Football season is upon us, and that means one of America’s great Fall festivities is back: Tailgating! Aside from good food and good friends, a successful pre-game experience also depends on your vehicle. To that end, here are seven great choices — three SUVs, two trucks and two minivans — that can help make grilling out in parking lots with your fellow football fans more enjoyable than ever.
2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
The Pacifica plug-in hybrid is the only hybrid minivan available on the market. On the way to the game, you and your passengers will no doubt take notice of the Pacifica’s soft, quiet ride and well-powered V6 engine. Within, the Pacifica’s cabin feels upscale, benefiting from premium-looking materials, a huge sunroof and available two-tone leather. Furthermore, the Pacifica’s seats offer plenty of headroom and legroom, giving lots of room to recline and stretch. Even the third row is spacious enough for adults to be comfortable. But what makes the Pacifica Hybrid the ideal party vehicle is that you can technically leave it "on" without the engine running the whole time. This means you can continue to draw power without burning fuel (though the gas engine will cycle on and off to keep the battery charged). Touting an upscale vibe and lots of standard and optional convenience features, the 2019 Pacifica Hybrid has a base MSRP of $39,995. Yes, that price is for the hybrid. Compare that to a gas-only Pacifica, Odyssey or Sienna, and it’s very compelling well beyond the Falcons winning the Superbowl.
2019 Ford F-150
There’s little doubt the F-150 is the heavyweight champ when it comes to pickup trucks. A rugged workhorse for weekend warriors, this beast finds power from one of four engines, including two potent twin-turbocharged powerplants to help you get to your game day destination in a hurry. Aside from its plush, comfortable seats, the F-150 offers up lots of passenger room and cargo space for all your food, supplies and even your grill. And the deployable step hidden within the tailgate makes for quick loading and unloading. Other available goodies include a twin-panel moonroof, a 360-degree camera system and the Ford SYNC 3 infotainment system for outputting your favorite pre-game tunes. In addition, this quintessential pickup is ideal for towing a full-size camper if you want to start your fun the night before. The 2019 F-150 starts at $28,155.
2019 Honda Odyssey
There’s no denying that minivans provide an abundance of space and comfort when it comes to hauling people. And the Honda Odyssey is clearly at the top of that game. When it comes to driving, the Odyssey is responsive and corners well, so in-town driving is fun. If you’re going to be toting little ones to the pre-game fun, the Odyssey’s sliding second row is a thing of beauty. The seats travel up and back, as well as side to side, so getting kids in and out of the car is made much easier. Your full-size passengers will also love this cabin for its space and comfort. And the cargo area has more room than you’ll ever need, especially thanks to the deep bucket storage at the very back. After the football game, on your way home, Honda’s Cabin Watch will let you keep an eye on the kids. And there’s also Cabin Talk, an integrated P.A. system that will help save your voice (unless, of course, your voice is completely gone from all the cheering). We also like the fact that the third-row seats can flip backward, acting as a sort of comfy tailgate seat. The 2019 Honda Odyssey offers a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty and has a starting price of $30,090.
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
If your favorite hang out spot is hard to reach, have no fear. The Jeep Grand Cherokee will get you there. This trail-rated daily driver is ready to tread tough terrain thanks to a rugged 4-wheel drive system and high ground clearance. At the same time, the Cherokee’s cabin transports its occupants in a decidedly upscale space with quality materials and lots of seat comfort. Which means your friends will be plenty rested and ready for a whole day of fun under the sun. The Cherokee also offers an abundance of cargo space and storage, as well as a premium audio system to be enjoyed on the way to the game and during the pre-game partying. Under the hood, the 3.6-liter V6 promises both efficiency and power. With a base MSRP of $31,695, the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is ideal for navigating concrete jungles — and real ones too.
2019 Land Rover Range Rover
The Land Rover Range Rover is a full-size luxury SUV with upscale amenities galore. If you’re going for a premium parking lot experience, this is the vehicle for you. Offering space, convenience and innovation, the Range Rover epitomizes rugged luxury, combining all-wheel drive and lots of ride height with a lavish and airy cabin. Your fellow tailgaters will feel pampered as they kick back to enjoy a day of fun, food and football. Under the hood, you’ll find one of three powerful engine choices, including a potent 550-horsepower supercharged V8. And you can get in and out of the Range Rover easily thanks to an air suspension that raises and lowers automatically — which is also helpful when you’re loading and unloading your gear. Raise it, and you might be able to keep toddler hands out of the cheese tray. The base price of the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover is $88,860, but for the lofty price, you get a lot of high-end goodies.
2019 GMC Sierra
The GMC Sierra, like its cousin, the Chevrolet Silverado, is known for being among the most reliable and capable of pick trucks. Inside, you’ll be impressed with excellent ergonomics and tactile controls. The upscale cabin is enhanced with a long list of options and upgrades. Entertainment highlights include a Bose audio system, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and an available Bluetooth speaker system in the tailgate, all of which can make the pre-game experience more lively and exciting. The Sierra’s full-size bed provides outstanding room for your coolers and grilling supplies and features an innovative six-function MultiPro tailgate, which utilizes specially-designed hinges to improve second-tier loading/unloading and overall bed access. To get you to the stadium lot, there’s a capable V6 engine tied to the 6-speed automatic transmission. Those requiring heavier duty towing (for an overnight trailer perhaps) will want to go with one of the Sierra’s more potent V8s, each managed by an 8-speed automatic. A host of trailering options also make the Sierra an easy pick when pulling a trailer. Available in Double Cab and Crew Cab configurations, the 2019 GMC Sierra starts at $33,500.
2019 Subaru Outback
Sure, this surefooted and capable crossover may be all about venturing out into the wild thanks to a sophisticated AWD system that Subaru has spent decades perfecting. And sure, this AWD prowess makes the Outback a true champion in cold, icy and snowy climates. But it’s this crossover’s wagonlike practicality and low, wide cargo floor that makes it the right vehicle for weekend tailgating. Not too big, not too small, the Outback is just right for a party of four or five to transport all their grilling supplies, chairs and food, with room left over for the greatest of all outdoor party games — bean bag toss. While driving to the pre-game festivities, the Outback displays a balanced ride and handling experience and a well-weighted steering system. There are two engine offerings for under the hood, including a stout 6-cylinder powerplant. With an abundance of standard and optional features, the 2019 Subaru Outback starts at $26,345.