4 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Road Trips More Bearable

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Family Road Trip

Driving long stretches in your Volkswagen to the turkey and cranberry sauce? It’s a great way to save on airfare, especially when traveling as a group, but the busiest travel day of the year coupled with icy patches can be a recipe for disaster—one that rivals your aunt’s (in)famous Jell-o mold. The good news? You’re already ahead of the game. You’re behind the wheel of your trusty, German-engineered gas saver. You already know your ride’s safety ratings are top notch and everyone will be literally in the lap of luxury. But have you made an effort to really maximize comfort this holiday weekend?

There are a few things you can do to ensure the smoothest Thanksgiving drive ever. There’s no need to go full Griswold when traveling with the family. A little prep work can help you avoid in-car arguments, close calls and the epic battle over which Sirius station to listen to. Here’s how:

1. Give Yourself an Extra Prep Day

You’re in charge of the mashed potatoes, but you also need to make sure the kids pack correctly, the oil change gets done in the car, the dog is kenneled at doggie daycare and all your work emails are taken care of before T-day. If possible, give yourself an extra day of prep work so you’re not rushing as the turkey’s roasting.

2. Let Everyone Chime In on the Playlist

If the whole family can’t decide on a station, welcome the whole family to suggest songs for a playlist. Welcome everybody to include a list of songs or artists, then take charge of making sure the count is even and songs are appropriate. Who said clean versions of Kanye can’t go with One Direction?

3. Get the Car Detailed Before You Go (and After)

Traveling in a clean car is akin to enjoying a clean home when you’re not feeling well. It naturally relaxes you, encourages calmness and is more likely to promote harmony amongst everyone in the car. If you’re on the road with kids (also known as messy eaters), you might also want to schedule a detailing upon your return.

4. Spring for a Tune-Up for Peace of Mind

You car should get annual tune-ups, and right before the holidays is the best time to take care of this. Checking the fluid levels, tires, lights and general functionality helps prevent unnecessary pit stops along the side of the road. Plus, it de-stresses you and allows you to focus on pumpkin pie in T- “just a few more hours.”

What’s in Store for the Passat?

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Passat AllTrac CC

It’s official—the Volkswagen Passat will be getting Alltrack and CC within three years, and VW lovers couldn’t be more excited. The latest version of the beloved model is already in the works and will be available between 2016 and 2017. Currently, the Passat B8 is available in both wagon and sedan styles. It’s a favorite, but for Volkswagen fans that prefer their rides a little more rugged or a little sleeker, they don’t have to wait much longer. Klaus Bischoff, VW’s Chief Designer, made the official announcement in a company newsletter.

However, Bischoff is remaining tight lipped about specifics including the official launch date. Car & Driver reports that the CC of today will stay in production for two more years, estimating the new Passat to be released in late 2016. That’s just in time for the holidays and guarantees a prime time to pick up a late model 2015 Passat for a steal—or, of course, lets you score the latest generation just in time for winter holiday road trips.

Happy Trails

Unfortunately, the Alltrack likely won’t make it to the US but will rather be only offered overseas. It’s essentially a Passat variant that rides high with all wheel drive and solid plastic body armor. The answer for those who don’t care for SUVs or crossovers, it’s something in between. However, given Americans’ love for larger vehicles (complete with more room), it’s no wonder that the Alltrack isn’t favored here. The CC on the other hand? It has the kind of chicness, smoothness and great lines that Americans crave.

Still hoping for a larger variant machine from Volkswagen? Don’t forget about the heavy hints dropped about a potential Passat Ras. It’s slated to be the successor for the R36, boasting 4MOTION all wheel drive and maybe even a powerful six-cylinder engine under the hood. There’s been no official word about this offering—yet—but Volkswagen has dangled the carrot and American drivers are hungry for such a ride.

Counting Down the Days

Whether you prefer a slicker car or a more powerful weekend warrior crossover, there’s plenty on offer right now from Volkswagen. You don’t have to wait a few years for the CC or Ras. Right before the winter holidays is the best time to score a great deal on a late model car. From filling your crossover with holiday gifts to enjoying the commute through the frightful weather in comfort, find your ultimate holiday ride for the best price.