Mudfest 2016 Winners Announced

NWAPA Announces 2016 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year

Shelton, Wash. – April 18, 2016 – The Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) named the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition as its 2016 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year. The 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th tackled the on-road and extreme off-road courses beautifully, demonstrating the perfect combination of performance, features, capability and fuel economy during NWAPA’s annual Mudfest competition. This is the event’s 22nd year.

Twenty-six NWAPA automotive journalists spent two days putting 28 vehicles through a mix of on-road handling and off-road courses. Testing took place at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Wash. A custom off-road course was built at The Ridge to push the limits of the sport utility vehicles, crossovers and pickups.

Vehicles competed in six different categories: compact, premium compact, family, premium, extreme capability, and pickups. The attending journalists selected from among these category winners to determine an overall winner.

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

  • Best Compact: 2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring
  • Best Premium Compact: 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD
  • Best Family: 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition
  • Best Premium: 2016 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Drive-E
  • Best Extreme Capability: 2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Anniversary Edition
  • Best Pickup: 2016 Ram Rebel
  • Best Overall: 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition

Journalists tested on-road capabilities on a tight course used for go-karting at The Ridge. The layout was a perfect test of a vehicle’s acceleration, slalom, panic braking and backup camera capabilities. The off- road course included challenging sections for evaluating the performance of vehicles with extreme off- road capabilities. There was plenty of dirt, mud and ruts to test each vehicle’s four-wheel or all-wheel drive system and technology features such as front cameras and hill descent assist.

The extreme off-road section subjected vehicles to the more rigorous conditions encountered during serious off-roading, which requires low-range four-wheel drive and superior axle articulation, approach angles and departure angles. Although only three vehicles were officially entered in the extreme capability class, the Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th, Ram Rebel, Toyota Tacoma TRD, Lexus LX570 and Chevrolet Colorado Z71 were also qualified for the tougher course.


The Northwest Automotive Press Association 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, television and radio stations, media groups and the Internet. Non-voting members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals.