A blue 2021 Acura RDX is shown driving down a city street.

The 6 Best Cars to Keep You Cool This Summer

If you live somewhere with extremely high temperatures in the summer, then you know that your car can either be your oasis or your personal hell. There’s nothing quite like the pain of trying to sit in the driver’s seat, only to jump up when you realize the upholstery is piping hot. Many desert drivers have to sit on a towel just to avoid this moment. Then there’s the struggle of trying to grab the steering wheel when it’s been blistering in the sun. Nobody can safely navigate a car like that. And when the air conditioning takes too long to get going, you just have to stand outside the car and wait, wasting pressure battery life and your time.

It’s too bad that our cars can’t come inside with us and relax in the air-conditioned living room. But, there are some that have special cooling features that make all the difference in the summer. So while you’re checking out online car sales, make sure to check out these cars that are great for hot summers. These vehicles were designed with extreme temperatures in mind and are ready to keep you cool even when the ground is practically melting. From powerful air conditioning systems to remote climate control, these are cars you won’t dread stepping into in the hot summer.

#1: The 2021 Acura RDX

This premium sport crossover will keep the driver and passengers happy in hot weather, thanks to several important features. First off, it has dual climate control. This allows the driver and front seat passenger to choose their own individual temperature settings and adjust the direction of airflow.

However, here’s where the 2021 Acura RDX really stands out. When you spring for the Technology Package, the vehicle’s GPS receiver communicates with satellites, determines the position of the sun relative to your vehicle, and adjusts the climate control to ensure the sunniest portion of the car is extra cool. That’s a feature that will have friends envious.

The car’s cooling features don’t stop there, though. It also has a humidity monitor, which detects high humidity in the cabin, adjusting the temperature and fan speeds as needed to keep windows from fogging up. Plus, it has ventilated front seats for a nice breeze on the driver’s and front passenger’s backs. This car does everything short of handing you a tall, icy glass of lemonade. It’s also worth noting that these advanced features come in at a fair price point.

#2: 2020 Mercedes-Benz E Class

The Mercedes-Benz E Class is an excellent vehicle for those who want to protect not only themselves but also the interior of their vehicle from the relentless sun. The car boasts the Mercedes User Experience system. You can give it all sorts of voice commands, including saying, “I’m too hot,” and the car will automatically turn on the AC to cool you down. You can also ask it to find you the closest iced tea or smoothie shop when you want a cool treat.

What makes this a really great car for the hot summer is the optional Sun Protection Package. This not only keeps the interior of your car cool but also provides privacy. This package has special blinds and shades that make it so others can’t see inside the car, but passengers and the driver can still see out. It has an electric roller sunblind for the rear window, a manual roller sunblind in the left and right rear windows, and swiveling/extending sunblinds for the driver and front passenger.
This car also has optional ventilated front seats, which can really help reduce sweating on hot days when the sun is hitting the driver and front seat passenger through the windshield.

A dark green 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line is shown parked near a cabin in the woods.

#3: 2021 Kia Sorento

If you’re going for a large SUV that can carry a lot of passengers, then it’s important that all of those passengers are comfortable. A couple of passengers who are too hot is one thing, but seven or eight passengers is another level of misery, and a cramped car gets hot quickly. Luckily, the affordable 2019 Kia Sorento boasts dual climate control, so you can set the cabin to a comfortable temperature before getting inside. This means no waiting around while the car cools down. It will already be at the ideal temperature once you get in, so you can hit the road.

#4: 2020 Lexus RX

This luxury vehicle is as literally cool inside as it is stylistically cool on the outside. It features dual-zone climate control, so the driver and front seat passenger can select their own respective desired temperatures and avoid arguing over agreeing on one set temperature. They can also each select their fan speed, of which there are many levels. What’s more, this car has air-conditioned seats, the buttons for which are easy to locate just above the gear shift. When activated, this feature sends cooling air right through the seats, in addition to the air blowing on the front of the passengers through the AC.

#5: 2015 Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius models built between 2010 and 2015 came with a special solar-powered ventilation system, which is great for keeping your parked car cool in hot weather, so you don’t return to a sauna. When you can’t find a parking spot in the shade, this is a great feature to use. It works by blowing outside air inside of the car while it is parked. You simply press the solar ventilation button on the instrument panel while you’re still running the vehicle. Then, about ten minutes after shutting the car off, the system will begin circulating air. It will remain on until you return to your car and press the solar panel button again.

One of the smartest things about this feature is that it detects the temperature outside and will not activate if it is cool out. This helps conserve energy––something Prius owners tend to appreciate.

#6: 2020 Honda Odyssey

It’s not easy to keep a whole minivan, with three rows of seating, cool, but Honda managed to find a way to do it with their Odyssey. This car has tri-zone climate control, meaning the driver, front seat passenger, and rear seat passengers can all control their own climate. When you set the climate to auto mode, it will consistently work to maintain your desired temperature inside of the car. Selecting the sync button will set the temperature in all three zones to the same setting. If you don’t want rear seat passengers to adjust their temperature, you can hit the lock button in the climate controls, so they’re unable to do so. Simply hit it again to unlock their controls.

You can also choose to use only the fan but not the AC when you want to conserve energy. Plus, there are several strength settings for the vents. And there’s a useful recirculation button that prevents warm air from the outside from circulating inside.

Honorable Mentions

A blue 2022 Subaru Crosstrek Limited is shown driving past a river with kayaks on the roof.

2022 Nissan LEAF and 2022 Subaru Crosstrek

We have a couple of honorable mentions that may not have as much cooling tech as the other models on this list but are still excellent options to consider. Each of these vehicles features automatic climate control that functions much like the thermostat in your home. You set it to your desired temperature, and the system detects temperature changes in the cabin, adjusting to ensure it maintains your selected temperature.