It was a dark and storm night as the four lone writers rode into the Texas Hill country with only the headlights of their trusty rides to cut through the unknown of the Texas Hill Country. Little did they know the challenges that awaited them as they found washouts that were washed-out with flowing water that simply glared back at the adventurers, almost daring them to step into the unknown.
Well, ok, maybe is was a stormy Monday morning with the cold front dropping temperatures close to 30 degrees and the Gulf of Mexico supplying a steady stream of moisture that created record rain fall with lowland flooding. And maybe it was a pair 2018 4×4 rides that made their way through the off-road course of the 2018 Texas Truck Rodeo being held at the Longhorn River Ranch outside of DrippingSpringsTexas.
The uphill portion of the course was a bit of a challenge in the Texas mud, and the scenic loops that look down on part of the 1600 acre ranch were passable even if the only thing to see was the stormy night. However, the last challenge of the course was a downhill exercise designed to demonstrate hill decent systems as well as braking and suspension action. Under the cover of darkness, the truck began an uncontrolled slide to the wrong side, actually any side instead of forward down the hill was wrong, and it only took a brief second of considerations to determine it was much too dangerous.
Then it really started to rain…
The Texas Auto Writers Association was able to quickly adapt to another off-road layout that was not as challenging, but did provide a 4×4 driving experience.
Then it decided to rain hard.
It was a magnificent team effort to pack up the entire event and move it to the Sonesta Hotel, the host hotel that became center of the event. Journalist were given vehicles to transport, the support teams from Motus1 and Drive Shop and every OEM attending the event pitched in to pack it up and then set it up at the new location. Because of that great effort, the event was able to continue that first afternoon and then on Tuesday morning with evaluation of the vehicles on the streets around Bee Cave, Texas.
The winners are…
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
2019 Nissan Kicks SR
2018 Nissan Murano Midnight Edition AWD
2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD
2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD
2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure
2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
2019 Dodge Durango SRT
COMPACT LUXURY SUV
2019 Volvo XC40 R-Design
MID-SIZE LUXURY SUV
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
FULL-SIZE LUXURY SUV
2019 Maserati Levante GTS
OFF-ROAD UTILITY VEHICLE
2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
MID-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK
2019 Ram 1500 Limited
HEAVY DUTY PICKUP TRUCK
2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
LUXURY PICKUP TRUCK
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
OFF-ROAD PICKUP TRUCK
2019 Ram 1500 Rebel
2019 Nissan Titan XD Single Cab
Jim is an automotive and outdoor lifestyle journalist living in the Texas Hill Country. A journalist by education, he took the long way around though retail operations, business management, manufacturing and supply chain operations that kept him in touch with his automotive interests.
Jim achieves his journalist goals by creating and contributing product reviews, industry news and feature content for electronic and print publications. Jim’s personal ride is a 2008 Inferno Red Chrysler Crossfire Roadster with just 22,000 miles on it.