Camping holidays have undergone something of a renaissance in cost-conscious Britain, with more of us than ever choosing a staycation over an expensive overseas package holiday.
But which are the best cars on the market today to keep us a bunch of happy campers? We canvassed opinion to find out…
5. Subaru Outback
The name says it all – the Outback is a car designed with an outdoors lifestyle in mind. And whatever your preferred style of camping, it’s perfect for the job. The raised ride height makes light work of poor surfaces and the permanent four-wheel-drive will handle the worst a muddy campground can throw at it. It also has a capacious boot and has roof rails as standard, should you feel the need to increase its load space further with the addition of a roof box. It’s also a highly competent tow car, should you prefer the luxuries of a trailer tent or caravan.
In addition, it has a host of intelligent semi-autonomous safety features, along with a recently introduced infotainment platform that’s as good as the best European set-ups on the market. Throw in the fact it’s also a great car to drive and the Outback has much appeal.
4. Land Rover Discovery
Land Rovers and the outdoor lifestyle have always gone hand-in-hand, so it’s no surprise that the latest Discovery is the perfect car for a family holiday under canvas. It has a huge boot, the ability to get to some of the most remote camping spots in the world and is an equally brilliant performer on tarmac.
It’s also brilliant for towing, while being a Land Rover there’s a host of expedition equipment available, including a roof tent.
3. Volvo V90
The great thing about the Volvo V90 is that, if the weather turns typically British and your tent threatens to get blown away, you can simply drop the seats and kip in the back! The V90’s load bay is both flat and vast, with room for people over six feet tall to recline in comfort.
It’s also a great looking car, with superb levels of technology and safety and a clean, classy cabin. It’s the best Volvo estate for a very long time, and that’s not something you say lightly!
2. Audi Q3
If you fancy a quick getaway in your Audi Q3, then for £1,400 you can specify it with its very own pop-up tent.
The Q3 tent attaches to the car’s tailgate, allowing you to use the car’s interior as your own walk-in wardrobe. It simply clips over the top edge of the boot lid, and using a compressor operated by the car’s 12v socket, the tent blows itself up in less than seven minutes.
It’s gimmicky, sure, but we still think it’s pretty cool.
1. Volkswagen California
Okay, so the Volkswagen California is a bit of a cheat, as it’s actually a fully-fledged camper van – but what better type of vehicle is there for an overnight getaway? Plus, the California is actually an official Volkswagen vehicle, rather than a conversion, meaning it is fully covered by the brand’s warranty and is sold directly through its dealer network.
It has an accordion-style pop-up roof to give plenty of standing room in the main living compartment, with proper bunks and a built-in fridge and cooker. The only downside is that it isn’t cheap, though this is offset by the fact it has better residual values than most other vehicles currently on sale, retaining 60 per cent of its value after three years.