Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) recently announced the winners from its twenty-seventh annual Texas Truck Rodeo. Here’s a hint, it was a big day for FCA.
The 2021 Ram 1500 became the new reigning Truck of Texas and the 2021 Dodge Durango, a two-time TAWA Full-size SUV winner, took home the 2021 SUV of Texas crown.
“The SUV and truck market in Texas is strong, and narrow margins between the vehicles confirmed just how competitive this market is this year,” said TAWA President Kristin Shaw. “TAWA was the first journalist group to drive Ram’s new 1500 TRX and its impressive 702-hp 6.2L HEMI along with undeniable capability on and off road convinced our journalists to rank the Ram 1500 number one in the Truck of Texas category.”
Twenty-seven TAWA members, including LTR, traveled to Star Hill Ranch outside Austin on October 5-6, 2020, to evaluate 39 trucks and SUVs on their interior, exterior, value, performance and personal appeal. A new off-roading course designed for this year’s event tested the trucks and SUVs on their endurance and versatility while drivers also had the opportunity to drive the vehicles on-road to experience ride and comfort.
Thirteen different automakers entered vehicles in eleven categories and while not all competitors were represented, there was one newcomer that afforded TAWA members a rare driving opportunity, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Possibly the first six-figure vehicle entered at the rodeo, the purple and grey two-tone, luxury SUV took its paces on the off-road course, while the on-road drive accentuated its interior luxury and refinement, including a massage for driver, as well as its rear-wheel steering and notorious “magic carpet ride.”
Another first-time driving opportunity of note at the rodeo was the 2021 Nissan Rogue. Doubling down on its appeal as a family car, the all-new Rogue bears a bigger, bolder look, an upscale interior with a striking new dash, and an enhanced ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous safety package. In its category of Compact SUV of Texas, however, it was beaten by Toyota’s 2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road, while the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon maintained its edge as top Off-Road SUV, and Hyundai’s elegant Palisade Calligraphy earned top honors as Mid-Size SUV of Texas.
Also on hand, Katzkin Leather Seats displayed a special leather package featuring an aerated pattern of the state of Texas. Many Texans may find the investment of around $1500 a surmountable obstacle for such a unique feature.
TAWA made program changes this year to address the pandemic. Safety protocols included requiring face masks, sanitizing vehicles between drives and creating a two-wave event to limit the number of journalists present at one time.
“This year has brought a lot of challenges to the automotive industry, and we are grateful for the partnership of our journalist and OEM members to provide an opportunity to have access to vehicles, network, and create content that is vital to our livelihoods and shared passion,” said Shaw.
For the complete list of winners go to www.texasautowriters.org.