Northwest Auto Writers Pick Vehicles of the Year During Mudfest 2015

Updated Apr 27, 2015

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NWAPA Announces 2015 Northwest “Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year”; Jeep, Ram Truck, Acura and Land Rover claim top spots  

(Photos: NWAPA/Josh Mackey)

Tahuya, Wash. – Apr. 27, 2015 – The Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) named the 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk as its 2015 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year.

The Compact Utility Vehicle award went to the agile 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk.The Compact Utility Vehicle award went to the agile 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk.

The 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk combined the perfect blend of performance, features, off-road capabilities, fuel economy and value after two days of rigorous testing during NWAPA’s annual Mudfest competition. This is the event’s 21st year.

2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk wheeling the extreme off-road test section during Mudfest 2015.2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk wheeling the extreme off-road test section during Mudfest 2015.

Twenty-four NWAPA automotive journalists spent two days putting 27 vehicles through a mix of paved and off-road tracks.

On-road testing took place at Sanderson Field in Shelton. Off-road testing was done at the Tahuya Offroad Area near Tahuya, Wash.

Crossover and sport utility vehicles competed in five different categories: compact, premium compact, family, premium mid-size and full-size, and extreme capability.

For the first time in Mudfest history, a pickup category was also included. The attending journalists selected from among these category winners to determine an overall winner.

It was a grueling competition with excellent vehicles from all manufacturers in each category, but the vehicles below were a cut above the rest:

Land Rover’s Discovery Sport made the extreme section look easy and garnered the Premium Compact Utility Vehicle honors.Land Rover’s Discovery Sport made the extreme section look easy and garnered the Premium Compact Utility Vehicle honors.
  • Best Compact: 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4Ă—4
  • Best Premium Compact: Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE
  • Best Family: 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4Ă—4
  • Best Premium: 2015 Acura MDX AWD
  • Best Extreme Capability: 2015 RAM 2500 Power Wagon Crew Cab 4Ă—4
  • Best Pickup: 2015 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4Ă—4 EcoDiesel
  • Best Overall: 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4Ă—4

Journalists tested on-road capabilities on a decommissioned runway at Sanderson Field with a customized track layout that tested each vehicle’s acceleration, slalom, panic braking and backup camera capabilities.

2015 Acura MDX was top vote getter in the NWAPA Premium Utility Vehicle class.2015 Acura MDX was top vote getter in the NWAPA Premium Utility Vehicle class.

The following day, two off-road courses were used: a moderate course designed for typical outdoor activities with plenty of dirt, mud, deep puddles and ruts.

Highly-capable all-wheel-drives and 4x4s were put to the test on the extreme off-road course, subjecting them to the more rigorous conditions designed for leisure off-roading that benefits from locking differentials as well as superior axle articulation and approach angles.

Although only two vehicles were officially entered in the extreme capability class, the 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4Ă—4, 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4Ă—4, and 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE were also qualified for the tougher course.

Ram Truck’s 1500 EcoDiesel Crew Cab 4×4 won the pickup category.Ram Truck’s 1500 EcoDiesel Crew Cab 4×4 won the pickup category.

About NWAPA

NWAPA (www.nwapa.org) is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes 45 voting members representing more than 100 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups and the Internet.

Non-voting members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals.