The rains have ceased and the children have been released from their pedagogic prisons. It’s time to hit the road. But before you shell out your hard-earned cash for a Wagon Queen Family Truckster with the optional Rally Fun-Pack, consider your options. There are much better ways to blast across this nation’s lonely highways. How about a 580-horsepower station wagon? An eight-wheel-drive RV? A 911 Turbo-powered van? Hit the jump to read about the best road trip vehicles ever.
Audi RS6 Avant
This is your station wagon. It has a directed-injected, twin-turbocharged, 580-horsepower 5-liter V-10. It can liquify all four tires in an instant. And it can haul your family and all your stuff. You are not dreaming. In America, we all but abandoned the station wagon in favor of wallowing minivans. In Europe, they built this. It’s like a Messerschmidt crossed with a VW Bus. It’s mental, a super car wrapped in the body of an unassuming Audi wagon. It can hit 60 in about four seconds. It’ll haul groceries at 180 miles per hour. It is hands down the best way to road trip across Europe. And that, my lustful readers, is the catch. Unless you have the superhuman powers of persuasion and bottomless checking account needed to federalize this rocket ship, you can’t bring it to the States. Still the sheer insanity of this wagon puts it near the top of all Lust Lists.
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
There are hundreds of dragstrips sprinkled across this great nation. You could see all of its majesty by visiting each one. If you drive the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, you could also leave a trail of trounced imports in your wake. Stock, the wagon can hit 60 miles per hour in four seconds and conquer the quarter mile in about 12. Its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 puts out 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. It is as luxurious as it is quick, equipped with supple leather seats, power everything, and a gorgeous interior. And there’s enough room behind its hatch to haul a pair of drag slicks. Somebody at GM really, really gets it.
Think you know tough? Meet the Icon FJ. The SUV’s build sheet makes MILSPEC look positively dainty. It has a thick-walled (.180″) steel chassis, hand-crafted 5/32″ aluminum body panels, custom Dynatrack/Dana solid axels, an Atlas II transfer case, coil-over RaceRunner shocks, Anti-Rock sway bars, and an Aisin-Warner five-speed transmission. Almost every piece of metal on the thing, including body panels, is powder coated with a nigh-indestructible finish. In short, the Icon FJ was built to withstand the fall of civilization, to happily trundle over scorched earth, to charge through torrential downpours of brimstone. Optional power plants include a 450-horsepower 5.7-liter GM V-8 and a thrifty 2.8-liter International diesel that pumps out 276 pound-feet of torque while managing 25 miles per gallon. The Icon FJ is available as a convertible or fully a enclosed, zombie-resistant SUV. In any trim, it’s more than ready for an expedition into wild America, which makes it an awesome road-trip vehicle.
You yearn for adventure, but always want to be within arms reach of a posh boutique hotel. Unicat has the vehicle for you. The company turns go-anywhere Unimogs and Internationals into swanky apartments that can climb mountains and ford rivers. Civilian Unicats are typically equipped with full kitchens, bathrooms, beds, even washer/dryer units. Most also have shutters to keep yokels from breaking in to swipe your iPad and Armani jeans. Unicat initially developed vehicles for intrepid explorers and scientists who wanted to drive to the farthest reaches of the earth. That means you get an indestructible diesel power plant and a robust 4X4 drivetrain capable of taking you anywhere. They are truly the ultimate RVs.
There’s nothing like the serenity of undisturbed wilderness. Especially when you reach it atop eight terrain-shredding, independently sprung and driven wheels, spewing a stream of dense, black diesel smoke. Eastern Bloc legend Tatra has been making insane all-wheel-drive trucks based on its centipede-like backbone chassis for almost 50 years. With up to eight-wheel-drive and massive, turbo-charged diesel engines, there simply is no better way for you and your platoon to find a peaceful patch of mother nature.
TH Automobile Van
Vans are the best road trip vehicles. They seat many and swallow tons of baggage. If only they had a little more oomph. If only there was, say, an 800-horsepower van . . . What’s that you say? There IS? Yes, the verrückt tuners at TH Automobile have created a monster VW van powered by a souped-up Porsche 911 Turbo flat six (in the rear) that puts out 800 horsepower. The thing also has air-ride sport suspension, carbon-fiber brakes, a proper six-speed manual transmission, and center seating for the driver. That’s right, the driver pilots this brick from the middle, F1 style. Terminal velocity is 192 miles per hour. Paint is eye-searing green. Smiles are standard equipment. TH Automobile will make any variation of their wicked van for you. Desire a more subtle shade of silver, more seating capacity? Done.
It’s a bus, turned into an RV, that carries a spare car in its trunk. Volkner Mobil creates uber-luxurious RVs for the tremendously rich. We’re talking ostrich-skin couches and polar bear rug rich. If you have at least $1.2 million to spend on your road trip ride, you can have them whip up a medium-sized mothership capable of carrying a MINI or a mammoth 40-footer that can house a goddamn Maserati Quattroporte. Inside you’ll find supple Coach leather seats, burl maple cabinetry, and the finest marble masonry. Oh, and a really bitchin’ stereo. These luxurious appointments, along with the ability to carry a perfectly awesome road trip car in its trunk, makes the Volkner Mobil one helluva road trip vehicle.