With college football and NFL® season on the horizon, soon fans will be flocking to stadiums around the country to not only cheer for their favorite team, but to pre-game party in the parking lot. With this national pastime upon us, the editors of Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com pooled their collective wisdom to choose from all of the new 2012 cars for sale with tailgating-friendly features such as: large, drainable in-vehicle coolers; a variety of in-car connectivity features; in-vehicle refrigerators; power liftgates; off-roading capabilities; flexible seating arrangements; and of course, an array of impressive sound systems. In addition, many of the cars on this year's list offer fold-down tailgates.
"Pick up some friends, stop by the store, park near a stadium and you've got yourself a tailgate party. But just as the right food and drink can elevate the experience, so too can the right car," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com. "In choosing this year's Best Tailgating Cars, the KBB.com editors vetted our favorite vehicle features for parking-lot party fun and came up with a list of 10 vehicles that are sure to delight pigskin fans across America."
Below is a lineup of sample selections from KBB.com's 10 Best Tailgating Cars of 2012:
2012 RAM 1500
Our top tailgater for this season is the 2012 RAM 1500 pickup. This ultimate party animal complements a gear-friendly full-size bed with an optional Cargo Box Management system that offers a pair of lockable, waterproof stow spaces for up to 240 cans of your favorite beverages. Adding even more pre-game appeal are removable underfloor bins, UConnect Wi-Fi system and a 506-watt Alpine premium audio package.
2012 Ford F-150
When seeking the ultimate tailgating vehicle why not choose one with the ultimate tailgate. Whether you use its bed for weenie and drink storage or as a mobile lounge, climbing aboard the Ford F-150's party section is easy thanks to an optional deployable step cleverly hidden within the tailgate. And the best-selling vehicle in the country is often the most popular truck in the parking lot, making the F-150 a terrific tailgating icebreaker.
2012 Toyota 4Runner
Meticulously engineered for the most demanding off-road situations, but also ready to party at a moment's notice, the Toyota 4Runner is the automotive equivalent of the tuxedo t-shirt. Judging by its available sliding rear cargo deck and "Party Mode" equalizer that focuses sound output to the liftgate speakers, we'd say that the 4Runner has won the fight for its right to party.
2013 Mazda CX-5
Stuffing your face outside a stadium in anticipation of watching athletes exercise is the staple pastime of diehard sports fans around the country. But stocking enough tailgating provisions to satisfy your friends and family can cost a bundle. Luckily, the Mazda CX-5 is the most fuel-efficient SUV available, leaving you with extra cash for that indispensable novelty foam hand.
2012 Kia Soul
Hamsters. Dancing Hamsters. The advertising message couldn't be clearer: the Kia soul is here to rock the party. Fine, but with all that attitude does the Soul have room to bring the bratwursts? We'd say 19 cubic feet of cargo room should cover it. The Kia Soul can also handle the entertainment via an optional 350-watt Infinity audio system featuring speaker surrounds that flash in sync with the music.
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the industry. Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website www.kbb.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In and Suggested Retail Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new cars this week. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies as well as governmental agencies. KBB.com provides consumer pricing and information on cars for sale, minivans, pickup trucks, sedan, hybrids, electric cars, and SUVs. Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity and was named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year by the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AutoTrader Group.