Introduction and Vehicle advise for road trip through Europe

Travel Forums Europe Introduction and Vehicle advise for road trip through Europe

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1. Posted by Adventure_Mario (Budding Member 8 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Hello all

I am new to this site and want to begin by introducing myself. My name is Mario and I am from Bulgaria but spent the last 23 years of my life living in South Africa. I see myself as an adventurer and have a strong passion for travel, photography and videography. I am in the beginning stages of saying goodbye to the corporate world and pursuing my dream of earning my income through travel.

I moved back to Bulgaria on a permanent basis at the beginning of March. I am now using the Covid-19 lockdown as a chance to carefully dissect and plan my next big adventure of driving through Europe over a span of 12 months and through 50 countries.

Being at the very foundation of my planning and having just moved back to Bulgaria and in need to purchase a vehicle, I have the following question.
What is the most recommended vehicle for a trip through Europe?
Are there any restrictions that I should watch out for if I purchase a diesel vehicle?

In South Africa there are no restrictions to diesel vehicles so this is very new ground to me.
How popular are Toyota and Honda in Europe? Is it very easy to find parts for these brands?

Here are a few options of vehicles that so far make the most sense to me which all happen to be diesel:
Honda CR-V
Toyota Rav4
Nissan Patrol
Toyota Landcruiser

Are there any other SUVs that anyone can recommend?
I am first and foremost looking for reliability.

A lot of the cars that I see on the roads here are unfamiliar to me as we do not have these models in South Africa
If anyone can share some valuable recommendations I would be thankful

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1994 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Why an SUV? They're thirstier, and roads are good in Europe.

What's your budget?

3. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1269 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Imo the most important bit of research you need to do is to find a company which will provide you with at least the minimum legally-required insurance cover for 50+ different countries .....and what the cost of that cover will be.

> How popular are Toyota and Honda in Europe? Is it very easy to find parts for these brands?

Europe is a continent of 50+ countries so it is impossible to give a simple answer to such questions. Toyota and Honda vehicles are more commonly found in some countries than in others thus parts will be easier to obtain in some countries than in others. Neither brand is particularly popular in Europe, though Toyota has higher sales than Honda:

https://www.best-selling-cars.com/europe/2019-full-year-europe-best-selling-car-manufacturers-and-brands/

>Are there any restrictions that I should watch out for if I purchase a diesel vehicle?

There are restrictions on diesel vehicles in many EU countries. This site will give you some info:

https://dieselinformation.aecc.eu/where-in-europe-can-i-drive-my-diesel-car/

[ Edit: Edited on 29-Apr-2020, 13:12 GMT by leics2 ]

4. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1355 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Then there's the cost of fuel and the matter of parking. Vehicular traffic also is restricted in many city centers. A Toyota Land Cruiser is perfect of travel in many parts of Africa (I've used it in West and Central Africa and in rough mountainous terrain in Nepal) but it might not be as practical in Europe. Rather than buying perhaps consider renting as the need arises. Finally, 50 countries in 12 months is a lot of driving in a continent of about 10 million square kilometers.

5. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Have you considered a hybrid vehicle instead of a diesel? As mentioned above, some countries have restrictions on diesels and the cost of fuel is high. A hybrid would avoid the diesel and give you good gas mileage. We have a Toyota Prius and love it. Lots of storage space, good gas mileage and easy to drive. Our first ride in one was a Paris taxi cab and we were hooked. We've used it on and off road. It holds all our camping gear easily.

Most companies make hybrids these days and they make a lot of sense.

6. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1994 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

Have you considered a hybrid vehicle instead of a diesel?

One of the things that gets me hot under the collar these days is car manufacturers marketing hybrids as somehow being a good thing.

If it doesn't have a plug, you're 100% petrol powered.

If it's a hybrid that does have a plug, it typically has an electric range of about 20 miles before it switches to petrol, and you have all the extra weight of two engines meaning worse fuel economy.

In my cynical view, hybrids are about car companies wanting to keep us in vehicles that require a servicing schedule, providing income to their dealerships, and oil companies wanting to keep hold of us too. It's complete greenwash. And it's their way of papering over the cracks when they haven't invested in battery production to give consumers what they do want - proper electric cars.

Thank you, I feel much better for getting that off my chest. :)

7. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I'm glad you got it off your chest Andy, but we get 55 to 65 miles per gallon in our hybrid. He is not going to do that in an SUV. I'm looking at what is available and what it will do for his budget. It's better for the environment than the SUV and certainly better than the diesel. It's not perfect and neither are car companies . . . but neither are we.

8. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2450 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Here are a few options of vehicles that so far make the most sense to me which all happen to be diesel:
Honda CR-V
Toyota Rav4
Nissan Patrol
Toyota Landcruiser

-

Do you need a larger vehicle? Big family group? Plan on sleeping in the vehicle??

How about a vehicle made in Europe?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_automobile_manufacturers_of_Europe

* *I do know that some Japanese brands are made/assembled in other countries. In the past (long time ago) I even had a Fiats and Renaults. Some people think they were crap but I kept them running okay. (Presently on my second RAV 4, good value for the money if keeping the car for a long time.)

Up to you.

9. Posted by Adventure_Mario (Budding Member 8 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

Why an SUV? They're thirstier, and roads are good in Europe.

What's your budget?

Hi Andy

My plan involves driving up into the arctic circle. I thought a 4x4 would make more sense as I would not be restricted from driving on any terrain. Also, 4x4s are very spacious. Not that I would need an insane amount of luggage space anyway but nice to have. In the last day or so I am also starting to consider the option of the Mazda Insignia, although I am a little sceptical as I have never owned a Mazda before.

Yes, SUVs are thirsty, although the consumption on a diesel is generally quite good.

My budget is around 8000 Euros

10. Posted by Adventure_Mario (Budding Member 8 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting leics2

Imo the most important bit of research you need to do is to find a company which will provide you with at least the minimum legally-required insurance cover for 50+ different countries .....and what the cost of that cover will be.

> How popular are Toyota and Honda in Europe? Is it very easy to find parts for these brands?

Europe is a continent of 50+ countries so it is impossible to give a simple answer to such questions. Toyota and Honda vehicles are more commonly found in some countries than in others thus parts will be easier to obtain in some countries than in others. Neither brand is particularly popular in Europe, though Toyota has higher sales than Honda:

https://www.best-selling-cars.com/europe/2019-full-year-europe-best-selling-car-manufacturers-and-brands/

>Are there any restrictions that I should watch out for if I purchase a diesel vehicle?

There are restrictions on diesel vehicles in many EU countries. This site will give you some info:

https://dieselinformation.aecc.eu/where-in-europe-can-i-drive-my-diesel-car/

Thank you. To be honest, the insurance part didnt even cross my mind. I will definitely need to do some research into this.