Best cars for camping

We can’t guarantee fine weather, but these cars will be worthy companions on your next camping trip, with space and comfort to spare

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Mar 18, 2022

It's funny what a bit of sunshine can do. Suddenly we all decide that sleeping in a field with nothing but a canvas bubble for protection is a good idea. If you're a camping nut, you might be considering getting hold of a car that's going to help you enjoy your next adventure under the stars.

At BuyaCar, we can’t promise to turn you into an expert in erecting a tent - it takes years to perfect those skills. We can’t even recommend a decent campsite. But we can provide you with a great list of cars that would be perfect for your next camping trip, with plenty of boot space for cramming full of tents and other outdoorsy kit. Better still, these are all used cars available at surprisingly low costs, so you might even be able to afford to upgrade your tent as well.

We've rounded up affordable models that offer all the boot space you could need for tents, folding chairs, gas stoves - and even the kitchen sink in several cases. Several of these are also equipped with four-wheel drive, too, so if you need something that's rugged enough to deal with rough campsite tracks and muddy quagmires, we've got you covered. Keep reading to decide which option best suits your needs.

Best cars for camping

1. Audi Q3

Our pick Audi Q3 2.0 TDI
Used deals from £14,531
Monthly finance from £235*

In most cases, a small SUV would be a worthy companion on a camping trip, so what makes the Audi Q3 different? Is it the range of powerful and economical engines? Is it the feeling of quality? Is it the fact that PCP finance deals start from around £200 per month for used models?

It’s all of the above and the fact that the previous generation Q3 was available with an optional camping tent. The genuine Audi accessory connects to the boot via a specially designed locking system and provides sleeping space for up to three people. What could be better than an Audi tent?

You don't even have to pitch it like you would a traditional tent. It's connected to a pump that inflates the inner and outer tent simultaneously. The tent is unpacked, rolled out and inflated - no fuss, no bother and when it’s not in use you can fold it away into a bag no larger than an overnight case. If you love camping, but hate setting it all up, this could be the car for you.


2. Jeep Renegade

Our pick Jeep Renegade 1.4 MultiAir Longitude
Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £247*

With its go-anywhere styling and legendary Jeep name, the Renegade looks ready to conquer the wilderness - even if that's a Wiltshire campsite rather than a Wyoming mountainside. Pick a Jeep Renegade with four-wheel drive and you’ll be able to venture further off-road than the vast majority of compact SUVs, so either way, you should be covered.

Following an update in 2018, all cars other than the entry-level Sport feature a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen media system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This means you can fire up a podcast if the conversation with your fellow campers runs dry.

As with the Audi above, you can get a manufacturer-sanctioned branded tent that can be attached to the car. It costs £340, which isn’t cheap, but it sleeps four - that's one more than the Audi equivalent - and can be attached to the rear of the Renegade with the tailgate open. It includes an inner tent and, crucially from a British perspective, it’s waterproof. You can also use it as a standalone tent, which will be handy if you change your car or if you can't park directly alongside your ideal camping spot.

Buyers will also be keen to learn that there are other options, including the ability to tow up to 1,500kg or fix a roof-mounted 'TentBox' for a different type of camping experience.


3. Vauxhall Mokka

Vauxhall Mokka X front

Our pick Vauxhall Mokka 1.6 Tech Line
Used deals from £7,900
Monthly finance from £0*

With Vauxhall Mokka prices starting from just £146 per month, you can afford to splash out on a new tent and an entire wardrobe. The Mokka is one of the UK’s most popular new cars, so finding a used example will be far easier than pitching a tent in even a mild breeze.

Originally launched in 2013, the Mokka was updated in 2016 and renamed the Mokka X. We'd recommend the older X-less version because it’s cheaper, so you can buy a bike carrier extension for the rear bumper if you enjoy a bit of cycling on your camping trips.

This costs £225 and allows for the transportation of two extra bikes, which adds up to three in total. Because you can tilt it, you don’t need to remove the bikes to access the boot, which will be handy when you reach the campsite and need to unload.


4. Mini Countryman

Our pick Mini Countryman 2.0 Cooper S All4
Used deals from £17,838
Monthly finance from £308*

Rooftop tents have their roots in the Australian Outback, where the elevated sleeping position keeps campers safe from most dangerous critters that may be roaming around. This type of roof-mounted living quarters is now popping up across the world, however, as travellers embrace the idea of upstairs camping.

This is where the Mini Countryman comes in. It’s a great SUV, offering space for five, styling inspired by the smaller Mini Hatchback, and a unique and interesting cabin. Opt for a four-wheel-drive version and it’ll take you way beyond the confines of the campsite, too.

But that’s not the reason why we’re recommending it to budding campers. A company called Autohome has produced an official Mini Countryman roof tent and, quite frankly, it’s brilliant.

It turns the Countryman into two-storey living accommodation with space for two adults. Features include a mattress, pillows, LED lights and a ladder. It comes at a cost of £2,500, but that’s still far more affordable than buying a motorhome.


5. Peugeot Rifter

Our pick Peugeot Rifter 1.5 BlueHDi Allure
Used deals from £15,400
Monthly finance from £262*

Head across the English Channel and you’ll discover that van-based people carriers are as popular as ever. Beneath the rather dowdy styling, you’ll find vehicles that offer unrivalled practicality, brilliant flexibility and low running costs - they're based on vans, after all.

With the Peugeot Rifter, you also get an MPV (that's a large car with lots of seats and plenty of space) that’s good looking and boasts one of the nicest cabins you’re ever likely to find in a car of this type. There’s also a pair of sliding doors and enough cabin space for a camping expedition. Five- and seven-seat versions are available.

We also like the fact that the cabin is loaded with storage boxes, some of which are hidden from prying eyes. This means you can secure your valuables while camping in the wilderness - or Glastonbury. They're handy wherever you are.


6. Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Our pick Volkswagen Golf Alltrack 2.0 TDI
Used deals from £17,490
Monthly finance from £338*

We’re aware that not everybody has bought into the SUV craze. Some people appreciate a good estate car for the smarter styling and improved driving behaviour on the road. If you’re going to take one on a camping trip, you should consider the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

It’s essentially a Golf Estate with a raised ride height, protective body cladding and four-wheel drive. So it shouldn't have any problems dealing with even the most waterlogged of British campsites, but on the road, it's not really any different to drive than an ordinary Golf.

Thanks to the raised suspension, it should feel supremely comfortable on the way home, which will provide some welcome relief after a night on a floor mat. You also get the same amount of boot space as a standard Golf Estate - that should be plenty for all but the most glampy of camping trips.


7. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Our pick Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.4 SZ5
Used deals from £14,350
Monthly finance from £233*

The SX4 S-Cross is Suzuki’s answer to the Nissan Qashqai, with a price tag that rivals the smaller Nissan Juke. As a result, it’s one of the best value crossovers you can get - assuming you can look beyond the uninspiring styling.

It’s light, which means all versions are economical, and it’s also surprisingly good to drive. The 1.4-litre turbocharged 'Boosterjet' petrol engine in the SZ5 offers a great blend of performance and fuel economy, along with the benefit of Allgrip four-wheel drive.

Standard specification is substantial, with the SZ5 featuring heated leather seats and a panoramic sunroof. Perfect, if you fancy a night under the stars but the weather forces you to take sanctuary inside the car.


8. Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE

Our pick Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE Advance
Used deals from £24,995
Monthly finance from £486*

Finally, if you’re after a stylish estate car that also tips its hat to the environment, check out the Volkswagen Passat GTE. Its plug-in hybrid setup switches seamlessly between petrol and electricity, and emits just 39g/km CO2 provided you charge up the batteries regularly. Being an estate, it's also hugely practical.

You can also travel up to 34 miles in all-electric mode after a full charge, so you can make a silent exit from the campsite in the middle of the night if the lure of an Airbnb proves too much.

Our biggest gripe with the Passat GTE when new was the high price, but this isn’t a problem if you purchase a used one via the BuyaCar website. Indeed, we can offer cars for less than half the original price.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


Latest best cars & vans

  1. Most customisable cars

  2. Cars with suicide doors

  3. Best American cars