Tailgating is a true American tradition to enjoy with family and friends, whether your pastime is baseball, football, basketball or any other sport for that matter. Firing up the grille and knocking back a few cold ones with buddies in the parking lot is at least as much fun as actually watching the game. And not all vehicles need to have a tailgate to truly be considered worthy of tailgating. We’ve come up with a list of 10 vehicles that all bring something unique to the table. All of them feature plenty of passenger and cargo space and innovative features that help make them our picks for the proverbial all-star team of tailgating.
Whether it's the family or a ton of buddies joining you for tailgating at the big game, Ford's newest Explorer comes with spacious 7 -passenger seating. The available SYNC with MyFord Touch navigation and infotainment system means you'll have easy access to your tunes on your favorite devices over the Sony premium audio system, and won't get lost on the way.
The largest of all MINIs, the Countryman comes with available All4 AWD for peace of mind. The Countryman's compact footprint and sharp steering for a vehicle with this much interior and cargo space make navigating daily city traffic, and packed-to-the-gills parking lots, that much easier. Match your home team's colors with an available contrasting-color roof for bonus points!
No other vehicle at this price point offers the size and high seating position of the Soul with the interior and cargo space to go along with it. Though you may be the butt of a few hamster jokes, you'll have plenty of room in the back for a small cooler and grille, and interior lighting that pulses to the beat of your favorite music.
Perhaps more than any other vehicle, the Ridgeline is built with tailgating in mind. Its rear tailgate swings either up-and-down or to the side, providing easier access to the exclusive water-tight locking trunk under the cargo bed, a secure space large enough for a 72-quart cooler. Front and rear 12-volt power outlets and a drainable bed complete the package.
The Acadia is one of the only vehicles in its class that can seat up to 8 passengers instead of the typical 7, also differentiating itself with extra ruggedness among crossovers: its 5,200-lb. towing capacity is plenty to haul a decent-sized trailer along for the ride. Both the second- and third-row seats fold easily for up to 115 cu.ft. of cargo space.
The FLEX is Ford's cooler take on the modern minivan, and is available with an integrated beverage cooler that can chill a few cans right in the second-row console. What could be cooler than that? While it offers the practicality of the leading Japanese minivans, the FLEX's slab-sided styling will appeal to the truck and SUV set.
The RAM 1500 dares to be different than higher-volume Ford and Chevy full-size trucks, winning legions of supporters with its aggressive styling and strong HEMI engine. Packers fans: the RAM 1500 is available with heated front and rear seats as well as a heated steering wheel. RAM's UConnect WiFi hotspot system means you can stream movies and highlights to your big-screen with the available AC outlet.
Traveling through four states for an away playoff game? You'll surely appreciate the CX-5's 35 highway mpg, tops among all crossovers and SUVs. It also comes with sharp cornering capability and is one of the only crossovers available with a manual transmission for those who like to row the gears themselves.
As American as baseball itself, the F-150 has been the U.S.'s best-selling vehicle for 3 straight decades with good reason. The SuperCrew's 60/40 split-folding rear seat has the versatility to carry up to 3 tall adults in comfort, or lots of cargo under lock and key, depending on the day's work or play needs.
The 2012 Pathfinder is one of the last true truck-based rugged SUVs left on the market; indeed it will be replaced for 2013 with a softer crossover model. Slogging through dirt and mud is a breeze in this 7-passenger midsize, based on the Titan truck. The flip-down rear-seat entertainment system even features an auxiliary input for the camcorder, to relive the day's top plays on the road home.