Mudfest 2017 Winners Announced

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NWAPA Announces 2017 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year

Shelton, Wash. – May 8, 2017 – The Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) named the 2017 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury as its 2017 Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year. The 2017 Land Rover Discovery impressed NWAPA members with its on-road and extreme off-road prowess, demonstrating the perfect combination of performance, features, capability and technology during NWAPA’s annual Mudfest competition. This is the event’s 23rd year.

Twenty-eight NWAPA automotive journalists spent two days driving 27 vehicles through a mix of on-road handing 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 explore the capabilities of the sport utility vehicles, crossovers and pickups.

Crossover and sport utility vehicles competed in five different categories: Compact, Premium Compact, Family, Premium, Pickups, and Extreme Capability. The attending journalists selected from among these category winners to determine an overall winner.

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

  • Best Compact: 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk
  • Best Premium Compact: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
  • Best Family: 2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring
  • Best Premium: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
  • Best Extreme Capability: 2017 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury
  • Best Pickup: 2017 Ford Raptor
  • Best Overall: 2017 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury

“With the U.S. experiencing a long period of low fuel prices, the SUV and crossover segments are booming,” says NWAPA President John Vincent of U.S. News & World Report. “Whether you’re a skier who’s looking for an SUV that can get you to the mountains in the worst of weather, or a family needing plenty of room for kids and all their gear, an all-wheel drive SUV is a great option.”

Journalists tested on-road capabilities on a coned-off autocross course that lead into The Ridge’s go-kart course. The layout was a perfect test of a vehicle’s acceleration, slalom, panic braking and rear-view camera capabilities. All of the vehicles were also tested on an off-road course with optional sections that demanded extreme capabilities. There was plenty of dirt, mud and ruts to test a vehicle’s four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive systems and technology features like front cameras and hill descent control.

An extreme off-road section subjected certain vehicles to more rigorous conditions designed to evaluate their off-road prowess and features including low-range four-wheel drive, superior axle articulation, and approach angles. Although only three vehicles were entered in the extreme capability class, the 2017 Ford Raptor, Jeep Compass Trailhawk, Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, Wrangler Trailstorm, Nissan Titan Pro-4X, Nissan Armada, Ram 2500 Power Wagon and Subaru Forester were also tested on the tougher course.


NWAPA ( is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes 53 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.