NWAPA Announces 2018 Run to the Sun Awards

(Photo by Doug Berger)
(Photo by Doug Berger)

The Northwest Automotive Press Association named the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio as the Northwest’s Most Fun to Drive Vehicle in their annual Run to the Sun performance car and convertible event. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio impressed the participating journalists with its powerful engine, nimble handling, and Italian-inspired personality.

This year marked the 12th annual edition of the event, which included three days of driving 18 different 2018 and 2019 model-year vehicles on some of the best roads in America — ranging from wide open high desert highways to twisty canyon roads. From our base at the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort, we traveled over Mt. Hood to Central Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge.

“We had three days of spectacular weather, amazing roads, and many of the best performance cars that you can buy,” said NWAPA President John Vincent, a Consumer Advice Writer with U.S. News & World Report.

Vehicles entered in Run to the Sun competed in four categories: Northwest Most Fun in the Sun (Convertibles), Most Fun Coupe, Most Fun Sports Sedan, and Most Fun SUV. An overall winner – the Northwest Most Fun to Drive Vehicle – was also chosen.

Participants were asked which vehicle they would choose as their own based on what they learned over the 527-mile drive route. The course crossed Mt. Hood and traveled as far south as Sisters, Ore. before heading east to the ghost town of Shaniko, Ore., and returning to Mt. Hood. The final day took the group to the historic Mosier Curves in the Columbia River Gorge before crossing into Washington for the return drive to Portland, Ore.

The winners selected by the 18 participating automotive media professionals are:

  • Northwest Most Fun in the Sun — 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
  • Northwest Most Fun Coupe — 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt
  • Northwest Most Fun Sports Sedan — 2018 BMW M5
  • Northwest Most Fun SUV — 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
  • Northwest Most Fun to Drive Vehicle — 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

“Sounding a rip-roaring exhaust note, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio announced it was the vehicle to beat in this year’s event,” said Vincent. “With 505-horsepower on tap, plus a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and an electronically controlled suspension, the Stelvio was well-suited to both the vast straights and twisty canyons on the drive.”

More comments on the winners:

  • “As great as all the vehicles were in this event, you always wanted to be in the Miata when the road got twisty. It’s so much fun to drive that it always puts a smile on your face.” — Perry Stern, AutoNXT
  • “Driving the Bullitt Mustang on the very best driving leg of this event was the most fun I’ve had behind the wheel since driving the Miata on a similar route by myself in my regular vehicle rotation.” — Lary Coppola, AutoReviewers.com
  • It’s hard to imagine a more perfect sport sedan — seemingly unlimited power and grip in comfortable, stylish four-door.” — Perry Stern, AutoNXT on the BMW M5
  • “The Bullitt Mustang is the perfect balance of performance, machismo and Americana. You’ll feel like Steve McQueen every time you walk toward it.” — Tom Voelk, Driven
  • “Enthusiasts that dismiss crossovers simply haven’t driven this Alfa. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio plugs directly into your synapses in a way few sport sedans manage to do.” — Tom Voelk, Driven
  • “BMW brought their ‘A game’ with the M5. It is the perfect embodiment of Grand Touring — a refined vehicle that equally fits in at the symphony or the open track day.” — Deanna Isaacs, The Auto Reporter
  • “A true tribute to a legend. More manageable and more fun to drive than the GT, and kind of like Steve McQueen…instantly recognizable, good looking and cool no matter what year it is or what generation is buying it.” — Vinnie Richichi, Drivetime Radio on the Ford Bullitt Mustang
  • “You know it has more than 500 horsepower, but you’re still surprised and delighted every time you put your foot down with that resulting growl and blasting acceleration.” — Perry Stern, AutoNXT on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio


NWAPA (www.nwapa.org) is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes 55 voting members representing more than 700 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups, and the internet. Non-voting NWAPA members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals.