2013 SUV of the Year
SUVs and crossovers vie for top honors in the Northwest Automotive Press Association's annual Mudfest.
With their rugged looks and utilitarian appeal, SUVs are among the most popular vehicles in America, but the demands put on these vehicles have changed over the years. No longer trucklike, ladder-framed behemoths capable of all kinds of off-road antics, today's SUVs are mostly the car-based crossovers that have replaced the minivan or station wagon as the typical family transportation.
But SUV buyers still expect their vehicles to be capable enough to slog through mud, traverse unpaved roads and even climb the occasional mountain. So every year, the Northwest Automotive Press Association gathers the latest examples of crossovers and SUVs to test them not only on the pavement, but to take them where many will never venture — off the road and into the mud — to see which SUV is the best. This is the event known as Mudfest.
Twenty-three vehicles from 13 manufacturers were tested at the 310-acre DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Wash. Each vehicle was tested for handling and braking on wet pavement, general drivability on public roads and off-road ability on a trail designed with plenty of ruts, gravel, deep puddles and mud. A more difficult route requiring greater ground clearance, locking differentials and steep approach angles was created for the vehicles specifically designed to handle the toughest terrain.
Here are all of the vehicles that participated in the event. Click to page two for the list of winners.
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I own a 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser, amazed it wasn't even put on the category. Its built like a beast and is pretty near unstoppable going where and when I want it to go. Living in Alaska I know the value of a rig that can do it all.
Oh, look. Three Jeeps. No surprise there.
Sarducci: Go to the Jeep Jamborees and you see plenty of very expensive vehicles playing in the mud.
Only in a Jeep.
What about the Nissan Xterra Pro-4X? It's one of the few off-road SUVs that still has a body on frame chassis (like a truck would have) suited for off- road use and has a short wheel base. Food for thought
i do masonry and work my trucks hard. id love to see someone work a tundra like i work my diesel. never, not once, have i seen a toyata towing a bobcat and hauling a load of mason sand. of course they last when all u do is drive to your cushy office job. only problem is it gets worse gas mileage than my 3/4 ton!!
The only time these car's go off-road is when they're put on the drive at the end of a journey