Whether you're sleeping in your car by necessity or by choice, it does not have to be uncomfortable.
Cars such as the Toyota Prius, the Toyota Matrix, and the Honda Fit make good cars for sleeping in.
Although these cars may not be exactly what you are looking for, they possess features and qualities that all "camper cars" should have… fold-flat rear and passenger seats.
This will give you more than enough space to layout and allow you to move around the car without having to crawl over upright seats.
Are you looking to save money on rent or hotels? Look no further than the Toyota Prius!
The Prius is at the top of our list of best cars to sleep in, but it is also our most recommended car for full-time car dwellings.
The Toyota Prius makes an ideal vehicle to live and sleep in for mainly two reasons:
1) Foldable Seats
Quickly foldable rear and passenger seats to allow for up to 8 ft in length to stretch out
2) Climate Control
The battery system and climate control work together to maintain a constant temperature throughout the day and night without running the motor full time.
The battery will be drained by either the heater or the air conditioning.
At that point, the engine will automatically run just long enough to recharge the battery before kicking out again.
Adjusting Passenger Seat In The Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius is a hybrid vehicle manufactured by Toyota since 1997. Initially, it was produced as a 4-door sedan but has only been manufactured as a 4-door hatchback since 2003.
Adjusting Rear Seats In The Toyota Prius
The Prius also gets an astounding 50 mpg! So excellent Toyota reliability, ideal space to stretch out, and excellent gas mileage add up to an excellent rating from us!
Auto Climate Control Walkthrough In The Toyota Prius
Toyota Matrix (2003 - 2014)
Our choice for the best hatchback car to sleep in is the Toyota Matrix.
Sold from 2003 to 2014, the Matrix has some unique interior features that make it an excellent choice to sleep in.
The front passenger seat and the back seat fold down easily, creating a long flat space to lay down with minimal bumps and ridges.
The front passenger's seat has a built-in plastic tray in the back.
This gives the car's occupant some extra storage to place small things or even a nice spot to set up a laptop.
Passenger side seat folds flat in the Toyota Matrix
Another excellent feature is the built-in 115 volt/100-watt power inverter.
It lets you plug in power-hungry devices such as laptops, hairdryers, small electric heaters, etc., and run them safely off the car's battery.
Rear seats fold flat in the Toyota Matrix
The rear seats are rigid plastic backs and fold flat, creating a 53.2 cu ft cargo area.
There are eight tie-downs along with integrated rails for securing cargo.
Subaru Outback Fifth Generation (2015 - 2019)
An excellent choice for a "Camper Car" would be the Subaru Outback Fifth Generation.
The Outback makes a perfect choice mainly due to its all-wheel-drive, accessible fold-down rear seats, and stock roof rack.
Sleeping in your car can be an excellent alternative to sleeping in a tent!
In both cases, you may be a bit cramped, but in the car:
- you are high up off the cold lumpy ground
- you save space on having to pack your tent
- you save the time and hassle of setting it up and tearing down the tent
- you are protected from the wind and rain
- you are protected from wildlife
Subaru has been making all-wheel drive cars since 1972 and is widely considered tops in the field.
You may have to go off the beaten track to get to the good spots, and here the AWD Subaru won't let you down.
Backcountry and camping roads can be poorly maintained and often out in the middle of nowhere.
Getting stuck could mean hours or maybe days waiting for help.
The AWD will give you the peace of mind to enjoy yourself on your wilderness adventures.
The 2nd-row seats lay flat in seconds, giving you more than 7 ft of space to lay down, and the optional sunroof allows you to gaze up at the stars.
Seating adjustments on the Subaru
Finally, the nifty roof rack lets you secure supplies that won't fit in the car safely.
Roof rack operation on the Subaru
The Honda Fit, also sold as the Honda Jazz, is a small 4-door hatchback.
Since 2001, the Fit has been sold by Honda and is now in its 4th generation.
Known for its monospace design and configurable interior - the Fit interior space rivals that of larger cars while delivering better gas mileage and a lower price point.
The second-generation Fit was introduced to North America in 2008 for the 2009 model year.
It came with a 1.5 L 4 cylinder 117 hp i-VTEC engine paired with a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission.
The second-generation Fit (2008-2015) was critically acclaimed and numerous awards, including:
- Car and Driver's Best Small Car in its 2007-13 10 Best Lists
- MotorWeek Drivers' Choice Awards 2009—Best Small Car
- 2010, 2011, 2012 Best Overall Value by Consumer Reports
The third generation retains many of the design cues of the second generation fit, along with an updated drivetrain.
Honda Fit Magic Seat Operation
What makes the Honda Fit A Viable Option To Sleep In?
The Fit's Interior Packaging concept makes the Fit an option worth researching for sleeping in, considering its small size.
Marketed as the Magic Seat in North America, it came with five seating modes:
- Normal: seating for 5 in normal position
- Utility: Either section or both of the rear seats fold down on themselves, creating a flat load surface
- Long: Front and rear passenger seats fold down, creating a flat surface 7.9 feet long
- Tall: Either section or both of the rear seat's bottom cushions, fold up, allowing for 4.2 ft in height
- Refresh: The front seat can be folded back. It forms a lounge-style sitting area
The seating mode leaves room for even a tall person to stretch out, and the other options, particularly the refresh position, make the Fit a candidate for a car to spend time in comfortably when you're not sleeping.
One drawback is that the seats don't lay completely flush, so be sure to test out the system for yourself before you complete a purchase.
Toyota Camry XV50 (2012-2017)
If you don't want the potential mechanical problems of an AWD system in the Subaru Legacy sedan, a Toyota Camry might be a viable option.
In North America, the 2012 - 2017 Camry was available with a 178 hp 2.5 L inline 4 and a 202 hp inline 4 hybrid or a 3.5 L 268 hp V6.
Only automatic transmissions were made available, but the 4-cylinder Camry can get upwards of 40 mpg on the highway due to its excellent drag coefficient.
If you are looking for a car to live or sleep in, we recommend going a different route than a sedan.
Sedans lack the cargo space of a hatchback or an SUV and will leave you feeling extremely cramped.
It's challenging to find a sedan to sleep in, but the Camry's rear folding seat makes it possible if you are 5'8 or under.
Toyota Camry Rear Seat Operation
Ford Flex (2010 - 2019)
The Ford Flex's styling harkens back to a previous era, and the considerable interior capacity and the fold-down seats make it an ideal vehicle to sleep in.
Available with two engines pared with a 6-speed automatic transmission:
3.5 L V6 262 hp
(available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive)
3.5 L Twin Turbocharged Ecoboost V6 (355 -365 hp) (all-wheel drive only)
2019 Ford Flex seating operation
The Ford Flex is a full-size crossover SUV manufactured from 2009 to 2019, when it was discontinued. In 2010 Ford Flex AWD was ranked as the most reliable large SUV by Consumer Reports.