For a huge population of sports enthusiasts, tailgating season (known to the rest of the world as “autumn”) is the most wonderful time of the year.
There are numerous givens when we speak of tailgate celebrations. Frosty adult beverages will be plentiful and will possibly be consumed in new and creative ways. Whether the food is catered or homemade from treasured family recipes, it’s going to be the opposite of healthy. It, too, will be plentiful. All men, women, children, dogs and accessory pets are required to wear team colors. Trash-talking about the opposing team of the day shall occur with regularity.
Another given is automobiles: You can’t very well host a tailgate party without a tailgate, not to mention the vehicle attached to said tailgate. Monstrous recreational vehicles with more amenities than some permanent homes dominate game-day parking lots, but not everyone can afford the $100,000 or more to buy a private-party lot yacht.
The editors from Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com compiled a list of the Top 10 Tailgating Cars with an eye toward the best attributes including passenger space, cargo space, sound systems, and other special features. “While almost any car will do for such a party, we've selected a few that go the extra yard to ensure a rockin' good time,” say the editors. Let the countdown commence.
By Colleen KanePosted August 30, 2011
MSRP: starting just under $29,000
This vehicle’s home advantage: The Explorer will transport you and six other celebratory fans to the game, with room to spare for party cargo.
Kelley Blue Book says: “The 50/50 split-folding third row, 60/40 second row, and fully adjustable front passenger seat can accommodate any combination of sandwich and human cargo for your next tailgate extravaganza.”
MSRP: not available
This vehicle’s home advantage: It’s got real-time traffic data for navigating game-day gridlock, and passengers in the back will appreciate the reclining seats for the sleepy ride home.
Kelley Blue Book says: “If your tailgating parties are more likely to involve wine and cheese than beer and bratwursts, the smooth-riding 2012 Lexus RX 350 is a fitting conveyance.”
MSRP: from $21,750
This vehicle’s home advantage: The Mini Countryman has a capacity for four tailgaters and minimal party supplies, or two tailgaters plus more supplies. It will be a mini among maxis in the lot, but that could come in handy when parking and dodging post-game traffic.
Kelley Blue Book says: “The 2012 Mini Countryman’s diminutive but cargo-friendly dimensions make it the fighter-jet of tailgating vehicles.”
MSRP: from just under $30,000
This vehicle’s home advantage: The Ridgeline should win the award for the best actual tailgate, since the tailgate flips down to create seating.
Kelley Blue Book says: “The Ridgeline's lockable, drainable in-bed trunk serves double duty as miscellaneous storage or a huge cooler.”
This vehicle’s home advantage: The Soul’s practically a disco on wheels, with a sound system that can be set to pulse speaker lights along to the beat.
Kelley Blue Book says: “You’ll certainly be the life — and soul — of the pre-game festivities.”
This vehicle’s home advantage: None of the Range Rover’s off-roading capabilities will be needed for a tailgate party — hopefully. It just looks cool.
Kelley Blue Book says: “The fancy badge and distinct look will foster conversation and camaraderie amongst fellow tailgaters — especially if you go with the two-tone treatment in your team’s colors.”
MSRP: starts around $28,500
This vehicle’s home advantage: If anyone in your party lacks tickets to the game and has to hold down the fort at the tailgate, the Odyssey has an optional 12-speaker premium audio system with 5.1 surround sound theatre mode. Of course, this would also be of interest to those tailgating in concert parking lots.
Kelley Blue Book says: “The new Honda Odyssey carries you and six of your best buds to the concert in V6 style.”
MSRP: around $31,000
This vehicle’s home advantage: The Grand Cherokee has a fold-flat second row of seating and a wide-mouthed rear hatch to make room for grills, cooler and chairs.
Kelley Blue Book says: “The option of turning your Jeep Grand Cherokee into a 10-speaker, 506-watt Alpine concert hall will also appeal, whether you are a Wildcat, Warrior or Lion.”
MSRP: from $24,500
This vehicle’s home advantage: An optional rear entertainment system with two screens provides the means to watch those important winning plays over and over again to psych up for the game.
Kelley Blue Book says: “The Terrain has an incredibly spacious second row with eight inches of fore and aft movement, so even the tallest fans can find room for their knees.”
MSRP: from $20,810
This vehicle’s home advantage: With bedside bins capable of holding up to 240 cans of your favorite frosty beverage, this truck was built to party. In case any beverages are left over, the bins even lock, which will protect from looters when you head in to the game. For the extra-thirsty consumer, additional floor bins can be installed in the Ram’s interior.
Kelley Blue Book says: “Combined with a big bed for chairs, grills, canopies and everything else that goes into a deluxe pre-game party, the Ram 1500 is our top tailgater for 2011.”