Summer is a great time to be outside. Whether you are building a new deck or hauling your family to the lake, you need a ride that can complement your outdoor activities. Below we’ve compiled our list of a few used vehicles that are perfect for this summer, and the next several summers to come.
2012 Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited are the automotive equivalent to an outfit consisting of Oakleys, a tank top, cargo shorts, and flip flops. No matter the outdoor adventure, it’s ready to join you. Take off the top and it’s the easiest vehicle in the world to throw in your party gear and friends. With a 3.6L V6, the Wrangler isn’t slow at 285 horsepower, but rather than a highway cruiser, it shines off-road with full-time four-wheel drive. The Wrangler has earned several Best Resale Awards from Kelley Blue Book, and it’s consistently rated the best off-roader by everyone from Four Wheeler to Forbes. Plus, it’s one of our top dog-friendly vehicles, with floor boards that can be easily rinsed out with a garden hose.
2013 Ram Pickup 2500
A decade back, the Ram 1500 was continually the third place finisher behind the full-size trucks from Ford and GM. That all changed with a major re-styling of the fourth generation Ram in 2013. The Hemi V8 is still the towing hero, but the real news is the Pentastar 3.6L V6. It delivers over 300 horsepower, while the new eight-speed automatic delivers precise shifts and class leading fuel economy. Ram boxes are a clever in-bed storage solution that should have been invented decades ago, and they come standard here. From hauling dogs and camping gear, to all the materials to finally build that tree house, the Ram 1500 will help you get the job done this summer. Plus, the 2013 gets bragging rights for earning MotorTrend‘s Truck of the Year award.
You say you’re a practical and busy parent, but you’re also not quite ready to go the minivan route. If this sounds like you, you need a Nissan Rogue. The 2014 Rogue is the more stylish second generation of the compact crossover, and it’s been upgraded with sweet interior amenities. The 2.5L I4 churns out 170 horsepower, and with a CVT handling shifting, it’ll get up to 32 MPG on the highway. Need to head down trails to the campsite? Get your Rogue with all-wheel drive and it’ll tackle that dirt with ease. Have four kids and a big dog? Get the optional three-row seating. The Rogue is a quiet and comfy road trip hauler with an impressive 39.3 cubic feet behind the second row of seats. That’s tons of room for kids, empty juice boxes, soggy Cheerios, and expensive Disneyland trinkets.
It’s hard to find more summer driving fun than from a modern convertible sports car. The 2015 Ford Mustang evolved into its sixth generation in 2015 and became a globally competitive performance car. The lower, wider, sleeker design screams summer vacation, and seems like it should smell like Coppertone. The base 3.7L Cyclone V6 delivers 310 horsepower, while the 5.0L Coyote V8 makes a crushing 435 horsepower. That’s a lot of power in an open top car, but the new independent rear suspension soaks up bumps and helps the ‘stang eat twisty roads. The Mustang has a “fun first” design, but unlike 20 years ago, it’s a great daily driver. Polished and comfortable, it deserves accolades for achieving up to 31 MPG on the highway. It’s open-air fun, and a great driving experience in nice weather. Forget the destination, just hit the open road and find out why this car is all about the drive.
Can’t decide what to buy? Then get a mix of all of the above. The Subaru Impreza provides all the options of the above vehicles in one affordable and convenient package. Need all-wheel drive for camping adventures? The Impreza is available with all-wheel drive. Like a quick, sporty ride? The WRX version adds a turbo, 268 horsepower, and a huge dose of adrenaline. If you need up to 37 MPG in a comfortable, well-rounded vehicle that can haul your kids or the work carpool, the Impreza seats four real-sized adults in comfort and quiet. You’ll love this car for how you can hit a concert downtown or drive two days to the Grand Canyon.