Best Rides for Beach Fun

The following is a list of things that are awesome about wintertime:





That’s right: absolutely nothing.

Hey, winter! Eat it! Springtime is coming, and so is the warm weather to melt your stupid snow, pesky slush, and hip-busting ice. Soon, the warm sun will beam down upon us, and before long it’ll be the best season in the whole wide universe: beach season!

What whale we do once summer hits? One thing’s for shore: countless Canadians will soon grease themselves up with SPF, jam into questionably-revealing bathing attire, drive to the water, and spend lazy hours basking in the waves, with a searious focus on relaxation, and thoughts of your frigid nastiness falling far from mind. This summer, Canucks will have 99 problems, but a beach ain’t one!

Yes, beach season is shrimply the best – and obviously, you’ll need a ride that’s up for the task.

That’s where we come in. Water we saying?

Your summer-loving pals at autoTRADER.ca have put together the following list of new and used rides perfect for couples and families planning to take in a long summer of being beach people. The following list shell focus on varying degrees of fun-in-the-sun motoring, flexible utility, and beach-ready travels.

Oh buoy!

2016 Jeep Wrangler

The Gist: Few things with four-wheels and a license plate are more ready for a trip to the beach than a Jeep Wrangler. With a recent refresh, the ultimate adventure-ute gets a punchier and thriftier V6 engine, new features, and an interior that’s better looking, and less constructed of melted-down Tupperware plastic. At $25,495, the entry-grade Jeep Wrangler Sport is the cheapest convertible in Canada – not to mention one with four-wheel drive, a six-speed stick, and the better part of 300 hp.

Beach Stuff: Uniquely, the Jeep Wrangler’s body can be peeled away to match prevailing weather conditions and activities. Yank the top and let in the rays. Yank the doors and let the beach-going masses see what a care-free sort of fella you are. You’ll get a wicked-killer tan in the process. Yank the carpeting out for easy cleaning of sand at the end of a beach day. A full range of accessories, including a laundry-list of roof-mounted cargo carriers for beach gear is available from your dealer, and since it’s got clearance galore, a ladder-frame under-structure and four-wheel drive with a proper transfer case, Wrangler can get to any beach you’d like, even if nobody else knows about it.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

The Gist: Here’s another care-free beach cruiser perfect for turning heads while taking in the rays, and getting noticed big-time. For the money, Camaro is one of the most striking beach rides going – with instantly recognizable styling, an available convertible roof, and an available big-ass V8 engine if you’ve just got to have the most horsepower within a few miles of the lake. With four seats, two doors, top-optional motoring, and acceleration 1,000 percent guaranteed to light your face on fire, Camaro offers up a proven recipe for summertime motoring fun to the strip, the beach, or anywhere else you’d like to go.

Beach Stuff: Drop the top and fire up the megawatt BOSE stereo system! Camaro’s feature content makes it easy to share your favourite tunes with the world around you, all while you and three of your besties cruise topless with the wind in your hair (but hopefully, not your back hair). Ventilated leather seats keep back sweat under control in extreme heat, and can even help dry your damp bathing suit in quick order, if you forgot a change of shorts. With OnStar and Apple CarPlay, you can stay in touch and on course with ease, even if you’re discovering a beach in an all-new locale. Plus, there’s built-in Wi-Fi, in case a beach-side Netflix sesh is in order.

2016 Mazda MX-5

The Gist: Mazda’s new MX-5 is the latest version of the original fun-in-the-sun sales superstar. Thrifty and frisky, this little two-seat sportster comes standard with the most summery of setups: two seats, a soft-top convertible roof, and no BS. Look for rear-wheel drive, four-cylinder power, a six-speed stick, and handling that clings to the road like cellophane to Aunt Maud’s meatloaf. With pricing from $31,900 and a proven reputation for reliability, this one provides affordable access to low-cost summer fun for years to come.

The Beach Stuff: Cargo space is sufficient for a small cooler and a beach bag, and the fast-acting top can be moved from up to down in seconds if there’s a sudden rainstorm. Plus, since the MX-5 is tiny, it makes your biceps look huge if you hang your arm out the window while cruising slowly past the ladies. Plus, probably like you, the MX-5 has been trimmed down for this year’s beach season – shedding unwanted weight and showing off a tighter, slimmer body than ever. It’s not huge on space or versatility, but the new Mazda MX-5 is about the most fun you’ll have in a convertible on this side of a $50,000 pricetag.

2003 to 2008 BMW Z4

The Gist: If you’re on a bit of a budget, and still want a head-turning beach mobile, this one’s worth a serious look. Few rides tell those nearby that you love both top-down summer fun, and fine German motor cars, quite like a BMW Z4. This Bavarian Miata got the good stuff: a punchy engine up front, rear-wheel drive, and among the most distinctive convertible looks on this side of a six-figure pricetag. Agile, quick, luxurious and capable all at once, the Z4 makes a compelling buy as a used roadster that’s pure classy, as well as more potent and upscale than a comparable Mazda. Power from a straight-six engine maxes out at 255 ponies in mainstream Z4 models, making quick trips to the beach a total breeze.

Check used models for damage or wear to the cloth top, missing side-marker lights, excessive tire and brake wear, and confirm all on-board electronics are in proper working order, too. A full check over by a BMW mechanic before your purchase will add plenty of confidence.

The Beach Stuff: This one’s all about making a statement. With a BMW badge on the front and dynamic, chiseled lines matched only by your speedo-shod bod, even an older used copy of a Z4 still looks like big bucks. Flex them pecs and make kissy-faces at nearby ladies, because they’ll be looking while you cruise at low speed and high revs down the main stretch.

Range Rover Land Rover Evoque Convertible

The Gist: The one-of-a-kind Evoque Convertible might be the ultimate luxury beach cruiser in the universe. Few things on this side of a Lamborghini Diablo will turn heads cruising the beach strip like a four-wheel drive crossover with its roof down, and Evoque’s striking styling and luxury accoutrements, including creamy smooth Oxford leather, will haul you and yours right to the shores in the lap of gorgeous luxury. If you think that everyone has a Jeep Wrangler, and that two-seat convertibles are too small, the Evoque Convertible is just the rolling styling statement you need.

Beach Stuff: Look for beach-party must-haves like a great big stereo, and ambient interior lighting for when the festivities last into the evening. The LED headlight system keeps electrical drain to a minimum, so use them to light up the party without worry of a dead battery.

An available cooled centre console keeps your beach sandwiches cool, and the flip-up cargo hatch in the rear makes a great place to hang damp towels or to dry out your flip-flops. There’s even a self-parking system, because what’s cooler than beach parking while your fellow beach-folk wonder what form of witchcraft is steering your magical roadster-ute into its space, sans hands?

2017 Honda Ridgeline

The Gist: The new Ridgeline is the bees’ knees! With slicker-than-ever looks, an athletic body that looks naked without a surfboard strapped to the top, and heaps of clever and flexible storage that would make your Ikea closet organizer jealous, Honda’s pickup is gearing up to be one of the hottest beach cruisers this season. Look for four-wheel drive for added capability, enough towing capacity to haul your power-toys to the lake, and a revised engine to keep drinking to a minimum – unlike uncle Hal when he decides to let loose in his new speedo.

The Beach Stuff: Flip it down for tailgating, or swing it open to load gear and supplies. Ridgeline’s dual-mode tailgate is just one of many party tricks that helps add beach-going flare. Built-in truck-bed speakers? You’ve got it. Enormous rear seats that flip up to create a shady lounging area for your favourite canine, or cargo room enough for a weekend’s worth of coolers and toys? You’ve got it. An in-bed trunk that’s washable and drainable, (or fillable with ice and your favourite grown-up beverages)? You better believe it. An in-bed power outlet can even run the hang-up string lights, if you’re planning to turn your Ridgeline into a rolling Tiki-bar.