Long summer nights and bright early mornings mean our favorite season is here: driving season.

We buy the practical car – the crossover or midsize sedan – for its capability in satisfying 95 percent of everything we want in a car.

Now it’s time to have fun, and scratch that itch on twisty two-laners that run far away from construction season and stretch deep into the twilight.

No machine embraces the sun quite like the convertible, but our favorite summer cars also include road warriors that can drive through the night in refined repose, double-duty vehicles that can hit the road as capably as the trail, and sports cars that are as cool as July is hot.

JEEP RENEGADE: It’s cute, it’s fun and the My Sky-equipped models have removable roof panels over the front and back seats so all four passengers can soak up the sun. To stray from the beaten path, the Trailhawk version is off-road capable and oh-so likable. The Wrangler is still the quintessential summer car, but we’ll wait for the 2017 redesign before we start melting over it.

SUBARU OUTBACK: The classic American summer road trip family vehicle is the wagon. The Outback prefers black cladding to wood panelling and for good reason – it enables the AWD best-seller to hit the trail and ford the creek.

TOYOTA TACOMA: Midsize trucks are making big strides in the best-selling pickup truck segment, and despite the return of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, we prefer the Tacoma for its versatility, practicality, and off-road capability. And the bed is great for camping or a night at the drive-in.

KIA SOUL: There is something inherently fun about the Soul, whether it’s the boxy design that makes for great headroom and a bouncier ride quality, or the quirky interior styling with alternating illuminated dials and an available sound system that could be the soul of any beachside party. The top-of-the-line Exclaim trim is worth the rental upcharge, if available.

VW GOLF GTI: There isn’t another hatch on the market that is more fun to drive for less than $25,000. Redesigned for 2015, the Golf doesn’t look much different but, is improved where it matters most. The sportier GTI hatch has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed manual transmission that is as exciting as tearing out of school into the first day of summer.

VW BEETLE DUNE: This spunky punchbug with wide hips and round shoulders demands to be promenaded down the sandy runways of the beach. Styled after the dune buggies of the ’60s with flared fenders, a big spoiler and black cladding, Dune is much more Beetle than Buggy, so it’s best suited for concrete. It’s still a bucket of fun.

BMW M2: If you were to distill summer into one word, it might be sun. The only word for the M2 is fun. It is a pure driving experience without all the techno-gadgetry proliferating elsewhere, especially in other BMWs. If you want to go topless, check out the larger M4 convertible coupe.

CHRYSLER PACIFICA: Chrysler has redesigned – and redefined – the minivan with the Pacifica. You can go to town, country or wherever the road may lead with the roomiest vehicle this side of recreational. Buttons open sliding doors for easy exit, buttons fold down seats into the floor, and nearly a dozen charging options from USB ports to a 120-volt outlet keep seven passengers connected in comfort. You can sleep in it, play in it then get to it, wherever it may be.

VOLVO: Volvo’s revival under Chinese ownership is led by this luxurious three-row SUV. You don’t need the top-of-the line plug-in hybrid version to appreciate some of the self-driving and advanced safety features that will be common in more cars in the future. The ride quality is quiet and smooth, and the seating versatile enough to handle overnight road trips in style and comfort.

BUICK CASCADA: It can be dismissed as a rebadged Opel, the center stack is as congested as a big-city interstate, and it moves about as fast as a summer festival line, but the compact Cascada looks great, has lovely interior touches and can fit four better than any other drop top on the list.

CHEVY CAMARO convertible: The Camaro’s high belt line and low roofline have always made for a cramped (or snug) feel, depending on if you were raised in a Ford or GM family. But the convertible removes any coffinlike lid for sky-high visibility and a sense that you feel as cool as you look, and the top can retract while driving at speeds up to 30 mph.

PORSCHE 718 BOXSTER: We haven’t driven it yet – few have – but the new turbo flat four-cylinder engine comes with a peerless pedigree in Porsche handling and transmissions, so we wanted at least to put it on your radar. The cars are expected in dealerships this summer.

MINI COOPER S convertible: It’s cute, it’s compact, it’s quirky. And it’s a convertible with BMW blood. It doesn’t have the best ride quality and is not much different than previous iterations. But the push-of-a-button half-roof option and its distinctive styling makes this worth at least a weekend getaway.

MAZDA MX-5 MIATA: Redesigned for 2016, the world’s best-selling two-seat roadster is tighter, leaner, and sportier in every way. While we wait for the MX-5 RF fastback retractable hardtop, we’ll eagerly recommend a spin in a car that has been plastering sun-stroked smiles on faces for 25 years.

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