Not everyone likes to get away on a camping trip miles from civilisation in every direction and live wholly off the land a la Bear Grylls or Les Stroud. Even taking a step down from making one’s own shelter and eating outlandishly disgusting things like insects and whatnot, even tents, Engels and using a hole in the ground for a toilet are a little too much for some.
And that’s absolutely fine if you’re one of them - to each their own and all that jazz. But if you do still enjoy getting just a little bit off the beaten track, perhaps hitting up one of the many glamping establishments that can be found dotted all over this beautiful sun-blessed country of ours, you might need a car that’s got a little bit more offroad ability than most.
We’re not talking about a two-and-a-half-tonne 4WD sporting a 4-inch lift kit, 35” muddies, bullbar and all the other trimmings here, though. Just something that can handle itself when the surface gets a little rougher while simultaneously being a nice, easy drive in the urban jungle as well.
The 5 best cars to get you to your glampsite with ease
Taking a few factors into consideration such as value for money, drivetrain, interior comfort and features as well as overall tech and styling, we’ve come up with a list of 7 highly capable all-rounders for your consideration.
The RAV4 has been something of a continued feature in these kinds of lists for a number of years now, and with really good reason. They always seem to nail the styling, they’re not absolute behemoths so make for an easy drive, and for all they come with don’t cost a ridiculous amount.
There are four trim levels available, and going with anything but the Edge will mean a 2.5-litre hybrid engine with auto CVT transmission. If you do opt for the top-of-the-line Edge model variant, you’ll get the 2.5-litre petrol engine with 8-speed auto. There’s also the choice of 2WD or AWD depending on which one you go with, but if you’re thinking about taking it offroad (even if just a little bit) we reckon the AWD is the better option.
The base model GX in AWD goes for just shy of $37k driveaway while the Edge (which offers quite a few awesome offroad tech features) is priced from $53,837* driveaway, and then you also have GXL and Cruiser trim levels priced in between.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Next on our list is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. When you’re after the AWD, it is offered in two variants; the LS (from $36,990* driveaway) and the Exceed (from $43,990* driveaway).
Both come with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine offering 110kW and 250Nm torque, and are surprisingly quick while also delivering a very impressive 7.7 litres per hundred kilometres fuel economy. Both also offer tech such as Hill Start Assist, and Active Stability and Traction Controls. And both offer a fantastic amount of cargo space to ensure you can fit everything you need to bring with you on your next kinda sorta offroadish adventure.
Arguably the best of the bunch is the Mazda CX-5, which is probably why it keeps finding its way into the top 10 selling cars in Australia list so often (and has done so again just recently).
Assuming you’re after their ‘i-Activ’ AWD, you have 6 different grades of CX-5 available to you:
Maxx (from $39,240*)
Maxx Sport (from $41,990*)
Touring (from $44,490*)
GT (from $49,990*)
GT SP (from $50,490*)
Akera (from $52,490*)
There are also three different engine types available in their AWD range (the grade you choose will dictate your engine choice/s) which are the 2.5-litre in-line 4cyl petrol engine pushing out 140kW/252Nm, the 2.5-litre in-line 4cyl turbocharged petrol which has 170kW/420Nm and finally the 2.2-litre in-line 4cyl twin turbo diesel with 140kW/450Nm.
All of the AWD model variants have a 6-speed automatic transmission as well as Hill Launch Assist and Off-Road Traction Assist (an optional extra for the Maxx and Maxx Sport), which together provide a fantastic amount of offroad capability. Additionally, interior and exterior design is absolutely stunning and from the base model Maxx up, it offers an ultra-comfortable ride for all passengers.
Another manufacturer other than Toyota that’s known for its vehicles running for hundreds of thousands of kilometres with little to no issues is the Subaru. And its XV is most certainly no exception.
All of the model variants come with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT transmission and include all-wheel-drive, and get their power from the widely renowned horizontally opposed 4-cylinder boxer engine (though the hybrid runs the eBoxer engine). Maximum power for the non-hybrids is 115kW/196Nm, while the hybrid pushes 110kW and matches the torque of its non-electric brethren. And fuel consumption is great across the board, with 7l/100km quoted for petrol and 6.5l/100km for hybrid variants.
Similar to the CX-5, there are 6 different model types in the XV series:
2.0i (from $34,013*)
2.0i-L (from $36,382*)
2.0i Premium (from $39,060*)
Hybrid L (from $39,987*)
2.0i-S (from $41,841*)
Hybrid S (from $45,612*)
They all come with a myriad of driver assist technology including Traction Control System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Electronic Stability Control, Subaru Intelligent Drive and plenty more. And for the times when you are off the beaten track, you’ll find the right X-Mode setting to get you through it without issues.
Hugely competitive in the mid-sized SUV market (which it has to be considering what it’s up against) is the Ford Escape. Thankfully, the latest model shares no physical attributes with its predecessor, and looks super sleek and stylish in and out.
Continuing the trend of focusing solely on the AWD variants, in the Escape range you’ll be faced with two choices:
ST-Line (from $45,675*)
Vignale (from $54,637*)
Whichever you choose, you’ll be getting a 2-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces a very reasonable 183 kilowatts of power and 387Nm of torque. You’ll also have an 8-speed automatic transmission and a combined fuel economy of around 8.6 litres per hundred k’s.
There are a plethora of standard features included for both entertainment and comfort, as well as offroad-centric tech like selectable drive modes (normal, eco, sport, slippery now/sand and trail) plus Traction Control System and Tyre Pressure Monitoring.
While a little on the pricier side in comparison to the others in this list, the Escape most definitely is a solid choice in all-round vehicles. View our latest Ford offers today!
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