Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) 2018 Truck Rodeo

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] Unusually wild Texas weather created challenges while the very latest Trucks and SUV/CUVs provided highlights.

    Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – October 13 and 14, 2018

    2019 RAM 1500 is the new “Truck of Texas”

    [​IMG]

    Austin Texas – This year’s Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Texas Truck Rodeo was to be held at the Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, TX just outside Austin. Massive rains and flooding were day ones story as the most amount of rain the area has experienced since 1939 was in full swing. Despite the weather, 57 trucks and SUV/CUVs from 19 manufacturers continued to roll – sort of - with 69 eager journalists taking the wheel and voting on their favorites creating winners across a range of categories.

    The morning of day one at the beautiful Longhorn River Ranch had to be canceled as there was simply too much rain, flowing water, and no way to competitively judge anything. I stuck the Elantra in the parking area three times within 10-minutes of arriving and forded what looked like a small drainage ditch /stream at speed to get to higher ground! Fortunately, the TAWA Executive team came up with an on the fly alternative that had all the trucks and SUV/CUVs staged in the basement of the Sonesta hotel where we were staying beginning on the afternoon of Day 1. We drove as many vehicles as possible over a shortened two-day period on a short suburban drive loop for competitive comparison and evaluations.

    My four favorites from the event included the award winning all-new 2019 RAM 1500, all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, all-new 2019 Lexus UX 250h, and all-new 2018 Hyundai Kona.

    The 2019 RAM 1500 with the 3.6L eTorque is not only the most efficient full-size gas truck we have ever driven, it is the most luxurious and "tough" truck of any manufacturer on the planet. When the interior designer was given the go ahead to create the best truck interior, he not only designed the best truck interior, he designed one of not the best interiors of any vehicle! After driving and evaluation, journalists of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) selected the 2019 Ram 1500 as this years "Truck of Texas" for all the right reasons!

    Next up is my new current favorite SUV/CUV from none other than Toyota. As the newest in-state Texas auto manufacturer with its brand-new U.S. HQ in Plano and the Tundra/Tacoma plant in San Antonio, the brand and Texas have reason to be proud.

    2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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    Toyota’s all-new and soon to be released 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was hands down my choice for best of the best SUV/CUV the industry has to offer this year. New less soft styling, even better road manners, improved interior features, infotainment, vastly updated standard safety equipment, appointments, and best of all, the inclusion of the very fuel-efficient Camry Hybrid 2.5L 4th gen Hybrid drivetrain. This propulsion is quite literally two generations ahead of everybody in the segment which imho makes this the vehicle to own for the next 5 years. TAWA Journalists voted the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure as the Best "Compact CUV" at this year’s Truck Rodeo.

    While driving impressions for the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid are embargoed until Mid-November, I can tell you that my efficiency results on a 5-mile drive loop were at least double what it will be EPA rated at and I have no idea what it will be rated at other than the best in the segment. In other words, an impression without knowing what the hell I am talking about! :D

    Another new entry which I have 0 experience with until this event was the all-new 2019 Lexus UX 250h. An atkinsonized 181 total system hp 2.0L mated to a 4th gen Toyota/Lexus Hybrid drive in AWD. From my preview of the same, its Lexus luxury interior with an affordable $36k starting price in AWD configuration make it a B-Segment CUV darling. It was voted as the Runner up "Luxury CUV" and deserves that plus more!

    2019 Lexus UX 250h

    [​IMG]

    My final driving highlight came from Hyundai in the form of the 2018 Hyundai Kona B-Segment SUV. The Kona continues in Hyundai's tradition of offering the best value, latest features, and standard equipment for a drop dead out the door price. For 2019, the well-equipped entry-level SE trim starts at $19,900 + $980 D&H and includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, and Driver Attention Warning standard. Buying a new 18 for $4 to $5k off is currently doable at many Hyundai dealerships across the country. If you stack the deals that is. ;) The 2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate was the winner of the TAWA "Sub-Compact SUV" for all the stated reasons and more.

    The 2018 TAWA Truck Rodeo winners after voting are shown below.

    TRUCK OF TEXAS

    Winner: 2019 Ram 1500
    Runner Up: 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon

    SUV OF TEXAS

    Winner: 2019 Maserati Levante GTS
    Runner Up: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

    CUV OF TEXAS

    Winner: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
    Runner Up: 2019 Mazda CX-9

    CATEGORY AWARDS

    COMPACT CUV

    Winner: 2019 Nissan Kicks SR
    Runner Up: 2019 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

    MID-SIZE CUV

    Winner: 2018 Nissan Murano Midnight Edition AWD
    Runner Up: 2019 Honda Pilot Elite

    FULL-SIZE CUV

    Winner: 2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD
    Runner Up: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL

    LUXURY CUV

    Winner: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
    Runner Up: 2019 Lexus UX 250h F Sport

    SUB-COMPACT SUV

    Winner: 2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD
    Runner Up: 2018 Fiat 500X Trekking AWD

    COMPACT SUV

    Winner: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure
    Runner Up: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

    MID-SIZE SUV

    Winner: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
    Runner Up: 2019 Toyota 4Runner Nightshade Limited

    FULL-SIZE SUV

    Winner: 2019 Dodge Durango SRT
    Runner Up: 2019 Nissan Armada Platinum 4x4

    COMPACT LUXURY SUV

    Winner: 2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design
    Runner Up: 2019 Acura RDX Advance

    MID-SIZE LUXURY SUV

    Winner: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
    Runner Up: 2019 Lexus RX 350L

    FULL-SIZE LUXURY SUV

    Winner: 2019 Maserati Levante GTS
    Runner Up: 2019 Infiniti QX80 Limited

    OFF-ROAD UTILITY VEHICLE

    Winner: 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
    Runner Up: 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

    MID-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK

    Winner: 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

    FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK

    Winner: 2019 Ram 1500 Limited
    Runner Up: 2019 Nissan Titan Crew Cab SL

    HEAVY DUTY PICKUP TRUCK

    Winner: 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon

    LUXURY PICKUP TRUCK

    Winner: 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
    Runner Up: 2019 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve

    OFF-ROAD PICKUP TRUCK

    Winner: 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel
    Runner Up: 2019 Nissan Titan PRO-4X

    COMMERCIAL VEHICLE

    Winner: 2019 Nissan Titan XD Single Cab

    BEST TECHNOLOGY

    Winner: UConnect 4C with 12-inch Screen
    Runner Up: Infiniti Smart Rearview Mirror

    BEST POWERTRAIN

    Winner: Ram eTorque Mild Hybrid
    Runner Up: Infiniti VC-Turbo

    BEST CONNECTIVITY

    Winner: Volvo Sensus

    And so ends a great few days in Texas to drive some of the best on and off-road hardware I have ever driven. Congrats to all the winners and their teams that endured challenging conditions while putting their vehicles best feet forward.

    #TXAutoWriters #TXTruckRodeo #SteelMatters
     
    BillLin likes this.

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