• Mar 22nd 2008 at 10:32AM
  • 22
There are few words in the English language which can conjure up as much meaning, and likely so many memories, as these: road trip. We've all been on them before; some are the highlights of your life and some... well, not so much. But having the right vehicle can make all the difference in the world. Thule, maker of "transportation accessories", has added its name to the ever-growing list of companies that have invented an "__ of the year" award. For this particular honor, Thule has broken the automotive landscape in half, dividing its choices for the best vehicle to take a road trip in at the $30 grand mark. Without further ado, the winners are: If you really want to read all of the reasons that Thule offers for choosing these vehicles, there's a whole press release pasted after the break. We're not going to argue with their choices, as both the Outback and the Highlander are fine vehicles, which would be suitable for a group of four people and their assorted belongings. Sure beats the old funny-smelling air-cooled VW van that had trouble keeping up with the slow-moving traffic that some of us can remember from our childhood.

[Source: Thule] Press Release:

Thule Announces Their 2008 Road Trip Vehicles of the Year

With the summer travel season quickly approaching, Thule, the world
leader in transportation accessories, is proud to announce the awards
for their inaugural Thule Road Trip vehicles of the year. This distinction
is reserved for automobiles above and below $30,000 that provide the perfect
combination of utility, gas mileage, safety, conveniences and excitement for
a family of four going on the great American road trip.

"We created a ranking system based on what a family of four would be
looking for in a vehicle to head out on the ultimate road trip. This
information was broken down into ten groups and given a point value. From
there the numbers helped to choose the winners," commented Karl Wiedemann,
Thule's PR and Communications Manager.

The ten unique criteria were styling, storage, gas mileage, size, cost,
number of cup holders and speakers, warranty, entertainment, safety and
comfort. Extra points were given to vehicles that were fun to drive and
offered four-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Under $30,000 2008 Thule Road Trip Vehicle of the Year -- Subaru
Outback 2.5i Limited

Thule is proud to announce that this years winner in the under $30,000
category is the Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited.

"The Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited combines the styling of a sport wagon
with great features such as leather interior with heated seats, all-wheel-
drive, four cup-holders, three 12v plugs and an mp3 player dock for around
$26,000," remarked Tripp Wyckoff, Thule's VP of Sales, Marketing and

In Thule's testing the Outback 2.5i Limited was a very capable
all-weather vehicle. With 8.4" of ground clearance the vehicle made it down
the roughest roads with small to medium obstacles. The sports wagon height
of the vehicle made for easy loading and unloading of bikes, skis, kayaks
and gear into a Thule cargo box.

Over $30,000 2008 Thule Road Trip Vehicle of the Year -- Toyota
Highlander Hybrid Limited

In the over $30,000 category, the 2008 distinction goes to the Toyota
Highlander Hybrid Limited.

"The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited is a capable and luxurious
vehicle for the family on the go. It features decent gas mileage, great
storage space and the convenience and safety of four-wheel drive," said

In Thule's testing the Highlander Hybrid Limited was an extremely
comfortable vehicle for an all day drive. The leather trimmed heated seats
and convenient layout of controls made the Highlander a great vehicle to
safely take to the mountains in the day and to the ballet at night. At a
rated 27mpg city / 25mpg highway the Highlander spent more time on the road
and less at the pump.

Both vehicles, as with most vehicles on the market, work seamlessly
with Thule's complete line of racks, cargo boxes, organizational solutions
and sport specific accessories. Thule's world-class products help to safely
and stylishly transport the gear a family needs to carry.

"Thule is proud that 80% of our products that are sold in North America
are designed, engineered and built in the United States. Thule employees
love good road trips and we understand the needs of the family on-the-go.
We are proud to be along for the ride on their adventures," concluded

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      They were probably also thinking, all purpose, like rain, snow, sleet, slick roads. I really prefer the Outback in that situation. Kinda swiss army knife of road conditions.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Thule has certainly hurt their reputation with these selections."

      Abosolute bull! They have done no such thing, in fact their stock goes way up with these choices. Now if they had picked some POS like an H2 or Escalade or one of these newfangled thingies...Outlook/Acadia/Traverse/Enclave or some such GMCB (general motors crap box), then they really would have hurt themselves. So there!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Right- the GM Lamdas make awesome road trippers. Once they become available with the diesel, they'll be even better.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hey import fanboy, have you ever BEEN in any of the GM Lamda CUVs? The Acadia is an absolutely fantastic vehicle. I'd put it up against anything from Hondoyta any day. Time will prove how reliable they stack up to be, but initial quality seems pretty good, and they're extremely nice to both drive and ride in, including the 3rd row seat which is roomy enough for an adult surprisingly enough.
      • 7 Years Ago
      74 on the Thruway? That's just absurd. What was the fine, like $15?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Think it was something like $225, because there's a mandatory minimum of $150 or something, plus the $75 for 9 over or something. I can't remember exactly, this is going back 8 years or so.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It'd be interesting if they'd picked cars for varying numbers of people. For example, for two people and a dog (namely my wife, my greyhound Waffles, and I), our Ford Focus sedan is great for road trips. The front's plenty roomy for two, the back's good for the pup, and the trunk is big enough to haul our stuff. Also, we get a solid 35-36 mpg on the highway, despite the automatic.

      Now if we had two more adults to take, it would clearly be a different story. On the other hand, both of the selected vehicles would be total overkill for our needs. They cost a pretty penny more, too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I guess I must be stupid then, since I'd prefer old roomy VW van, slow or smelly as it is. Who needs a fast van for highway cruising? They mention it couldnt keep up to slow traffic, but once up to speed who cares? Probably can pick one up for about 28 grand cheaper than these vehicles too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Maserati Quattroporte.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Outback is one of the most cramped vehicles on the road. Not the sort of box you want to sit in for 8 hours.

        • 7 Years Ago
        The only way the Outback is a normal midsized car is if your reference midsized car is a 1990-1993 Accord.

        The Outback is a raised Legacy and the Legacy is a compact car by DOT classification - and by knees on the wheel and elbow in your passengers ribs classification too.

      • 7 Years Ago

      Those huge wagons of yesteryears like Buick Roadmaster, Chevy Caprice, Ford LTD were great cars for family road trips.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Really, Thule?

      How about a DeVille with a Saris Bones on it?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think that Thule has to put focus in its own business more than try to give us these naive advisors ((it was almost clumsy), leaving this choice to every consumer.

      Well, my next road trip will be supported by Yakima.
      • 7 Years Ago
      a road trip car should be cramped - beat up - and hilarious... something that MIGHT not make it where you need to go but you love it anyway.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Both vehicles, as with most vehicles on the market, work seamlessly
      with Thule's complete line of racks, cargo boxes, organizational solutions
      and sport specific accessories. Thule's world-class products help to safely
      and stylishly transport the gear a family needs to carry."

      Obviously, the fact that these vehicles support their company's products makes them highly desirable to Thule. A pity, cause these two are okay, but hardly the pick of their classes, and Thule has certainly hurt their reputation with these selections.

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