Photo: Kevin Brown / State Fair of Texas
Where I live, it’s currently a cold and wet Saturday, but in just a few days I’ll be in hot and sunny San Antonio, Texas for the 2015 Texas Auto Writers Association Texas Truck Rodeo. At this very Texan event, journalist members from all over the country vote for a variety of categories. The biggest award, the 2015 Truck of Texas, will be hotly contested this year. Here’s a preview of what to expect.
Chevrolet Colorado Diesel
Chevrolet just finished their official media launch of the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado with the Duramax diesel. That means they’ll have several samples to drive at the Knibbe Ranch in San Antonio. With 7,600 pounds of towing with 4-wheel drive, the Colorado has nearly full-size truck towing credentials.
The rest of the Colorado is a good truck and has received high marks in the past. Add in the power and capability of diesel, and you might very well be looking at the Truck of Texas.
GMC Canyon Diesel
This truck is the sister to the Chevrolet Colorado diesel, with a little bit different of a look, and a little bit different of an interior. While this truck might be eligible to win the overall Truck of Texas award, it would be my guess that they would want members to concentrate their votes for the Chevrolet model instead of splitting them amongst the two.
Of course Chevrolet’s newest full-size pickup truck will be there, with a new face and new options for 2016. I look forward to driving it to see how it compares to last year’s truck, and to check out the new features.
Like the Canyon, I expect the folks from General Motors to want to concentrate votes on one particular vehicle. It would be my guess that they’ll focus on the Colorado diesel for Truck of Texas consideration.
Like the Silverado, the Sierra has received updates for the 2016 model year. New LED lights, HID headlights, and other luxury features have been added. Additionally, there’s a new power running board that slides backwards to make it easier for people to reach into the bed.
While I feel like a broken record saying this, again I think GM will want people to concentrate their votes on one particular truck for the best chance to bring home a win, and I have a feeling that’ll be the Colorado diesel.
While there are no major changes to the Tundra, the Tundra does have a certain home field advantage. The Tundra is built in San Antonio, not too far from where we’ll be testing the trucks.
The 1794 Edition definitely checks many of the luxury boxes, and if they bring out the TRD Pro again, it’ll surely be a hoot.
While the Tundra might not be new, the smaller Tacoma is all new for 2016. This midsize truck has dominated the segment for awhile, and even though the changes are huge for the new truck, it’s received high praise from everyone who has driven it.
Expect the folks to push for the Tacoma to be their contender for the Truck of Texas title. Considering it’s also built in Texas, it should give them a chance to earn that victory.
As of this moment, nobody in the press has driven the 2016 Nissan Titan. Hopefully, that’ll be different when it comes to Texas Truck Rodeo. Nissan has assured me that they will be there, and it looks like we might even have an opportunity to drive the truck so that we can vote on it for the Truck of Texas title. Though, it might be a drive that’s kept under embargo.
But I digress, the Titan has a serious chance of coming out of nowhere to steal the Truck of Texas title. With the Cummins name attached to an all-new truck, they are hoping to hit the sweet spot between half-ton and heavy duty pickup trucks. That gap, mind you, is getting larger every year.
Prior to last year, Ram Trucks had two victories in a row for the Truck of Texas title. The Ram Rebel will be there for our off-road jollies, but that probably isn’t enough to win it the overall Truck of Texas title.
But keep in mind a few things; Ram has a 5-coil link rear suspension. Ram has an air ride suspension. Ram has a diesel engine that gets 29 MPG on the highway. While it might not be a new truck, don’t count it out. It’s still an innovative truck.
Last year Ford swept the trophies with the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck. They are a powerhouse in Texas, selling a majority of their trucks there. No, there’s nothing major changing for the 2016 model year to wow the judges, but don’t ever, ever rule out the largest truck maker in the country.
What About the Rest?
All the truck manufacturers will have their heavy duty trucks there as well, but the overall Truck of Texas trophy often goes to the light duty trucks that sell in larger volume. There is an individual Heavy Duty Truck of Texas trophy, however.
What do you think? Which automaker is going to take home this year’s Truck of Texas trophy? Vote in our poll below and be sure to sound off in the comments!