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Texas Auto Roundup 2016

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As a fairly new member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association I was in for a real treat with my first ever Texas Auto Roundup. What is this, you ask? Well, it’s when about 150 journalists, media, and manufacturers come together at the Texas Motor Speedway and the journalists get to drive around 50 cars in two days. These are all vehicles that have had major upgrades or changes for the new model year and the focus is on everything except the trucks. (They get their own rodeo in the fall!) So, we’re talking performance cars to mini-vans. Everything from Honda to Tesla. 2 days. Street or track drives. Then lots of rating of each vehicle driven based on experience, price, value, and personal taste. We also voted on Family Car of Texas and Car of Texas.

So, what did I think?

It was AMAZING.

Sure, there were vehicles I wouldn’t have been interested in other wise, but it’s not often you get to try out a car you wouldn’t consider purchasing. One of the cars I was most pleasantly surprised by was the Volkswagon Beetle Dune. I’d never consider buying one but it was super fun to drive and put a smile on my face. It’s a great little car and something I’d love to have for a girl’s weekend getaway or something like that.

Tesla. Did I mention I got to drive a Tesla? That’s right. Model X. Opportunity of a lifetime. The technology in this car is outrageous. From assisted driving to a trip around the track in Ludicrous Mode, I could hardly breathe from excitement. I may have also been texting my husband to make him jealous. Maybe.

Hellcat. SRT. Scat Pack. Oh, Dodge. I’ve always wanted to drive a Challenger. They’re my favorites of the classics remade and the Hellcat did not disappoint. I also drove the Charger Hellcat and the Charger Scat Pack (my favorite on the track!) and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Yes, the Jeep has a Hellcat engine. And yes, it sounds and drives like one. I took it out on the infield track for a couple laps and easily caught and kept up with whomever was abusing the Dodge Viper in front of me.

I got a hot lap in the Viper thanks to a pro driver. Moses Smith from Formula Mazda is my new best friend. I’m pretty sure he enjoys driving fast even more than I do.

Fellow journalist, Marlon Hanson of Focus Daily News went out with me when I took the Chevy Camero around the track. I didn’t drive it as fast as the other performance cars because it felt a little swishy in comparison, but it was fun, and Marlon made a video.

Another really good experience for me was getting to drive a manual Honda Civic coupe and a manual Volkswagon Jetta. I’ve been struggling to re-learn to drive a manual transmission and had gotten discouraged by a tight gear box and hard clutch on another vehicle so hopping into these and being able to drive them without too many issues really boosted my confidence levels. I’m ready now! Send me that Mustang Shelby GT 350R, Ford, and I’ll treat her right!

This week I’m back in a Toyota Tundra (2016 TRD 1794 Edition this time!) and it’s making me eager for the Texas Truck Rodeo this fall!!

A few photos snapped in a hurry as I hopped in and out of vehicles.