I just got back from Austin, TX after spending several action-filled days at the 2016 Texas Truck Rodeo, organized by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA). This was my first truck rodeo, but I hope it’s not the last.
This event was based at the Longhorn River Ranch in the hills west of of Austin. Apart from being a beautiful area and home to many wild animals and birds, this was a great setting for evaluation of pickup trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. All together, there were 63 competing vehicles from over a dozen manufacturers at the same place and at the same time. The event attracted 70 journalists and over 90 manufacturer representatives and supporting staff. More importantly, this was a first opportunity to drive several brand new trucks: 2017 Ram Power Wagon, 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, 2017 Nissan Titan regular cab, and others.
The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro received the “Midsize Truck of Texas” award at the event.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and this is a large event indeed. TAWA committee setup three off-road courses: Level 1 (easy), Level 2 (moderate), and Level 3 (difficult). Not all trucks and SUVS were allowed to go on the Level 3 course, but journalists were able to evaluate and compare trucks in the same class back to back and on the same courses. This is a rare opportunity, and I am glad I was a part of it.
The Texas Truck Rodeo bonus is that manufacturers bring their top people, including the chief engineers, to the event. It’s not often you can get executives and engineers from all truck manufacturers at the same table.
Here is our first video from the event, featuring the 2017 Ford Raptor.
Stay tuned for much more. We will also publish off-road first drive videos featuring the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, 2017 Ram Power Wagon, 2017 Ford F-150 FX4, 2017 Nissan Titan regular cab, and 2017 GMC Sierra HD All-Terrain X.
Here is TFLtruck’s first off-road drive in the 2017 Ford Super Duty with the FX4 off-road package.