2014 Northwest SUV of the Year
Northwest Automotive Press Association names the outdoor activity vehicle of the year at annual Mudfest event.
2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4
Sport utility vehicles, and increasingly car-based crossover versions, are the vehicle of choice for many families today, replacing minivans and traditional station wagons. While the first SUVs were truck-based utility vehicles that drove like trucks and could essentially go anywhere, today this class has evolved to include a wide variety of vehicles.
The popular SUV category continues to grow each year, primarily with new car-based crossovers, but also with modern updates of the models that started the segment. Along with new entries comes a wide range of capability, and each year the Northwest Automotive Press Association gathers to evaluate the newest models in the segment with two full days of testing, known as Mudfest. This year unseasonably warm temperatures resulted in more dust than mud, but a water truck was available to create the slop needed for proper testing.
As SUVs have evolved, they've become better everyday vehicles, with many examples offering a smooth ride, good fuel economy and the latest technology. But simply because they are more refined does not mean that many of them are not as equally adept off road as their older, more rugged predecessors.
SUV testing was conducted at the DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Washington. Twenty-three vehicles from 19 manufacturers were tested on a paved handling course, on public roads and on a trail that included ruts, gravel, water and mud designed to evaluate off-road capabilities. Vehicles from five categories were tested, including a category for extreme capability vehicles, which were run through a more difficult off-road course that featured steep approach and departure angles, deep water and varied terrain to test ground clearance, locking differentials and off-road technology.
This year, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk was the overall winner, named by NWAPA as the 2014 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year. The Jeep Cherokee is a new model for 2014 and offers the latest advances in on-road handling and improved fuel economy while retaining legendary Jeep off-road capability.
Here is the complete list of all vehicles that were tested. Click to page two for the list of class winners.
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never mentioned here concerning any vehicles off road ability...
TIRES , TIRES , TIRES !
you'll get the Jeep stuck in under a minute with the wrong tires on it ....and I'll guarantee you the driver will blame ...the truck !
But with the right tires...( been there, done that ) you may not even need to turn on the 4x4 !
I have been driving 4X4 vehicles ever since I was in the Army (mid 1960s). While a 4X4 vehicle's height, gearing and tires are important in getting through the real tough muck, the most important thing above all is the driver's skill and common sense. Too many people think that because they have a 4X4 or AWD drive vehicle they are invincible. Seen it all too often.