We Brits love our summer holidays.
Despite the famously tetchy weather patterns here in the UK, a rough average of 60 million of us go on holiday every year. Of that number, 45 million take their holidays during the summer months.
There’s always a certain amount of planning involved with holidaying; where you’re going to go, who’s coming, what you need to bring etc. Similarly, the right holiday needs the right car for the job.
As a result, we’ve outlined some of the best choices you can make for a safe, comfortable and enjoyable holiday this year:
The Auris is Toyota’s answer to the popular hatchback market, with a clean and modern-looking stylistic appeal that gives them impression of a car that’s smart and practical.
With an angular design, sharp-looking headlights and a tidy grille, the Auris is functional and slightly understated, which is no bad thing.
It’s available in four trim levels: the entry-level Active, mid-range Icon and Sport variants and the range topping Auris Excel, each of which is equipped with a range of fuel-saving technology to lower costs.
Engine options are likewise more than reasonably efficient, with a choice of 1.3-litre or 1.6-litre petrol units, as well as a 1.4-litre diesel. For those concerned with maximum economy, there’s also a 1.8-litre petrol hybrid unit that’s fitted with a CVT automatic gearbox.
Smooth, unobtrusive and quiet even at high speed, the Auris offers a serene and comfortable drive with a light clutch and responsive steering, making it equally nimble in city streets and the open road.
Sure, it’s not the most exciting car in Toyota’s lineup, but that’s not really the Auris’ point.
In hatchback form, there’s plenty of room for four adults and the Auris comes with a 360-litre boot, which matches the VW Golf and outright beats the comparatively measly 316 litres of the Ford Focus.
With the rear seats folded down, the boot space expands to an ample 1200 litres, giving you more than enough room for all your luggage, beach balls, tent poles and other holiday accessories. Access is also good thanks to a low, wide opening sill and shallow boot floor, making it ideal for families with buggies.
The hybrid option is probably the best use of the Auris, delivering everything you could want or expect from such a model, especially when it comes to economy.
What’s more, this version of the Auris has been designed with a hybrid powertrain in mind from the get-go, meaning batteries no longer take up boot space, giving you more room for all your holiday needs.
With prices starting from only £13,995, it’s not only one of the most sensible options in the hatchback range, but also one of the cheapest.
Spacious and refined, the Avensis is a large family saloon that offers first-rate practicality, reliability and efficiency.
Like the Auris, the Avensis features the same slick exterior with angular headlights and a low-slung badge in the middle of its gently sloping grille. The model received a facelift in 2011 as well, making it not only sharper looking, but more efficient and better to drive than ever before.
On the inside, the cabin is similarly refined, with a leather-trimmed steering wheel and soft-touch dash coming as standard.
Standard equipment includes air-con, a USB with aux-in connection and Bluetooth connectivity. Higher trim levels also come with climate and cruise control, a rear-view camera, SatNav and DAB digital radio, adding to the upmarket feel of the model.
The Avensis is also a firm favourite among company car owners and taxi drivers alike, which should tell you something about its ease of use, practicality and reliability.
Power comes courtesy of a 1.8-litre petrol engine or a choice of 2.0-litre or 2.2-litre diesel options. Manual gearboxes come as standard on each unit, except for the the 2.2-litre diesel option which comes with an automatic transmission out of the box.
The 2.0-litre diesel is probably the best option, with a 124bhp output that’s also been made more fuel efficient, and will take the Avensis from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, with 119g/km of CO2 produced.
As part of the facelift, noise isolation and suspension were improved, ramping up the Avensis’ handling and comfort. It’s quiet on the move and relaxed on the motorway, making it perfect for drivers with young children who like to sleep on the go.
Compared to other cars in its class, the Avensis boasts an incredible spacious load area. Boot capacity is a more than decent 509 litres, while a one-touch control folds down the rear seats to achieve a maximum of 1,320 litres.
As a result, while the Auris is better for smaller families, the Avensis has more than enough room for a larger family with plenty of kids, or even for holidays with groups of friends.
The comfortable ride quality also makes it ideal for touring holidays with plenty of driving, although it’s just as well suited for a quick nip to the beach.
Prices for the Avensis start from £17,700, making it one of the most cost-effective options in the family saloon market.
Toyota RAV4 crossover
The burgeoning SUV class is one of the fastest-growing segments in the car market right now, with manufacturers seemingly releasing a new 4x4 or crossover each month.
Regardless, the Toyota RAV4 still stands strong amongst the rising amount of competitors. Now in its fourth generation, the RAV4’s success comes as a result of its manoeuvrability.
A more dynamic design has been put on the latest version, with neat exterior details including a chrome bar that runs through the grille and into the headlights, plus a sculpted bodyside.
There are three trim levels to choose from, entry-level two-wheel Active, plus the higher grade Icon and Invincible models.
Inside, the interior is good, with Icon models getting a neat leather dashboard finish, while alloy wheels, Bluetooth and air-conditioning feature throughout the whole range.
Engine options include two diesels and a petrol model to choose from, with the larger 2.2-litre diesel offering 148bhp with CO2 emissions of 149g/km and a respectable 49.6mpg fuel economy. In addition, the larger diesel offers 340Nm of torque, which is a great choice to use the car for towing.
In fact, it’s such a good choice for towing that the RAV4 was shortlisted by practicalcaravan.com for being one of the best cars for pulling caravans. That’s good news if you’re a caravanning fan, but even if you’re not, the RAV4 is still a more than practical choice.
Having grown in size with each new generation, the latest model is also the largest. There’s an impressive interior space, particularly in the rear which features a totally flat floor with excellent head and legroom.
Boot space is 547 litres, and there’s also a 100-litre storage area under the boot floor and plenty of cup holders. As a result, the RAV4 is the perfect choice for families or holidaying with lots of equipment. Particularly for camping holidays, the RAV4’s massive storage space, tall height and off-road capabilities make it the ideal choice to keep any camper happy.
With prices starting from £22,195 it’s also great value for money, but sadly the only thing that we can’t guarantee is the weather…