It may be summer, but the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) has released its winners for the group’s annual winter vehicle competition. NEMPA members evaluated a wide variety of vehicles from various manufacturers that covered multiple categories. Each journalist has a chance to cycle through each vehicle throughout New England leading up to the official day of testing and scoring that took place in February at NEMPA headquarters in Middleborough, Massachusetts.
When the results were counted, the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX performance off-roader was named the Official Winter Pickup Truck of New England. Capturing the title in its first year of eligibility at the event, it marks the third consecutive year that Stellantis-based pickup has won the title (2019 Ram 1500 & 2020 Jeep® Gladiator).
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX expands the Ram brand’s light-duty lineup and sets new benchmarks for power and performance among half-ton off-road pickup trucks with its 702 horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter HELLCAT HEMI® V8 engine.
Speaking of the Jeep Gladiator, the 2021 model took home top honors in the “Midsized Pickup Truck” category. The Gladiator continues to be the most off-road capable pickup on the market, engineers and designed from the ground up to handle the demands of an active lifestyle, whether in extreme desert heat or, in the case of the NEMPA Winter Vehicle Driving Event, a cold New England winter.
Not surprisingly, the recently updated 2021 Chrysler Pacifica has found its way to the top of the “People Mover” category. The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica now offers all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability paired with Stow ‘n Go seating for the first time ever. Pacifica’s AWD system engages seamlessly at any speed, without any activation required by the driver. The system automatically activates the transfer of all available engine torque to the wheels with more traction. It can also detect when AWD is not needed and disconnect the power-transfer unit and rear drive module automatically to stop the driveshaft from spinning, reducing driveline drag, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing emissions — a class-exclusive in the minivan segment.
“The Ram 1500 TRX earned the top spot as the overall winner,” said John Paul, President, New England Motor Press Association. “The mighty TRX is designed to handle the harshest conditions, including snow, and satisfies the New England motorist in every detail from its supercharged engine to its 35-inch tires. The Jeep Gladiator doesn’t just handle New England winters, it dominates them, which is why it’s a favorite and repeat winner in taking NEMPA honors. Chrysler Pacifica now offers true all-wheel-drive that can handle not just New England winters, but with its full suite of safety features, further adds to driver and passenger safety. Add in one of the best infotainment systems and Pacifica is the NEMPA best-in-class People Mover.”