We Tested 20 Adventure Vehicles at Muddfest. Which One Was the Best?

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe
The winning Adventure Vehicle was the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Hybrid. Photo: Dbpics.com

Hey Everybody, Let’s Test 20 Adventure Vehicles Over Two Days to See Who Wins!

What do you do with 20 adventure-ready vehicles in one place all at the same time? Well, first you put them through their paces on pavement. You perform brake tests and check cornering and handling. Then, you head off-pavement with some mud, obstacles, potholes and hills. This is exactly what we did at the 2022 Muddfest with the Northwest Automotive Press Association in Washington State.

Here is the lineup of cars we tested:

Muddfest had an extreme lineup of adventure vehicles. Truly, it was an incredible experience to drive them all. Also, you might be surprised at some of the cars on this list. I know I was! Now, most importantly, which do you think will perform the best?

Compact & Subcompact Family Car

Mid and Full-Size Family SUV

  • 2022 GMC Yukon AT4
  • 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport
  • 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe XRT 2.5L AWD
  • 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
  • 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV SX-Prestige AWD

Compact and Midsize Luxury SUV

  • 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35
  • 2022 Acura MDX Type S
  • 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige (Defending Overall champion)
  • 2022 Volvo V90 B6 Cross Country

Full-Size Luxury SUV

  • 2021 Genesis GV80 AWD 3.5T Prestige
  • 2022 Wagoneer (Defending Class Champion
  • 2022 Lexus LX 600 Ultra Lux
  • 2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Pickup Trucks

  • 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor 4×4 SuperCrew
  • 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited AWD (Defending Class Champion)
  • 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
  • 2022 Toyota Tundra Platinum CrewMax

Related: 2022 Ford Maverick Review: A Short Girl Friendly Truck to Soothe Your Budget DIY Soul

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

There was even a Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the mix! This color is called Saint Tropez! Photo: Connie Peters

Day One Was on a Track

First, we took all 20 cars on a short circuit track at Ridge Motorsports Park. There, we tested the cars’ handling and cornering. Afterward, we did a slalom and brake test on pavement. Each car was distinctive and handled differently, so we diligently took notes throughout the day.

Moreover, we even had the opportunity to try an electrified plug-in Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe for the first time at this event, as well as a bright orange $400K+ Rolls Royce Cullinan.

Related: Tackling the Circuit of the Americas: Driving Performance Cars On This Track is the Chance of a Lifetime

Day Two Took Us Through Mud, Rocks, and More

On the second day, the cars began the morning shiny and clean. However, this didn’t last long thanks to the off-road course prepared for us at the track. Additionally, the rainy weather aided in the mud-making, helping us to feel like we were truly testing these cars’ adventurous abilities. The course included articulation with deep potholes, muddy hills, steep inclines and declines and water fording.

Personally, I couldn’t believe I was about to take the Rolls Royce Cullinan through an off-road course. It appears to be more suited to 5-star hotel valets than muddy fields. By the end of the day, the Cullinan and all the other adventure vehicles were covered in mud.

Related: Tackling the Rebelle Rally, the Female-Only Off-Road Rally, As A Newbie

NW Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year goes to the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe

Finally, here is a list of the winners broken down by adventure vehicle type. These cars performed the best on the rugged course. Clearly, the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe was a standout in the competition. After being runner-up in the Extreme Capability category and dominating in the Mid- and Full-Size Family SUV as well as the Electrified Utility Vehicle category, the Cherokee is a clear winner.

However, there were many other vehicles that shined on the course despite all the mud and rain.

  • Subcompact and Compact Family Car – 2023 Mazda CX-50 Turbo Premium Plus
    • Runner up – 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness
  • Mid-and Full-Size Family SUV – 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
    • Runner up – 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV
  • Compact and Midsize Luxury SUV – 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige (repeat winner)
    • Runner up – 2022 Acura MDX Type S
  • Full-Size Luxury SUV – 2021 Genesis GV80 AWD 3.5T Prestige
    • Runner up – 2022 Wagoneer Series III 4×4
  • Pickup Trucks – 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited AWD (repeat winner)
    • Runner up – 2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
  • Extreme Capability – 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor
    • Runner up (tie) – 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
    • Runner up (tie) – 2022 Wagoneer Series II 4×4
  • Electrified Utility Vehicle – 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
    • Runner up – 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV
  • NW Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year – 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
    • Runner up – 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige

Related: The Jeep Wrangler 4xe Is an Incredible New Off-Roading Experience for Jeep Lovers and Converts Alike

Wrapping up two days of epic driving in all of these fantastic cars had me craving adventure and fun. Bring on summer!

Disclosure: I attended the Mudfest event as a part of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. All opinions are my own.

Connie Peters is a mother of 3 girls in suburban Vancouver, Canada and has been an online entrepreneur since... More about Connie Peters