Mudfest 2022 alternative winners
Mudfest 2022 winners have been officially announced. The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is the Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year. Other vehicles claimed size, price and electrification categories.
But as a member of the Northwest Automotive Press Association that organized the annual competition, I want to say that all of the entrees excelled in ways that deserve recognition, Without slighting any of the 20 crossovers, SUVs and trucks that were tested, here are my alternative category choices:
Most Outrageous: Hands down the 2022 Rolls-Royce Cullivan was the most outrageous SUV submitted for competition this or any other Mudfest year. For starters, it is priced at $428,850. And it comes with a twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V12 engine rated at 563 horsepower and 627 foot-pounds of torque. Rolls-Royce must've known that we couldn't have possibly recommended that anyone buy it. But we all enjoyed it's off-road abilities and incredibly plush interior.
Most Improved: The completely redesigned 2022 Nissan Frontier should have all other midsize truck manufactures worried. The Pro-4X version we tested was very comfortable on the road for any truck, it easily handled the most difficult off-road course. The Frontier has always been a good value, but now it's at the front of the pack.
Most Refreshing: The 2022 Volvo V90 B6 Cross Country was an unexpected reminder of the benefits of sport wagons. I've gotten so used to driving SUVs that I'd forgotten that driving high-performance car-like vehicles with all-wheel-drive can be fun. The lower ground clearance hindered off-road course performance, but it was hard to beat for daily driving.
Most Underrated: The Lexus LX 600 is a large truck-based SUV that looks too high end to even be competing in Mudfest. But the all-new replacement for the previous Toyota Land Cruiser-based version is even more off-road capable. An adjustable variable suspension is only one of its serious features.
Most Welcome Back: This is a tie. The 2022 Acura MDX Type S is a return to serious performance SUVs for Honda's luxury brand. The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive make it a joy to drive. And the 2022 Wagoneer Series III 4x4 brings back but updates the original luxury SUV first created by Jeep with the original Grand Wagoneer. But I'm still arguing for wood grain siding.
Best Trend Setter: The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness was the best example of the emerging trend of manufacturers officering more off-road capable version of the crossover SUVs. It featured such serious upgrades as more ground clearance, skid plates, all-terrain tires, strengthen roof rails, 180 degree front view monitor, StarTex water resistant upholstery and more. Remarkably, at $34,168, it was also the least expensive SUV submitted to the competition.
NWAPA members spent April 19 and 20 evaluating the 2022 and 2023 vehicles on specially prepared courses at the Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Wash. The first day of testing consisted of on-pavement courses designed to allow evaluation of acceleration, braking, road manners, and handling. The second day was all about off-road performance, with challenges crafted to evaluate traction, clearance, articulation, and the latest in off-road technology.
The full list of official first and second place winners follows:
Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. Runner up: Runner up: 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige.
Subcompact and Compact Family: 2023 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Premium Plus. Runner up: 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness.
Mid- and Full-Size Family: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. Runner up: 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV.
Compact and Midsize Luxury: 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige (repeat winner). Runner up: 2022 Acura MDX Type S.
Full-Size Luxury: 2021 Genesis GV80 AWD 3.5T Prestige. Runner up: 2022 Wagoneer Series III 4x4.
Pickup Trucks: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited AWD (repeat winner). Runner up: 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X.
Extreme Capability: 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor. Runner up (tie): 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe and 2022 Wagoneer Series II 4x4.
Electrified Utility Vehicle: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. Runner up: 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV.
My original Mudfest 2022 winners story can be found found here.
NWAPA is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. Founded in 1991, it includes 45 voting members representing newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups, and the internet. Members of the organization have been testing SUVs and crossovers since the advent of the modern sport-utility vehicle in the mid-1990s. Non-voting NWAPA members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals. Learn more at www.nwapa.org.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.