The best cars for your cross-country road trip

It's not quite summer yet, but you're probably already planning out that dream vacation for you and your family to take once the kids get out of school and the weather becomes favorable. There is nothing like riding cross-country and seeing all the great sights America has to offer, but making the trip in a less-than comfortable car can make it more torturous than fun.

Depending on whether you have a set of toddlers or are just traveling on a romantic ride with your significant other, the set of wheels you choose to steer will have a major impact on the success of the journey. Driving a late model Dodge Caravan, though ideal for carrying youngsters to and from the soccer field, is hardly the right ride for a pair of newlyweds on a honeymoon road trip. At the same time, squeezing your toddlers into the backseat of a Mustang Convertible will only lead to crankiness and crying.

Here is a look at a few models that are perfect for the quintessential American summer road trip and why – depending on the circumstances.

The sensible adventurer: Jeep Cherokee

For the family man who wants to have at least one or two adventures while driving across the country, you can't go wrong with a Jeep Cherokee. This off-roading legend remained relatively unchanged for about three decades, so it doesn't matter what year your model was purchased because it is bound to be perfect for any adventure. These cars comfortably seat four and a half passengers, so there is a limit on how many family members can come along for the ride. But if you tie as much equipment to the roof and pack up the trunk wisely, you'll have no problem taking the whole family with you.

The "convertible at any cost:" Lincoln Continental

Any Lincoln Continental built in the 1960s is a great candidate for that Dad who wants to cruise the land. While this car may not be great on gas – which is a major deal breaker for many – you can't get a better convertible that will comfortably fit a family of five. If gas mileage is a priority and you want to keep costs at a minimum, remember this: Looking cool is priceless, and there is perhaps no badder looking convertible than a '64 Lincoln.

The crowd-pleaser: Cadillac CTS- V wagon

If your wife wants luxury and your kids want comfort but all you want is to speed and a rumbling engine, look no further than the CTS- V wagon. This hatch is probably the least wimpy looking wagon you get and actually packs enough muscle under the hood to make you forget you have a family in tow. After all, this thing is a Caddy, and while you might not want all the bells and whistles that come along with this luxury marque, your family certainly going to appreciate it.

If none of these options fits your bill for a satisfying ride, you can always go the safest route and stick to the standard classic convertible for your ride across the U.S.A. Instead of putting miles on a classic vintage car, however, consider purchasing one of the newest generation of hot rods – the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger – so that you get all of the power but won't have to stress about fuel economy.

What car do you plan on taking with you on your cross-country trek this summer? Leave your suggestion below: