Brits love to sleep under the stars, with the latest statistics revealing that domestic tourists spend almost 20 million nights a year in touring caravans. What’s more, a further 12.5 million nights spent in tents.
Maybe you’re a caravan enthusiast, a tent disciple or even a bivvy bag purist. Whichever, there’s no denying that a reliable car is a must for any camping trip. But what are the best cars for camping? Read on for our guide to the best camping cars in the UK, ranging from luxury SUVs to compact hatchbacks.
1. Nissan Qashqai
Spacious enough for family camping trips but compact enough to manoeuvre around the city, the Nissan Qashqai is one of the best cars for camping. The 430-litre boot definitely isn’t the biggest on the SUV market. However, with some strategic packing it’s large enough to accommodate all your camping essentials.
There’s a good range of engines to choose from if you’re buying new, as well as plenty of extras and add-ons. What’s more, the running costs are surprisingly low considering the size. Given these points, the Nissan Qashqai is ideal for cost-conscious campers. The model also boasts a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating so you can get from A to B with total peace of mind.
2. Land Rover
A true British icon, nothing helps you conquer the great outdoors like a Land Rover. Built with both comfort and performance in mind, this luxury SUV is big on space and offers plenty of room for all your camping gear. In addition, it boasts genuine off-road capabilities, meaning you can get off the beaten track and into the wilderness. Furthermore, the five-star Euro NCAP safety rating is the icing on the cake.
When it comes to accessories, the Range Rover really turns up the heat. If you’re purchasing new you have the option of adding extras. For instance, a 430-litre roof box, aqua sports roof rack, roof mounted bike carrier and even an electric cool box to keep your drinks chilled.
Planning to tow a caravan? You’ll need a vehicle with plenty of power. In summary, the Land Rover delivers, with an impressive towing capacity of up to 3,500kg.
3. Honda Civic Tourer
The ‘flat floor’ feature makes the Honda Civic Tourer one of the best camping cars in its class. Not only does the enormous boot offer plenty of space for all your equipment, but the rear seat base drops down to create a flat zone for your inflatable mattress. This is why it’s one of our favourite picks for camping couples. Moreover, it’s great if you’re not confident setting up a tent or feel uncomfortable sleeping outdoors.
While Honda no longer manufactures the Civic Tourer, you’ll find some terrific second-hand deals. The cash you save on a new car can be spent on upgrading your camping equipment.
4. Dacia Duster
Tough and capable, the Dacia Duster is an excellent choice for campers who prioritise space, comfort and affordability. The model is classed as a compact SUV and is often lauded as the best-value vehicle in its class. With prices starting at just £11,995 for the standard Access model, the Dacia Duster really does set a new standard for SUV affordability.
High-spec models such as the Prestige take you above the £16,000 range. This is because they feature additional frills like a multimedia system, keyless entry and extra dark tinted windows. There’s also the option of four-wheel-drive mode – great for if your campsite is down a mud-splattered country road or across a boggy field. Towing is definitely an option, with the Dacia Duster offering towing capacity of around 1,500kg. With small two to four bed caravans generally weighing between 800 and 1,300kg, there’s plenty of flexibility here.
The Dacia Duster also wins points for its adventure-ready styling, instantly recognisable by its fluid curves. Roof bars make it easy to bring along your kayak, mountain bikes and extra gear. A great range of active and passive safety features make the Dacia Duster a terrific choice for families.
5. Nissan Leaf
Most campers are environmentalists at heart. As such, it only makes sense that the Nissan Leaf, one of the most popular electric cars in the UK, makes our list. Let’s face it, while a four-wheel-drive can be useful, most British campsites can be accessed with a simple hatchback or estate car. Plus, you’ll feel a whole lot better about rolling into a pristine riverside campsite in a low emissions vehicle than you will in a diesel-guzzling 4×4.
The 435-litre boot is one of the biggest on the EV market, meaning you’ll never be short on space. In fact, it’s five litres bigger than the Nissan Qashqai – an impressive feat for a hatchback. Now let’s talk about range. The basic model will give you 168 miles, while the upgraded Leaf e+ offers a huge 239 miles. Considering the number of beautiful campsites within an hour’s drive of major cities, the Nissan Leaf is more than capable of getting you outdoors. Pick up a used Nissan Leaf for around £6,000 or invest in one of the latest models and enjoy all the ultimate all-electric experience.
Get into the driver’s seat of your dream camping car
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