Despite what you may assume by my formidable handbag collection, I was raised in the rural mountains, and therefore can hold my own in anything from fishing to shooting. And while having a car with lots of cargo and roof space is great for that set of rolling Diane Von Furstenberg suitcases, it’s also really essential for packing up your tent/snow skis/bow and arrow.
So, this post is for all of the women that own a pair of Carhartt pants, the women whose hiking boots are old and worn in, and the women who hit the trails on the weekend instead of the gym. I present to you the vehicles that are my picks for the best cars for women who love the outdoors.
I’ll be honest: I was pretty surprised at the transformation that the Toyota RAV4 has undergone in the past 5 years. What used to be a car that only looked prepped for play has turned into a vehicle with substance and style. This bad girl can take the road with the best of them, even some of her larger SUV competitors. Categorized as a “compact SUV,” these vehicles don’t struggle with the awkward balance issues that some of their heavier cousins are notorious for, giving the RAV4 a fantastic mix of agility and durability. With the ability to seat 7, a fuel economy of around 28 MPG highway, and a smaller, less behemoth size, the RAV4 gets high marks for practicality. It also takes the highest of the high marks for safety, with standard features including Traction Control and Brake Assist, options not included with every SUV on the market. The epic cargo space is especially appealing, and I personally love the sleek exterior that favors an edgier look, rather than the rounded corners we’ve come to expect from buxom SUVs.
My very first car was a Subaru, and I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since. Anecdotally, you will hear a lot of stories about the longevity of Subarus – these cars have more lives than a cat, sometimes up to 300,000 miles. Aside from that, Subaru has a whole fleet of vehicles that come with All Wheel Drive standard, making them a great choice for whatever rough outdoor riding you might put them through. Not one to disappoint, the 2011 Subaru Forester has been chosen as an insurance industry “Top Safety Pick,” which means that having a fun drive doesn’t mean sacrificing practicality. Its base price of around $20,500 also means it’s more accessible than some of its larger counterparts, with a lot of the same perks. The interior is comfortable and practical, seating 8 in a feat of size and style. I love the way this Forester looks, rugged and tough without being that uber-beefy guy at the gym. Because no one likes a show off.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a staple for the off-the-beaten-path types for some time now, but with 2011 being a whole new year, this Jeep decided to avail itself of a redesign. Nothing like a refresh to give whole new life to a brand. This overhaul was so complete, that it’s practically a brand new vehicle, and one that’s definitely worth throwing a sweet glance. One of the highly-touted features of this redesign is the Grand Cherokee’s interior, which has been compared to that of a Land Rover, a luxury vehicle with a much higher price point. Well paint my soles red and call me Louboutins, who doesn’t want to be mistaken for luxury? Out of my three picks, this is certainly a pricier option, but it boasts the most off-roading prowess, just in case you fully intend to climb mountains from the comfort of those stylish rear seats.