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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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2016 - 2017 Hyundai Tucson

2016 - 2017 Hyundai Tucson

The third-generation Hyundai Tucson debuted at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3rd of 2015 as a 2016 model. Compared to the outgoing model, it was a pretty huge departure in terms of exterior styling. The Tucson received a new hexagonal grille, more aggressive front fascia, and more upscale headlamps. In the rear, the Tucson got restyled tail lamps and a sportier rear fascia. Since the Tucson is larger than the outgoing model, the cabin offered up more passenger space and cargo room to go with the softer materials and a new premium look. To go with a new dash layout, the infotainment screen got a new chrome-looking bezel, and there is a new steering wheel to tie the interior together. Being a global model, the Tucson is available with a decent list of engines, but here in the U.S. we only get the choice of a 164-horsepower 2.0-liter or a 175-horsepower, 1.6-liter, turbocharged unit.

As far as safety goes, the Tucson is fitted with six airbags, active front head restraints, and electronic stability control. Other safety features like blind spot detection, lane departure, and automatic emergency braking are all optional features that come at a premium. As far as safety testing goes, the Tucson earned a five-star rating from the Euro NCAP. Competing against models like the Ford Escape and the Jeep Cherokee, the Tucson certainly has its work cut out for it. How well does it compare? Check out our full review below to make the decision for yourself.

Update 7-29-2016 Hyundai has announced a number of enhancements for the 2017 Hyundai Tucson. Check out the details in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Hyundai Tucson.

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2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

Launched for 2005, the Tucson compact crossover was Hyundai’s answer to the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and the Ford Escape. The Tucson did surprisingly well its first year, selling over 60,000 units in the U.S. alone. The small crossover slotted under Hyundai’s larger Santa Fe and Veracruz crossovers. Sharing its platform with the Elantra sedan and Kia Sportage crossover, the Tucson proved to be a decent vehicle for moving people and their stuff.

Hyundai launched the Tucson’s second generation for 2010 that included a more stylized look and more efficient engines. The 2015 Tucson is part of Hyundai’s latest experiment with hydrogen fuel cell technology. The new hydrogen system totally replaces the Tucson’s gasoline engine with a power system that runs only on hydrogen, and only emits water vapor and heat as an exhaust.

While the 2015 Tucson isn’t Hyundai’s first attempt at hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, it’s Hyundai’s first successful attempt. The Korean automaker is currently leasing Tucson FCV in select areas of California, including Los Angeles. For $2,999 down and $499 a month, owners can drive their Tucson FCV without the cost of refueling, as Hyundai is including free hydrogen fill-ups at its ‘At Your Service’ maintenance centers.

Updated 08/06/2015: Hyundai announced that the ix35 Fuel Cell (the global name for the Tucson Fuel Cell outside the U.S.) was driven for 24 hours with zero emissions. Behind the wheel were Arnt-Gøran Hartvig (Sports Scientist) and Marius Bornstein (Master of Physics) who traveled around the public roads in Germany, emitting nothing but water vapor. In order to brake the record, the car covered a 186 miles route between Vatenfall’s hydrogen station in HafenCity, Hamburg and a Shell hydrogen station in Sachsendamm, Berlin as many times as possible in 24 hours.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell.

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2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport - Driven

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport - Driven

In the crowded world of family-hauling SUVs, there are literally dozens of “me-too” options that scream out with their boring designs and ho-hum driving dynamics. A field of minivan replacments that are packed full of so many compromises that they fail to excel at any single thing. Despite this, there is one crossover that continually surprises me with both its competence and its quality. That is the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

The Santa Fe Sport is the smaller, two-row version of the Santa Fe. It competes directly with machines like the Toyota Venza, the Chevrolet Equinox and the Subaru Outback, but it does so with a dash of style and value that those others can’t match. When equipped with the optional 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine, it is also a quick performer.

But this Santa Fe Sport doesn’t have the turbocharged motor. It also doesn’t have AWD. In fact, aside from a few equipment options, this Santa Fe Sport the lowest-trim version you can buy. Will the less-powerful, 2.4-liter engine and lack of AWD ruin my feelings about the car? Without the speed and grip, is it still a good match for those competitors? After a week of driving, and a few hundred miles on the clock, I think I have the answer.

Read on to find out more about the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

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2015 Hyundai H350

2015 Hyundai H350

Hyundai is vying to enter the highly competitive European van market with its all-new H350 van. Sporting a familiar face borrowed from its consumer vehicle lineup, the H350 offers configurations as a cargo van, passenger van, and even a flatbed truck. While the H350 isn’t likely to hit U.S. shores anytime soon, the fact Hyundai is taking on the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Fiat, and even Nissan is big news.

The Korean automaker started with a clean sheet of paper when designing the H350. High-strength steels make up a majority of the van’s construction and much attention was paid to its powertrain options. Even the level of interior refinement seems above par for the segment. Hyundai has a lot to prove, after all.

Hyundai gives customers the choice between two separate tunes of the same 2.5-liter, turbo-diesel engine, with the more powerful of the two producing 167 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. The turbo-diesel is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that powers the front wheels.

The H350 comes equipped with a host of safety and driver convenience functions as well. A 4.2-inch TFT display keeps the driver informed on vial stats while a high-strength steel passenger compartment ensures occupant safety. A full suite of electronic nannies help keep the top-heavy H350’s shiny side up.

While Hyundai is currently releasing the H350 only in European and other world markets, a large success there could see it arriving on U.S. shores within a few years. Holding back the process would be diesel development and passing the U.S. emissions standards.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Hyundai H350.

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2014 Hyundai Tucson Walking Dead Edition

2014 Hyundai Tucson Walking Dead Edition

More than just being one of the biggest automakers in the world these days, Hyundai is also pretty adept at preparing for the apocalypse. Whereas other companies aren’t as involved when it comes to gearing up for the day zombies roam this planet, the Korean automaker has been doing the opposite for the past few years.

Hyundai has already released a handful of zombie-prepared vehicles in the past and at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, it introduced its latest survival vehicle. It’s called the Hyundai Tucson Walking Dead Edition, and as the name clearly says, this special edition SUV is based on the hit AMC show.

For its color, Hyundai opted to use an Ash Black shade for the exterior with matching red accents and some dedicated graphics, including four unique decals featuring factions - Hilltop, Kingdom, Saviors and Survivors - from the graphic novel-inspired show.

Inside, the special edition Tucson receives black leather seats, custom floor mats, and a seven-inch touchscreen display with a special The Walking Dead splash screen. A "Zombie Survival Kit" is also part of the package, which has a host of cool items, like a survivalist backpack and a Walking Dead Tucson Quick Reference Guide.

Updated 06/20/2014: Hyundai announced that the new Tucson Walking Dead Edition is now on sale at its dealers around the country. Also, a new set of images was added so you can now see this special Tucson on both exterior and interior.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Hyundai Tucson

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2014 - 2015 Hyundai Tucson

2014 - 2015 Hyundai Tucson

The second generation Hyundai Tucson was announced in 2009 and the only update it received was back in 2011 when the old GL trim was replaced by a new GLS version. Things are completely different for the 2014 model year though, as the Tucson was updated with some minor changes on both the exterior and the interior, but under the hood it received two new, more efficient engines.

The 2014 Tucson will be Hyundai’s first vehicle on the American market to be powered by the new 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine, with other models to follow at a later point. Next to the new engines, the 2014 Tucson is also offering an all-new SACHS Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD), Hyundai’s Blue Link safety, service and infotainment telematics system, two-stage reclining rear seats and third-generation navigation with a larger seven-inch touchscreen display and HD Radio technology.

For 2014 model year the Tucson will be offered in three trim levels: GLS, SE and Limited with prices ranging from $21,450 to $27,700.

Updated 07/22/2014: Hyundai announced prices for the 2015 Tucson which is now available in dealerships. The model received pretty much no changes for the 2015 model year, so prices remained unchanged: $21,500 for the base GLS version and up to $27,800 for the Limited edition. Details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Hyundai Tucson.

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