With the UK’s leisure industry now open, many of us will be scrapping the idea of a foreign holiday in place of a British staycation.
And while B&Bs and hotels are open, caravanning and camping are set to be popular ways to take a break in the UK.
Camping is set to prove popular this summer, and having the right car for the job is important.
Here are 6 great used cars for camping breaks.
If popular SUVs aren’t up your street it’s worth having a look at a rugged estate. These offer the practicality of a tourer, but with extra off-roading ability – ideal if your campsite is up a muddy lane.
Volvo is an expert in this field, and while its V90 Cross Country is the newest option, we reckon the older XC70 is a better choice. Based on the brilliantly useful V70 estate, this ‘XC’ model sees raised suspension, added underbody protection and all-wheel-drive for that extra traction. While not modern, the interior feels well-built and the majority of options come with leather upholstery.
Prices for early-2000s cars start from as little as £3,000, while the last versions from 2015 rise to around £15,000.
Renault-owned Dacia has built a reputation for producing sturdy and affordable models, despite being in the UK for less than a decade. And arguably the pick of its line-up is the Duster – a surprisingly capable small 4×4.
It’s about as no-frills as you can get, with few creature comforts on all but the top-spec Laureate and Prestige models. However, it’s rugged, surprisingly spacious and a seriously useful tool for a weekend away camping. Four-wheel-drive versions are available, but the majority you’ll see for sale are just front-wheel-driven.
Used Dusters start from as little as £3,000, but four-wheel-drive versions hold their value better, with these available from around £4,500.
Land Rover Defender
If you’re going camping, you’ll probably be putting the tent up away from your car. But what if the tent could go on the car itself? Roof tents are fast becoming a popular choice, and are available for most cars aftermarket.
Land Rover is one of the few car manufacturers that offers one of these tents from the showroom. Bought in conjunction with roof bars and rails, which the tent is fixed to, the 2.3m-long tent is said to be “proven in the harshest climates” and comes with a set of ladders to help you up into it. Admittedly, it’s quite an expensive way of going camping, as it’s only available on the new Land Rover Defender, which costs from £45,240.
While the latest Defender has only just reached showrooms, and therefore none are for sale on AA Cars, versions of its predecessor are available from £10,000 on AA Cars.
While four-wheel-drive can be useful when camping, often you just won’t need it. And if taking a big diesel SUV to a picturesque beauty spot doesn’t sit quite right, why not consider an electric option?
Electric SUVs can be pricey, so we’d recommend the Nissan Leaf instead. Its generously-sized 435-litre boot is ideal for weekends away camping. The second-generation model, which has been on sale since 2018, is a great choice, and has a range of up to 239 miles if you opt for the E+ version. Even the regular model can travel a claimed 168 miles on a single charge.
Used Nissan Leafs start from just £6,000, though second-generation vehicles are pricier, and are available from £18,000.
Peugeot has done a great job of adapting its range to meet the ever-changing needs of buyers. This is certainly the case with the van-based Rifter, which has adopted roughty-toughty rugged styling to give it a more 4×4-like profile.
Based on the Partner van, the Rifter is unsurprisingly very practical, boasting a large 755-litre boot perfect for a camping weekend. It also has all kinds of storage space, including an overhead storage solution where you can put surfboards. The boxy shape also means it’s easy to attach a tailgate awning on the back of it.
It’s a great nearly-new buy, with used Rifters available from £14,000 – a big saving off the £21,795 new price.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
If you’re not ready for a full EV, but still want a roomy electrified car to go camping with, consider the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It’s one of the most spacious and affordable plug-in hybrid models around, with its 28-mile electric range great for nipping silently and emission-free around campsites.
Clever packaging means it has a spacious boot with enough room for two adults to sleep in the back – something that couldn’t be said for many of its rivals.
As the Outlander PHEV has been around since 2014, there are plenty of used examples available. With prices starting from just £10,000, it’s one of the most affordable plug-in hybrids around.