Top 10 Best Cars For Motorway Driving
Motorway driving, love it or loathe it, is a necessity for many of us who travel to and from work every day. With drivers spending an average of 52 minutes on the daily commute, being comfortable is key – read on for our pick of the ten best cars for motorway driving.
Using motorways is often the fastest, most direct way to get from A to B, but around a fifth of us avoid them altogether. Why? Well, driving at speed can be daunting, and many motorists associate motorway driving with an increased risk of accidents.
In fact, motorways are statistically among the safest roads in the country, and with so many cars now designed for effortless long-range motoring, now is a great time to make the move to motorway driving for a quicker, more comfortable commute.
We’ve rounded up the ten best cars for motorway driving, prioritising a smooth ride, value for money and features designed to help make driving at speed safer and stress-free. Our top ten best cars for motorway driving are below:
Our top 10 best cars for motorway driving include:
- Ford Mondeo
- Toyota Prius
- BMW 5 Series
- Mercedes S-Class
- Volkswagen Golf
- Audi A6
- Peugeot 208
- Volvo V90
- Volkswagen Passat
- Skoda Superb
1. Ford Mondeo
Ford’s Mondeo is a sleek family car popular with motorway drivers for its impressive levels of comfort, both in terms of ride quality and interior finish.
Launched in 1993, the Mondeo has long been a favourite model among motorists who clock up motorway miles. Mondeos ride notoriously well, making them the ideal car to eat up motorway miles on your daily journey to work.
There are six trim levels to choose from, catering for all kinds of drivers, from those looking for style and substance without breaking the bank, to motorists with a little more to spend on luxury touches.
At the start of the spectrum is the entry level ‘Zetec’, priced from £21,495 and fitted with 17-inch alloys, electric windows, powered door mirrors, emergency assistance, a heated front windscreen and cruise control with an adjustable speed limiter.
The top-of-the-range ‘Vignale’, meanwhile, priced from £28,395, has a more refined appearance with attractive styling, a premium leather interior and a rear-view camera, among other exclusive touches.
According to What Car?, the cheaper Mondeos are better in terms of ride – they come with smaller wheels and impressive suspension that soaks up bumps with ease, while the mid-level diesel engines are particularly quiet and efficient for motorway driving.
Price: Starts from £21,495.
- Impressive value for money
- Refined ride
- Visibility could be better
- Clunky touchscreen interface
2. Toyota Prius
Hybrid models may have a less than favourable rep for fuel efficiency on the motorway but not so the Toyota Prius. In fact, last year, Which? revealed that the Prius hybrid electric car achieved more miles per gallon, lower annual fuel bills and fewer emissions than its conventional rivals in real-world tests.
Assessing the performance of 123 cars, Which? discovered that the Prius achieved 52.3 miles to the gallon, putting it in second place for motorway efficiency among all the cars tested overall.
There are eight Prius models to choose from, starting with the ‘Active’ five-door hatchback, priced from £24,245. At the top of the range is the five-door ‘Excel’ hatchback at £28,355.
The entry-level offering is kitted out with 15-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen, reversing camera, DAB and Bluetooth, Toyota’s Safety Sense system and a 1.8L petrol hybrid engine. Quiet at steady motorway speeds, the Prius feels relaxed and the steering is accurate.
Inside the cabin, the dashboard layout is a bit unconventional and the touchscreen interface isn’t as sleek or as quick as what’s available from some competitors. The driving position is comfortable although a little more steering reach would make it even better. Rear screen visibility is a little lacking, too.
Overall, the Prius makes for a safe bet either as a private purchase or a company car. The low CO2 emissions keeps the tax significantly under levels charged for most diesel competitors and running costs are impressive, too.
Price: Starts from £24,245
- Impressive MPG
- Smooth at speed
- Somewhat unconventional interior
- Steering reach could be better
3. BMW 5 Series
As executive cars go, BMW’s 5 Series saloon is up there with the best. Renowned for comfort and luxury appeal, the 5 Series is also a winner when it comes to fuel economy and handling – even on the motorway.
A perfect mix of value for money and sophisticated style, the 5 Series saloon is both aesthetically appealing – thanks to its chiselled lines – and a dream to drive. Offering exceptional ride quality, the 5 Series glides quietly over road imperfections, keeping occupants comfortable at all times.
For motorway driving, the standard ‘SE’ trim’s 17-inch wheels are ideal. Upgrade to the 19-inch alloys and you’re likely to start noticing that the ride becomes a little harsher and little noisier.
BMW’s 5 Series saloon is available in two trim levels: the ‘SE’ and the ‘M Sport’.
The entry-level model comes with a DAB digital radio, heated front seats, ambient lighting, automatic air conditioning and the Active Guard Plus system, which includes speed limit information, lane departure and collision warnings.
Various engines are on offer, comprising petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains. The most popular is the economical 520d powertrain, but the petrol variants are smooth and powerful, too.
Inside, the model is as swish as expected, with a supportive driving position lacking only lumbar adjustment as a standard feature.
Price: Starts from £32,565
- Luxurious comfort
- Super smooth ride
- Bigger wheels mean a rougher ride
- No lumbar adjustment as standard
4. Mercedes S-Class
The segment-leading Mercedes S-Class is the very epitome of luxury. And after all, if you’re going to tackle the motorway, why not do it in style?
A large, luxurious saloon, the S-Class both looks impressive and drives impressively, too. Top Gear says the model comes into its own on the motorway, thanks in no small part to the active cruise control system that adapts to distances from other cars and slows the vehicle on the approach to corners, roundabouts and toll roads with the help of GPS.
The ride is extremely quiet, supple and comfortable, a slight lack in steering responsiveness being the only niggle. Still, it’s hardly a deal-breaker, especially when the model excels in pretty much every other area.
Inside, the S-Class is vastly spacious and sophisticated, with accents of wood, metal and leather. The dashboard is a bit button-heavy but intuitive nonetheless.
There are four trim levels to choose from, starting with the S-Class ‘Grand Edition’, which comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, an electric panoramic sunroof, massaging front seats and a Burmester surround sound system.
Various petrol and diesel engines are available with the S-Class saloon, all of which impress, but the entry-level S350d L will suffice for most, being remarkably quiet, smooth and fit for purpose.
Price: Starts from £77,340
- Leads the market on luxury
- Unmatched relaxed ride
- Steering could be a touch more responsive
- Other models are cheaper to buy – and to run
5. Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen’s award-winning family hatchback is just as comfortable on the motorway as it is on the city streets, making it a great all-round option that delivers on performance, price and practicality.
Leading its class for several decades, the Golf is solidly built and understatedly stylish. The initial outlay is slightly more than the RRP of many rivals but it retains its value better than most, paying for itself in the long run.
Available in ten trim styles, with a healthy engine choice, there’s a Golf to suit everyone – even motorway drivers. The 113bhp 1.6-litre TDI powertrain is more than sufficient at handling high speeds in comfort.
The entry-level ‘S’ model Golf comes fitted with a start-stop system, media infotainment system, electric front windows, DAB radio and front assist. Right at the top of the range, meanwhile, the hybrid ‘GTE Advance’ adds features like front sport seats and heat-insulating tinted glass.
Inside, the Golf is relatively well equipped and visually appealing. The interior is classy with plenty of room for passengers, and the height-adjustable supportive driver’s seat makes for a driving position that couldn’t be more comfortable for motorway journeys.
Price: Starts from £22,495
- Class-leading performance
- Excellent value for money
- Some rivals offer more standard spec
- Slightly more expensive to buy than competitors
6. Audi A6
The Audi A6 is a sophisticated motorway cruiser that combines a high level of comfort with impressive refinement and economy.
Available as a saloon and as an Avant estate, the A6 is a sight to behold in either form with its sleek, high-class appearance.
At a time when SUVs are all the rage, the A6 is a welcome alternative for drivers with a penchant for something spacious that oozes style.
There are several engines to choose from with the A6 saloon or Avant, both petrol and diesel. It’s also available in four trim levels: ‘Sport’, ‘S Line’, ‘Black Edition’ and the top-level ‘S6 Vorsprung’.
At entry level the A6 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, a progressive steering system to enhance comfort, mild hybrid technology, heated front seats, climate control, DAB and Bluetooth, MMI Navigation with MMI Touch, cruise control and a rear-view camera.
Inside, the car has a glossy, classy interior with loads of room to relax – both for the driver and for passengers. The A6’s excellent suspension soaks up bumps, making for a comfortable ride, even at top speeds on the motorway.
Relatively cheap to run thanks to the mild hybrid you’ll get an extra economy boost, the A6 is a compelling prospect for drivers who like a little luxury day-to-day while still achieving value for money.
Price: Starts from £39,375
- Well-appointed as standard
- Supremely comfortable
- Not as fun to drive as some rivals
- Extras are expensive
7. Peugeot 208
The Peugeot 208 is a budget-friendly supermini that’s surprisingly spacious up front and easy to handle on the motorway.
Light and efficient, the 208 has irresistibly sporty appeal, an intuitive interior and comes with a choice of petrol and diesel engines to cater for all tastes.
The 208 diesels are ideal for fuel economy on the motorway, and the ride quality is settled and stable – even at speed. The petrol and electric variants, meanwhile, are better suited to urban driving and nipping around town.
Inside, the Peugeot looks appealing and feels solidly built with quality materials. Scooping the ‘Little Legend’ award at the 2019 carwow New Car of the Year Awards, Peugeot’s nifty 208 hatchback combines comfort with manoeuvrability, making it the perfect partner for those long journeys on the motorway.
Available in four trims – ‘Active’, ‘Allure’, ‘GT Line’ and ‘GT’ – the entry-level 208 comes kitted out with 16-inch alloys, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, plenty of airbags, driver attention warning, programmable cruise control, lane keeping assist and speed limit recognition.
Price: Starts from £16,250
- Plenty of tech as standard
- Smooth and stable at speed
- Rear legroom is a little cramped
- Side and rear visibility could be better
8. Volvo V90
Volvo’s V90 is a luxury estate car that ticks all the boxes for a comfortable commute. With a classy interior, excellent drive quality and a good range of engines on offer, the V90 is a safe option for drivers who regularly rack up the motorway miles.
Ride is relaxed at speed and pretty quiet too, but if you want your daily drive to feel even more composed, invest in the optional adaptive dampers. The additional air suspension gives the ride quality an even greater feeling of refinement.
Inside, the interior of the V90 is modern and stylish, with clean lines and quality materials throughout. The dashboard interface is impressive and the boot is on the generous side, although the roof line eats into the available space somewhat.
The V90 is available in several variants: ‘Momentum’, ‘R-Design’, ‘Inscription’ and ‘Cross Country’, with the entry-level Momentum model kitted out with 18-inch tyres, adaptive cruise control, front and rear park assist, climate control, Bluetooth, DAB radio and lots of airbags as standard.
Engine options include two diesels and two petrol powertrains, with the diesels being ideal picks for economical motorway motoring.
Price: Starts from £39,835
- Stylish and modern
- Relaxed ride at speed
- Roof line limits boot space
- Engines can be noisier than rival models’
9. Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen’s restyle Passat delivers refinement by the bucket load, in addition to comfort, convenience and reliability.
Spacious inside with supportive seats, the Passat offers an excellent level of adjustment, making it easy to find the perfect driving position. All-round visibility is good and the interior both looks and feels sturdy and stylish – the Passat is elegantly ergonomic in true VW style.
Available in six trim levels, starting with the ‘SE’ from £25,580, the entry-level Passat comes complete with 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth compatibility, a multifunction camera, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors and more.
There’s a good selection of engines on offer but most motorway drivers should find that the mid-range 148bhp diesel is sufficient for managing business mileage.
Sitting somewhere between the more basic budget options and the premium executive models, the Passat has a lot to offer by combining features of both and adding in the high level of quality that VW has come to be known for.
Price: Starts from £25,580
- Comfortable and practical
- Quality build
- Not as luxurious as some rivals
- Not as reliable, either
10. Skoda Superb
Skoda’s Superb is a happy marriage of practicality and economy, offering excellent value for money as well as an enjoyable drive.
As comfortable on the motorway as it is in town, the Superb offers great ride quality with plenty of power. It’s quiet, too, and the diesel engines are fuel efficient for drivers who cover a lot of miles.
The Superb is a large car, so expect plenty of space to get comfortable. The suspension ensures that the car feels refined – more so than expensive competitors in fact.
According to Top Gear, the Superb is built for high-mileage journeys, giving a serene performance on the motorway – somewhat surprisingly given its competitive price tag. The diesel engines return impressive value and remarkable CO2 output for the size of car.
Available in 12 trim levels, as a saloon and as an estate, the Superb range begins with the entry-level ‘S’, which comes kitted out with 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a DAB radio, driver and front passenger airbags, automatic post collision braking system and an eight-inch touchscreen display.
Price: Starts from £24,365
- Massive cabin and boot
- Excellent value for money
- Not as comfortable as some rivals
- Some competitors are more fun to drive
Get more from your motorway miles
Whether you prioritise fuel efficiency when clocking up the motorway miles, or have a penchant for luxury touches to make your commute more comfortable, Motorway.co.uk is here to help you find the model that meets your needs.
From the economical budget buys that deliver on comfort to the prestigious executive alternatives that provide impressive value for money, we’ve rounded up a comprehensive selection of cars designed to cope with long-range journeys without compromise.
Now that you’ve learned a little about our top ten best cars for motorway driving, read about the different options available in more detail with our guides below. We’ve covered all the bases, from economy to luxury, the best cars to lease and more.