Surfers, beach-bound families or couples wanting to stroll along the beach have plenty of options in Best Beach Cars. Truth is, there are vehicles in every category to suit the tastes and needs of beach enthusiasts. How many people do you need to carry? How much gear? Any towing required? Ask yourself these questions and take a look at our top three picks for Best Beach Cars.

As always, we’ve looked at what automotive experts have to say – and then used our own best judgment. For this list, we’ve selected three different vehicle categories – a little something for everyone.

  • Ford FlexU.S. News and World Report says the midsize Ford Flex crossover SUV’s “standout features are its flat-folding seats, spacious third row, and long list of options.” Consumer Guide gives says “While ford_flex_2009styling is subjective, Flex’s spacious cabin and cargo area meet high objective standards. Add to the mix good handling and sufficient power and you have a people mover that merits…Recommended status.” With its distinctive (some say funky, but all auto reviewers are impressed) design, Flex can seat six or seven passengers, and has available multi-panel Vista roof and refrigerator that can chill beverages. Though not as much interior space as a minivan, Flex has style written all over it. As Edmunds remarks, “there’s nothing else quite like the Ford Flex on the road today.”
  • Chrysler PT CruiserBack in 2004, Edmunds singled out the Chrysler PT Cruiser as one of its “Top 10 Vehicles to Take to the Beach,” and what made the vehicle 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiserbeach appropriate then still works, although the convertible was discontinued in 2008. Edmunds says of the 2009 model: “spacious cabin with great utility, smooth ride,” but “aged design, tepid acceleration with the base engine, unimpressive fuel economy, awkward seating position for shorter drivers.”
  • GMC Acadia This full-size crossover SUV is built on the same platform as the Buick Enclave and Saturn Outlook, and, as U.S. News and World Report says, “Acadia offers an excellent combination of class-leading seating capacity, gmc_acadia_2010good cargo space and smooth ride quality.” With fun beach-in-mind options as a dual sunroof and entertainment system, Acadia gets further praise from Edmunds: “With ample room for up to eight passengers, a comfortable ride, respectable performance and decent fuel economy, the 2009 GMC Acadia ranks as one of the best family-oriented crossovers available.” Editors don’t like some subpar interior trim and slow downshifting transmission.

Other Best Beach Cars include these choices: Ford Expedition/Mercury Mountaineer, Honda Element and Pilot, Jeep Liberty and Wrangler, Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix, and Volkswagen Passat Wagon.

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