Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep and Ram brands aren’t afraid to get dirty and as a result cleaned up at the 21st annual “Mudfest” competition hosted by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA), with each Fiat Chrysler vehicle entered winning its respective category.
In addition, the new 2015 Jeep Renegade took home top honors, being voted “Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year” by automotive journalist members of NWAPA in attendance, said Fiat Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa.
“It was a great little course,” Cappa said. “There were a number of mud holes, some up to depths of 30 inches. That required not just the capability of the truck, but some skill from the drivers. Both the Jeeps and Ram trucks have impressive water-fording capabilities.”
“Following two days of extensive testing, I think it’s clear that Jeep has something special with he new Renegade Trailhawk,” said Ryan Douthit, co-chair of the event. “Don’t let its size fool you: this is one capable little machine. Even though it did extremely well in our sealed-surface slalom and braking tests, it was the smallest Jeep’s remarkable off-road abilities that really impressed our members.”
The 2015 Jeep Renegade was also named the winner of the Compact Utility class, and the 2015 Jeep Cherokee was the winner of the Family Utility class.
“We weren’t surprised at the success of the Renegade with these writers,” said Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman Angela Bianchi. “It is, after all a Jeep, and high performance and overall excellence is something that people have come to expect with that brand. And we think the Renegade really delivers and lives up to Jeep’s reputation.”
The 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel won the Pickups category, while the 2015 Ram Power Wagon won in the Extreme Capability class.
“This annual competition sets the bar for outdoor activity vehicle buyers in not only the Northwest, but the entire country,” said Nik Miles, president of NWAPA. “The journalists push vehicles to their limits; this competition is not for the meek and faint of heart. FCA came to the table ready for a tough fight and they played rough and tough, driving away with a trunk full of trophies.”
More than 20 NWAPA auto journalists spent two days testing vehicles on paved and off-road routes, Cappa said. They tested 27 vehicles from 21 OEMs to pick winners in six categories: compact utility, family utility, premium compact utility, premium standard utility, pickups and extreme capability vehicles. The overall winner, the 2015 Jeep Renegade, was selected from the class winners.
“What is really telling about what the NWAPA did was that they looked at both ‘outdoor’ and ‘family’ vehicles,” Bianchi said. “Our success with the NWAPA shows the strength of both the Jeep and Ram brands in meeting the different needs of to- day’s drivers.”
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