HUT! HUT! HUT! It's Tailgating Season Again!

13 Best Tailgating Cars of 2016 | CarMax
We took a look at our most popular vehicles in the fall and where people are tailgating the most, and choose those we think are perfect for tailgating. Whether you’re an armchair quarterback, a high-school football fanatic, or a pro-football devotee, there’s a vehicle for you.

Chevrolet Traverse

Research or Buy a Used Chevrolet Traverse | CarMax

Whether you need space for people or tailgating accoutrements, the Chevy Traverse has you covered. It seats up to 8 (with cupholders for 12!), and has more than 24 cubic ft. of storage space available for tailgating food and accessories. 

Fewer people and more food? Fold down the 2nd and 3rd row seats for a jaw-dropping 116 cubic ft. of cargo space. Higher-end models, like the Traverse 2LT, even come with an impressive 10-speaker Bose sound system for entertainment, and newer model years have available options like a power liftgate (for easy access to your tailgating supplies) and a Wi-Fi hotspot, so you’ll never miss a second of the game, even if you’re stuck in traffic. Towing packages are also available for those dedicated tailgaters who need to bring the kitchen sink too. 


Honda Odyssey

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We previously told you how the Honda Odyssey has been one of our favorite family vehicles for years, but did you know it also makes a great car for tailgating? It’ll seat up to 8 adults, so you can take the entire crew to the game. And no worries about bringing food and tailgating gear: it’s got more than 38 cubic feet of cargo space. 

An optional cooled storage box gives you a place for refrigerated items that won’t fit in your cooler, and the optional vacuum makes clean-up easy and fast. So while it may not be the sexiest vehicle for your tailgate party, it makes up for it in helpful features and ease of cleaning. In fact, it’s pretty great for all those fall soccer games parents find themselves sitting through.


Toyota Tundra

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If you’re tailgating for a big crowd, the Toyota Tundra is a great choice. Depending on the trim level you choose, it’ll tow almost 10,500 lbs and pack almost a half-ton of gear and equipment in it. The Tundra comes with a regular cab, crew cab, and a “Crewmax” 4-door version, each of which is surprisingly spacious for its passengers. 

There are several different bed lengths as well, so choose the one that fits your needs best. Overall, the Tundra is a great choice for anyone who wants to not only host the tailgate, but bring the grill, table, tent, entertainment, food, and everything else that can be hauled in the back of a pickup truck.


Ford Explorer

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Seating for 7? Check. Cargo space for food/folding chairs/drinks? Check. Fantastic sound system? Check. 

The Ford Explorer will get you to your party, AND be the life of the party. Available power outlets will make sure all your devices are charged and ready to go. Options like a power liftgate and lots of interior storage will make hauling everything you need to enjoy the game easy. Depending on the model you choose, you can tow any extras you can’t fit inside, too. As a luxury tailgater, the Ford Explorer is hard to beat.


Toyota Tacoma

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If you’re a truck aficionado who still likes a touch of luxury, the Tacoma is a great tailgating option. It’s a truck built to handle almost anything, but with available options like leather seats (rugged leather, even) and wireless charging, it’ll haul your equipment with no fuss, and keep you connected. There’s even an available charging port for the bed of the truck—no more long cords getting tangled to power your gadgets. You can even outfit the Tacoma with lots of storage options, from a bed divider to an interior organizer, so you’ll always have space to load your tailgate supplies.

Jeep Patriot

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The baby of the Jeep off-roading family may be less rugged than the Wrangler, but the Patriot comes with a bit more luxury to make up for it. One of its most unique features ¾ a set of powerful speakers in the rear liftgate ¾ help raise it above the pack for tailgating. Don’t worry about hooking up a sound system to boost the volume; these will broadcast the game just fine. 

It’s also got plenty of space to pack all the necessities for the game, and the back seats easily fold down to create even more room. However, if you want to get your hands on a Jeep Patriot, better do it soon. It’s set to be discontinued and replaced by an as-yet-unnamed new model. 


Ford Edge

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The Edge may be a midsize crossover, but it’s capacity for tailgating is pretty impressive. It seats up to 5 people and still has room for plenty of game-day food and beverages (just over 39 cubic ft. of cargo space). USB and Bluetooth connectivity are standard, so it’s easy to charge phones and have your music at the same time. 

Options like a trailer hitch, cargo storage organizer, and cooler keep it tailgate-ready year round. 


Chevrolet Equinox

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If you need more space for your tailgating crew to spread out, try a Chevy Equinox. Its wide, roomy seats can accommodate up to 5 passengers very comfortably. All that extra space means cargo room is a little smaller than other similar vehicles, topping out at just under 64 cubic feet, but it’s still got plenty of room to pack all your tailgating supplies. 

Also, newer models feature the ever-important Bluetooth connectivity and optional Wi-Fi hotspots so you can easily stream the game (or your music).


Jeep Wrangler

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It may not be the first vehicle that comes to mind when you think “tailgating,” but it’s surprisingly useful as one. Choose a 4-door Wrangler Unlimited, and you’ll have plenty of space to pack both the grill and the food in the back, and still ferry 4 passengers to the game. A tent can also be ordered as an optional accessory that attaches to the back of your Wrangler, and creates an instant shelter from the sun for you, your guests, and your tailgating festivities. 

In addition, Wranglers come with power outlets and audio jacks so you can take your music with you to the party, and newer models are available with a 9-speaker Alpine system that’s guaranteed to make it the life of the party. The standard drain plugs in the body make cleanup as easy as turning on the hose, and lockable center console storage keeps your valuables safe while you’re socializing. 


Dodge Ram 1500

Research or Buy a Used Dodge Ram 1500 | CarMax

The Dodge Ram 1500 is legendary in the truck world for its versatility. From work truck to refined luxury hauler, it’s made a name for itself in the automotive universe. That same versatility also makes it an ideal tailgating vehicle. With seating for up to 6 adults, it’s got cabin space for the entire crew. Storage bins in the floor double as coolers for drinks and food, and the tailgate doubles as seating when it’s down.

The optional RamBox cargo management system adds in a waterproof (but drainable) cooler space and adds extra lockable storage to the bed of the truck, providing a secure place to store extra food and personal items.


Chevrolet Tahoe

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The Chevy Tahoe is one of the original full-size sport utility vehicles. Its focus used to be on the “utility,” but no longer ¾ now it can play the part of a cargo hauler or luxury vehicle, or even both at the same time. Like its sibling the Silverado, it’s practically swimming with connectivity, and comes with up to 6 power outlets and 6 USB ports for charging anything and everything. It’s no slouch when it comes to packing in everything you need for your next tailgate, either. Depending on whether you choose the 2WD or 4WD version, it’ll tow up to 8600 lbs. 

Fold the 2nd and 3rd rows of seats down, and you’ll have up to 95 cubic ft of cargo space too. Later Tahoe models come with Bose speakers, Wi-Fi hotspots, and satellite radio standard, to satisfy even the pickiest technology buff. While it’s not a tailgating standout in any one category, it offers a great overall package whether you’re tailgating at professional football or your neighborhood flag football games.


Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Research or Buy a Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | CarMax

Tailgating tech geeks could definitely do worse than the Chevy Silverado 1500. It’s full of power outlets and USB jacks, so pretty much everyone at your tailgate can charge their phone at the same time. Optional 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability means you’ve got a truck that will keep even the most plugged-on happy. It also means you can stream the game or music to suit the situation.

Optional features that are also helpful include parking assist cameras, a 7-speaker Bose stereo system, wireless device charging, and satellite radio. Add in the ease-of-packing and towing capacity that comes with any pickup, and you’ve got a recipe for intelligent tailgating at its best. 


Ford F150

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As if the choice between the twin turbo 6-cyclinder Ecoboost engine or the Mustang-focused Coyote V8 weren’t enough to make the Ford F150 stand out, it also doubles as a pretty darn good tailgating vehicle too. That Ecoboost engine is especially great for hauling cargo trailers and other tailgating accessories. The wide range of available bed lengths and cab configurations also mean there’s a Ford 150 for just about every need. 

Want to bring a flatscreen TV or sound system for your party? No problem. The F150 has power outlets offering up to 400 watts and 110 volts. Convenience features on 2015 and newer models offer cup holders molded directly into the tailgate itself, and optional Boxlink Cargo Management systems are available so you can easily secure and store your tailgating coolers and gear. A tailgate step also available on newer models makes accessing the truck bed easy too. Of course, no tailgate party is complete without live radio, and optional satellite radio will make sure you never miss a second of your favorite team’s games.