With 2014 models now arriving at dealers, it's once again time for the 2014 Motor Trend SUV of the Year competition. On this special episode of Wide Open Throttle, Ed Loh and eight other Motor Trend judges share their thoughts on each 2014 SUV of the Year contender and reveal how close the final vote was.
First, Loh reminds viewers of the six criteria (design advancement, engineering excellence, performance of intended function, efficiency, safety, and value) for the SUV of the Year competition. After driving all 22 vehicles (13 contenders total) in the hills of California wine country, the panel discusses which models didn't make the first cut and why.
Jonny Lieberman called the Mini Paceman "a charismatic little weirdo with a ridiculous suspension." The Mitsubishi Outlander "was just disappointing… this car just underwhelmed in every category" according to Kim Reynolds. SUVs that didn't live up to expectations included the Toyota RAV4 and Range Rover Sport. Scott Mortara felt the Kia Sorento was "a step back" in certain categories. While the BMW X1 was fun to drive, it lacked passenger and cargo carrying ability expected in an SUV, according to Allyson Harwood.
Next, the panel focusses on the remaining contenders including the Acura MDX, Audi Q5, Buick Encore, Dodge Durango, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Subaru Forester. One by one, the judges discuss the pros and cons of each SUV as they narrow down the field to the winner. At the final vote, the Subaru Forester earns the 2014 Motor Trend SUV of the Year award.
Check out the video below to hear the full discussion as the judges eliminate each contender to determine the 2014 Motor Trend SUV of the Year winner.