Nov 152017
 

2018 Truck of Texas: Ford F-150. Photo by Kevin McCauley.

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) would like to recognize the winners of the 2018 Texas Truck Rodeo, hosted by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) and presented by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI). Taking the top three awards, Truck of Texas, Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) of Texas, and Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) of Texas were the Ford F-150, the Volvo XC60, and Alfa Romeo Stelvio, respectively.

2018 SUV of Texas: Volvo XC60.

The thirtieth annual Texas Truck Rodeo took place at the Longhorn Ranch in Dripping Springs, TX.

2018 CUV of Texas: Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Each year, automotive journalists spend two days driving on off- and on-road courses, testing  vehicles (trucks, SUVs, CUVs, and commercial vehicles) to select winners in 21 categories as well as three overall winners. Sixty-four vehicles, with a combined value of nearly $4 million were test driven this year by 75 journalists.

“The competition was incredibly fierce at this year’s Texas Truck Rodeo,” said TAWA President Nic Phillips. “Journalists put in more than 300 hours of driving time, evaluating the vehicles presented. The results in several categories are separated by the narrowest of margins … confirming just how competitive the trucks and utility vehicles are today,” Phillips said.

 

Full-size Pick-up of Texas: Nissan Titan. Photo by Kevin McCauley.

Engineers from the competing manufacturers were on hand to answer questions from journalists about the vehicles and to aid in the evaluation process. Vehicles are measured on their interior, exterior, value, performance, and personal appeal

Traditionally, new features or new models tend to attract the most votes. Restyled for 2018, one memorable moment in the F-150 Limited included getting a massage from the all-new seat massage function. This is the ninth win for Ford at the rodeo and a repeat from last year when the Ford F-250 won the title.

Mid-size CUV of Texas-Mazda CX-5. Photo by Kevin McCauley.

“With the new 2018 F-150, we’re honored to earn back-to-back Truck of Texas awards for F-Series, a recognition that speaks to the truck team’s dedication to our hard-working customers,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president and president of North America. “That’s especially true here in Texas – truck capital of the world.”


The SUV of Texas win represents a three-peat for Volvo. It was also the last SUV to be named Truck of Texas in 2003, prompting creation of the SUV and CUV of Texas awards. The 2018 XC60 T6 and the super luxe T8 Hybrid, with premium features like an Orefors crystal shift knob, were entered to compete in the Mid-Size Luxury SUV of Texas category, which it won as well. Additional awards for the XC60 included Best Connectivity for its Sensus infotainment system and Best Powertrain. Alfa Romeo’s first CUV also won the Luxury CUV of Texas category.

Overall, Nissan was the most overall awarded brand with five category wins and Mazda swept the three non-luxury CUVs, categories. Other highlights from the event included a near vertical climb up a hill with the Ram Power Wagon, assisted by a winch and the Land Rover Discovery, assisted by cruise control.

The following is a list of all the winners.

The 2018 award categories and winning vehicles were:

  • Truck of Texas: 2018 Ford F150
  • SUV of Texas: 2018 Volvo XC60
  • CUV of Texas: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport
  • Heavy duty pickup truck: 2018 Ram 2500 Limited Tungsten
  • Best commercial vehicle: 2018 Nissan Titan King Cab SV
  • Luxury pickup truck: 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Southfork
  • Off-road pickup: 2017 Ford F150 Raptor
  • Full-size pickup: 2018 Nissan Titan Midnight Edition
  • Midsize pickup: 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
  • Best technology: Nissan Pro Pilot
  • Best connectivity: Volvo XC60
  • Best powertrain: Volvo XC60
  • Off-road utility vehicle: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Recon
  • Sub-Compact SUV: 2017 Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk
  • Compact SUV: 2018 Nissan Rogue Platinum
  • Mid-size Luxury SUV: 2018 Volvo XC60
  • Compact Luxury SUV: 2018 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD
  • Full-size SUV: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT
  • Mid-size SUV: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
  • Compact SUV: 2018 Nissan Rogue Platinum
  • Full-size CUV: 2018 Mazda CX9 Grand Touring AWD
  • Mid-size CUV: 2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring GT
  • Compact CUV: 2018 Mazda CX3 Grand Touring FWD
  • Luxury CUV: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport
Sep 252016
 

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The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) named Nissan’s all-new Titan XD the Truck of Texas last year, partly because its game changing Cummins Diesel V8 engine and capabilities placed it between a half-ton and heavy-duty sweet spot. I recently drove the gasoline-powered Titan XD Platinum Reserve four-wheel drive (4WD) for Latino Traffic Report. It’s quite the bruiser in city driving, but like its diesel sibling, offers impressive capabilities of its own.

“Titan XD is a truck that uniquely uses both technology and strength to add confidence to the completion of everyday work tasks,” says Fred Diaz, division vice president and general manager, North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles, Nissan North America, Inc. “Half of all full-size truck owners tow more than ten times a year, with a quarter o2016-08-09-19-59-20f owners using them to haul tools, so we engineered TITAN XD’s toughness from the ground up.”

Powered by a 5.6-liter V8 engine with 390 horsepower and 401 lb.–ft. of torque and matched to a seven-speed automatic transmission, the Titan XD can meet most work challenges. It has a maximum payload capacity of 2,523 pounds (2,594 with the two-wheel drive (2WD)) and can tow a maximum of 11,000 lbs. (11,270 1bs. with the 2WD).

Assembled in Decherd, Tenn., the new V8 engine utilizes four-valves per cylinder, Variable Valve Event and Lift for better responsiveness, and Direct Injection Gas for better performance and fuel economy. All Titan XDs come with one configuration, the four-door Crew Cab and six foot 5.8-inch bed.

2016-08-06-18-02-18Straddling the half-ton and heavy-duty classification excuses the Titan XD from stating an estimated fuel economy but according to the onboard average fuel calculator, I achieved 14.1 miles per gallon during the weeklong test drive.

With a wheelbase that’s 20 inches longer than non-XD TITANs, the test model made city driving slightly challenging. While parallel parking in downtown Austin was out of the question—not that it couldn’t be done but there were absolutely no spaces to be had—parking in general was greatly assisted by the RearView Monitor with trailer guides, the AroundView camera with Moving Object Detection, and front and rear sonar systems that are all standard on the Platinum Reserve.2016-08-06-20-32-29

While I didn’t get to test them, off-road performance has also been improved with features like Hill Descent Control and Brake Limited-Slip Differential. A new off-road gauge calculates the vehicle’s pitch and roll angles. I did get to engage the Hill Start Assist that prevents the XD from rolling backwards at a stop.

A workable truck has to be versatile and that includes ample cargo space. New for 2016 is the second-row underseat storage with a locking lid and integrated foldout flat floor. The center console can hold a computer tablet and a dual lockable in-bed “TITAN Box” is available.

2016-08-09-19-59-03As the name implies, the Platinum Reserve is the top-of-the-line trim level on either gasoline or diesel-powered XD. As such, the interior is rather plush with two-tone quilted heated and cooled leather front seats, heated rear seats, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with a wood insert, premium open-pore wood instrument panel finishers with metallic “Platinum Reserve” badging, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and pre-wiring for the DVD Family Entertainment System, among other features.

Pricing for the gas-powered 2016 Titan XD starts at $36,485. The as-tested pricing came to $56,715.

: From capability to safety, the Titan XD Platinum Reserve packs a lot of features into this plush but hard-working pickup.

No: Its size makes it challenging to maneuver in confined urban settings.

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