Meet the Top Brands Recognized by the Texas Auto Writers Association This Year

by Kristin Shaw

 Photo: Lexus

Photo: Lexus

In April, the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) hosted its annual Auto Roundup, this year at Eagle's Canyon Racetrack in Decatur, Texas. Members had a chance to drive and evaluate 46 vehicles over the course of a day and a half, which was a dizzying but thrilling experience, overall. We were there to drive the vehicles on the track and test out the capabilities on slalom, acceleration, and braking over a 2.5-mile course. 

For the first time at a TAWA event, journalists at the roundup were able to take a three-wheeled roadster out on the track: the Polaris Slingshot. If you're not familiar with the term autocycle, don't worry - it's pretty new on the circuit. The Slingshot is a unique three-wheeled vehicle with a manual shift and three pedals, which makes it feel like a cross between a very smooth manual transmission car and a luxury motorcycle. We'll tell you more about the Slingshot after our more comprehensive test drive; for now, we can tell you that it's a blast to drive. 

 The Slingshot drives like a car but feels like a motorcycle... thus, the new "autocycle" moniker. 

The Slingshot drives like a car but feels like a motorcycle... thus, the new "autocycle" moniker. 

After all of the survey results were tallied, the 2018 Lexus LC 500 (pictured at top) was crowned the overall Car of Texas; the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica brought home the award for Family Car of Texas. We drove a Lexus RT 200t from Austin to Dallas to get to the event, and we discovered that it is super sporty to drive. In fact, we were stopped several times at various stops by people who wanted to know what kind of car it is and how it felt to be behind the wheel. The official trophy ceremony for the Car of Texas will be at Lexus headquarters with the TAWA board on Friday, June 29. 

 The Chrysler Pacifica has a host of comfort and convenience highlights; it's a great road trip vehicle. 

The Chrysler Pacifica has a host of comfort and convenience highlights; it's a great road trip vehicle. 

TAWA roundup Slingshot.jpg

2018 Texas Auto Roundup Winners:

ACTIVITY VEHICLE
Winner: 2018 Infiniti QX80
Runner-Up: 2018 Jeep Wrangler

 I remember Corollas from back in the 80s and 90s, and this isn't anything like those. The new hatchback is zippy, sporty, and more fun than ever. 

I remember Corollas from back in the 80s and 90s, and this isn't anything like those. The new hatchback is zippy, sporty, and more fun than ever. 

COMPACT CAR
Winner: 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Runner-Up: 2018 Volkswagen Golf R

MID-SIZE CAR
Winner: 2018 Toyota Camry
Runner-Up: 2018 Volkswagen Passat

FULL-SIZE CAR
Winner: 2019 Toyota Avalon
Runner-Up: 2018 Honda Accord

FULL-SIZE LUXURY CAR
Winner: 2018 Lexus LS 500
Runner-Up: 2019 Infiniti QX50

GREEN VEHICLE
Winner: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Runner-Up: 2018 Honda Clarity

 I was a little nervous to drive the Honda Civic Type R (which is available with manual transmission only), but after Honda representative Davis took us for a spin around the track, I felt emboldened to try it. It was astonishingly smooth and easy to drive, and exceedingly fun! 

I was a little nervous to drive the Honda Civic Type R (which is available with manual transmission only), but after Honda representative Davis took us for a spin around the track, I felt emboldened to try it. It was astonishingly smooth and easy to drive, and exceedingly fun! 

PERFORMANCE COMPACT
Winner: 2018 Honda Civic Type R
Runner-Up: 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata

PERFORMANCE COUPE
Winner: 2018 Lexus LC 500
Runner-Up: 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

PERFORMANCE SEDAN
Winner: 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Runner-Up: 2018 Kia Stinger

PERFORMANCE UTILITY
Winner: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Runner-Up: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT

 The Mercedes AMG GT supercar is a unique luxury experience, and driving it around the track was a dream. 

The Mercedes AMG GT supercar is a unique luxury experience, and driving it around the track was a dream. 

SUPERCAR
Winner: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GT R
Runner-Up: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

BEST TECHNOLOGY
Winner: World’s First Production-Ready Variable Compression Ratio Engine, 2019 Infiniti QX50

BEST NEW INTERIOR
Winner: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

 

Kristin Shaw