The Audi Q3, a relatively small crossover SUV with a lot of curb style and the trademark reliability of the Audi line, is not the kind of car most people think of as outdoorsy. The car’s low profile and sleek look seem more at home in the urban jungle than the actual wilderness. But features and accessories combine to make the Q3 a mighty vehicle for the modern camper. Most models have available four-wheel-drive options, vital for the true adventurer, and the Audi accessory line includes such key items as an inflatable tent that attaches to the cargo space of the car, perfect for spending the night in a designated camping area. It starts at $31,800.
The Honda Element was a smaller, more compact crossover that first appeared on the market in 2003. Discontinued in 2011, the powerful vehicle combined the best features of an SUV, including roomy storage and rugged construction, with the better mileage of a more traditional car. The Element has several features that make it a great choice for campers, including stain-resistant upholstery, easy-wash floors, and a rear compartment with folding seats for more storage space. But what makes it truly shine is the included hatch tent, making it a great ride for those interested in impromptu camping.
Another compact SUV, the Jeep Renegade is a relatively recent entrant to the storied Jeep brand line. Jeep’s history, of course, stretches back to the brand’s use as military transportation starting in World War II, where the Jeep name became synonymous with rugged action. The Renegade features strong construction and steady handling, making it a safe bet when you leave the pavement behind. Like the Q3, the Renegade features a tent option as one of its outdoors packages, putting emergency shelter in your vehicle; Jeep also offers a side-mounted awning for rainy days. MSRP starts at $17,995.
Although it was something of a flop when it was initially on the market, the now-defunct Aztek is enjoying something of a resurgence now, several years after it has ceased production. Part of the reason for its newfound popularity is its association with the popular television series “Breaking Bad,” but part of that is also due to its prescient crossover design and features. The Aztek is a camper’s dream in many ways, with a center console cooler, swing-open tailgate, and removable drinks tray, as well as a camping package for the true aficionado. This is one classic well worth the effort it takes to track down. A well-designed car can make the difference between a camping nightmare and a trip you’ll tell the neighbors about. Find a well-equipped camping car like those listed above for your trips around Canton, and you can sleep easy in your tent.