New SUVs and trucks dominate Northwest Activity Vehicle of the Year competition
Journalists from all points of the Pacific Northwest named the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon as the Northwest Activity Vehicle of the Year after a two-day competition that involved on-road and off-road handling and capability tests.
In all, 26 vehicles competed for awards in five categories. The annual competition known as Mudfest is held every May by the Northwest Automotive Press Association.
The Wrangler won top honors in both the Compact and Midsize SUV category, and in the Extreme Performance category, which required the vehicles to navigate a challenging off-road obstacle course. The new 2018 Wrangler was the subject of a major redesign by Jeep, and excelled not only in the off-road portion of the testing, but also in the on-road handling, braking, and maneuverability challenges.
"The 2018 Jeep Wrangler has evolved from a uniquely capable off-road machine into a thoroughly modern SUV with safety, technology, and on-road ride comfort that makes it an excellent choice for both workdays and weekends," said NWAPA President John Vincent. "The Wrangler became a better off-road vehicle even as it gained on-road refinement."
In the Subcompact SUV category, the all-new 2018 Hyundai Kona took first place, earning rave reviews for its excellent use of engine power, on-road comfort and performance, and more than adequate off-road capability. Among family-oriented SUVs, the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas received leading marks. Luxury SUV honors went to the BMW X2 subcompact.
The final award went to the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel for best pickup truck. This all-new truck impressed reporters with its off-road capability, unexpectedly quiet cabin, technology package, and engine power.
All automakers are invited to enter their vehicles in the annual competition. Participating journalists are required to drive every entered vehicle on both on-road and off-road portions of the event before voting for the winners.