June 18, 2013
Story and photos by Justin Pritchard
There’s nothing like driving near an ocean. Except maybe, for driving near a big lake, or a large river or through some nice scenery if you’re more an in-land type, like your writer.
When driving near the water, or some similarly serene scenery in the right machine, a special thing happens.
Mercedes-Benz CLS63. Click image to enlarge
Thoughts of your trip, arriving on time, stuff requiring your attention and what to make for supper later on dissolve from mind. Instead, you just loosen up, unwind, exhale, and take it all in. It’s therapeutic, even.
I get my dose every week driving from Sudbury, Ontario to the Greater Toronto Area. My favourite scenery? The Muskokas. Just a bit past Port Severn you get to drive over Georgian Bay. Only for a few moments mind you if you’re going highway speeds – but hit it early in the morning when the road is empty and the sun begins to peek out and start the fog swirling and burning off, and it’s a tranquil thing to look at.
But, alas, the boss asked for a story about driving near an ocean – and some rides to do it with. Well, it’s not really an ocean at all, but Georgian Bay is my ocean.
I have driven near a real one mind you.
The Pacific Coast Highway in California is lined by mile after mile of delightfully twisting asphalt just a stone’s-throw from some of the prettiest scenery anywhere.
I was with fellow Autos.ca contributor Lesley Wimbush in a new Mustang GT Convertible for this cruise. The roof was down, the scenery was breathtaking, and the lusty 5.0L up front was busily turning gas and salty sea air into magnificent sound effects. I was grinning ear to ear, and Ms. Wimbush was gushing bad words like an irritated sailor.
There’s something cuss-inducingly magical about driving through a beautiful place, maybe near the water, in a machine that lets you take it all in.
So I give you my list of machines that work well to let their drivers enjoy the scenery – ocean or otherwise.
Criteria to make the list? Among other things, it’s some combination of a nice drive, a nice view outwards, comfort, and maybe some extra room or features to help enjoy it all with your favourite folks.
Ford Mustang GT. Click image to enlarge
Mustang GT Convertible
Do you like the awesomeness of cruising with fantastic V8 engine sounds, the scenery rolling by, and the wind in your hair/scalp/mullet? The Mustang GT Convertible offers up about the most cost-effective access to that experience going. The new 5.0L V8 is a gem, the convertible roof takes a hike in seconds, and the ride and handling are set nicely between lazy cruising comfort and winding-road athleticism. Plus, along the way you get all the benefits of cruising in a machine unmatched for recognition and nostalgia.
Chrysler Town and Country
Chrysler Town & Country. Click image to enlarge
Scenery is often better enjoyed with your favourite people along for the ride – which is exactly why the Chrysler Town and Country is on our list. Three rows of seating and a massive cabin mean you can take the family or friends along with room to spare, and tall windows and great outward sight lines mean everyone gets a good view. A squishy and quiet ride turn in upscale comfort along the way, and the rear seating row even tumbles backwards to make a handy tailgate seat if you want to stop for a picnic near the beach or at a scenic overlook.