Top 12 Tailgating Vehicles

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The NFL season is winding to a close, and the final two teams are gearing up for the biggest game of the season. For a few lucky fans, tailgate season is still in full swing. For the rest of us, it’s on to planning for future football weekends. Either way, food, drinks, foam fingers, and other game-day goodies are probably at the top of your mind. But before any of that, you need transportation to the next big tailgate. The following 12 vehicles—in no particular order—all offer something that makes them an ideal choice for your next tailgating adventure.

Ford F-150

It’s no surprise that the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for more than three decades has graced our list once again. The Ford F-150, and the F-Series lineup as a whole, offers plenty of cargo room to haul all tailgating necessities such as coolers and grills. And once the bed is unpacked and burgers and hot dogs are grilling away, all you need to do is throw a blanket or some cushions in the back and there’s plenty of seating to relax before the game starts. Ford offers a deployable step hidden in the tailgate that makes getting into the bed easier. But if you’re one of those tailgaters who has NFL Sunday Ticket, the F-350 offers a 110-volt/150-watt power inverter to hook up computers or flat screens to watch the action live.

Ram 1500

Trucks are always going to be a go-to for any tailgater. The 2016 Ram 1500 offers plenty of space with its full-sized truck bed, and with a waterproof gear storage system and available Uconnect Wi-Fi that costs $10 for single-day access, it’s clear why it made it on our list. The Ram 1500, when equipped with the RamBox package, adds lockable compartments, tie-down cleats, and a bed divider to make it easy to load up for the big game. While the Ford F-150 has a hidden tailgate step, the Ram features an air suspension system that lets you lower the frame, making it easier to get your gear in and out of the bed. The waterproof storage is drainable as well, which makes us think these were always meant to be used as coolers. And depending on which model you have, the 5-foot-7 bed can hold 240 cans of your favorite beverage and the 6-foot-4 bed can hold 280 cans.

Honda Ridgeline

The last truck on our list may feature a smaller bed than the previous two models, but what it lacks in cargo space, it makes up for with a dual-action tailgate. You can open the tailgate either from the side or swing it down like a traditional tailgate, which can make it easier to unload your party necessities. In the bed itself, the Ridgeline offers a cargo area much like the Ram 1500’s, but on a smaller scale. With 8.5 cubic feet of usable space, the cargo hold features a drain, letting you load it up with ice, drinks, food, or whatever else you’ll need for the big game. If you opt for the crew cab model, it offers back seat cushions that fold up to give you more cargo space if you don’t have too many passengers.

Honda Odyssey

Minivans are the next best thing to large trucks when it comes to tailgating. The Honda Odyssey adds a little something extra, making it perfect for when the tailgate parties get a little rowdy. Not only can it easily accommodate all your gear and passengers, but it also has the HondaVac, a small, in-car vacuum to help clean up the mess that’s no doubt going to happen when your team scores and the food goes flying. Added to that, the Odyssey features a small fridge-like compartment that can keep drinks cool, eliminating the need for a full-size cooler. Throw in the 38.4 cubic feet of space behind the third row, and your grill, food, and foam fingers will all fit comfortably.

Dodge Grand Caravan

A newcomer to our list this year is the Dodge Grand Caravan. With available Wi-Fi, a third-row seat that flips into a lot-facing couch, and Blu-ray/DVD system, the Grand Caravan can lure many fans off their couches to the big game. Not only does it offer plenty of options for some pregame entertainment, but Dodge’s minivan also has an available mobile hotspot with a 150-foot radius, letting you and your fellow fans connect to follow the game on laptops, tablets, or their smartphones. With USB and auxiliary ports, it’s easy to stay charged and connected to the action.

Toyota 4Runner

We couldn’t leave out the Toyota 4Runner—it has a feature that’s clearly been designed just for tailgating events. With Party Mode, the stereo’s bass is increased and redistributed to the rear of the car, which features two speakers in the tailgate itself. But the 4Runner has more to offer than Party Mode. Power outlets in the interior enable the use of TVs or other devices to stream the game. And with nearly 90 cubic feet of rear cargo room, it’s easy to load up all necessities including a small grill, cooler, and some chairs. The 4Runner also features a slide-out party tray that can hold up to 440 pounds, making it easier to unload or use as a three-sided table to enjoy all the game-day eats.

Ford Flex

Crossover meets minivan in the form of the Ford Flex, offering up plenty of both cargo and passenger room and making it ideal for any tailgate occasion. Like a few vehicles also on this list, the Flex offers a small fridge-like compartment for drinks or smaller food items to cut down on the necessity for a full-sized cooler. With seating up to seven and 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, the Flex can handle most passenger and cargo needs. The second-row seats slide forward to allow access to the third row, and just like the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Ford Flex’s third row also flips backward to create a rear-facing seat. Fans can enjoy pregame entertainment courtesy of the DVD entertainment center and stay connected with Microsoft Sync to keep track of the score.

Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 may look rather compact from the outside, but it offers a surprisingly ample amount of room for both passengers and game-day gear. With the rear seats up, cargo space is 34 cubic feet, leaving room for a compact grill and cooler, with two folding chairs. If there are only two of you, fold those rear seats down to get nearly 65 cubic feet of space. With that kind of room, a larger grill, a bigger cooler, and better chairs, and even a table can comfortably fit back there. Bluetooth audio and Pandora can supply the pregame party with the perfect soundtrack, and with a combined mpg rating of roughly 30 mpg, the extra cash you save getting to the game and back can go toward that team jersey you’ve had your eye on.

Subaru Forester

Like the Mazda CX-5 and other crossovers, the Subaru Forester is an all-around tailgating vehicle. The balance between cargo space and seating is perfect for those who may not be as serious about a full-blown tailgating party, and only need to pack a small cooler, folding chairs, and a small grill. With the rear seats up, it matches the Mazda in terms of cargo space, but it offers a hidden storage space beneath the rear floor, which is perfect for foam fingers, blankets, and the little things that won’t fit in the back. An entertainment system keeps younger fans busy before the game starts, and with an available 110-volt power outlet, fans can hook up laptops and TVs to stream the game.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Crossovers, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo alike, speak for themselves when it comes to tailgating. The last of the three crossovers on our list is the Mitsubishi Outlander, which offers three rows of seating and just over 10 cubic feet of rear cargo room behind that last row of seats. Throw them down, and that space opens up to 34 cubic feet, putting it on par with the Mazda CX-5. With a versatile cabin, the Outlander can haul either more passengers or game-day gear, depending on what’s needed. The Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with a 10-inch, dual-voice coil subwoofer with Punch Control provides the perfect medium to deliver the tunes to get any fan pumped before kickoff.

Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Wagon

When you think of tailgating, you usually think of larger vehicles such as trucks, crossovers, and the occasional minivan, not a wagon. The Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Wagon has something to offer that only a few other vehicles on this list can boast. While its luxurious amenities include comfortable seating, DVD entertainment system, and a good sound system, the E350 also features a rear-facing row of seats. Throw up that tailgate, unpack the grill and all your game-day goodies, and it offers the perfect perch. It might not have the most cargo room, but partying in luxury is never out of style.

Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is no doubt the smallest vehicle on our list, but it makes it for a reason. The name says it all: It’s easy to make most things “fit” inside. Recently revamped, the Honda Fit offers 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, an app suite for the perfect pregame tunes, and a comfortable ride to and from the stadium. But perhaps its most attractive feature is its small stature. When traveling into a different team’s territory, it’s unassuming and doesn’t draw attention. When you need to make a quick exit after your team has demolished the home team, it can easily weave in and out of traffic.