While the national and international recognition programs get most of the buzz, awards from regional automotive associations also play an important role for customers. After all, since they’re presented by local experts, the trophies are more likely to reflect the preferences of local drivers—which are obviously different in Atlanta, for example, than they are in Snoqualmie, Wash., or Ft. Worth, Texas. Of course, you can read that for yourself on the following pages.
Texas Auto Writers Association 2013 Auto Roundup
Held at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, the yearly Auto Roundup of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) is a more car-oriented contest run by a group primarily known for its annual fall Truck Rodeo; this year’s Roundup, however, was known for its high number of Chrysler Group winners. The company scored seven titles in the program’s 19 segments, which was more than any other automaker.
“This year’s event was extremely competitive with a number of very close votes,” said Michael Marrs, president of TAWA. “The volume of awards that Chrysler Group won demonstrates just how committed the Chrysler, Dodge, SRT and FIAT brands are to improving quality, design and capability. With 53 vehicle entries competing in 19 different categories, our members were clearly impressed with the Chrysler Group vehicle lineup.”
This year’s full list of Roundup winners included:
- Sub-Compact Car—2013 Fiat 500 Turbo
Compact Car—2013 Buick Verano Turbo
- Performance Compact—2013 Scion FR-S
- Mid-Size Car—2013 Ford Fusion Titanium
- Full-Size Car—2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LZ
- Mid-Size Luxury—2013 Lexus GS 350 F SPORT
- Full-Size Luxury—2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum Collection AWD
- Performance Coupe—2013 Dodge Challenger SRT 392
- Performance Sedan—2013 Cadillac ATS Premium Collection
- Minivan—2013 Chrysler Town & Country Limited??
- Activity Vehicle—2013 Dodge Journey Crew??
- Performance Utility—2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT??
- Supercar—2013 SRT Viper GTS
- Green Vehicle—2013 Chevrolet Volt
- Best New Feature—Ford: Hands-Free Lift Gate
- Best New Interior—2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Luxury Edition
- Best Value—2013 Ford Focus ST
- Family Car of Texas—2013 Ford Fusion
- Car of Texas—2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association 2013 Family Choice Challenge
It was a trip to the Lake Lanier Islands Resort for the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association (GAAMA), which hosted 21 family-friendly vehicles from 15 brands at its 2013 Family Choice Challenge at the end of April. GAAMA’s first-ever comparison program for family-oriented transportation choices, the Challenge also highlighted exactly the kind of regional difference noted above—by honoring a vehicle from the Mazda brand as its top overall selection.
“The CX-5 was the clear winner for the overall 'Top Family Choice Vehicle' award,” said Nick Palermo, GAAMA’s president. “It's stylish, affordable, has comfortable seating and great fuel economy and is fun to drive."
In addition, the completely redesigned 2014 Mazda Mazda6 captured the crown as the best Green Choice for Families, thanks in part to its EPA line of 26 mpg city/38 mpg highway/30 mpg combined.
Also earning sports on GAAMA’s 2013 Family Challenge honor roll were:
- Adventure Choice—2013 Nissan Pathfinder
- Technology Choice 2013 Ford Fusion
- Luxury Choice—2013 Audi A8 L
- Value Choice—2013 Chevrolet Equinox
Northwest Automotive Press Association Mudfest 2013
The 19th annual Mudfest saw members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) visit the DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Wash., where six vehicles rose to the head of the class:
- Best Overall—2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4
- Best Compact—2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T
- Best Luxury Compact—2013 Acura RDX AWD Tech
- Best Family—2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Premium CVT
- Best Luxury—2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
- Best Off-road—2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 10th Anniversary 4×4
Mudfest lives up to its name, too, since the curriculum includes “two days doing on- and off-road testing on courses designed to simulate extreme driving situations the vehicles might encounter,” according to NWAPA.” And that’s even for “soft-roaders” like the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. As noted by Ryan Douthit, host of Driving Sport TV and organizer of the 2013 event: "Working with the DirtFish staff, we designed a number of test courses that really challenged the vehicles in terms of road-handling and their ability to navigate through very rugged off-road conditions. The fact that our members selected the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport for this honor speaks volumes about what it offers compared to competitive vehicles in its class."
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