The TAWA nation has spoken. Ram, Jeep and Buick grabbed the top honors at the 20th annual Texas Auto Writers Association Truck Rodeo, of which I am a member, but did not make the event this year.
The ‘Truck of Texas’ bragging rights went to the 2013 Ram 1500, which features a new 3.6-liter V6 that boasts 42 percent more power, improved fuel economy, infotainment upgrades and available eight-speed automatic transmission and air suspension.
“Automotive reporters have reacted extremely favorably to the new 2013 Ram 1500, and our research tells us that resonates with truck buyers,” said Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Ram.
“Texas is Ram’s biggest market and we’ve worked relentlessly to build powerful trucks with best-in-class fuel economy and capability for our customers,” said Diaz, a favorite son of San Antonio. “The pickup market is fiercely competitive and we are proud the Texas Auto Writers have awarded Ram trucks with these coveted titles.”
The Jeep Grand Cherokee repeats as the Lone Star writers’ choice as ‘SUV of Texas.’ Jeep’s 2013 model year contenders included a new variant — the off-road fortified Trailhawk — as well as the luxurious Overland Summit.
“We are absolutely delighted that Jeep has won the prestigious ‘SUV of Texas’ award three straight years,” said Mike Manley, Jeep’s president and CEO. “Even more impressive is the fact that Jeep vehicles came out on top in every category we entered. We are grateful that the influential Texas auto writers have once again recognized the unmatched combination of benchmark capability and outstanding everyday driving dynamics that Jeep vehicles offer.
“Texas is a tremendously important SUV market and we have proven that winning TAWA awards increases showroom traffic and increases sales. Through September of this year, Jeep brand sales are up 20 percent nationally, and nearly double that in Texas.”
Buick’s 2013 Enclave was crowned ‘CUV of Texas’ while the ‘Truck Line of Texas’ went to Ram trucks.
Fifty TAWA media members had more than 60 different vehicles to evaluate at this year’s Texas Truck Rodeo, held at the historic Knibbe Ranch in Spring Branch, Texas. This year marked the debut of the Texas Auto Writers Association eBallot platform, where members used a customized electronic voting system developed with SimplyVoting of Montreal, Canada.
Award winners were selected by the members of the association using a Borda election method whereby the results were determined using points assigned to members’ first, second and third choices based on the number of entries for a particular category. This consensus-based electoral system more accurately represents the opinions of the members of TAWA.
“There are really no losers in this event,” said Michael Herzing, president of TAWA. “The big winners are the consumers of Texas, the No. 1 state in the nation for trucks and sport utility vehicles.”
The other winning vehicles, by category:
Full-size sport utility vehicle: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Mid-size sport utility vehicle: 2013 Jeep Wrangler
Compact sport utility vehicle: 2013 Ford Escape
Full-size luxury sport utility vehicle: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit
Mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport
Full-size crossover utility vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia
Mid-size crossover utility vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain
Compact crossover utility vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Full-size luxury crossover utility vehicle: 2013 Buick Enclave
Mid-size luxury crossover utility vehicle: 2013 Cadillac SRX
Mid-size pickup truck: 2013 Toyota Tacoma
Full-size pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500
Luxury pickup truck: 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
Heavy-duty pickup truck: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty
Off-road truck: 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor