Our Five Favorite Trucks, Minivans, and SUVs for Tailgating

Who Doesn'T Love A Good Tailgating Party? Photo:cnet
Who doesn't love a good tailgating party? Photo:cnet
What Are Our Favorite Tailgating Cars And Trucks? Photo: Istockphoto.com
What are our favorite tailgating cars and trucks? Photo: istockphoto.com

Fall, Football and Tailgating go hand in hand.

School is back in session, the temperature is finally beginning to dip below triple digits, and football season has officially begun. Of course we love watching the boys of fall, but we all know the best part of the football season is tailgating. A great vehicle can really improve the tailgating experience. Here are a few of my favorite trucks and SUVs to make sure everyone wants to be at your tailgate this season.

Related: Tailgating: The Best Recipes For YUM This Weekend

The Tailgate Of The Ford F150
Tailgating and trucks go together like peanut butter and jelly. Photo: Holli Fourniquet

Ford F-150

This summer we were invited to the Ford Drive-In event featuring a tailgate and early showing of Thor: Love & Thunder. Ford really flexed how capable their trucks are by powering the entire tailgate event with the Ford F-150 Pro Power Onboard and the new Ford Lightning. The event featured a live band, an arcade, neon lights and more all powered through these trucks. The Pro Power Onboard acts as a mobile generator and can wield up to 7.2kW of power with the new 3.5L PowerBoost. Use this vehicle to power everything from lights to televisions and amps at your next tailgate. (MSRP for the XL Model starts at $31,520.)

Related: Five Things to Love About the All-New 2021 Ford F-150

Honda Ridgeline
The Honda Ridgeline wouldn’t have been my first pick but now it’s at the top of the list. Photo: Holli Fourniquet

Honda Ridgeline

I must admit, at first glance, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the body style of the Honda Ridgeline. However, after spending some time in this truck I’m hooked, and wanted to immediately take it out tailgating. The Honda Ridgeline is a mid-size adventure truck and has been referred to as the “Swiss Army knife of trucks” by The Driver’s Seat TV. The Ridgeline is packed with technology including a truck-bed audio system, but it’s the actual truck bed that had me hook, line and sinker.

The tailgate lays down as a traditional tailgate would but can also open like a barn door making it versatile for any situation. The shining star for tailgating, though, is the lockable in-bed trunk, which comes with a drain plug so you could actually use it as an ice chest if you wanted to. The Honda Ridgeline has been compared to Ford’s immensely popular Maverick as well as the Tacoma, but the in-bed trunk, makes this the better tailgating vehicle. Together with the scratch-resistant bed and its ergonomic, comfortable design inside, this truck will make for one great tailgate party. (MSRP for 2023 starts at $38,800.)

Related: 2021 Honda Ridgeline: The City Truck that Stole My Heart

Santa Cruz
The unexpected tailgating partner. Photo: Holli Fourniquet

Hyundai Santa Cruz

The makers of the Hyundai Santa Cruz describe this vehicle as “gutsy on the outside; glam on the inside.” While the Santa Cruz is a unique vehicle, there is no debating its tailgating prowess.

Though it doesn’t look like a traditional pickup, it’s the Santa Cruz’s truck bed and tonneau cover that make this car great for tailgating. Not only does it have a nice sized bed, but there is also a trunk for storing food, drinks, and more. You could even throw some ice in there to make it into a cooler as it also has a drain plug.

That, combined with the reliability of a Hyundai Santa Cruz, is the reason I included it on this list. It is an extremely versatile lifestyle vehicle. (MSRP starts at $24,440.)

Related: The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the Sports Adventure Vehicle That Wins My Heart

White Toyota Sienna
You might not think of a Toyota Sienna as a tailgating choice. You might also be wrong. Photo: Holli Fourniquet

Toyota Sienna

Besides being a great road trip vehicle, the Toyota Sienna comes with plenty of unique features that make this minivan a great option for tailgating. I’m not sure that most people will instantly think of tailgating in a minivan, but when we tested the Sienna, we couldn’t help but think of the party potential. In fact, we grabbed some pillows and blankets and hosted family movie night in the car.

The interior of the car offers maximum comfort for relaxing including seats that not only slide back to the third row, but also fully reclines and offers leg support with an extendable ottoman. It also has a fold-down 1080p screen for watching the game. The built-in WiFi connectivity, USB and HDMI ports, and the 1500W-Capable Power Outlet all offer you multiple options for watching pre-game festivities or listening to music. (MSRP starts at $35,285.)

Related: 2021 Toyota Sienna: 5 Things You’ll Love (Or Not)

Toyota Tundra Tailgate
Did someone say nap during halftime? Photo: Holli Fourniquet

Toyota Tundra

This full-sized pickup truck is everything you need to for your next tailgate party. It’s the perfect combination of tough and luxury. The rear sliding window will keep the people on the inside connected with the folks on the outside, and the 8-foot, composite bed will hold all your equipment. Since this is an article about tailgates, let’s talk about the of tailgate on the Toyota Tundra.

It’s a simple, sleek design, but features an automatic step that comes out when you let the tailgate down, a subtle feature that packs a big punch. The tailgate can be opened from the back, using the key fob, or there is even a button on the side. This is a vehicle you will be proud to pull up to the tailgate in. (MSRP starts at $35,950.)

Related: 2022 Toyota Tundra Road Test: She’s Pretty, But Can She Do the Job?

The Rolls Royce Cullinan
This is LITERALLY the Rolls-Royce of tailgating. Photo: Holli Fourniquet

Honorable Mention: Rolls-Royce Cullinan

While a $400,000 ultra-luxury SUV may not be on many consumers’ shortlist of tailgating rigs, we would regret not sharing this unique entry into top tailgating selections. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the brand’s first SUV and features what the luxury automaker calls “Picnic Seats.” With the press of a button, two leather-wrapped seats and a cocktail table emerge from their storage space underneath the rear cargo floor making them the best seats in any tailgate. Yes, you heard me.  It has a table and chairs, just waiting for you to set your next cold drink on. You will be the envy of the entire tailgate with the most luxurious seats in the house.

Related: Why You’re Glad the 2021 Rolls Royce Ghost Is As Much About Innovation as it is About Luxury

Tailgate Pin

Another Honorable Mention

Look for vehicles with a clamshell tailgate, like the 2022 Range Rover. This is a tailgate that has a top and a bottom section.  The Rover has an optional “tailgating event suite.” Similar to the Rolls Royce, the Range Rover’s tailgating suite has pop-up seats in the lower portion of the clamshell, and speakers and lights that drop from the top portion. Check out our video below (at the 7:32 mark) for details on how this tailgating package works.


Clamshell Tailage On The 2022 Range Rover. Photo: Sara Lacey

Clamshell tailage on the 2022 Range Rover. Photo: Sara Lacey

This football season, pull up to the tailgate in style with any one of these vehicles I included the cars on this list because of their versatility, ingenuity and durability. Not to mention, any of these will provide the safety and comfort you’re looking for in a family vehicle.

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I'm Holli Fourniquet; wife to Cory, mommy to 4-year old Tucker, and long time servant to our yappy chihuahua,... More about Holli Fourniquet