SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Auto Writers annual truck competition is an important annual event every year, but for Chrysler's brands, this year's was a major coup as the company took home 14 separate awards in truck, SUV and feature categories – virtually every one they entered. Most impressive was the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel win as Truck of Texas and the Ram brand as Truck Line of Texas. The company also swept the best-feature awards – best powertrain for the Jeep/Ram 3.0L EcoDiesel, best conductivity for their UConnect system and best technology for Ram's five-link coil suspension on the Ram 1500 half-ton truck.
Many were repeat – Ram was Truck of Texas in 2012, Jeep Grand Cherokee has won SUV of Texas four times in a row and Dodge Durango also won last year. Jeep Wrangler shined for off-road utility vehicle again. The new Ram ProMaster cargo van won in its first year of manufacturing as best commercial vehicle.
"I suspect that there is a special sweetness to this victory. I have never seen so many grown men weep unabashedly with joy as when the winners were announced," says Linda Water Nelson, writer/editor for INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks and sports vehicle editor for Texas Fish & Game magazine.
"This is greater validation that of their strong diesel strategy and other improvements are on track, and recognized by the industry," she explains.
The only non-Chrysler win in a major category was Crossover Utility Vehicle of Texas, a very crowded category, with top honors going to the Hyundai Santa Fe Ltd. AWD. This was an exciting win for the company who brought only this vehicle to the event.
Ford again took a prize for the F-150 SVT Raptor as Off-Road Truck of Texas, an honor they have won since its introduction in 2009. This year there were added interior and exterior upgrades, reinforcing its position as a luxury truck with unmatched off-road performance.
Nissan took three awards – compact crossover for the Nissan Juke Midnight Edition, full-size crossover for the Pathfinder SL 4X and best mid-size truck for the Frontier Pro4X. The Acura MDX Advance was the top luxury crossover.
The Grand Cherokee diesel won the top SUV prize, as well as in each of their two sub-categories, with the all-new Cherokee winning compact SUV. For compact luxury SUV, GMC's Terrain Denali AWD won its category; and Range Rover was the top full-size luxury SUV.
Next year, competition is expected to be even more heated as both Ford and Nissan should have new half-ton trucks and GMC and Chevrolet will have all new full-size SUVs. New Canyon and Colorado pick-ups from GM will also be huge factors in the mid-side truck category where only Nissan and Toyota currently participate and nothing has been new in years, Water Nelson add.
Linda Water Nelson
SOURCE INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks