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Hot in the Shade but Cool in the Driver’s Seat: 6 Vehicles to Combat the Summer Sun

There seems to be very little you can do when the summer sun shines down. When temperatures reach well past the 100-degree mark, finding a way to stay cool becomes somewhat of a difficulty. If you’re in a position where you need to spend a decent amount of time in your vehicle each day, having effective air conditioning or climate control is imperative. Particularly if you have pets or passengers of the younger and shorter variety. If you’re in the market for a vehicle that’s capable of handling the daily commute and keeping you cool, online car sales promise a multitude of options that are ideal for the average consumer. But what cars are best for hot weather? We’re about to find out. So, grab a popsicle and prop yourself in front of the AC. We’ll give you the breakdown of which vehicles are best for beating the heat.

#1 – 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

In recent decades, the SUV has become the ideal vehicle for the family-oriented consumer. Nissan shows its long-standing reputation for innovation is still firmly in place with the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. With 80.5 cu.ft. of cargo room available for groceries and family transport, your kids are sure to keep themselves cool. For the 2022 model year, Nissan went to work on redesigning the interior with an emphasis on making the climate control more efficient. With larger vents to ensure every area is affected and a triple-zone feature, the temperature in the Pathfinder can be customized to everyone’s liking.

#2 – 2015 Toyota Prius

If you’re the type of consumer who wants to beat the heat cost-effectively, we recommend tracking down a 2015 Toyota Prius. Toyota vehicles are known for retaining their resale value for several years. However, every make and model depreciates over time. If you find a Prius manufactured in the 2015 model year, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll likely be paying less than 80% of its original starting MSRP. 2015 was an excellent year for the vehicle, and the Prius received massive praise from industry critics for its reliability and versatility. A range of over 500 miles means longer rides.

Always ahead of the curve in innovation, the 2015 Prius has a feature guaranteed to help you beat the summer heat. When outside temperatures rise above 68 degrees, the Prius will utilize a solar-powered intake system to circulate air in the cabin. That’s not just cool technology. It’s a technology designed to keep you cool.

A white 2020 Toyota Prius is shown from the front at an angle while driving through a city.

#3 – 2015 Honda Odyssey

We’re going to stay with the 2015 model year as we examine another vehicle on our list that will keep you cool even when the sun doesn’t want you to be. While some drivers are drawn to style and sophistication, others are drawn to practicality. The 2015 Honda Odyssey is a vehicle geared more towards the latter and not the former of those demographics. While the minivan design might seem like an outdated concept that belongs in the same pop-culture category as bell bottoms and pet rocks, the Odyssey is one of the best options for air conditioning and quality.

In 2015, Honda equipped its minivan with tri-zone climate control designed to keep everyone in the eight available seats feeling cool. Honda also applied its ingenuity to keeping the quality of the air as pristine as it could possibly be. Humidity control and air filtration were both included to help keep perspiration at bay. If you’re fortunate enough to find the higher trim level Odyssey EX-L or Touring, your drinks will stay just as cool as you are, with a refrigerated storage box in the center console of the vehicle.

#4 – 2022 Subaru Crosstrek

When you think of Subaru, there are more than likely a few things that come to mind first. If you grew up in the 1990s, you might think of the old TV advertisements that featured Paul Hogan in his “Crocodile Dundee” persona. You might also think of the vehicle’s unique performance, thanks to its high-quality boxer engines and symmetrical AWD, but the 2022 Crosstrek takes air conditioning to a bold new level.

While the interior of the Crosstrek is spacious, its versatility with climate control is impressive. The controls for what’s described as “Max AC” are easily accessible in the center console right below the infotainment screen. And if you are in an area with an abundance of desert terrain, you can utilize AWD to explore the barren landscapes while remaining as cool as possible.

#5 – 2017 Buick Regal

Once again, we’re traveling a few years back to look at another vehicle whose depreciation you can take advantage of. Buick has always had a reputation for making luxury vehicles available to the average consumer who doesn’t have a ton of disposable income. Never one to skimp on providing customers with the best comfort available, it’s only natural that one of its models would appear on our list.

Applying technology to comfort, the 2017 Buick Regal emphasizes its HVAC systems. Sensors embedded within the windshield allow the system to adjust to changes within the cabin in terms of humidity. A solar-absorbing windshield helps keep the heat from UV rays away from the cabin and passenger seat. Maximizing comfort and air control, it’s the perfect vehicle for dealing with those hot days.

A red 2019 Buick Regal GS is shown from the front at an angle.

#6 – 2020 Kia Optima

Similar to the Buick Regal, the Kia Optima is a luxurious sedan masquerading as a practical passenger vehicle. If you’re dealing with a fair amount of stop-and-go traffic, that means you need a car that’s conservative with its fuel consumption and keeps you cool when you’re at the mercy of the summertime sun. This midsize offering from Kia manages to accomplish both of these feats.

With its 1.6L four-cylinder engine, the car is rated for 27 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. The EX Premium trim might have leather seats, but they are ventilated and possess the ability to circulate cool air. This means that your backside stays as cool as the rest of the cabin. Less expensive than some of the other models in its class, the Kia Optima is ideal for the driver whose commutes are lengthy and accompanied by the occasional heatwave.

Staying Cool When It’s Hot

We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at some of the used car options that can be utilized for staying cool. Aside from having a functional AC, there are other ways to maximize your cool factor during the summer. If you have to park your car, get a shade for your front windshield to limit the amount of exposure for your vehicle’s interior. Always leave your passenger and driver’s side windows cracked about an inch to provide ventilation and airflow. If you have pets with you, don’t leave them unattended in the vehicle. Animals feel the heat just as much as humans do.

It’s also a good idea to ensure your car is equipped with sufficient coolant for the engine. High temperatures have caused many vehicles to overheat during the summer months, and exercising caution is one of the best steps you can take. And don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated even if you have your AC blaring; you’ll be glad you did.