Trail Trek Tour Announces Winner of Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge

Photo by Hansen Lukman

Woodstock, VA (June 23, 2018) – The inaugural event of the Trail Trek Tour was a tremendous success, as seven vehicles proudly completed the Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge. Hand-selected automotive media gathered in Woodstock, Virginia to pit sponsor-provided Compact Crossovers against each other in an off-road challenge. Over the course of five hours on two trail rides in George Washington National Forest, media judges switched vehicles every half hour and despite heavy rains overnight making the conditions extra challenging, not a single vehicle needed assistance completing the trail.

Photo by Paul Strauss

“We set out to prove that these compact crossovers are far more capable than most customers realize, by running them on a trail that many would think they had no business even attempting. The trail difficulty may not effectively come across in photos and video, but this truly was a challenge for these vehicles, and they emerged on the other end of the trails triumphantly. Seven stock compact crossovers competed on grueling trails for five hours, and the only casualty was a single tire that took a rock to the sidewall. The recovery straps and winch we brought along just in case, were not needed on this day. All of the participating brands should be very proud of the results and their customers should find confidence in the capability of these vehicles.” – Philip Van der Vossen

Photo by Hansen Lukman

The seven Compact Crossover Off-Road Challengers were the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure, 2018 Kia Sportage, 2018 Mazda CX-5, 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, 2018 Honda CR-V, 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, and 2018 Hyundai Kona. The Tiguan was the largest of the group at 185.1″, and the Sub-Compact Kona was the smallest at 164″ (a full foot shorter than the Sportage). All non-luxury automotive brands were invited to compete in the Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge, however some opted not to participate in the event.

Photo by David Van der Vossen

The crossovers were expertly driven on trail by seven automotive media judges; Sofyan Bey of Redline Reviews, Alex Dykes of Alex on Autos, Paul Strauss of The Awesomer & 95 Octane, Byron Hurd of Left Lane News, Hansen Lukman of Shifting Lanes, Tim Esterdahl of Pickup Truck + SUV Talk, and Will Byrd of Right Foot Down & Oversteer.

After completing a full day of trail rides, the challengers were ranked by the media judges in three distinct categories; Capability, Utility, and Style. The 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk took top honors for Capability, the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan was ranked first in Utility, and the 2018 Mazda CX-5 was rated highest in Style. Those category rankings were then combined to determine the overall winner of Trail Trek Tour’s Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. The Cherokee was the only crossover in the competition with four-wheel-drive and all-terrain tires, so the judges were not surprised to see it emerge victorious. However the Volkswagen Tiguan followed very closely behind in the overall rankings, and the Mazda CX-5 finished both third overall, and third in Capability.

Photo by Paul Strauss

“The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is the very deserving winner of the Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge. It is a famously capable vehicle that ate up the terrain with ease, and was eager for more. While the Jeep set the pace on the trail, we were impressed that the other crossovers didn’t back down to the challenge, and with a bit more diligence in choosing proper lines, were able to successfully navigate the same trails without any trouble.” – Philip Van der Vossen

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Videos : Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge

The Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge was held on June 22nd, and the videos from our media judges are starting to roll in. We’ll update this post with the latest videos as they are published :

Gunaxin :

Right Foot Down :

Redline Reviews :

Alex on Autos :

Shifting Lanes :

Pickup Truck + SUV Talk :

Left Lane News :

Introducing the Trail Trek Tour

The Trail Trek Tour is a traveling series of off-road events for automotive media. Our first event is the Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge to be held June 21st-23rd.

Hand-selected automotive media will gather in Woodstock, VA to pit sponsor-provided Compact Crossovers against each other in an off-road challenge. Over the course of five hours on two trail rides, media judges will switch vehicles every half hour and share their experience on the hashtag, #TrailTrekTour. After a full day of trail rides in George Washington National Forest, each media judge will rank their favorite compact crossovers. A winner of the Compact Crossover Off-Road Challenge will be named, and each media judge will share their individual rankings and the overall winner with their audience.

The Trail Trek Tour is produced by Philip Van der Vossen of Gunaxin Media LLC.

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BFGoodrich Outstanding Trails : Wheelin’ with Pistons Wild

Article by Philip Van der Vossen and republished from

We have plenty of experience off-roading in stock trucks and SUVs from some of our favorite manufacturers. But that isn’t the type of off-roading that the folks at Pistons Wild Motorsports Club like to engage in. They take their “wheelin” seriously with heavily modified rigs climbing nearly any obstacle that their massive BFG tires can tackle. All forms of off-roading have one thing in common however, the need for good legal trails to run, so that drivers don’t resort to going rogue. That is why the folks at Pistons Wild and many other similar clubs across the country have dedicated their time and efforts to creating safe legal trails for off-road enthusiasts.

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Toyota TRD Pro : Off-Road Adventure

Article by Philip Van der Vossen and republished from

The TRD Pro Series is Toyota’s line of their most off-road capable trucks, with proven engineering and toughness to help you explore places that aren’t found on most maps. While there is plenty of sexy TRD Pro badging both inside and outside the vehicles, this is far from just an appearance package. For 2017, TRD Pro is offered on Tacoma, 4Runner, and Tundra. Depending on the model, it can include more capable tires, shocks, skid plates, a locking rear differential and more. Recently we joined up with the guys from and for a Men Who Blog trip to the Joshua Tree area of California. Our goal was to push Toyota’s TRD Pro vehicles to the limit, and to leave no man (or truck) behind.
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