This year the TAWA Car Challenge was held at the Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur. Although cars seem to be taking backstage to trucks and SUVs, there remain a lot of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks to choose from. This year manufacturers supplied 33 different vehicles for our evaluation. With thirteen different categories(!), including best new interior and best new features, there were lots of decisions to make. Key winners included the 2019 Toyota Avalon, a significantly improved full-size sedan. The Avalon interior was also voted the best new interior. The Avalon’s performance was excellent and handling improved on its new platform. The full-size luxury sedan nod went to the Lexus LS 500…a superb vehicle by any objective (or subjective) measure.
Taking home the Car of Texas bacon was the Lexus LC 500, and while it’s hard to see the Lexus 2+2 handling a Stetson or negotiating a Park Cities car pool, you gotta love its execution. The green vehicle of the year was the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, and while it ‘won’, no other van manufacturers entered the category. TAWA did boast four other Green entries: the Kia Niro PHEN, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Honda Clarity. Midsize car winner went to the 2018 Toyota Camry. Compact performance car was the Honda Civic; I thought it was terrific, and even edged – in my view – Toyota’s 86. Performance sedan and utility went to the Alfa Romeo Giulia and its showroom sibling, the Stelvio crossover. Activity vehicle winner was the Infiniti QX80. Supercar was an incredible 2018 Mercedes Benz GT-R – WOW! This is one difficult car to beat, and no one came close to it at the event.
The best new feature, in my view, was the Amazon Alexa available on the Toyota Avalon. Another new and exciting component was the 2019 Infiniti QX50’s Variable Compression Engine; variable compression may be the wave of the future on powertrains going forward.
As the day of the car seems to be waning, some manufacturers are talking about the elimination of most of their car lines (see ‘Ford’). But one thing is certain: it remains very to hard predict the future in the car business.