I have a need, a need to go far away. Sometimes its just across state lines, others I like to see one of the coasts or see how many places I can get to in a week. I've had a number of great vehicles for this purpose, my personal fave being my old 2001 Impala LS - smooth power, stupendously comfortable and I could get in the low 30 MPGs on the highway trips. It's been a long time since I've had a road trip car though.

A couple years back we performed a Colorado-Florida trip in our 2007 Focus SES. That was the last long trip I've done because it only took us hitting about 600 miles before we realized the Focus is not good for road trips at all and we will put it off until we have something better. Well, the itch is getting to me badly.

I can't do it this year. I just took a low paying position at a new company. The upward movement, however, is exponential. I expect to be quite comfortable finance-wise in about 8 months. Just in time for the road trip season 2014. So I ask you, fellow Opponauts, what would be the best road trip car available right now, under 5 years old and under $40k? Criteria:


Take me and the wife across country in relative comfort
Decent fuel economy - high 20s highway on the low side
RWD preferred, FWD fine. No AWD plox
Ample storage space
Not an SUV, CUV, SRV or any other non-car body.
Two doors good, four doors good, wagons good
Boner points for manual transmission availability, forced induction (I do live at 6,000+ feet) and general hoonability.