Set at the historic Knibbe Ranch in the heart of Texas Hill Country, the Texas Auto Writers Assocation evaluates the leading pickups, SUVS and crossovers every year in search of the very best. The 20th running of the event, which took place this past weekend, brought out some of the best competition in years. Here's a full rundown of the winners and standouts.
Truck Line of Texas
Full-size pickup truck
Luxury pickup truck
2013 Ram 1500/
2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn (pictured)
Boasting such unheard-of-in-a-truck features as active aerodynamic grill shutters, air suspension and 8-speed transmissions (available January 2013), the 2013 Ram 1500 line of pickups raised the bar. Through technology and innovation, Ram has brought unprecedented levels of comfort, performance and best-in-class fuel efficiently, which is why it's been chosen as the 2012 Truck of Texas.
SUV of Texas
Full-size Luxury SUV
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee/Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit
We were fans of the Grand Cherokee when we reviewed it, and it's still the best combination of capability, luxury and value in its category.
Winner: Compact Crossover Utility Vehicle
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
We were impressed by the Santa Fe's new Fluidic Design and 264-horsepower 2.0L turbo engine, which can be had with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. A smart interior design and plenty of configuration options bring the Santa Fe to the top of this very competitive segment.
Winner: Full-size Crossover Utility Vehicle
2013 GMC Acadia Denali
New infotainment/navigation and a revised exterior design make this immenselly popular crossover even better.
Winner: Mid-size Luxury SUV
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
The Explorer Sport drives a lot like the sporty Taurus SHO with which it shares a 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6, but makes more sense and makes better use of its space.
Winner: Mid-size SUV
2013 Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Wrangler keeps getting updates to gain refinement and performance but without losing its edge. The Moab edition (pictured) adds winch-ready steel bumpers, rear limited-slip differential and an availible rear locker as well as cosmetic features.
Winner: Heavy-duty Pickup Truck
2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty Platinum
Although the Ford F-150 lost the crown to Ram, the F-250 carries the torch for the blue oval in the Heavy-duty category.
Winner: Off-road Truck
2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
The Ford Raptor has already been named the off-road king, and that hasn't changed. For the 2013 model year, the Raptor adds HID headlamps and optional bead-lock wheels (pictured). When fitted after purchase, they allow you to lower the tire-pressures to under 10 psi safely, for maximum off-road traction in tight situations. it's another way the SVT Raptor continues to innovate.
Winner: Compact SUV
2013 Ford Escape
The Escape is all-new for 2013, and has a fantastic Kinetic exterior design, advanced all-wheel drive and the 2.0 liter EcoBoost I-4 delivering 240 turbocharged horsepower. Inside you'll find cutting edge MyFordTouch infotainment and a modern interior design.
The in-car Google Earth-enabled MMI navigation on the Audi Q7 and Audi Allroad Premium Plus was one of the most interesting features — and a neat trick, showing photographic look of your precise location even when you're nowhere near paved roads.
When you absolutely have to have something that looks like a German tank and feels like a bank vault, there is no alternative to the G550.
Subaru XV Crosstrek 2.0 Limited
We have to mention the unexpected Subaru XV Crosstrek – it had no problems going where the much larger, taller and 'more rugged' trucks went all day long.
Audi Q7 TDI
We liked that Audi brought a Q7 TDI clean diesel, which makes 240-horsepower and 406 ft-lbs of torque, while still delivering 19 mpg city and 28 highway. It's quiet, refined, and filled with good design, inside and out.
We love the looks and interior of the seven-seat Infiniti that manages to hide its size. The 3.5 liter VQ could use more power and smoothness.
NIssan Juke SL Midnight Edition
We loved the plucky Nissan Juke, a compact CUV that thinks its a hot hatch. The polarizing looks and quirky interior splits opinions but definitely gets noticed,
Full result rundown of the 2012 TAWA Truck Rodeo
Full-size SUV: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Mid-size SUV: 2013 Jeep Wrangler
Compact SUV: 2013 Ford Escape
Full-size Luxury SUV: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit
Mid-size luxury SUV: 2013 Ford Explorer Sport
Full-size Crossover Utility Vehicle: 2013 GMC Acadia
Mid-size Crossover utility vehicle: 2013 GMC Terrain
Compact Crossover Utility Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Full-size luxury Crossover Utility Vehicle: 2013 Buick Enclave
Mid-size luxury Crossover Utility Vehicle: 2013 Cadillac SRX
Mid-size Pickup Truck: 2013 Toyota Tacoma
Full-size Pickup Truck: 2013 Ram 1500
Luxury Pickup Truck: 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
Heavy-duty Pickup Truck: 2013 Ford F-250 Super Duty
Off-road Truck: 2013 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor