If you’re stuck with a long commute, you know that having a comfortable car can make a huge difference in your day. With supportive and adjustable seats, smooth handling, and multiple infotainment resources, these vehicles can make the time behind the wheel go by in a flash. It’s the same story for road-trippers, too. When you’re really rolling up the miles, picking out the proper vehicle will keep you fresh and alert both while driving and when you reach your destination. Nor do you have to shop the luxury brands to enjoy that kind of travel experience. In fact, though we have some relatively upscale choices on our list, we’ve stuck to mainstream and near-premium brands to help balance the value equation.
10 Most Comfortable Cars for Long Trips
Photo Credit: Acura
2017 Acura TLX
The 2017 Acura TLX is among the most comfortable cars to take on a long trip, and it can truly help drivers stay engaged with the road. Its sport-sedan positioning certainly helps matters, along with actual performance boosters like Precision All-Wheel Steer and Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive. Well-bolstered sports seats in perforated Milano leather—with tri-stage heating and ventilation—ensure optimum comfort in any weather, and the driver in particular benefits from a 10-way power adjustability. The TLX also can supply on-road peace of mind with technologies designed to enhance highway travel, such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, and road-departure mitigation. For motivation, Acura offers a 206-horsepower four-cylinder engine that hits 35 mpg or a V6 that can deliver 290 horses and 34 mpg.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota Avalon
Our list of the most comfortable cars for long trips also includes the 2017 Toyota Avalon because of its smooth-running ways. Backed by its nearly full-size dimensions which improve road presence, different Avalon grades have different suspensions as well, so that owners can emphasize either athleticism or comfort. Shoppers additionally have a choice between two trip-friendly powertrains, one with a V6 that mixes 268 horsepower and 30 mpg, and the other with 200-horsepower worth of hybrid technology and an EPA line of 40 mpg city/39 mpg highway/40 mpg combined. In either case, heated and ventilated front seats, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s chair, and heated rear seats can be ordered to keep all occupants cozy.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2017 Chevrolet Impala
Big sedans from the Bowtie brand have a long history of comfort on long trips, and the 2017 Chevrolet Impala carries on that tradition with much success today. For starters, it’s indeed a big sedan, with a length of more than 201 inches and a trunk able to carry 18.8 cubic feet of cargo. The Impala then serves up a host of creature comforts for long-distance drivers. Fully climate-controlled front seats, heated rear seats, and a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel are all on the Impala’s options list. Moreover, if you’re comfortable with the latest technology, Chevy showcases a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system, and forward collision warning—and more.
Photo Credit: Dan Gray
2017 Lincoln MKZ
Boasting more luxuries than most mainstream entries, but lower pricing than the most luxury sedans, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ should not be missed if you’re shopping for comfortable cars for long trips. Even the entry-level MKZ—despite a fairly affordable MSRP of $35,170—provides standard 10-way heated front seats with a two-way power lumbar control, plus a next-gen SYNC 3 infotainment system, a reconfigurable 10.1-inch LCD gauge cluster, adaptive HID headlights, and a rearview camera. Also standard, and especially nice for lengthy journeys, is the MKZ’s continuously controlled damping system. This setup can respond to changes in road conditions in just milliseconds, enabling premium suspension performance regardless of road conditions. And the 41-mpg MKZ hybrid is the exact same price.
Photo Credit: Chrysler
2017 Chrysler 300
As for the 2017 Chrysler 300, it distinguishes itself from the rest of our comfortable cars for long trips by featuring a standard rear-wheel drive configuration—although it does offer a very sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. The technology allows the 300 to automatically engage AWD only as needed, seamlessly disconnect the hardware from the front wheels for the best possible fuel efficiency in normal road conditions. Thus, the full-size 300 can throw down an EPA line of 18/27/21 with both all-wheel drive and a 292-horsepower V6 engine. Of course, more typical comfort cues, such as climate-controlled seating and quilted, perforated Nappa leather upholstery, also are available. Key safety technologies for the 300 range from forward collision warning to rear cross-path detection.
Photo Credit: Kia
2017 Kia Cadenza
As you could probably tell by now, the near-premium entries from the mainstream brands are the perfect comfortable cars for long trips. The 2017 Kia Cadenza, for instance, checks in with leather-trimmed seats and heat for the driver and front-seat passenger, who also can adjust their seats with 10- and eight-way power controls to find just the right traveling position. Oh, and that setup is standard with the Cadenza’s MSRP of $31,990. Meanwhile, the standard V6 has 290 horsepower and plenty of road-running stamina. As for the uplevel Cadenza models, those coddle occupants with quilted Nappa leather, a 14-way power adjustable driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar support, front seat ventilation, rear seat heat, and a heated steering wheel.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
2017 Dodge Charger
What’s a four-door muscle car doing here with the rest of the comfortable cars? Well, there’s nothing quite like a HEMI or two for chewing up extended stretches of the interstate, and the 2017 Dodge Charger happens to have three of them ready for customers. Making 370, 485 and 707 horsepower, these high-velocity V8 engines also can be paired with high-comfort cabin features, including the requisite Nappa-leather seating, with a climate-controlled front row and heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Folks also should remember that the Charger can furnish the award-winning Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system, with an easy-to-manage 8.4-inch touchscreen, and two premium sound systems, one from BeatsAudio and one from Harman Kardon.
Photo Credit: Buick
2017 Buick LaCrosse
Buyers interested in all-new comfortable cars for long trips can take a look at the 2017 Buick LaCrosse. Completely redesigned for the 2017 model year, the LaCrosse has a noticeably hushed interior that relies on Buick’s standard QuietTuning process to keep out unwanted noise. The brand also introduces some surprisingly luxurious touches. For example, the LaCrosse goes beyond soft surfaces and climate control for its seating, thanks to an available lumbar-massaging function for both driver and front-seat passenger. LaCrosse owners also can order all of the top General Motors technologies, like mobile Wi-Fi, smartphone integration, and a variety of driver-assistance measures. Finally, to comfortably handle trips in poor weather, Buick has introduced a new dual-clutch all-wheel-drive system for the LaCrosse.
Photo Credit: Nissan
2017 Nissan Maxima
Autobytel experts made a conscious decision to keep the most expensive premium brands out of our list of comfortable cars for long trips—but Nissan did the opposite. The company’s engineers and designers “benchmarked luxury sedan several classes above Maxima,” and those efforts pay off for owners. Just consider the Maxima’s “Zero Gravity” front seats, which have both a three-layer foam design for increased softness and supportive bolsters for enthusiastic driving. Naturally, those seats also can be climate controlled and covered in supple diamond-quilted Ascot leather and complemented by a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. NissanConnect tech, navigation, and a 300-horsepower V6—voted one of the industry’s 10 Best Engines by WardsAuto—help fill out the Maxima’s proven package of travel benefits.
Photo Credit: Subaru
2017 Subaru Legacy
Some customers may forget the 2017 Subaru Legacy when shopping for comfortable cars for long trips, if only because the Subaru brand is better known for all-wheel-drive capability than for keeping occupants comfy. The Legacy, however, fills both roles as the company’s current midsize sedan. To be clear, Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive technology is standard for the Legacy, but so is 104.6 cubic feet of occupant volume, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, and a StarLink multimedia system with Bluetooth connectivity and access to mobile apps—with an MSRP of $21,995. Higher-level Legacy trims also can leverage all the usual upgrades that are popular for high-mileage travelers, such as heated, leather-trimmed seating and an extensive portfolio of cutting-edge driver-assistance technologies.