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2014 Ram 1500 diesel is the new Truck of Texas

Mon, 14 Oct 2013

In addition to being one of the largest automotive markets in the country, Texas is also Truck Country. So when members the Texas Auto Writers Association talk about the trucks they like, we tend to listen -- as do automakers.

This year, following what we can only imagine was an extra-dusty, extra-gritty Truck Rodeo, TAWA has chosen a new Truck of Texas: The 2014 Ram 1500 pickup. If that sounds familiar, it's because the Ram 1500 claimed the award last year as well.

The difference? This year, judges particularly liked the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine. The diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee was voted SUV of Texas, and the EcoDiesel setup earned best powertrain, to boot. This is a big deal for Ram, a big deal for the Chrysler group and, we suspect, a big deal for diesel powerplants in non-heavy duty vehicles.

Ram extended its roll well beyond the top award: The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Longhorn was selected as the best heavy-duty pickup, the Ram Promaster Cargo earned best commercial vehicle and Ram's five-link coil rear suspension was deemed the best piece of technology. So it's hardly shocking that Ram took the “Truck line of Texas” award as well.

Other notables: The Ford F150 SVT Raptor claimed the award for best off-road pickup for the fifth year in a row. As much as we like -- no, make that love -- the Raptor, it seems like the Blue Oval could use some earnest competition here. Also, TAWA recognized Chrysler's straightforward and functional Uconnect Access system for being the best connectivity package on the market.

Detroit might be a long way from Texas, but there's not much on TAWA's list we'd take issue with. Here's a list of all judging categories and the winning vehicles from each:

-- Truck of Texas: Ram 1500 (diesel)

-- SUV of Texas: Jeep Grand Cherokee (diesel)

-- CUV of Texas: Hyundai Santa Fe

-- Truck line of Texas: Ram

-- Heavy-duty pickup truck: 2014 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Longhorn

-- Best commercial vehicle: 2014 Ram Promaster Cargo

-- Luxury pickup truck: 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn

-- Off-road pickup: 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

-- Full-size pickup: 2015 Ram 1500

-- Midsize pickup: 2013 Nissan Frontier PRO4X

-- Best technology: Ram Five-link Coil Rear suspension.

-- Best connectivity: Chrysler Group's Uconnect Acccess via Mobile

-- Best powertrain: Ram/Jeep 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6

-- Off-road utility vehicle: 2014 Jeep Wrangler

-- Full-size luxury SUV: 2013 Land Rover Range Rover

-- Midsize luxury SUV: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Diesel 4x4

-- Compact luxury SUV: 2013 GMC Terrain Denali AWD

-- Full-size SUV: 2014 Dodge Durango

-- Midsize SUV: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Diesel

-- Compact SUV: 2014 Jeep Cherokee

-- Full-size CUV: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x4

-- Midsize CUV: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

-- Compact CUV: 2013 Nissan Juke (sole entry in category)

-- Luxury CUV: 2014 Acura MDX Advance

By Graham Kozak