Here’s a fun fact: People in the Northwest like Subarus. And that was made even more clear this week, when the Northwest Automotive Press Association announced its Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year awards, and the Subaru Forester Sport topped the compact class.
Subaru is rightly celebrated for its great all-wheel drive system, and that was one of the factors which made it shine during the battery of tests NWAPA members put all the vehicles through. Because while it was slightly down on power in comparison to some of its class rivals, the refined nature of the system helped it speed around a go-kart track and handle an off-road course— with steep grades, deep puddles, and sloppy terrain — with aplomb.
That said, we don’t think that racy red exterior bits and contrasting interior stitching hurt its chances either. We just wish Subaru would bring back the turbo engine — and the stick. Head here to read our full review of the 2019 Subaru Forester Sport.
The Jeep Renegade Trailhawk was the runner up for the award. And while it didn’t share the Subaru’s great road manners, it did distinguish itself by being the only model in the Subcompact and Compact Family class that was able to navigate the extreme off-road course.
While the standard off-road course was designed to mimic the conditions you’d find on a forest service road, the extreme section was far more demanding, and included a pair of rock piles, and extreme approach and departure angles that would plant most vehicles on the road like a lawn dart — and it sparkled there. Check out our full review of the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk here.
Other vehicles that competed in the class were the Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4. At the end of the day, each had a list of compelling features and attributes, but all got edged out in the voting.
Of course, you should never make a decision about a vehicle without a through test drive. So if you’re considering one of these vehicles, stop by your local AutoNation dealer today!
Images: Ryan Douthit, MediaSpigot LLC.
NWAPA (www.nwapa.org) is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes 54 voting members representing more than 700 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups, and the internet. Members of the organization have been testing SUVs and crossovers since the advent of the modern sport-utility vehicle in the mid-1990s. Non-voting NWAPA members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals.