The TFLcar Top Five “Cars as Hotels” (Besides the Tesla Model S)

We've crammed a full-size mattress in the back of a Model S, and it worked - sort of.
We’ve crammed a full-size mattress in the back of a Model S, and it worked – sort of.

Yesterday, the automotive news community was bristling with the story of an Arizona man who is renting out the cargo area of his Tesla Model S on Airbnb. For $85 per night, you and a guest can doze in the comfy cocoon of a heated- and air-conditioned EV, replete with, uh, carpet and windows.  Thing is, you can keep the Tesla’s accessories powered up all night without fear of draining its 12-volt battery. Even better, the vehicle’s owner, Steve, will grant you access to his kitchen, living room, TV and bathroom – just so long as you’ve checked out by 8am so he can get to work.


With a claimed 75-inch-long and 38- to 64-inch wide profile, the Tesla Model S’ cargo area certainly sounds hospitable enough for at least one bleary-eyed traveler or curious local.  Per the image at the beginning of this post, we’ve verified that a full-size mattress will fit in the back of a Model S, too.  Sort of.

The Tesla Model S can’t possibly be the only “unassuming” vehicle (read: not a pickup truck, large SUV or RV) suitable for use as temporary lodging.

What would be your top picks? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

In the meantime, here’s a list of our top five “cars as hotels:”

5) Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore

What GM’s new pair of mini-utes lack in cargo space (48.4 cubic feet), they gain with a standard fold-flat front passenger seat.  While the inevitable lumps and gaps between the folded rear seat backrest and front seat wouldn’t exactly be comfortable, it seems totally doable.  Plus, with an efficient 1.4-L turbocharged engine, a standard 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and available all-wheel-drive, it’d make a pretty darn good camping companion.

4) Jeep Renegade

Wait, wait – before you flame us for picking another “mini” SUV, remember – the 2015 Jeep Renegade has a large-for-its-class 50.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity and a low-slung load floor.  Its optional “My Sky” roof panels can be removed for an open-air feel and, if you opt for the Renegade Trailhawk, you can do some fairly intense off-roading.

3) BMW 328i xDrive GT

“Sleeping in your BMW” sounds like something that happens after an argument with your significant other.  Better than sleeping on the couch, right?  Way better, in fact, especially considering the 3’er GT’s whopping 56.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded – more than the 3-series sport wagon.

2) Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix

Even though the Vibe and Matrix are long gone, their go-anywhere, do-anything spirit remains.  Plastic seatbacks, a totally flat load floor, cargo tie-down hooks and a 110v power outlet compliment a relatively spacious 49.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity and a fold-flat front passenger seat.  Plus, both cars have an available all-wheel-drive system.  We never did a review on the Vibe or Matrix, but the twins were based on the Toyota Corolla, both physically and mechanically.

1) Dodge Charger/Challenger Hellcat

Why not?  If we had either of these cars, we’d probably want to sleep in it, too, at least for the first night.