For the second year in a row Chrysler Group LLC swept the annual TAWA Texas Roundup. The event, hosted by the Texas Auto Writers Association, has been held every April since 2003. For the past few years it’s home has been at Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway in order to test cars without the interference of traffic.
TAWA members gather every spring to have the opportunity to drive nearly every new car currently on the market, ranging from subcompact vehicles to supercars. A total of 47 journalists attended this year, evaluating 53 cars from the various manufacturers. In this case the gamut included anything from a smart car to the 640-hp SRT Viper GTS.
Interestingly, this was the first year in memorable history that Corvette was not represented: that’s because the all-new C7 Stingray is not expected to debut until fall, and for intents and purposes C6 production has come to a close. Although the stunning all-new 2014 Impala sedan was on hand at this year’s event the NASCAR-inspired Chevrolet SS performance-oriented sedan was a surprise miss.
Also making a no show was the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ, which has only recently began arriving in dealerships, fulfilling long awaited pre-sold orders. Other makes not represented this year included Audi, BMW (incl. Mini), Jaguar, Mitsubishi and Subaru.
While the Shelby Mustang GT500, which won ‘Car of Texas’, was a 2013 model, not a final era 2014 model (that’s currently available) it did represent the last model that actually had Carol Shelby’s mark on it.
While the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8 won consecutively for best ‘Performance SUV of Texas’ there’s was a competitive model in the competition worth a mention, the Ford Explorer Sport. Essentially, the Explorer Sport is the civilian version of the Police Interceptor package, in much in the same way as the the SHO is the civilian version of the Police Interceptor package for the Taurus. Add in the third row seating and you have one hauler that can haul butt, plus is tow rated up to 5,000 pounds.
Another Ford model, the Focus ST, won for ‘Best Value’ although it would have been a shoe for ‘best hot hatch’ had there been a category. This is one model that that has the hutzpah to conquer the benchmark VW GTI.
Vehicles that received awards from the TAWA sponsored Auto Roundup are:
Super Car of Texas: 2013 SRT Viper GTS Coupe (last year’s winner – 2012 Nissan GT-R Black Edition)
The Car of Texas: 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 (new category)
The Family Car of Texas: 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Dodge Journey Crew runner-up (new category)
Performance Coupe of Texas: 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 (last year’s winner – 2013 Mustang GT)
Performance Sedan of Texas: 2013 Cadillac ATS (Dodge SRT8 Super Bee runner-up)
(last year’s winner – 2013 Ford Taurus SHO Police Package)
Performance SUV of Texas: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8 (last year’s winner – 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8)
Performance Compact of Texas: 2013 Scion FR-S (last year’s winner – 2013 Subaru BRZ)
Activity Vehicle of Texas: 2013 Dodge Journey Crew (new category)
Full-size Luxury Car of Texas: 2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum (last year’s winner Chrysler 300)
Mid-Size Luxury Car of Texas: 2013 Lexus GS350 (last year’s winner 2012 Cadillac SRX AWD)
Full-Size of Texas: 2014 Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler Motown runner-up (last year’s winner 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist)
Mid-size car of Texas: 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium (last year’s winner 2012 Buick Regal GS)
Compact car of Texas: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo (last year’s winner 2013 Dodge Dart, which incidentally was this year’s runner up)
Subcompact Car of Texas: 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo (last year’s winner 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio)
Green Vehicle of Texas: 2013 Chevrolet Volt (which was also last year’s winner)
Best New Feature: Ford Hands-Free Liftgate (2013 Escape Titanium)
Best Interior: 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Luxury Edition
Best Value: 2013 Ford Focus ST (2013 Dodge Dart Limited runner-up)