1997 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution - An Unappreciated Dakar Raider
It’s no secret that Mitsubishi is a pale shadow of its former self. Having numerous successes in rallying, the brand has switched to making bland, cheaply-made crossovers and compact cars. Although Mitsubishi currently finds itself in a state of survival (they put the Eclipse name on a crossover), things were quite different in the 1990s. Not long ago, we talked about the 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Ralliart, which was essentially the two-door “EVO” everyone wanted but never got. But long before it, there was this – the short-wheelbase-only Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution. And there’s a lot to say about it.
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
I’ve already given the introduction to how much Texans love their trucks and how every year the Texas Auto Writers Association gathers to crown the winner; the coveted “Truck of Texas” award. Now let’s get down to some results.
Besides the main award, there were 17 other categories that each of the 75 vehicles fell into. These consisted of titles like “Midsized Crossover Utility Vehicles” and “Luxury Pickup Trucks.” Awards were also given for best connectivity, best powertrain, and best technology.
Each vehicle was subjected to a battery of tests that measured its ability to perform its intended function, whether that be towing, going off road, surrounding its occupants in luxury, or proving a great all-round family hauler. The vehicles were all competing within their respective category for the win.
So which truck, SUV, or crossover took home the Truck of Texas award? Continue reading to find out.
Not much goes together quite like Texas and trucks. It’s the U.S.’ largest truck market by a long shot and it’s plain to see as you peruse any given parking lot. Texans love their trucks. That’s why the Texas Auto Writers Association crowns a Truck of Texas winner every year after an extensive evaluation process.
As a member of TAWA, I spent the better part of a week in the dusty hills outside San Antonio testing 75 contenders vying for the prized top spot. Eighteen automakers from around the world were in attendance, the majority bringing more than a handful of vehicles.
Ground zero for testing was the famed Knibbe Ranch, with hundreds of acres of sprawling across the Lonestar state. Muddy creek crossings and rocky hill climbs, combined with twisty country roads and newly paved highways provided the test beds. Those trucks, SUVs and crossovers brave enough to tackle the off-road section were subjected to rock-strewn dirt roads that punished suspension parts and underbody skidplates. More road-biased crossovers were thrown around narrow roads and up steep hills. The new pavement along the Texas highway was still covered in loose asphalt with orange caution cones proving a tempting (yet highly illegal) slalom course. Thankfully no one attempted that obstacle.
The 60 journalists judging the event had a huge decision to make. What truck, SUV or crossover would be crowned the Truck of Texas? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out. We’ll announce the top winner and the winners of sub-categories on Wednesday.
Click past the jump for a full photo gallery
Small SUVs play an interesting role. They must be able to hold at least five people, fit in tight parking spaces, carry a Home Depot haul, and sometimes even go off-road. Yes, most people usually forget about that last one when buying an urban SUV.
So we decided that we would reintroduce the idea of an SUV made for the off-road with our 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander SE AWD tester. We made sure it was a 4x4 so we could follow the road less traveled… at least that’s what we planned. While the Outlander was in our fleet, we went looking for the hills and the mud, but that just usually made us late for soccer practice. So we were a little disappointed that our SUV fell into the usual suburban trap, but we still made it out alive…