Utility, roominess, technology, and value were the main criteria in selecting the FAMILY CAR OF TEXAS for 2012, as has been the case for most previous years. The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) held their annual Spring Roundup in Fort Worth and voted the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country as Family Car of Texas.
Second Place was awarded to the new Ford Taurus and Third Place went to the Nissan Quest. Overall, the ‘Best of Show’ honors went to the Town & Country and the Nissan GT-R. Previous award winners for the Family Car of Texas title have been the Dodge Journey, Ford Taurus, and others.
The event was closed to the public, so the only ones in attendance were credentialed journalists and car representatives of the various manufacturers. As a long-time TAWA member and veteran of this annual event, I was active all day long, going from one vehicle to the next, dutifully completing my ballot.
Although the sports cars and track-ready performance vehicles received a lot of attention, the sedans and cars were a major part of the activities, evaluations, and voting. The Compact Car of Texas was awarded to the 2013 Dodge Dart, Second Place to the 2012 Buick Verano, and Third Place to the 2012 Hyundai Veloster.
The Subcompact Car of Texas is the 2012 Fiat Cabrio, with Second Place going to the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, and Third Place to the 2012 Scion iQ. The title of Green Car of Texas went to the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, while Second Place went to the 2012 Nissan Leaf and Third Place to the 2012 Toyota Prius C. The Mitsubishi iMiev competed, but did not place in the top three in the Green Car category.
Full-Size Car of Texas winner was the 2012 Buick LaCrosse, with Second Place going to the 2012 Dodge Charger SXT, and Third Place to the 2012 Hyundai Azera. The Mid-Size Car of Texas was voted as the 2012 Buick Regal GS, with Second Place to the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, and Third Place to the 2013 Volkswagen CC Sport Plus.
The Mid-Size Luxury Vehicle of Texas was voted as the 2012 Cadillac SRX, with Second Place going to the 2012 Infiniti M35h and Third Place to the 2012 Audi A7. The Full-Size Luxury Vehicle of Texas is the 2012 Chrysler 300. The Minivan of Texas award goes to the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country, with Second Place to the 2012 Toyota Sienna, and Third Place to the 2012 Nissan Quest.
There were 49 experienced automotive journalists that were present for the event and were kept busy driving and judging 58 different vehicles. The manufacturers supplied the cars and many of the Public Relations personnel and other representatives were on hand to answer questions and promote their entries. The journalists represented all areas of the 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.
The event was held at the Texas Motor Speedway in the Fort Worth area and is one of two annual events conducted by the Texas Auto Writers. The Spring Roundup includes sports cars, sedans, coupes, convertibles, and other vehicles. 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 loops. This allows the journalists to perform driving maneuvers without interfering with local roadways and traffic.
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 and other cars. The Texas Spring Challenge was first held in Austin and has since been held in various locations around the State.
At the conclusion of the event, the automotive writers completed their ballots and Mike Herzing, President of TAWA, along with the group’s Board of Directors, completed the official tally the next day. The awards will be officially presented to the manufacturers during the State Fair of Texas.
Other balloting and awards included the Best New Feature: 2013 Dodge Dart; Best New Interior: 2013 Ford Taurus SHO; Best Value: 2013 Dodge Dart; Performance Compact of Texas: 2013 Subaru BRZ; Performance Coupe of Texas: 2013 Ford Mustang GT; Performance Sedan of Texas: 2013 Ford Taurus SHO police package; Performance Utility Vehicle of Texas: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8; Supercar of Texas: 2013 Nissan GT-R Black Edition.