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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Chicago 2019: 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

      It's not just for looks


    Toyota is putting on quite the show today in Chicago with the debuts of the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition , Sequoia TRD Pro, and refreshed 2020 Tacoma. But they had one more surprise up their sleeve in the form of the 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road.

    Building upon the Adventure model, the TRD Off-Road begins with an updated suspension that takes some ideas from Ryan Millen's RAV4 rally car campaigned in the Rally America championship a few years ago - new coil springs and revised twin-tube shocks. A set of Falken A/T tires come wrapped with 18-inch matte black wheels.

    Other changes for the TRD Off-Road include a new front grille, red stitching, and the TRD logo on the seats and floormats. Power remains a 2.5L four-cylinder with 203 horsepower. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic.

    No mention of price, but Toyota says the RAV4 TRD Off-Road arrives at dealers this fall.

    Gallery: 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

    Source: Toyota


    Toyota RAV4 Drivers Earn Trail Cred’ Thanks to New TRD Off-Road Treatment

    • 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road Suspension Inspired by Rally RAV4 Race Team
    • Standard Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive
    • Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail All-Terrain Tires
    • TRD 18-inch Flow-Formed Matte Black Aluminum Wheels
    • Exclusive TRD Exterior and Interior Features
    • Standard Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0)

    CHICAGO, February 7, 2019 – The all-new, fifth-generation Toyota RAV4, which launched just two months ago, is already looking ahead with the unveiling of the 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model at the Chicago Auto Show. Arriving in the fall, the newest addition to the RAV4 family will be outfitted with a full array of special Toyota Racing Development engineering and design features for greater trail-driving capability and standout style.
     
    The vehicle that started the segment 22 years ago is now the best-selling non-pickup truck in the U.S. With the latest generation, it is bringing even more sport and more utility. For 2020, the new TRD Off-Road is designed for customers who make the great outdoors a second home.
     
    For the first time, the RAV4 will join a formidable team of Toyota TRD Off-Road SUVs and pickups inspired by the brand’s legendary off-road and desert racers. Beneath the new-generation RAV4’s bolder design, the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) platform provides an ideal base for TRD’s renowned go-anywhere capability and style. Building on the 8.6-inch ground clearance and design features of the RAV4 Adventure grade, the 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road goes above and beyond with suspension, wheels and tires engineered specifically for trail driving.
     
    The Dynamic Force 2.5-liter, 203-horsepower four-cylinder engine, paired with an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission, provides get-up-and-go-anywhere performance and exemplary fuel efficiency. The driver can choose from Sport, Normal and Eco modes. To take more equipment along, such as personal watercraft, dirt bikes or a small enclosed trailer, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds.
     
    Standard Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, as well as distribute torque to the left or right rear wheel to enhance handling on or off pavement. When AWD isn’t needed, such as on long highway stretches, Rear Driveline Disconnect optimizes fuel economy.
     
    Using standard Multi-Terrain Select, the driver can maximize traction by matching the drive mode to the conditions -- Mud & Sand mode for beach driving, or Rock & Dirt mode for trails, and Snow for wintery conditions, for example. The Multi-Information Display (MID) shows torque allocation and slip control data. The new-generation RAV4’s short front and rear overhangs enhance trail-driving capability. In addition, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road will include Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control (TSC), and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) for optimal on-road and off-road performance and safety.
     
    Thoroughly TRD
     
    The 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road takes cues from Toyota’s rich off-road racing history. It shares high-rise roof rails, large over-fenders, and aggressive bumper, grille designs and fog light surrounds with the RAV4 Adventure grade, but with a uniquely TRD personality.

    Inspired by TRD’s successful learnings with Ryan Millen’s Rally RAV4, TRD Off-Road suspension is engineered to enhance body control and small-bump isolation to help smooth out trails and rough city streets. Unique red coil springs are tuned for an off-road focus. The twin-tube shocks are re-valved and feature new internal rebound springs to improve rebound control. New bump stops maximize compression direction wheel travel and help improve body control over large bumps and dips.
     
    The 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road exclusively rolls on lighter and more rigid flow-formed 18x7-inch matte black TRD alloy wheels with Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail all-terrain tires. These all-terrain tires mean business, with a unique tread pattern and compound developed to TRD technical requirements. A rugged square shoulder design helps protect against punctures, on or off road, and the tires are Severe Snow Rated with open shoulder grooving to shed debris, mud and snow.
     
    Available in an exclusive two-tone Magnetic Gray Metallic w/Ice Edge Roof combination, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is accented by dark gray front and rear lower fascias, and front LED fog lights are standard. TRD Off-Road is also available in Midnight Black or Lunar Rock, both of which are available with optional Ice Edge Roof. Other available colors include Ruby Flare Pearl and Super White.
     
    Inside, striking red stitching and red trim accent the cabin. Seat surfaces are covered in comfortable SofTex, which is lighter than leather yet highly durable, and the front seats have “TRD” stitched into the headrests. Exclusive TRD all-weather floor mats and rear cargo mat capture the mud, sand and water dragged in from the outside and easily shake out for cleanup.
     
    Next-Generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0)

    Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0), which is already standard on all 2019 RAV4 models, includes a long roster of active-safety technologies and capabilities:

    • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD)
    • Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
    • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
    • Automatic High Beam (AHB)
    • Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
    • Road Sign Assist (RSA)

    Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) system will also be standard on the 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road.

    Edited by William Maley

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    2 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    I like the styling...maybe the next 4Runner will look like a larger version..the current 4Runner is so ugly.. 

    Agreed, this one is actually nice looking which is rare for Toyota and me.

    I wish GM would plan stuff like this where they bring out a Z71 or SS set of all models at a show. GM needs to get their planning together to better maximize long term loyalty and sales by offering speed across the whole product line and then offer off road performance across their whole product line.

    The one here, one there is just so tiring and not well planned.

    What ever happened to GM Performance? 🤔

    Toyota TRD is Killing them!

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    Well the TuRD model snatches the Adventure's man card, like all of a sudden the Adventure has turned a bit metro, with its cute orange interior trim.  The gray/white roof, dark trim and black wheels with slightly more aggressive tire, plus red interior accents transform it a bit.  The 4Runner is still their genuine off-road capable wagon, but this, for daily driving plus the occasional weekend play, might do it for a few folks.

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    I wonder how much they will charge for beefed up suspension, knobby tires (that will be crap on road) and some body cladding?  And who is going off roading in a RAV4?  But if they can sell a couple thousand of these option packages a month it is probably a pretty easy profit grab.

    The 2.5 liter 4 in this makes 40 more horsepower than the 2.7 liter in the Tacoma.  Why isn’t this engine in the Tacoma?  Does Toyota not know what engines they have in house?

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    15 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    The 2.5 liter 4 in this makes 40 more horsepower than the 2.7 liter in the Tacoma.  Why isn’t this engine in the Tacoma?  Does Toyota not know what engines they have in house?

    100% agreed. That 2.7 is like 20 years old at this point. It's such a worthless engine. 

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    48 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    I wonder how much they will charge for beefed up suspension, knobby tires (that will be crap on road) and some body cladding?  And who is going off roading in a RAV4?  But if they can sell a couple thousand of these option packages a month it is probably a pretty easy profit grab.

    Because it is a TRD Off-Road and not a TRD Pro, it likely won't be too pricey. 

    Personally, I would just want the rear to be able to be locked. I don't know how fancy this new AWD system is but I would just want it to not allow me to get stuck in snow because I wouldn't be off-roading it.

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    5 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Because it is a TRD Off-Road and not a TRD Pro, it likely won't be too pricey. 

    Personally, I would just want the rear to be able to be locked. I don't know how fancy this new AWD system is but I would just want it to not allow me to get stuck in snow because I wouldn't be off-roading it.

    I wonder if any OEM will ever install electric lockers by default. I know electric hubs have become standard, but it seems having a beefy electric locker which has proven itself by the masses would be awesome so you can just flick a switch and lock up. I would love that.

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    33 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I wonder if any OEM will ever install electric lockers by default. I know electric hubs have become standard, but it seems having a beefy electric locker which has proven itself by the masses would be awesome so you can just flick a switch and lock up. I would love that.

    Like what's in some trucks? Or do you mean on a transverse engine mounted AWD CUV? 

    Locking hubs have been gone for a long time now. 

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    1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

    Like what's in some trucks? Or do you mean on a transverse engine mounted AWD CUV? 

    Locking hubs have been gone for a long time now. 

    I was thinking both, Electric locking Diff on trucks as well as AWD CUV / SUVs. 

    It would be really nice and beneficial to folks that due use it allot especially in snow states or off road to have them as part of an off-road package.

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    10 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I was thinking both, Electric locking Diff on trucks as well as AWD CUV / SUVs. 

    It would be really nice and beneficial to folks that due use it allot especially in snow states or off road to have them as part of an off-road package.

    Electronic locking diffs on trucks is available on every truck outside of the Ridgeline, that I can think of. 

    Jeep's system might be the only in a FWD-based CUV that can lock the rear end. 

    Yeah, the Cherokee Trailhawk is the first CUV that I see that has a locking rear diff.

    All of the others have various traction controlled systems for mimic 4-wheel drive. 

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    29 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Electronic locking diffs on trucks is available on every truck outside of the Ridgeline, that I can think of. 

    Jeep's system might be the only in a FWD-based CUV that can lock the rear end. 

    Yeah, the Cherokee Trailhawk is the first CUV that I see that has a locking rear diff.

    All of the others have various traction controlled systems for mimic 4-wheel drive. 

    Thanks for the info, for some reason I thought that most posi lock diffs out there were a manual centrifugal force kind, not the electric switch where you can lock up the diff any time you wanted.

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    57 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Thanks for the info, for some reason I thought that most posi lock diffs out there were a manual centrifugal force kind, not the electric switch where you can lock up the diff any time you wanted.

    Oh no, they've been electronic for quite a while now. The Hummer H2 had an electronic locking rear end when you selected 4L. 

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    On 2/7/2019 at 3:17 PM, Drew Dowdell said:

    I want to like these, but they drive just so poorly.

    Everyone says this, repeatedly, but doesn't seem to affect sales. I think the Hybrid is likely better (as in most Toyotas). Just a mix match of "meh", in your opinion?

    They're everywhere. Goes to show, this size, this price, this look, this capability, etc. is far and away a better, more comfortable and functional daily for most people, than a cramped low sedan...even if the driving dynamics (interestingly) don't get fully baked.

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    I have a co-worker who was looking for a crossover and test drove like 5-6 of them.  Liked CX-5 the most but ended up buying RAV4 because he had Camry before and felt "safe" buying Toyota (even though his Camry had transmission problems)

    I think a lot of people buy RAV4 only because of the badge, similar to many people who buy BMWs.

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    6 minutes ago, ykX said:

    I have a co-worker who was looking for a crossover and test drove like 5-6 of them.  Liked CX-5 the most but ended up buying RAV4 because he had Camry before and felt "safe" buying Toyota (even though his Camry had transmission problems)

    I think a lot of people buy RAV4 only because of the badge, similar to many people who buy BMWs.

    Yeah, Toyota is the 'no-brainer' choice for many mainstream consumers.  I've worked with people that have only bought Toyota for decades.   My cousin Mike has only bought Toyotas the last 20+ years (but he worked for them for 20 years after retiring from the Navy, so he got discounts).   And it's generational, his 3 adult children drive Toyotas, and their adult children drive Toyotas...

    Kind of like how in olden days there were Ford-only families or Chevy-only families. 

    Toyota's most off-road capable SUVs (4Runner and Land Cruiser) are so old now and in need of an update.. 

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    2 hours ago, ykX said:

    I have a co-worker who was looking for a crossover and test drove like 5-6 of them.  Liked CX-5 the most but ended up buying RAV4 because he had Camry before and felt "safe" buying Toyota (even though his Camry had transmission problems)

    I think a lot of people buy RAV4 only because of the badge, similar to many people who buy BMWs.

    They do also offer a pretty good overall package for those who just want space, fuel economy, and a solid overall vehicle. There's absolutely nothing special about them(save for maybe the TRD) but there's also nothing glaringly wrong with them. 

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    23 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    They do also offer a pretty good overall package for those who just want space, fuel economy, and a solid overall vehicle. There's absolutely nothing special about them(save for maybe the TRD) but there's also nothing glaringly wrong with them. 

    That's true.  But he obviously liked CX-5 much more, but went with a "safe" choice, at least in his perception.

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    2 minutes ago, ykX said:

    That's true.  But he obviously liked CX-5 much more, but went with a "safe" choice, at least in his perception.

    Might be a good move considering how little Mazda produces and the cash flow issues they seem to be having. I suspect in the next 10 years they either get bought or go away.

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    27 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Might be a good move considering how little Mazda produces and the cash flow issues they seem to be having. I suspect in the next 10 years they either get bought or go away.

    Mazda never was a big company.  If you look 10 years back they sold in US almost 230k cars.  2014-2015 were best years for them with over 300k cars.  Last year they sold 279k cars. Globally they sell a decent amount of cars too, with last five years showing a healthy growth.  I don't think they go anywhere, the overall trend is still up.  

    Personally, I have a lot of respect for Mazda, for such a small company they have more character and more interesting cars than Toyota and Honda combined.

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    • By William Maley
      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
      Very Polarizing Design

      The consensus from several readers on Cheers & Gears and various social media sites on the Sonata's design was of dislike. Many found the design to be a bit much and overdone. I found myself in the minority as I was impressed by the lengths Hyundai went. The flowing lines and raked roofline reminded me of the 2012 Sonata which gave notice to other automakers to step up their game. Little details such as the bars the run along the outer edge of the hood to the headlights to a distinct rear-end treatment make the Sonata stand out.
      If there is an issue I have with the Sonata's design, it is the grille. I find it to be slightly cartoonish due to the large size and shape.
      Simple, Yet Elegant Interior
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      Despite the coupe-inspired roofline, the Sonata's interior space is quite spacious. Most no one will have any complaints sitting in the back as there is ample head and legroom. Taller passengers should be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof for the Sonata will take away some headroom. The Sonata Hybrid doesn't worry about that as it doesn't offer the sunroof.
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      Next up is another 10.25-inch screen housing Hyundai's latest infotainment system. I like the three-window layout on the home screen that you can customize to your needs. Navigating around the system is a breeze with a response touchscreen and capacitive touch buttons sitting on either side. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
      The next two tech features are exclusive to the standard Sonata. First is what Hyundai calls a digital key. Using the BlueLink application on a compatible smartphone, you can use this instead of the key to start the car and drive away. At the time of this writing, this is only available on Android phones. Hyundai did provide a loner Samsung Note smartphone for the week to try this out. I did not have the best experience with this feature at first because I found you need to be pretty close to the vehicle to make a connection. Trying to connect from my room upstairs, just above where the vehicle was parked, the application would throw up a connection error. I found that if I moved to the living room or just outside the front door, the phone was able to make the connection. This sours some of the appeal of this feature. 
      At least using the phone as the vehicle's key does work a bit better. It only takes a few seconds for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle and you can start it up. Although, I found myself wondering wouldn't it be easier and faster to have the key. The only feature that makes any sense to me is the ability to share the key with other people, but lock down certain aspects.
      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Do you need a V8 engine in your flagship luxury sedan? That's a question I posed myself when a Genesis G90 equipped with a 5.0L V8 engine was dropped off for a week. The standard G90 with the twin-turbo V6 offers an impressive amount of performance and refinement. But the V8 offers much more power, along with some extra goodies you cannot get with the V6. 
      Since our last visit with the G90, Genesis has given a bit of a facelift. The front end prominently features a new diamond-shape. I found myself growing to like it, even if I thought it was a tad too large. But I can see this becoming a point of contention. Other changes include new wheels and a restyled rear end that makes the G90 look a bit cleaner. No changes of note for the interior. It still is very luxurious to sit in and the controls are logically laid out. The only item I'm sad not to see is the new 12.3-inch digital cluster that is found in the all-new G80 and GV80. Opting for the Ultimate means back seat passengers get their own screens mounted behind the front seats. This allows you to tap into the G90's infotainment system to play audio, check various information, and look at the navigation system. Ultimate models come with the larger 5.0L V8 producing 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option. The V8 is a bit of a tough sell when compared to the twin-turbo 3.3L V6 as it slower off the line and not as flexible whenever you need to accelerate quickly. Both engines also are similar in terms of refinement, offer a muted engine note. The only place I found the V8 to be slightly better than the V6 was in my average fuel economy. The V8 returned 24.7 mpg, while the V6 only got 20.3 mpg. A combination of the V8 G90 being rear-wheel and not all-wheel, along with more miles being done on the highway likely contributed to the better fuel economy figures. Ride quality is still on the hallmarks of the G90. With the adaptive suspension in either SMART or Comfort, the G90 glides along any road surface with nary a bump or pothole coming inside.  Around bends, the G90 doesn't feel at home with a fair amount of body roll. There is a Sport model to help reduce this, along with adding more weight to the steering. For the as-tested price of $76,695, you are getting quite a lot of equipment. There are LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, power sunshades, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, memory settings for seats, and much more. The only way I could recommend the G90 Ultimate is either if you're operating a livery service or just want a V8 engine no matter what. Otherwise, you'll be happy with the G90 Premium and its twin-turbo V6. That said, the current G90 is starting to show its age, especially when compared to some of the new Genesis models such as the G80 and GV80. A new model is coming down the pipeline and if the recent models are any indication, the G90 has a real shot of becoming one of the best luxury sedans. Disclaimer: Genesis Provided the G90, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Genesis
      Model: G90
      Trim: 5.0 Ultimate
      Engine: 5.0L GDI V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 5,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
      Curb Weight: 4,817 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, Korea
      Base Price: $75,700
      As Tested Price: $76,695 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
  • Posts

    • • IDK... my friend with the Infinity doesn't have to "hose out" or vacuum it whenever he hauls something around. Mulch is bagged at the HomeDepot, not loose- why are people vacuuming up after bagged items? A few pieces drop off, you shake off the blanket (or tip out the cargo liner), fold it up & you're done. It's not a major calamity. Same with the 'spilled fuel' (don't you have an electric snow thrower yet??  ) - how is that readily happening?  • Full-size SUV's (say; a Suburban) has the interior length, but there are a number of things I mentioned earlier that it's not well suited for. Loose material is one, dumped material is another, actual dirt (for the 'dirty' aspect), leaking/significantly odiferous material, and anything involving -say- demo'd building materials studded with nails or vastly-irregular pieces - these pose actual damage hazards to the interior, whereas a lined pick-up bed can carry extreme lengths, dirt, garbage, stone, 90 cubic feet of brush/grass clippings, mouse-contaminated goods, propane tanks, etc etc. I would not peg the capability of an enclosed SUV vs. a pickup at anywhere "98% overlap". Maybe 70%. SUVs do offer 2 considerable aspects over pickups: security and weather protection. But this discussion (full-size pickups vs. full-size SUVs) seems to be another discussion. • The whole pitch about leaving the tailgate open is a rubber crutch for a 4-ft bed, no two ways around it. "Ledges", please. If dropping the gate means a 4-ft bed is practically a 6-ft bed, then the 6-ft bed is now practically an 8-ft bed and the 2 no longer compete.
    • -So we are back to pick ups, not SUVs? I say that because you sure are not hauling 4x8 plywood in most if not any SUV. BTW, with the tail gate down, the Santa Cruz gains two more feet back there, putting it pretty close to a short bed full size pick up. From an article regarding the tailgate.   "The bed is also 4 feet wide, designed specifically to be wide enough to carry home sheets of plywood from the big box store. That plywood rests on molded-in ledges above the wheelwells, and the tailgate can be adjusted to a half-open position level with the ledges to support the end of the plywood hanging out the back." Making it pretty damn useful for 95% of the population.   -Oh sure. Take the plastic tarp in and out when ever you think you'll need it while still having to vacuum your SUV of the dirt that will still find its way to other parts of said car (to say NOTHING of the smell of said mulch). Now, I throw few hundred pounds in the back of the Santa Fe and all I have to do afterwards is hose it down. Sorry but you can't tout pick ups on one hand and then $h! on them with the other when bringing up SUVs.   -And you go right on ahead and lay that fridge down in any SUV and wait 24-48 hours before you can plug in said fridge because of the freon. Me? I prefer to bring it home and plug it right away. Again, you are picking and choosing between full size pick ups and SUVs whenever it suits your argument. To a point, a full size SUV can do 98% of the stuff your HD can do yet we are not on here touting it over the other because the HD suits YOUR needs. See the problem her yet? BTW, don't even have to fold the handles down on the lawn mower or the snow blower to get it in the car or SUV and I don't have to worry about fuel/fluid spillage INSIDE may car or SUV.   -And of course its not competing with mid-size pick ups because it is not one itself. Not sure what argument you're trying to make here.   One last thing. Two weeks ago, I picked up a used duo grill (gas and charcoal) that was fully put together. As such, it was not going to fit inside my Flex without damaging the inside walls of the car (even with a tarp). Instead, I had to borrow a trailer to haul it. Now, if I had the Hyundai, it would have fit perfectly in the back standing upright, no fuss and no trailer or tarp needed. You have to stop seeing it like there isn't a use for one of these just because you wouldn't have a use for one.
    • mid-'80s : I can remember one of these in my favorite junkyard haunt, esp that peaked center section of the decklid. It was a '67 Fury 4-dr, very dark blue, and someone had painted (very well) 'BUILT TO' and 'BOOGIE' in the large flats to either side of that peaked center.  It was at the end of one of the 2 rows the arrows point to, nose facing 'south'.  Now ask me what I had for dinner last night. 
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