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The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results

The 2016 Truck Rodeo: The Full Results

The nitty-gritty on the 70-plus vehicles at TAWA’s Truck Rodeo

By now you’ve probably read how the 2017 Ford Super Duty was crowned the Truck of Texas and that the 2017 Nissan Armada won the SUV of Texas. But the Super Duty and Armada were far from the only winners at this year’s Truck Rodeo put on by the Texas Auto Writers Association.

More than 70 journalists and social media influencers descended upon the 1,623-acre Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas to test approximately 71 pickup trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and commercial vehicles in TAWA’s annual event.

A total of 17 categories grouped the vehicles with their competition, ranging from compact crossovers and full-size SUVs to Off-Road pickups. Other categories included best connectivity, best technology, and best powertrain.

Keep reading for the full results.

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2017 Nissan Armada Named SUV of Texas

2017 Nissan Armada Named SUV of Texas

The Americanized Patrol gets the Lone Star State’s approval

The 2017 Nissan Armada was named the SUV of Texas in the 2016 Truck Rodeo competition held by the Texas Auto Writers Association. The grueling, two-day evaluation process took place on the 1,632-acre Longhorn River Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas and included more than 70 trucks, SUVs, and crossovers from across the industry. More than 70 TAWA members, yours truly included, drove the vehicles in a variety of on-road and challenging off-road courses that pushed vehicles to their limits. As voting concluded, it was the all-new Armada that scored more points for the title honor of SUV of Texas.

"We’re honored to have the all-new 2017 Nissan Armada recognized by the SUV experts of the Texas Auto Writers Association," said Fred Diaz, division vice president and general manager of North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles. "Armada provides a unique combination of luxury, power, and utility, including best-in-class standard towing and a suite of advanced Nissan Safety Shield technologies such as Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Backup Collision Intervention."

As Diaz points out, several of the Armada’s features stand out. Its towing capacity is rated at 8,500 pounds thanks to its 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 it shares with the Titan and Titan XD. The engine kicks out a respectable 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque though a seven-speed automatic transmission and optional full-time 4WD system with low range.

The Armada’s active and passive safety systems rank high with families. The suite includes Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Intervention, Backup Collision Intervention, and the 360-degree Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. Interestingly enough, the Armada is the only SUV to offer Backup Collision Intervention, which automatically stops the vehicle should something come inside its path.

While the Armada is based on the global Nissan Patrol and shares most of its parts with the Infiniti QX80, the Armada’s lower price point make it a better value. A RWD Armada in the base SV trim starts at $44,400. Opting for a 4WD version with the range-topping Platinum trim sends the price to $59,990 before options. The Armada joins the 2017 Ford Super Duty and 2017 Volvo XC90 in TAWA’s top honors. The Super Duty was named the Truck of Texas and for the second year in a row, the XC90 earned the CUV of Texas.

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Nissan Leaf Receives IHS Awards; Scores Record Sales in 2014

Nissan Leaf Receives IHS Awards; Scores Record Sales in 2014

When it comes to all-electric cars, the Tesla Model S is arguably the benchmark in today’s automotive industry. However, the all-American sedan is far from being affordable, with its $65,570 sticker making it as expensive as an Audi A7. As you may know, Tesla is already working on a smaller, more affordable vehicle, but until the Model III arrives, drivers who want to go green can take it to Nissan for a more financially viable option: the Leaf. The Leaf is a compact, five-door hatchback with decent performance and mileage.

It might not be as quick as the Model S with only 107 ponies and 187 pound-feet of torque at its disposal, and a full charge will only take it 75 miles, but the Leaf is the perfect alternative for short-distance travel. And with 30,200 units delivered in 2014 across the U.S., which accounts for the best-ever annual sales figure for any plug-in EV, customers seem to agree with that statement.

Besides posting a record-breaking sales year, the Leaf was also named the best Non-Luxury Traditional Compact Car in the annual IHS Automotive Loyalty Awards, which demonstrates the nameplate’s popularity among EV enthusiasts. It’s important to note that the Leaf is also the only plug-in vehicle to be included in the IHS Awards. That’s solid proof that the market needs affordable, reliable EVs more than it requires supercar-like performance and luxury.

Click past the jump to read more about the Nissan Leaf.

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Crowning the Winner: The 2015 Truck of Texas

Crowning the Winner: The 2015 Truck of Texas

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.

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The 2015 Truck of Texas Competition Preview

The 2015 Truck of Texas Competition Preview

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

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Nissan DeltaWing Included in Popular Science's "2012 Best of What's New"

Nissan DeltaWing Included in Popular Science’s "2012 Best of What’s New"

Though the Nissan DeltaWing has not done too much in the racing world yet, it certainly has gained its share of notoriety. The latest notoriety is likely one of its biggest achievements, as it was named to Popular Science’s "2012 Best of What’s New" list, which is included in the December 2012 printing of the magazine.

Popular Science releases this list every year, which contains 12 different categories and covers 100 new technologies, so making the cut is quite the achievement. We have certainly enjoyed watching the DeltaWing grow ever since it was just an unusual concept on a piece of paper, so its inclusion comes as no surprise to us. Even with its unusual proportions and relatively low power output, the DeltaWing has already run in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Petite Le Mans and is set to run as a classified car in the 2013 American Le Mans Series.

While the 24 Hours of Le Mans race didn’t turn out too well, the Petit Le Mans ended very well, with the Delta Wing placing in the top five.

A belated congratulations to the DeltaWing crew on its fifth-place finish at the Petite Le Mans and a huge congratulations to it for this awesome recognition!

Click past the jump to red Nissan’s full press release on the award.

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TopSpeed's Best of 2011: Concept of the Year

TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Concept of the Year

There are so many auto shows throughout the course of the year that it’s hard to keep up with all of the cool concepts brought to each one. Then again, some of these concepts are so outlandish that they will never see the light of production day anyway, leaving us with the feeling of being offered a delectable chocolate cake only to be reminded of our New Year’s weight loss resolution.

Even if production chances are slim for some, concepts hold a special place in all of our hearts because of the attention to detail automakers put into them. Automakers use these concepts to put out just how much they are capable of doing and quite possibly may do on their future models.

From three different, color coordinated layers of information to V12 engines with spectacular power outputs, concepts have a way of getting underneath our skin and staying there until the production model is attained. This year, our choices are unmistakable and in no particular order: the Jaguar C-X16 Concept, the BMW i8 Concept, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato Concept, the Chevrolet Mi-Ray Concept, and the Nissan Juke Nismo Concept.

Hit the jump for details on each of these imaginative concepts.

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Nissan V2G - Youthmobile 2030 Design Challenge Winner

Nissan V2G - Youthmobile 2030 Design Challenge Winner

Every year the L.A. Autoshow asks manufacturers from around the world to envision the car of the future and then to display their forward thinking designs for all of Los Angeles to see. Every year the theme differs a bit form the year before, this year’s LA Design Challenge is all about what first time drivers will be behind the proverbial wheel of in 2030. While all of the Youthmobile 2030 entries delivered a variety of solutions to future transportation, the judges have spoken and it looks like we will be driving on the GRID because the Nissan V2G will take home the top honor. The 2030 Nissan Vehicle to Grid offers consumers everything from social media to tuner transformations with its infotainment interface and off-GRID gadgetry that allows owners the ability to tailor their future electric vehicles to their specific tastes.

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Press release after the jump.

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Nissan VQ Engine Receives Awards

Nissan VQ Engine Receives Awards

The Nissan 3.5-liter VQ V6 engine has been named to the annual Ward’s 10-Best Engines list for the 13th straight year by Ward’s Communications, Inc. It is the only engine that has been part of the list every year the award has been presented.

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Nissan 350Z - Japanese Performance Car of the Year for 2007

Nissan 350Z - Japanese Performance Car of the Year for 2007

The Nissan 350Z has added another award to its bulging trophy cabinet by picking up the gong for Japanese Performance Car of the Year for 2007, announced in the December issue (on sale now). Beating off competition from rivals including the Mazda RX-8, the Mistubishi Evo IX and the Subaru Impreza, the 350Z was praised for its “stunning looks, equipment levels and value for money.”
Chris Rees, Editor of Japanese Performance Car described why the 350Z took the crown: “The Nissan 350Z sums up (...)

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Nissan WWF Award Winners Selected

Nissan WWF Award Winners Selected

Eighteen college students nationwide have been selected to research environmental issues in Washington, D.C. and South Africa through a new Environmental Leadership Program developed by Nissan North America and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The program aims to empower young leaders on U.S. college campuses to become effective advocates for the environment.
Each selected student receives a Nissan-WWF Environmental Leadership Award, which includes a $5,000 cash award and an opportunity to (...)

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