2019 Run to the Sun

© Doug Berger / NWAPARun to the Sun
Every summer for the past 12 years, members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association — auto writers from states and provinces along the West Coast of North America — gather to test drive the latest convertibles and high-performance cars in an event aptly called Run to the Sun.

© Doug Berger / NWAPADriving, Then Voting
Run to the Sun attendees participate in three days of driving, rotating at specific intervals to ensure all present spend time in all entered vehicles. At the conclusion of the driving portion, journalists cast ballots to pick the best car in each vehicle class, and one model gets further distinction as the Northwest Most Fun to Drive Vehicle. The 24 vehicles entered for the 2019 Run to the Sun were assigned to one of four categories: Convertible, Coupe, Sport Sedan and SUV.

© Doug Berger / NWAPAScenic Route
This year base camp for the 13th annual Run to the Sun was the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, which overlooks the mighty Columbia River. Each attending NWAPA member drove 24 vehicles more than 450 miles over three days. The scenic daily driving routes offered a variety of pavement through abundantly diverse landscapes and conditions, including winding canyon roads along the Columbia River Gorge on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the river, as well as open high-desert highways in central Oregon.

© Doug Berger / NWAPANorthwest Most Fun Convertible — 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club RF
The best-selling convertible of all time, the Mazda MX-5 Miata continues to be a favorite among driving enthusiasts. Attending journalists at the 2019 Run to the Sun confirmed the Miata’s persistent popularity, voting it Most Fun Convertible. The MX-5 RF retractable fastback joined the lineup as a 2017 model. For 2019, power increases to 181 horsepower and the MX-5 receives a standard tilt / telescoping steering wheel. The 2019 MX-5 Miata Club RF kicks things up a notch with a 6-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers, a sport exhaust, a limited-slip differential and a shock tower brace. The Run to the Sun test car also had Brembo front brake calipers, 17-inch BBS forged alloy wheels, heated Recaro sport seats and a black roof.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdditional Run to the Sun Convertibles
2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth
2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4X4
2019 Polaris Slingshot

© Doug Berger / NWAPANorthwest Most Fun Coupe — 2020 Toyota GR Supra
Sports car enthusiasts can rejoice now that the famed Toyota Supra returns after an absence of more than 20 years. The all-new GR Supra derives power from an inline 6-cylinder engine — like every previous Supra model. Toyota partnered with BMW to develop a new platform for the car; the BMW-sourced 3.0-liter engine with twin-scroll turbocharger and variable valve timing produces 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque from 1600–4500 rpm. The engine pairs with a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and shift paddles — a stick-shifting manual transmission is not offered. Toyota engineers tuned the engine, transmission and suspension to create the Supra driving experience. Run to the Sun attendees felt they hit the mark, choosing the 2020 GR Supra as the Northwest Most Fun Coupe over a field of strong competitors.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdditional Run to the Sun Coupes
2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Coupe
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody
2019 Hyundai Veloster N
2020 Lexus RCF Track Edition
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary
2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNorthwest Most Fun Sport Sedan — 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S
The 2019 Northwest Most Fun Sport Sedan is the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S — a new high-performance AMG four door that joins the lineup alongside other AMG GT coupes and convertibles. Combining supercar performance with the convenience of a 4-seater, the GT 63 S sports a hand-built AMG 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo engine producing 630 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. All that power gets delivered to all four wheels through the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission and AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive with drift mode. Additional AMG performance equipment includes a sport suspension, high-performance composite brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential and a performance exhaust system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdditional Run to the Sun Sport Sedans
2019 Genesis G70 AWD 3.3T Sport
2019 Honda Civic Type R Touring
2019 Kia Stinger GTS AWD V6
2020 Subaru Legacy Touring XT
2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL R-Line w/4MOTION
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 2.0T 35th Anniversary Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNorthwest Most Fun SUV — 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD
The Quadrifoglio is the high-performance version of Alfa Romeo’s sporty midsize Stelvio SUV. Named after Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps — considered one of the best driving roads in the world — the Stelvio Quadrifoglio performs like a high-performance sport sedan. This potent SUV derives power from a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque delivered to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio features razor-sharp steering, active sport suspension and available Brembo high-performance carbon ceramic brakes.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdditional Run to the Sun SUVs
2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-SPEC
2020 Ford Explorer ST 4WD
2019 Mercedes-AMG G63
2019 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4
2020 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD Inscription

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNorthwest Most Fun to Drive — 2019 Mercedes-AMG G 63 S
In a field of 24 new vehicles, the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S reigns as the overall Northwest Most Fun to Drive winner for 2019 when compared to the latest model convertibles, high-performance coupes, sport sedans and performance SUVs. Voted most fun by Run to the Sun participants, the AMG GT 63 S combines supercar performance, superb driving dynamics and a refined, luxurious interior. The Run to the Sun car included AMG Style Nappa leather, the executive rear-seat package, a Burmester high-end 3D surround sound system, a driver-assistance package and 21-inch AMG forged monoblock-style wheels. As-tested price: $184,285, which definitely buys some fun in the sun.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Honda Civic Type R

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Mercedes-AMG G63

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 2.0T 35th Anniversary Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Polaris Slingshot

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Kia Stinger GTS

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2020 Subaru Legacy Touring XT

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL R-Line w/4MOTION

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2020 Volvo XC90 T8 E-AWD Inscription

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-SPEC

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Hyundai Veloster N

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Genesis G70 AWD 3.3T Sport

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2020 Lexus RCF Track Edition

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Run to the Sun
2019 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4

© Doug Berger / NWAPA2019 Run to the Sun
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S

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