Proud to be one of the dedicated journalists participating in the TAWA Truck Rodeo last week. Here is a quick peak at the “new” guy who walked with the prestigious title of Truck of Texas. You might be surprised at first, but not once you drive it!
Lynn Beckwith, That Car Lady
Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) named the 2016 Nissan Titan XD the Truck of Texas, marking the first time for a Nissan truck to win the prestigious title. The Nissan Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel and Aisin powering the new Titan also received Best Powertrain Award, while the Titan XD Pro-4X won best off-road pickup; the Titan XD Platinum Reserve won luxury pickup truck; and Nissan’s Murano Platinum won mid-size CUV award.
The 2016 Ford Explorer was named SUV of Texas and the 2016 Volvo XC90 was named CUV of Texas.
The 25th TAWA Truck Rodeo, sponsored by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), with lunch sponsors BFGoodrich and Michelin Tires, was held at the historic Knibbe Ranch near San Antonio Oct. 7-9. The event was especially competitive this year with 88 vehicles available for 69 TAWA media members to test both on and off road. TAWA members evaluated the off-road vehicles while climbing rocks and crossing creeks, while the smoother drives on the road might include pulling trailers.
Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, U.S.A., Nissan North America, said, “Of the hundreds of thousands of miles driven during the development of the all-new 2016 TITAN XD, the miles driven by the truck experts of the Texas Auto Writers Association were the most critical miles driven to date as we prepare to launch our new truck. This prestigious Truck of Texas award gives us tremendous validation heading into the TITAN XD launch in December. We are humbly honored to accept this award.”
TAWA members evaluated pickups, SUVs and crossover utility vehicles whose combined sticker prices totaled almost $4 million. Several TAWA members commented on how helpful it was to have engineers from the competing companies available to answer questions. It also aided the evaluation process to have side by side comparisons for on/off road driving and towing capabilities.
“The members of the Texas Auto Writers Association always enjoy the Texas Truck Rodeo,” said Michael Marrs, TAWA president. “It’s a unique chance to compare vehicles back-to-back in a timely manner on the same course and provide honest, real-time feedback to our industry partners. The Nissan Titan with the Cummins Diesel engine really impressed TAWA members at this year’s event; there’s no doubt that innovative powertrains, impressive designs and new technologies paid off for the Titan.”
The 2015 award categories and winning vehicles were:
- Truck of Texas: Nissan Titan XD (Cummins Diesel)
- SUV of Texas: 2016 Ford Explorer
- CUV of Texas: 2016 Volvo
- Truck line of Texas: Ford
- Heavy duty pickup truck: 2016 Ram 2500
- Best commercial vehicle: 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo and Passenger van
- Luxury pickup truck: 2016 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve
- Off-road pickup: 2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X
- Full-size pickup: 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel
- Midsize pickup: 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road & TRD Sport & Limited
- Best technology: Ford Pro-Trailer Backup Assist
- Best connectivity: Volvo Sensus
- Best powertrain: Nissan Cummins 5.0L V8 Diesel & Aisin
- Off-road utility vehicle: 2016 Jeep Wrangler
- Full-size luxury SUV: 2016 Lexus LX 570
- Mid-size luxury SUV: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×4
- Compact luxury SUV: 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE LUX
- Full-size SUV: 2015 Dodge Durango RT AWD and Citadel AWD
- Mid-size SUV: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Diesel
- Compact SUV: 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and Limited
- Full-size CUV: 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD
- Mid-size CUV: 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum
- Compact CUV: 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
- Luxury CUV: 2016 Volvo XC90 T6
The Texas Auto Writers Association, Inc. was founded in 1985 by automotive journalists who wanted to provide an avenue of professional growth, development and networking. These professionals sought to create an automotive event that was unique to Texas, and the result was the TAWA Truck Rodeo. Since 1992, Truck Rodeos have been held in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Granbury and Spring Branch.
In 2003, TAWA created an event for sedans, sports cars, and other vehicles not eligible for the Truck Rodeo. The Texas Auto Roundup, as the event is called today, is held at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. For more information, visit www.texasautowriters.org.