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Texas Auto Writers Association celebrates 30 years with best Truck Rodeo ever!

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The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) celebrated their 30th anniversary by hosting one of the most competitive annual TAWA Truck Rodeos ever at Longhorn River Ranch near Dripping Springs, Texas this past weekend.

When the dust settled following two grueling days of driving – the best in Texas were selected.  There were some surprises and several instances where the winner was decided by mere 10ths of a point.

Winning the coveted Truck of Texas trophy is the 2018 Ford F-150 which features all-new or updated powertrains including an available segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission.

The SUV of Texas is the 2018 Volvo XC60 with sleek new styling on the inside and powered by the new T8 Twin Engine (one turbocharged and one supercharged 4-cylinder) plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Appearing for the first time in a Texas Truck Rodeo and winning the nod as the CUV of Texas was the team from Alfa Romeo (FCA) with their impressive all-new 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport.

More than 70 TAWA member journalists spent two full days from dawn to dusk driving trucks, SUV’s and CUV’s entered in the prestigious event by 15 manufacturer brands.  The exotic game ranch along the Blanco River provided an abundance of challenging terrain along the creek beds, across the meadows, up the cliffs and along the mesas of scenic Texas Hill Country.

In addition to the usual need to avoid running over the exotic game animals roaming the property, the drivers and support teams had to contend with a pair of pesky (with swagger) Emu’s that seemed to be everywhere each day helping themselves to anything and everything left lying around including car keys.

By the Numbers

Competitors:  15 Brands entered 64 vehicles in 21 categories – value over $4 million

Judges: 75 media journalists – print, internet, radio/TV and social media

Duration: Two full days of dawn to dusk driving

Over 1400 test drives completed

More than 300 hours of drive time behind the wheel

The Official 2018 Winners List

The Overall Best in Texas are:

  • Truck of Texas: 2018 Ford F150
  • SUV of Texas: 2018 Volvo XC60
  • CUV of Texas: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport

Trucks Best by Size and Function

  • Midsize pickup: 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
  • Luxury pickup truck: 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Southfork
  • Heavy duty pickup truck: 2018 Ram 2500 Limited Tungsten
  • Full-size pickup: 2018 Nissan Titan Midnight Edition
  • Off-road pickup: 2017 Ford F150 Raptor
  • Off-road utility vehicle: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Recon
  • Best commercial vehicle: 2018 Nissan Titan King Cab SV

SUV Best by Size

  • Sub-Compact SUV: 2017 Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk
  • Compact SUV: 2018 Nissan Rogue Platinum
  • Mid-size SUV: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
  • Full-size SUV: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT
  • Luxury Compact SUV: 2018 Infiniti QX30 Premium AWD
  • Luxury Mid-size SUV: 2018 Volvo XC60

CUV Best by Size

  • Compact CUV: 2018 Mazda CX3 Grand Touring FWD
  • Mid-size CUV: 2017 Mazda CX5 Grand Touring GT
  • Full-size CUV: 2018 Mazda CX9 Grand Touring AWD
  • Luxury CUV: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport

Best New Features

  • Best technology: 2018 Nissan Rogue with ProPilot Assist
  • Best connectivity: 2018 Volvo XC60 with Sensus Connect and Navigation
  • Best powertrain: 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine Plug-in Hybrid

Note: Photos by Kevin McCauley

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