Texas Auto Writers’ Truck Rodeo Winners


Texas Auto Writers Association
Photo Credit: Kevin McCauley.
The Ram 1500 is again the reigning Truck of Texas. The 2021 Ram 1500 was recently named 2021 Truck of Texas following the organization’s annual Texas Truck Rodeo. Other finalists this year included the Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition and the Jeep Gladiator.

"The SUV and truck market in Texas is strong, and narrow margins between the vehicles confirmed just how competitive this market is this year," said TAWA President Kristin Shaw. “TAWA was the first journalist group to drive Ram's new 1500 TRX and its impressive 702-hp 6.2L HEMI along with undeniable capability on and off road convinced our journalists to rank the Ram 1500 number one in the Truck of Texas category."

The 2021 Dodge Durango was named SUV of Texas, prevailing over the Kia Telluride and Toyota 4Runner. Other awardees include the 2020 Land Rover Defender 110SE as Luxury SUV of Texas and the 2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition as Luxury Pickup Truck of Texas. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 took home the CUV of Texas title for a second consecutive year.

2021 Ram 1500 TRX
2021 Ram 1500 is named Truck of Texas. Credit: Kevin McCauley

Twenty-seven TAWA members voted on this year’s awards, after attending the Truck Rodeo at Hill Ranch outside Austin on October 5-6, 2020. Amid heavy safety and health protocols in place, they evaluated 39 trucks and SUVs on a new off-roading course designed for this year's event. On-road driving opportunities were provided as well. Members considered interior, exterior, value, performance and personal appeal.

"This year, we hosted 13 different brands at the Texas Truck Rodeo and welcomed Land Rover and Rolls-Royce back to the event. Both the Defender and the Cullinan were popular at the event and the former took home the Luxury SUV of Texas trophy," said Shaw.

2021 Dodge Durango
2021 Dodge Durango is named SUV of Texas. Credit: Kevin McCauley.

“Toyota's 2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road retained its title of Compact SUV of Texas, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon maintained its edge as top Off-Road SUV, and Hyundai's elegant Palisade Calligraphy earned top honors as Mid-Size SUV of Texas," continued Shaw.

Texas Truck Rodeo Winners


  • Truck of Texas: 2021 Ram 1500
  • SUV of Texas: 2021 Dodge Durango
  • Luxury SUV: 2020 Land Rover Defender 110SE
  • Full-Size SUV: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat
  • Mid-Size SUV: 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy
  • Compact SUV: 2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road
  • Off-Road SUV: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
  • Full-Size Pickup: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX
  • Mid-Size Pickup: 2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
  • Off-Road Pickup: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX
  • Luxury Pickup: 2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition
  • Heavy Duty Pickup: 2020 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Laramie Night Edition

Additional Awards


  • Best Powertrain: FCA 6.2-liter Supercharged HEMI V8
  • Best Infotainment: FCA UConnect
  • Best Safety or Driver Assist: Nissan ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link
  • Best Towing Technology: Ram Heavy Duty 360-degree Surround View Camera

Land Rover Defender
2020 Land Rover Defender 110SE is the 2021 Luxury SUV of Texas. Credit: Kevin McCauley

“This year has brought a lot of challenges to the automotive industry, and we are grateful for the partnership of our journalist and OEM members to provide an opportunity to have access to vehicles, network, and create content that is vital to our livelihoods and shared passion," said Shaw. "Over the course of two days, journalists had an opportunity to drive more than three dozen vehicles and evaluate them thoroughly."

The 2020 Texas Truck Rodeo took place at Star Hill Ranch in Bee Cave, Texas, for the second year in a row. Sue Mead, an accomplished off-roading journalist and member of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, was course director, overseeing the construction and design executed by Offcamber Design.

Safety and health protocols at this year’s event included requiring face masks, sanitizing vehicles between drives and creating a two-wave event to limit the number of journalists present at one time.
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