2012 Drivers’ Choice Awards: Trucks & Utilities
When it comes to vacationing with lots of family and friends, and carrying all their belongings, we can’t think of a more comfortable way to do it than in the Honda Odyssey. And that’s why it’s back again this year as our Best Minivan. Despite a new Nissan Quest and revamped Chrysler vans, we still prefer the Odyssey’s extra smooth ride, Accord-like handling, and cavernous cabin. But most of all, we love its class leading 28-MPG Highway fuel economy rating.
Despite some new life in minivan sales, it’s still utility vehicles that perform family duties the most; and our best Small Utility award goes to the all-new Mazda CX-5. A big departure from the Tribute, this compact crossover has both the looks and the fun-to-drive nature we’ve come to expect from Mazda. Add in best-in-class fuel economy and available 19-inch wheels; and you’ve got a CUV that’s as practical to own as it is stunning to look at, making it a real winner.
Our Best Large Utility, or Utilities, is another repeat winner from last year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. Though they share the same structure, both have distinct personalities. The Jeep is, of course, the off-road champ; but more than that, with willing Pentastar V6 power standard, and a whole new level of comfort and convenience, the Grand Cherokee offers just about everything a 5-member family will ever need.
But, if need to cruise on down the highway and carry a larger family, the Dodge Durango picks up where the Jeep leaves off. Durango delivers long distance room for seven. Like the Grand Cherokee, Durango can be equipped with a Hemi V8 so big-toys up to 7,400 pounds can be part of the adventure.
The Ford F-150 is no stranger to winning awards, and once again it takes our Best Pickup Truck award. Admittedly, there weren’t a whole lot of new entries this year, but Ford made us all believers that a V6 can be a standard bearer in the full-size truck ranks. The twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 not only gets better fuel economy than competitors V8’s, but it out-tows many of them as well. Sounds like you can have your cake and tow it too.