The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been named the 2013 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year by the Northwest Automotive Press Association.
The professional automotive writers chose the new Grand Cherokee at the end of Mudfest 2013, the organization's annual evaluation of sport utility vehicles submitted by manufactures for testing. It was selected from 23 vehicles on the basis of performance, features and value after rigorous testing. Thirteen manufacturers submitted vehicles to this year's event, the 19th staged by the organization.
Winners in other categories were also chosen.
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T was chosen Best Compact.
The 2013 Acura RDX AWD Tech was chosen Best Luxury Compact.
The 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Premium CVT was chosen Best Family.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland was also chosen Best Luxury.
And the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 10th Anniversary 4x4 was chosen Best Off-road.
More than 30 NWAPA members attended Mudfest 2013 at the 310-acre DirtFish Rally School site in Snoqualmie, Wash. They spent two days in mid-April driving on courses designed to simulate both normal and extreme driving situations the vehicles might encounter. The paved road loop around the former lumber mill was used for normal driving. A skidpad set up inside the school measured acceleration, handling and braking.
Two off-load courses were also set up at the school. A moderate one was designed with plenty of mud, ruts, gravel and dirt. Vehicles in the off-road class were subjected to a more difficult course simulating leisure off-road driving that takes advantage of locking differentials, great axle articulation and approach angles.