Football games and other sporting events are prime occasions to get the family and friends together and have some fun pre- and post-event. Packing assorted items, food and still being able to carry the appropriate number of passengers means having the right vehicle to do the job.

While there are many choices of family vehicle in the market that look good and seem up to the task, some are, frankly, better than others. But you have to look at the total picture, and a recent analysis by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) of the 10 best cars for tailgating this fall may help you find just the right one for you. Here we take a closer peek at the top five.

Each of these is a 2012 model and the editors of Kelley Blue Book selected them based on their ability to carry people and cargo as well as identifying choices for any size budget.

1.    2012 Ram 1500 Regular Cab – KBB editors hail the 2012 Ram 1500 regular cab pickup as “the ultimate party animal” that also complements a “gear-friendly full-

 

 

 

 

size bed” with optional Cargo Box Management system.  This clever set-up offers two lockable and waterproof cargo areas just perfect for toting up to 240 cans of tailgate necessities, the all-important liquid refreshments. Premium 540-watt Alpine audio package, U-Connect Wi-Fi and removable bins are other reasons why the 2012 Ram 1500 regular cab is the premier choice for tailgating this fall, at least in the estimation of Kelley Blue Book.

2.    2012 Ford F-150 Regular Cab – Long known for its rugged capability and hauling capacity, the 2012 Ford F-150 regular cab is also high on the list of

party-perfect tailgating vehicles. No wonder, since you can stock the pickup bed with all sorts of coolers and food items, chairs and other tailgating necessities, and still have plenty of room once everything is off-loaded to climb on-board – with the available deployable step hidden in the tailgate. Get the party going right with the 2012 Ford F-150 regular cab pickup and see how popular your invitations become.


4.   
2012 GMC Yukon Denali, Denali Hybrid – Sports and recreational fans alike can arrive and party in style with the 2012 GMC Yukon Denali full-size luxury SUV and its sibling, the Denali Hybrid. There’s more than enough space inside this upscale version of the Yukon for eight passengers and assorted gear and paraphernalia – not to mention food and beverages. And the Bose premium sound system and richly-appointed interior just radiates class. No need to rough it here.3.    2012 Honda RidgelineHow about a drainable in-bed trunk that can be filled with ice to serve as a cooler? Or a swing-out tailgate for easy access that also can flip down for convenient seating? The 2012 Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup offers both, making tailgating that much more apropos.

5.    2012 Ford FlexWith seating for seven passengers and plenty of room for cargo, the 2012 Ford Flex is more than just a “Mom car,” as typified in Ford advertising for

 

 

 

 

the uniquely-styled midsize crossover. Dads and moms will find the rear seats that flip rearward when the rear hatch is raised and available built-in refrigerator comes in handy for alfresco and impromptu dining with family and friends. Not only that, but the available 12-speaker, 390-watt Sony audio system ensures plenty of entertainment as well.

In case you’re wondering, the rest of the top 10 tailgating cars for 2012, according to KBB editors, are:

6.    2012 Toyota 4Runner

7.    2012 Mitsubishi Outlander

8.    2013 Mazda CX-5

9.    2012 Kia Soul

10. 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

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