Award in top truck state is a big boost for Ford as it launches its aluminium 2015 F-series line in the US

Award in top truck state is a big boost for Ford as it launches its aluminium 2015 F-series line in the US

Texas is the largest truck market in the US, accounting for more full-size pickup sales than the next three states, California, Oklahoma and Florida, combined.

The Texas Auto Writers Association is a group of working journalists that meets in autumn each year for the Texas Truck Rodeo and bestows the coveted title of 'Truck of Texas' on what we consider to be the best of the breed.

The Truck of Texas title is a major endorsement, used in regional and national advertising and promotion almost as frequently as North American Truck of the Year or Motor Trend awards.

This year, 60 writers met at the historic Knibbe Ranch, a working cattle ranch north of San Antonio, for two days of intensive test driving 75 different pickups, SUVs and crossovers on both paved and off-road routes. The weather was beautiful but hot: afternoon temperatures were in the 33C (93F) range.

After all the votes were tallied, the honours went to the new aluminum-bodied Ford F-150. The big Ford, which has been the best-selling pickup since 1978 and America’s favourite light vehicle since 1982, scored a decisive victory over last year’s winner, Chrysler's Ram 1500.

Ford won eight of the 24 categories, second only to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which took nine, including a record fifth consecutive win for the Jeep Grand Cherokee as the SUV of Texas.

Ford’s wins included 'Truck Line of Texas' for the F-Series and 'Crossover of Texas' for the impressive new Lincoln MKC, giving the Dearborn-based automaker three of the top four prizes.

Ford’s new-to-the-US Transit van was the top-ranked commercial vehicle. The Transit is replacing the venerable E-series van which has been the best selling commercial van for more than three decades.

While the F-150 did well in its class, Ford didn’t fare quite as well in other categories, losing to the Ram 2500 in Heavy-Duty trucks and to the Ram Power Wagon in Off-Road Trucks as well as the VM Motori-sourced three-litre diesel/eight-speed transmission as best powertrain.

Jeep was another big winner, claiming victory in all five categories it entered. In addition to multiple awards for the Grand Cherokee, the Cherokee was named Compact SUV of Texas and the Wrangler earned the Off-Road SUV title.

General Motors picked up a trio of trophies with wins for the new mid-sized Chevrolet Colorado pickup, the Chevy Tahoe full-size SUV and the GMC Yukon Denali luxury full-size SUV.

Honda’s significantly refreshed CR-V won as the compact crossover. Subaru’s Outback collected the mid-size title and the Kia Sedona [Carnival] was named the top full-size crossover though more than one writer noted it is actually a minivan. The Land Rover Evoque bested the Mercedes GLA250 in the compact luxury SUV category.

Although the actual behind-the-wheel time was short, the new Ford F-150 seems to deliver on all the promises made for it. But the competition is fierce and the pressure is on: the next Texas Truck Rodeo is already set for October 2015.

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