bolt seats up to five people and keeps you and your passengers entertained with an infotainment system that syncs with both Apple and Android smartphones. You’ll not only be helping the environment, but you can help yourself and your budget by buying used. There are models of the Bolt listed starting at $20,950.

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Chevy Bolt

The Chevy Bolt is one of the best electric vehicles for road trips. It reaches up to 259 EPA estimated miles of range on a full charge, depending on the model, and it comes with an app that helps you find charging stations along the way. 

The Bolt seats up to five people and keeps you and your passengers entertained with an infotainment system that syncs with both Apple and Android smartphones. You’ll not only be helping the environment, but you can help yourself and your budget by buying used. There are models of the Bolt listed starting at $20,950.

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Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

The name kind of gives this one away. The Subaru Outback is one of the best camping cars. All-wheel-drive comes standard on all models regardless of the trim, which means you’ll want to go on plenty of backroad adventures with it. But it’s also well-suited for daily driving in the city, too. With a fuel-efficient 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine this Subaru  gets up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

The Outback seats up to five people and has ample room for your gear and plenty of clearance to travel on and endure a variety of terrains. You’ll save big by grabbing a used model, which can go for as low as $9,950.

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Subaru Outback

The name kind of gives this one away. The Subaru Outback is one of the best camping cars. All-wheel-drive comes standard on all models regardless of the trim, which means you’ll want to go on plenty of backroad adventures with it. But it’s also well-suited for daily driving in the city, too. With a fuel-efficient 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine this Subaru  gets up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

The Outback seats up to five people and has ample room for your gear and plenty of clearance to travel on and endure a variety of terrains. You’ll save big by grabbing a used model, which can go for as low as $9,950.

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Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Yes, you read that correctly: the Toyota Camry Hybrid. While a sensible, mid-sized sedan might sound boring, this car is anything but. Its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine offers a fuel efficiency of 51 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway, which means it can go the distance with fewer pit stops. Additionally, its sporty exterior looks good in any setting whether it’s the city, suburbs, or the country.

The Camry offers a relaxed ride to you and your passengers. You’ll also relax knowing you spent less on a used model, with list prices starting at $10,800.

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Toyota Camry Hybrid

Yes, you read that correctly: the Toyota Camry Hybrid. While a sensible, mid-sized sedan might sound boring, this car is anything but. Its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine offers a fuel efficiency of 51 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway, which means it can go the distance with fewer pit stops. Additionally, its sporty exterior looks good in any setting whether it’s the city, suburbs, or the country.

The Camry offers a relaxed ride to you and your passengers. You’ll also relax knowing you spent less on a used model, with list prices starting at $10,800.

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Mazda CX-9

Mazda CX-9

For those with a big team who don’t want to drive a minivan, there’s the Mazda CX-9. While it’s actually an SUV, this is one of the most comfortable for long-distance driving and one of the best for large families. Despite its lean 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, it can fit seven people and their cargo, and tow up to 3,500 pounds. It also has a great fuel efficiency for its size, getting up to 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

You’ll have more to spend on your family or your next vacation when you buy a used CX-9 with listings as low as $10,650.

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Mazda CX-9

For those with a big team who don’t want to drive a minivan, there’s the Mazda CX-9. While it’s actually an SUV, this is one of the most comfortable for long-distance driving and one of the best for large families. Despite its lean 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, it can fit seven people and their cargo, and tow up to 3,500 pounds. It also has a great fuel efficiency for its size, getting up to 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

You’ll have more to spend on your family or your next vacation when you buy a used CX-9 with listings as low as $10,650.

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Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

It’s iconic. It’s cool. It’s the Ford Mustang. You have to admit, taking this muscle car on road trips with your friends sounds like a really fun time. With a five-liter, V8 engine, the Mustang was built for any sort of driving occasion, getting up to 20 mpg in the city and an even higher 32 mpg on the highway. It has the fuel efficiency and power to get you and up to three passengers where you want to be.

While you might be thinking it's out of reach, owning a Mustang is quite attainable with used models listed as low as $14,400. It’s like a dream come true.

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Ford Mustang

It’s iconic. It’s cool. It’s the Ford Mustang. You have to admit, taking this muscle car on road trips with your friends sounds like a really fun time. With a five-liter, V8 engine, the Mustang was built for any sort of driving occasion, getting up to 20 mpg in the city and an even higher 32 mpg on the highway. It has the fuel efficiency and power to get you and up to three passengers where you want to be.

While you might be thinking it's out of reach, owning a Mustang is quite attainable with used models listed as low as $14,400. It’s like a dream come true.

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Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Are you looking for one of the best cars to take mountain driving, off-roading, or on the shore of the beach? The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has all bases covered. While technically not a car, this multi-terrain vehicle, made for explorers, has lots of storage, safety features, and an immersive audio system to add to your adventure.

Its 3.6-liter, V6 engine offers a fuel efficiency of up to 21 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, not to mention plenty of tenacity, too. With four-wheel-drive, the Wrangler Unlimited can go the distance and take you anywhere. While it may be one of the higher-priced vehicles listed here, you’ll save nearly half the price of a new one by purchasing a usedWrangler Unlimited, some of which are listed as low as $24,950.

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Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Are you looking for one of the best cars to take mountain driving, off-roading, or on the shore of the beach? The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has all bases covered. While technically not a car, this multi-terrain vehicle, made for explorers, has lots of storage, safety features, and an immersive audio system to add to your adventure.

Its 3.6-liter, V6 engine offers a fuel efficiency of up to 21 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, not to mention plenty of tenacity, too. With four-wheel-drive, the Wrangler Unlimited can go the distance and take you anywhere. While it may be one of the higher-priced vehicles listed here, you’ll save nearly half the price of a new one by purchasing a usedWrangler Unlimited, some of which are listed as low as $24,950.

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Happy Travelling

No matter what kind of road tripper you are, there’s a variety of vehicles out there to suit every need. One thing each of the vehicles listed here has in common is that they bring your dreams a little closer to reality with the availability of used models. Not only does this make them more attainable, you’re also likely to find a higher trim model within your budget, too.

If you aren’t convinced a car will fit your road-tripping needs, an SUV may be what you’re after. Or if you want to tow a large boat or camper on your journey, a large SUV is worth exploring.

No matter what make and model is the one for you, Shift’s certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every vehicle they list, and they have complete vehicle history reports so you know it feels as good as new.

So just one question remains:

What are you waiting for?

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Author
Shift Editorial Team