2011 Top 10 Autos For Football Tailgating
Whether you are the type of professional tailgater that sets up a full outdoor kitchen, or the loyal fan who drives 3 hours to see your team, we’ve got you covered. The football game parking lot is a smorgasbord of fans, vehicles, and creativity. For some, extreme towing capacity will be required for the day’s festivities, for others, a folding chair, small cooler and pigskin will suffice.
So, if you are in the market for a new set of wheels this season, visit your local dealer soon so you can roll into Sunday’s game in style with your own, one-of-a-kind tailgater rig. Our fantasy tailgating picks should help draw a crowd – or at least get some conversations started.
2011 Top 10 Autos For Football Tailgating
“Is That A Player?” Pick: 2011 Bentley Continental Flying Spur
OK, it has no tailgate. It doesn’t even have a hatch. But when you pull into the lot in your Bentley, all eyes will be straining to see if you are a player… and you are a player, just not a football player. After spending $180,000+ on a car, you are in that rarified air with people who know what “bespoke” means. You’ll be flashing around numbers like 6.0-liter W12, 552 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque for starters.
Stats: Base MSRP = $181,200, MPG = 18 highway/11 city
In & Out Pick: 2011 Porsche 911
Whichever of the 19 model variations of the 2011 Porsche 911 you choose, your entry and exit into stadium parking will be as quick as possible. We realize this car is not the most practical tailgater, but we do think it is one of the coolest as you slide through the open holes in traffic. The amount of conversation you’ll get from other tailgaters will be directly aligned with the size of your rear fenders, the largest of which can be found on the GTS and Speedster models. And since the 2+2 rear seats can’t hold regular sized human beings comfortably, when folded, they provide a large(ish) cargo area to complement the trunk in front of the car.
Stats: Base MSRP = $77,800, MPG = 26 highway/18 city
High Rollers Pick: 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
A favorite of many professional athletes and celebrities, Escalade will catch attention….riding in luxury and saving money for beers with a 23 highway mpg. It’s easy to be the eco-conscious rich guy when you still have 332 horsepower and 367 lb.-ft. or torque powered by a 2-Mode Hybrid System, gas and electric. And, as you pull out of the lot, everyone will remain safe with Caddy’s Side Blind Zone Alter, built into the exterior mirrors, giving you full view of your blind spots.
Stats: Base MSRP = $74,135, MPG = 23 highway/20 city
Best Seats In The House Pick: 2011 Ford Flex Titanium
Choose the Powerfold 3rd Row Seat option with the Ford Flex’s Titanium Wagon trim and you can set your seats up to face the rear of vehicle thus transforming your open tailgate into a comfy loveseat for you and your significant other. Put an ice chest in front of you and you’ve got an instant ottoman. Turn on the Sony premium 12-speaker system and listen to one of the early games via your Sirius satellite radio and get ready for a great game day.
Stats: Base MSRP = $42,525, MPG = 22 highway/16 city
Party Bus Pick: 2011 Chevrolet Suburban
It might not be the hottest vehicle on the lot, but nobody else can bring the party like the 9-seat Chevy Suburban. You save some of your friends the parking fees and there’s enough room inside to schlep ice chests, chairs and canopies for all. The big V8 engine gets this behemoth going with power to spare and for a car that’s been around since 1936, this model has more experience with tailgating than most.
Stats: Base MSRP = $41,335, MPG = 21 highway/15 city
BBQ Island Pick: 2011 Ram 1500 Crew Cab
Just for starters, the Ram 1500 has solid towing capacity, a hefty truck bed, and an optional integrated bed extender. But the backyard island effect becomes complete when you opt for a couple of exterior “Rambox” units over the wheel wells and pick up an aftermarket trailer hitch grill. Besides giving you extra enclosed room for your gear, the Ramboxes can be used as coolers for the grub you plan on grilling and your choice of cold beverages.
Stats: Base MSRP = $29,585, MPG = 19 highway/14 city
Living Room on Wheels Pick: 2011 Honda Odyssey
You’ll feel like you’ve never left home when you pull up in your fully loaded Odyssey. The same amenities you have in your family room – TV, seating for 7, and great audio sound – remain with you in your favorite team’s parking lot. When you opt for the Touring Elite model, you get an Ultrawide screen of 16.2 inches across hanging from its back set ceiling. Honda is also first to bring an all-digital HDMI port for external device input, so drop the big screen in your big trunk to attract a crowd at your tailgate.
Stats: Base MSRP = $28,075, MPG = 27 highway/18 city
Concrete Jungle Pick: 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Curb? What Curb? Put the top down and make new friends in the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Jeep calls it the “only four-door convertible on the market,” and we can’t argue. This maxed-out model provides plenty of cargo space and even has an in-floor bin for your extra gear. But where it really shines is in the off-road abilities that we hope you are careful using when finding the ideal tailgating spot. This four-door back road brute has a 3.8-liter V-6 with nearly equal horsepower to torque (202 hp and 237 lb.-ft of torque), and 10.2 inches of ground clearance. That’s enough to get you on a short cut to the stadium if traffic gets too jammed.
Stats: Base MSRP = $25,545, MPG = 19 highway/15 city
Going the Distance Pick: 2011 Toyota Prius
If you live in Detroit, but your team is in Chicago, you can get your tailgate party started on one tank of gas with the most reliable hybrid on the market if you have the strength of character to show up. It is a fact that fully macho guys who are totally secure in their masculinity frequently jump into their Toyota Prii (plural for Prius), boldly take their spot on the lot and open the hatch. What helps is knowing they just got better mileage than 90% of the other tailgaters. And if you get any flack from the opposing team’s fans, just say, “Yeah, that’s right, 51 mpg city and 48 highway, all day, everyday…”
Stats: Base MSRP = $23,520, MPG = 48 highway/51 city
Got Parking? Pick: 2011 Smart fortwo
No Parking, no problem. Most folks have a pair of tickets for the game, so when parking is tough, the Smart fortwo’s short wheelbase of just over 6 feet will let you sneak into that tight spot. You should be able to fit a small picnic basket and a couple of folding chairs in your tiny chariot, since it’s practically the size of a football helmet. But if you want to go a step further, Smart gives you the option of changing the panels on the car if you feel like switching colors. Smart offers over 100 different colors, so based on how faithful you are to your team (cost is anywhere from $1300 - $2000), let your colors fly and you’ll be fully decked out for the game.
Stats: Base MSRP = $12,490, MPG = 41 highway/33 city
At the end of the game once the final whistle blows, and you are safely on the road back home, just remember it’s not about whether your team won or lost, but how much fun you had tailgating (which of course is usually more fun if you win)!