Hyundai, Jaguar, Chrysler, Toyota, Dodge, Ford – they all won “big” at the 2014 Spring Challenge conducted by the Texas Auto Writers Association. The event was held at the Texas Motor Speedway in DFW and consisted of experienced automotive journalists test-driving sports cars, sedans, and other vehicles. Also winning awards were Cadillac, Subaru, Jeep, and Lexus.
TAWA is one of the most recognized and respected auto journalist groups in the US. It was created many years ago as a means to develop professional development and vehicle excellence in Texas. A Texas Truck Rodeo is held each October that consists of off-road competition and features trucks and SUV’s that are four-wheel-drive equipped. The overall winners are named as TRUCK OF TEXAS and SUV OF TEXAS.
Several years ago, it became apparent to the TAWA group that another event was necessary to compare the many sedans, vans, and cars. The Texas Spring Challenge was first held in Austin and has since been held in various locations around the State.
The Texas Motor Speedway offers a tremendous backdrop to the wide variety of vehicles tested. It includes the infield track for high-speed driving and the outer parking lot provides several roadway loops. This allows the journalists to perform driving maneuvers without interfering with local roadways and traffic. Although past events have encountered weather difficulties, this year's weather was almost perfect. It was sunny, dry, and stayed in the upper 70's for most of the day.
The 2014 competition consisted of approximately 50 vehicles. The journalists represented all areas of Texas media, including television, radio, daily newspapers, weekly community newspapers, websites, and web blogs. A few members came from outside of the State although their writings appear in various area newspapers due to syndication. The group included long-term experience as well as some newcomers.
At the conclusion of the event, the automotive writers completed their ballots and Mike Marrs, President of TAWA, along with the group’s Board of Directors, completed the tally. The awards were presented to the manufacturers at a special dinner Monday night at the conclusion of the long weekend.
The CAR OF TEXAS award is a 'traveling' trophy that is a very large, silver cup. Other awards presented were distinctive wooden cut-out Texas trophies that were custom engraved.
CAR OF TEXAS: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
Runner-Up: 2014 Jaguar S Convertible
FAMILY CAR OF TEXAS: 2014 Chrysler Town & Country (30th Anniversary Edition)
Runner-Up: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
BEST NEW FEATURE: 2014 Ford Fiesta SE (1.0 liter EcoBoost)
BEST NEW INTERIOR: 2015 Hyundai Genesis (5.0 liter RWD)
BEST VALUE: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
SUB-COMPACT CAR: 2014 Ford Fiesta SE
Runner-Up: 2014 Fiat 500 (1957 Edition)
COMPACT CAR: 2014 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye
Runner-Up: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SEL
PREMIUM COMPACT: 2014 Subaru WRX Limited
Runner-Up: 2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Grand Touring
PERFORMANCE COMPACT: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
Runner-Up: 2014 Scion FR-S
MID-SIZE CAR: 2015 Chrysler 200
Runner-Up: 2014 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium
MID-SIZE LUXURY CAR: 2015 Hyundai Genesis
Runner-Up: 2015 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E
FULL SIZE CAR: 2014 Chrysler 300C
Runner-Up: 2014 Chevrolet SS
FULL SIZE LUXURY CAR: 2014 Cadillac XTS Twin Turbo V
Runner-Up: 2015 Kia K900 VIP
ACTIVITY VEHICLE: 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited
Runner-Up: 2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad
MINI-VAN: 2014 Chrysler Town & Country
Runner-Up: 2014 Toyota Sienna Limited
GREEN VEHICLE: 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium Energi
Runner-Up: 2014 Cadillac ELR Electric
PERFORMANCE SEDAN: 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport
Runner-Up: 2014 Infiniti Q-50S 3.7
PERFORMANCE COUPE: 2014 Jaguar S Convertible
Runner-Up: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
PERFORMANCE UTILITY: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT