To Grandmother’s House We Go! These Seven Vehicles Can Handle Your Holiday Travel

By Kristin V. Shaw

How can it be almost Thanksgiving already? Kids are working on those adorable handprint turkey crafts and Thanksgiving poems. While travel prices hike to the sky (literally!) this season, think about taking a road trip. With the proliferation of screens and in-car entertainment systems, there is less “Are we there yet, Mom?” and more “Wow, I love this trip!”  Well… we can dream, anyway.

I am often asked about vehicles that one can use for a work trip and also to visit family and take a vacation while the kids are out of school. I think these seven fit the bill.

GMC Sierra 2500HD towing a camper in front of a cloudy sky

1. GMC Sierra 2500HD

This 2020 Sierra includes an impressive 15 camera views. Especially when you don’t tow on a regular basis, the camera views boost confidence; I towed a 15’ camper in Wyoming in this new truck and it was surprisingly easy supported by all of the technology. By combining the images from the tailgate back-up camera and an extra camera attached to the back of your trailer, you can see what’s behind your trailer. If you are towing a boat, camper, or even a horse trailer, you can see around, behind, and even inside the trailer from inside your Sierra. (MSRP $63,700 starting price for the Denali trim, which comes with the multi-function tailgate and camera system)

Nissan Armada SUV plowing through a large muddy puddle

2. Nissan Armada

Off-roading? The 2020 Nissan Armada eats tough terrain for breakfast. Get this: you can even order a tent that attaches to the back of your Armada. You don’t even have to use that for camping, because it would be great for tailgating and sports events, too. Nissan paired up with Yakima, which manufactures accessories that attach to your vehicle to serve your outdoor-loving needs, like roof racks for bikes and kayaks. The Armada seats up to 8 and revs it up with 390 horsepower and 8,500 pounds of towing capacity. Comfortable and capable, starting at $47,100.

White Ram 1500 EcoDiesel truck parked at sunset

3. Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

If you prefer to ride in elegance, the Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is the ride of your dreams. Covered in buttery leather, this truck is sublimely comfortable and powerful. Want to feel as though you’re riding on a big leather chair? This is it. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel tows up to 12,750 pounds, which means you can tow a camper or boat with no problem. Don’t be afraid to go diesel; in this case, it means you could actually drive from Austin, Texas to Madison, Wisconsin on one tank. Bet your sedan can’t do that. (MSRP for the Laramie Longhorn trim starts at $51,180)

blue Jeep Wrangler being driven

4. Jeep Wrangler

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t smile like they have no cares in the world when they’re riding in an open-air Jeep. The classic Rubicon trim starts at $28,045 MSRP and can be a convertible or an SUV, and it tackles hills and dirt like a boss. If you have a family of four, you can all sit comfortably and have a great time, too. For a little extra, you could order your Jeep with tons of options like lights on top to illuminate your backyard party.

grey Ford Expedition Max SUV in front of a West Texas Wool factory

5. Ford Expedition Max

For a bigger family, the Expedition shines in terms of comfort and cargo space on top of room for all of its passengers. The 2020 starts at $55,835 MSRP and ranges up to $77,000 or more for all of the bells and whistles like fog lamps and active motion seats that help reduce fatigue on long drives. The 4×4 models include hill start assist and hill descent control, trailer sway control, and more. Bring on the national parks! You’ve got this.

picture of a black Toyota Land Cruiser being driven on rough terrain

6. Toyota Land Cruiser

Starting at $85,315, this iconic vehicle seats 8, but if you’re taking it camping, you might want to cap it at 6 plus your gear. The decoupling stabilizer bar, off-road cruise control, hill start assist, skid plates, tow hooks, and off-road vehicle settings, the Land Cruiser can go just about anywhere. Toyota includes its TSS 2.0 (Toyota Safety Sense) package on all models, even the base, so you don’t have to give up safety for price.

picture of a beige Volvo XC90 SUV parked outside of a stable

7. Volvo XC90

The Volvo brand has done a great job presenting itself as an automotive manufacturer that pursues safety single-mindedly. However, you might not know that the XC90 is also as capable as a mountain goat. Gone as the olden days of boxy Volvos; this 2020 model of the popular three-row SUV is sleek and smooth. Designers have created an interior that gleams, including a fancy crystal gear shifter in the Inscription trim. We drove this vehicle off-road into some tough ruts at the Texas Truck Rodeo and it emerged a champion. Impressed… yes. Starts at $48,350 for the base model and $62,600 for the Inscription with all the bells and whistles.

Ready to roll out to your next adventure? Get ready to see Grandma, Grandpa, and all of the cousins and jump in the car.


About the Author

Kristin V. Shaw

Drive Mode Show

Writer, car fanatic, and mom, Kristin Shaw is the co-host of Drive Mode Show and owner of Firewheel Communications, in Austin, Texas. Find her at KristinVShaw....

Writer, car fanatic, and mom, Kristin Shaw is the co-host of Drive Mode Show and owner of Firewheel Communications, in Austin, Texas. Find her at and

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