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  1. It seems we were right on the money with our guess concerning Toyota's Chicago Auto Show debuts. Today, the Japanese automaker introduced updated versions of the TRD Pro family, comprised of the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra. The big story with the update deals with the suspension. All TRD Pro models now come with aluminum-bodied 2.5-inch TRD Fox Internal Bypass shocks. The shocks promise improved damping for on- and off-road situations, and each models gets their own specific tuning for the shocks. All models also get new front springs to improve ground clearance and provide a more comfortable ride. Each TRD Pro model gets their own setup in terms of the rear suspension, 4Runner: TRD Coil Springs Tacoma: Progressive-Rate Off-Road Leaf Springs Tundra: Leaf Springs found on TRD Off-Road Trim Toyota has also made various changes in terms of exterior and features for each TRD Pro model. 4Runner: 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels, 1/4-inch front skid plate, and new roof rack Tacoma: 1-inch wider track for the front and rear, 16-inch TRD alloy wheels finished in black, thicker front skid plate, and optional TRD Desert Air Intake (also called a snorkel) Tundra: New LED head and foglights, grille, hood scoop, and 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels Pricing will be announced closer to the launch of the TRD Pro models, which is expected to happen this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Game Changer: 2019 Toyota TRD Pros Typify Ultimate Off-Road Performance Next-Generation 4Runner and Tundra TRD Pro Feature All-New Fox shocks; Tacoma TRD Pro to Feature New TRD Desert Air Intake Fox 2.5-inch Internal Bypass Shocks Featured on Entire TRD Pro Lineup Tacoma TRD Pro Offers Available TRD Desert Air Intake New TRD Roof Rack on 4Runner TRD Pro Tundra TRD Pro Fitted with Rigid Fog Lights and BBS Wheels Three Colors Offered: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, and Voodoo Blue (TRD Pro-Exclusive) CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2018) – The pulse-pounding, heart-racing TRD Pro Series from Toyota returns for its next generation of off-road dominance. For 2019, Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma will all feature Fox shocks and a host of impressive off-road equipment tuned and designed by the engineers at Toyota Racing Development (TRD). First unveiled in 2014, the TRD Pro lineup was born from Toyota’s rich racing and off-road heritage. All TRD Pro vehicles offer unique styling, as well as highly capable, tried and tested performance off-road equipment, specifically tailored for when the pavement runs out. The 2019 TRD Pro series will be available in fall of 2018, and each vehicle will be offered in three colors that include Super White, Midnight Black Metallic or Voodoo Blue (a TRD Pro exclusive color). Wanna go places? TRD Pro is the ultimate tool to get you there and back. Only as Good as Your Suspension As any seasoned adventurer knows, a true off-road vehicle is only as good as its suspension. For 2019, the entire TRD Pro family rides on 2.5-inch TRD Pro-exclusive Fox Internal Bypass shocks. Tuned specifically for each vehicle by the engineers at TRD, the aluminum-bodied Fox shocks offer impressive performance and supreme damping for a wide variety of driving situations. High-speed desert running, slow-speed rock crawling, or simply driving to and from work – drivers and passengers will be as comfortable as they are confident. Whereas off-road race vehicles traditionally have external bypass tubes on their shock bodies to fine-tune damping pressure, each high-tech Fox shock compactly incorporates bypass zones inside of the shock. These multiple bypass zones offer a cushioned, plush ride during typical operation but get progressively stiffer through the shock stroke to provide excellent bottoming resistance. The front shocks are paired with specially-tuned TRD springs designed for excellent ride comfort and to also produce additional lift, giving each TRD Pro an aggressive, heightened stance for improved trail-conquering capability. A combination of high-temperature shock fluid and nitrogen gas pressure are employed inside each Fox shock to improve bump compliance and to help maximize seal life. Every TRD Pro model features rear 2.5-inch Fox shocks that utilize a piggyback reservoir to house additional oil volume, which assists in maintaining peak damping performance during extreme use. Tundra relies on the beefy rear leaf springs also equipped on the TRD Off-Road grade, 4Runner utilizes the TRD Off-Road grade rear coil springs, while Tacoma features progressive-rate off-road leaf springs out back to allow more compression suspension travel to aid performance over rough terrain. TRD dust boots are utilized front and rear to offer added protection to help keep dust and dirt out, and 4Runner utilizes unique roost shields to help protect the inverted rear shock. Tacoma TRD Pro: Civilized Commuter or Trail-Tackling Specialist Based on the very trail-capable TRD Off-Road grade, Tacoma TRD Pro ups the ante with enhanced 2.5-inch Fox front shocks that use large 46mm pistons and feature 8 bypass zones (5 compression, 3 rebound). They are paired with TRD-tuned springs that provide an additional 1 inch of front lift. A larger front sway bar is employed to retain crisp steering and refined road manners. The Tacoma also features 2.5-inch rear shocks that use 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) and are paired with 2-inch piggyback reservoirs. A host of additional TRD equipment finds its way onto the new Tacoma TRD Pro, including an updated front skid plate with TRD red lettering, while the cat-back TRD exhaust is accented with a new Black Chrome tip. Inside, passengers are treated to standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with subwoofer amplifier and Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Tacoma is equipped with TRD Pro-branded floor mats and leather-trimmed seats with TRD Pro emblems on the front headrests. Distinguishing the exterior are unique TRD Pro badges, projector-beam headlights with black sport bezels and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Rigid Industries LED fog lights, taillights with black sport bezels, and a black TOYOTA grille. Thanks to the offset of the 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels, Tacoma has a 1-inch wider track both front and rear for added stability. Trail and pavement traction comes in the form of P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar All-Terrain tires. TRD Desert Air Intake: Clearing Tacoma’s Sinuses, No Prescription Needed The most eye-catching of the Tacoma upgrades, no doubt, is the available all-new TRD Desert Air Intake. Designed to sustain consistent off-road performance no matter how silty or dirty the terrain gets, the TRD Desert Air Intake takes the 278-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine’s air intake away from dust that hovers inside the wheel well (where traditional air intakes are located) during off-road operation. This allows for air ingestion to occur in a cleaner space above the windshield, therefore, helping to benefit filter longevity and, ultimately, engine health. Tundra TRD Pro: Boastful New Additions Tundra TRD Pro also gets its fair share of new features for 2019. Of course, Tundra is equipped with new Fox 2.5-inch front shocks that boast beefy 46 mm pistons. The TRD-tuned springs provide an additional 2 inches of front lift, and front wheel travel is increased more than 1.5 inches. The front shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 bypass) to fine-tune damping performance for off-road romps while retaining composed on-road manners. The Tundra also employs 2.5-inch rear Fox shocks that feature an impressive 12 bypass zones (8 compression, 4 bypass). The rear shocks feature 2.5-inch piggyback reservoirs, and wheel travel is increased by more than 2 inches in the rear. Taking a cue from little brother, big bro Tundra gets new Rigid Industries LED fog lights for improved visibility on and off the highway, in a variety of weather conditions. Tundra also features LED headlights with LED accent lights and a unique black treatment. A new TOYOTA grille plus new hood scoop add style to Tundra’s brawny front end. Out back, TRD Pro stamping is found on the bed’s rear quarter panels. New 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels are featured on Tundra, which reduce un-sprung mass 3.35 lbs. per wheel (13.4 lbs. total) to improve cornering response and overall ride quality. The new wheels are wrapped in Michelin P275/65R18 all-terrain tires to provide a sure footing in dirt and on pavement. Inside, TRD Pro logos garnish the driver and front passenger leather-trimmed seats, while red stitching accents the dash, seats and armrests. TRD Pro floor mats, shift knob and a center-console emblem help complete the distinctive look. Providing added growl on the highway and the trail is a dual TRD Pro exhaust, which is fitted with new Black Chrome exhaust tips. A TRD Pro 1/4-inch skid plate sporting signature red Toyota lettering is found underneath the front end. Tundra TRD Pro will offer an available moonroof. 4Runner TRD Pro: The Legend Grows 4Runner needs no introduction. The iconic SUV is one of the most legendary off-road vehicles in Toyota’s history. For 2019, TRD Pro takes 4Runner’s world-renowned trail capability to the next level. 4Runner’s Fox shocks not only enhance its off-road performance but, paired with the TRD-tuned front springs, the package lifts its front 1 inch compared to other grades, while also providing nearly 1 inch of additional wheel travel. The 2.5-inch front shocks employ 46 mm pistons and include 7 bypass zones (4 compression, 3 rebound). In the rear, the 2.5-inch Fox shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) to fine-tune the low- and high-speed compression, and 2-inch piggyback reservoirs house additional oil to retain damping performance when it’s needed most. A unique TRD roost shield offers additional protection for the inverted shock design in the rear. 4Runner adds a new roof rack for stashing additional gear outside of the cabin (say, dirty gear or laundry after a weekend camping trip).The 1/4-inch-thick front skid plate also sports new red TRD lettering. 4Runner features 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels with an offset change to provide it with nearly a 1-inch wider track front and rear for added stability. Nitto Terra Grappler P265/70R17 A/T tires provide all-terrain performance for whatever the situation demands. Like Tacoma, 4Runner TRD Pro passengers can jam to tunes from a new-for-2019 standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Other interior appointments include TRD Pro floor mats, TRD shift knob, and red-stitched Softex seats with red TRD logos on the front headrests. Additional TRD Pro exterior features include LED fog lights, blacked-out TOYOTA grille, and projector-beam headlights with smoked trim. Even on the Most Capable, Safety is Paramount Even though capability and toughness are at the core of the TRD Pro Series, safety is still the utmost priority. All three TRD Pro models feature the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Tundra and Tacoma come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which features Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Sway Warning System (SWS), Automatic High Beams (AHB) and high-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). View full article
  2. It seems we were right on the money with our guess concerning Toyota's Chicago Auto Show debuts. Today, the Japanese automaker introduced updated versions of the TRD Pro family, comprised of the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra. The big story with the update deals with the suspension. All TRD Pro models now come with aluminum-bodied 2.5-inch TRD Fox Internal Bypass shocks. The shocks promise improved damping for on- and off-road situations, and each models gets their own specific tuning for the shocks. All models also get new front springs to improve ground clearance and provide a more comfortable ride. Each TRD Pro model gets their own setup in terms of the rear suspension, 4Runner: TRD Coil Springs Tacoma: Progressive-Rate Off-Road Leaf Springs Tundra: Leaf Springs found on TRD Off-Road Trim Toyota has also made various changes in terms of exterior and features for each TRD Pro model. 4Runner: 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels, 1/4-inch front skid plate, and new roof rack Tacoma: 1-inch wider track for the front and rear, 16-inch TRD alloy wheels finished in black, thicker front skid plate, and optional TRD Desert Air Intake (also called a snorkel) Tundra: New LED head and foglights, grille, hood scoop, and 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels Pricing will be announced closer to the launch of the TRD Pro models, which is expected to happen this fall. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Game Changer: 2019 Toyota TRD Pros Typify Ultimate Off-Road Performance Next-Generation 4Runner and Tundra TRD Pro Feature All-New Fox shocks; Tacoma TRD Pro to Feature New TRD Desert Air Intake Fox 2.5-inch Internal Bypass Shocks Featured on Entire TRD Pro Lineup Tacoma TRD Pro Offers Available TRD Desert Air Intake New TRD Roof Rack on 4Runner TRD Pro Tundra TRD Pro Fitted with Rigid Fog Lights and BBS Wheels Three Colors Offered: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, and Voodoo Blue (TRD Pro-Exclusive) CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2018) – The pulse-pounding, heart-racing TRD Pro Series from Toyota returns for its next generation of off-road dominance. For 2019, Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma will all feature Fox shocks and a host of impressive off-road equipment tuned and designed by the engineers at Toyota Racing Development (TRD). First unveiled in 2014, the TRD Pro lineup was born from Toyota’s rich racing and off-road heritage. All TRD Pro vehicles offer unique styling, as well as highly capable, tried and tested performance off-road equipment, specifically tailored for when the pavement runs out. The 2019 TRD Pro series will be available in fall of 2018, and each vehicle will be offered in three colors that include Super White, Midnight Black Metallic or Voodoo Blue (a TRD Pro exclusive color). Wanna go places? TRD Pro is the ultimate tool to get you there and back. Only as Good as Your Suspension As any seasoned adventurer knows, a true off-road vehicle is only as good as its suspension. For 2019, the entire TRD Pro family rides on 2.5-inch TRD Pro-exclusive Fox Internal Bypass shocks. Tuned specifically for each vehicle by the engineers at TRD, the aluminum-bodied Fox shocks offer impressive performance and supreme damping for a wide variety of driving situations. High-speed desert running, slow-speed rock crawling, or simply driving to and from work – drivers and passengers will be as comfortable as they are confident. Whereas off-road race vehicles traditionally have external bypass tubes on their shock bodies to fine-tune damping pressure, each high-tech Fox shock compactly incorporates bypass zones inside of the shock. These multiple bypass zones offer a cushioned, plush ride during typical operation but get progressively stiffer through the shock stroke to provide excellent bottoming resistance. The front shocks are paired with specially-tuned TRD springs designed for excellent ride comfort and to also produce additional lift, giving each TRD Pro an aggressive, heightened stance for improved trail-conquering capability. A combination of high-temperature shock fluid and nitrogen gas pressure are employed inside each Fox shock to improve bump compliance and to help maximize seal life. Every TRD Pro model features rear 2.5-inch Fox shocks that utilize a piggyback reservoir to house additional oil volume, which assists in maintaining peak damping performance during extreme use. Tundra relies on the beefy rear leaf springs also equipped on the TRD Off-Road grade, 4Runner utilizes the TRD Off-Road grade rear coil springs, while Tacoma features progressive-rate off-road leaf springs out back to allow more compression suspension travel to aid performance over rough terrain. TRD dust boots are utilized front and rear to offer added protection to help keep dust and dirt out, and 4Runner utilizes unique roost shields to help protect the inverted rear shock. Tacoma TRD Pro: Civilized Commuter or Trail-Tackling Specialist Based on the very trail-capable TRD Off-Road grade, Tacoma TRD Pro ups the ante with enhanced 2.5-inch Fox front shocks that use large 46mm pistons and feature 8 bypass zones (5 compression, 3 rebound). They are paired with TRD-tuned springs that provide an additional 1 inch of front lift. A larger front sway bar is employed to retain crisp steering and refined road manners. The Tacoma also features 2.5-inch rear shocks that use 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) and are paired with 2-inch piggyback reservoirs. A host of additional TRD equipment finds its way onto the new Tacoma TRD Pro, including an updated front skid plate with TRD red lettering, while the cat-back TRD exhaust is accented with a new Black Chrome tip. Inside, passengers are treated to standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with subwoofer amplifier and Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Tacoma is equipped with TRD Pro-branded floor mats and leather-trimmed seats with TRD Pro emblems on the front headrests. Distinguishing the exterior are unique TRD Pro badges, projector-beam headlights with black sport bezels and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Rigid Industries LED fog lights, taillights with black sport bezels, and a black TOYOTA grille. Thanks to the offset of the 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels, Tacoma has a 1-inch wider track both front and rear for added stability. Trail and pavement traction comes in the form of P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar All-Terrain tires. TRD Desert Air Intake: Clearing Tacoma’s Sinuses, No Prescription Needed The most eye-catching of the Tacoma upgrades, no doubt, is the available all-new TRD Desert Air Intake. Designed to sustain consistent off-road performance no matter how silty or dirty the terrain gets, the TRD Desert Air Intake takes the 278-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine’s air intake away from dust that hovers inside the wheel well (where traditional air intakes are located) during off-road operation. This allows for air ingestion to occur in a cleaner space above the windshield, therefore, helping to benefit filter longevity and, ultimately, engine health. Tundra TRD Pro: Boastful New Additions Tundra TRD Pro also gets its fair share of new features for 2019. Of course, Tundra is equipped with new Fox 2.5-inch front shocks that boast beefy 46 mm pistons. The TRD-tuned springs provide an additional 2 inches of front lift, and front wheel travel is increased more than 1.5 inches. The front shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 bypass) to fine-tune damping performance for off-road romps while retaining composed on-road manners. The Tundra also employs 2.5-inch rear Fox shocks that feature an impressive 12 bypass zones (8 compression, 4 bypass). The rear shocks feature 2.5-inch piggyback reservoirs, and wheel travel is increased by more than 2 inches in the rear. Taking a cue from little brother, big bro Tundra gets new Rigid Industries LED fog lights for improved visibility on and off the highway, in a variety of weather conditions. Tundra also features LED headlights with LED accent lights and a unique black treatment. A new TOYOTA grille plus new hood scoop add style to Tundra’s brawny front end. Out back, TRD Pro stamping is found on the bed’s rear quarter panels. New 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum, five-spoke satin black wheels are featured on Tundra, which reduce un-sprung mass 3.35 lbs. per wheel (13.4 lbs. total) to improve cornering response and overall ride quality. The new wheels are wrapped in Michelin P275/65R18 all-terrain tires to provide a sure footing in dirt and on pavement. Inside, TRD Pro logos garnish the driver and front passenger leather-trimmed seats, while red stitching accents the dash, seats and armrests. TRD Pro floor mats, shift knob and a center-console emblem help complete the distinctive look. Providing added growl on the highway and the trail is a dual TRD Pro exhaust, which is fitted with new Black Chrome exhaust tips. A TRD Pro 1/4-inch skid plate sporting signature red Toyota lettering is found underneath the front end. Tundra TRD Pro will offer an available moonroof. 4Runner TRD Pro: The Legend Grows 4Runner needs no introduction. The iconic SUV is one of the most legendary off-road vehicles in Toyota’s history. For 2019, TRD Pro takes 4Runner’s world-renowned trail capability to the next level. 4Runner’s Fox shocks not only enhance its off-road performance but, paired with the TRD-tuned front springs, the package lifts its front 1 inch compared to other grades, while also providing nearly 1 inch of additional wheel travel. The 2.5-inch front shocks employ 46 mm pistons and include 7 bypass zones (4 compression, 3 rebound). In the rear, the 2.5-inch Fox shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) to fine-tune the low- and high-speed compression, and 2-inch piggyback reservoirs house additional oil to retain damping performance when it’s needed most. A unique TRD roost shield offers additional protection for the inverted shock design in the rear. 4Runner adds a new roof rack for stashing additional gear outside of the cabin (say, dirty gear or laundry after a weekend camping trip).The 1/4-inch-thick front skid plate also sports new red TRD lettering. 4Runner features 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels with an offset change to provide it with nearly a 1-inch wider track front and rear for added stability. Nitto Terra Grappler P265/70R17 A/T tires provide all-terrain performance for whatever the situation demands. Like Tacoma, 4Runner TRD Pro passengers can jam to tunes from a new-for-2019 standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Other interior appointments include TRD Pro floor mats, TRD shift knob, and red-stitched Softex seats with red TRD logos on the front headrests. Additional TRD Pro exterior features include LED fog lights, blacked-out TOYOTA grille, and projector-beam headlights with smoked trim. Even on the Most Capable, Safety is Paramount Even though capability and toughness are at the core of the TRD Pro Series, safety is still the utmost priority. All three TRD Pro models feature the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Tundra and Tacoma come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which features Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Sway Warning System (SWS), Automatic High Beams (AHB) and high-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
  3. William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2016 Toyota 4Runner Trail Premium

    It has been a couple of years since we last checked out the Toyota 4Runner. Since that time, the crossover marketplace has grown even further and becoming the clear choice for many consumers. But there are still some who want/need the capability of an SUV like the 4Runner. Who should consider it? Toyota hasn’t changed the 4Runner’s exterior since we last checked it out. This isn’t a bad thing since one of the things I liked about it was the styling. The front end still looks like it is wearing a muzzle with a large surround for the grille and chunky front bumper. Other design details to take in are a set of flared out wheel arches, hood scoop, and rear tailgate with a window that can be raised or lowered. The interior follows the exterior with no real changes. Many materials are of the hard plastic variety which is ok considering the off-road character of the 4Runner. Having materials that can stand up to rough and tumble of off-road conditions isn’t a bad thing. The chunky knobs and simple layout of the dashboard are still here, making it easy to find certain controls when on the move. It would be nice if Toyota could swap the 6.1-inch touchscreen for something a little bit larger. It isn’t as easy to read at a glance and more often than not, you’ll be hitting the wrong touchscreen button. At least the Entune infotainment system is simple to understand. Space is plentiful for passengers in both rows with an abundance of head and legroom. There is the option of a third row, but it would be wise to skip it since it isn’t comfortable for most people to due to the minuscule amount of legroom. The powertrain remains a 4.0L V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, and a five-speed automatic transmission. Most trims will have the choice of either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The TRD Pro and Trail (the model seen here) only come with four-wheel drive. The power figures may make you believe that the 4Runner has enough grunt for the daily grind, but it falters once you take it out on the road. Around town, the V6 provides a decent amount of grunt. But where the engine falters is trying to make a pass or merging onto a freeway. It seems to make more noise than actual power in these situations. The automatic transmission provides smooth gear changes. But adding an extra gear would not be a bad thing since would drop engine rpm on the expressway and improve overall fuel economy. I got an average of 19 mpg for the week - EPA fuel economy figures stand at 17 City/21 Highway/18 Combined for 4WD models. SUVs have made progress in terms of ride and handling, but you wouldn’t know that if you were driving a Toyota 4Runner. Take for example the ride quality. At low speeds, the 4Runner’s suspension does a good job with smoothing over bumpers. At higher speeds such as driving on a freeway, the ride becomes very bouncy. Going around a corner isn’t a pleasant experience as there is a fair amount of body lean. Steering is on the heavy and makes certain tasks such as pulling into a parking space a bit of a chore. But the 4Runner does redeem itself when it comes to off-road driving. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to take this 4Runner off-road which is quite a shame because the Trail adds some goodies to help when it comes to going off the beaten path. There is a locking rear differential, Crawl Control which is a low-speed cruise control system to allow the SUV go through a rocky trail, Multi-Terrain Select that alters throttle and traction control settings for various conditions, and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that adjusts the suspension to allow for more wheel travel. The Toyota 4Runner is an old-school SUV wrapped up in modern clothing. It makes no apologies for what it is and that is something I respect. This is a model that should be considered by those who want to go to special place in the woods or out in the desert on a regular basis. If you’re not planning to go off-road on a regular basis, then the 4Runner is a poor choice. Stick with a crossover or something like a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 4Runner, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Toyota Model: 4Runner Trim: Trail Premium Engine: 4.0L DOHC Dual VVT-i 24-Valve V6 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, 4WD Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/21/18 Curb Weight: 4,750 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $39,095 As Tested Price: $40,148 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge and $750.00 'Keep it Wild' savings) Options: Remote Engine Start - $499.00 All Weather Mats/Cargo Tray - $200.00 Cargo Cover - $155.00 Cargo Net - $49.00
  4. It has been a couple of years since we last checked out the Toyota 4Runner. Since that time, the crossover marketplace has grown even further and becoming the clear choice for many consumers. But there are still some who want/need the capability of an SUV like the 4Runner. Who should consider it? Toyota hasn’t changed the 4Runner’s exterior since we last checked it out. This isn’t a bad thing since one of the things I liked about it was the styling. The front end still looks like it is wearing a muzzle with a large surround for the grille and chunky front bumper. Other design details to take in are a set of flared out wheel arches, hood scoop, and rear tailgate with a window that can be raised or lowered. The interior follows the exterior with no real changes. Many materials are of the hard plastic variety which is ok considering the off-road character of the 4Runner. Having materials that can stand up to rough and tumble of off-road conditions isn’t a bad thing. The chunky knobs and simple layout of the dashboard are still here, making it easy to find certain controls when on the move. It would be nice if Toyota could swap the 6.1-inch touchscreen for something a little bit larger. It isn’t as easy to read at a glance and more often than not, you’ll be hitting the wrong touchscreen button. At least the Entune infotainment system is simple to understand. Space is plentiful for passengers in both rows with an abundance of head and legroom. There is the option of a third row, but it would be wise to skip it since it isn’t comfortable for most people to due to the minuscule amount of legroom. The powertrain remains a 4.0L V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, and a five-speed automatic transmission. Most trims will have the choice of either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The TRD Pro and Trail (the model seen here) only come with four-wheel drive. The power figures may make you believe that the 4Runner has enough grunt for the daily grind, but it falters once you take it out on the road. Around town, the V6 provides a decent amount of grunt. But where the engine falters is trying to make a pass or merging onto a freeway. It seems to make more noise than actual power in these situations. The automatic transmission provides smooth gear changes. But adding an extra gear would not be a bad thing since would drop engine rpm on the expressway and improve overall fuel economy. I got an average of 19 mpg for the week - EPA fuel economy figures stand at 17 City/21 Highway/18 Combined for 4WD models. SUVs have made progress in terms of ride and handling, but you wouldn’t know that if you were driving a Toyota 4Runner. Take for example the ride quality. At low speeds, the 4Runner’s suspension does a good job with smoothing over bumpers. At higher speeds such as driving on a freeway, the ride becomes very bouncy. Going around a corner isn’t a pleasant experience as there is a fair amount of body lean. Steering is on the heavy and makes certain tasks such as pulling into a parking space a bit of a chore. But the 4Runner does redeem itself when it comes to off-road driving. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to take this 4Runner off-road which is quite a shame because the Trail adds some goodies to help when it comes to going off the beaten path. There is a locking rear differential, Crawl Control which is a low-speed cruise control system to allow the SUV go through a rocky trail, Multi-Terrain Select that alters throttle and traction control settings for various conditions, and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that adjusts the suspension to allow for more wheel travel. The Toyota 4Runner is an old-school SUV wrapped up in modern clothing. It makes no apologies for what it is and that is something I respect. This is a model that should be considered by those who want to go to special place in the woods or out in the desert on a regular basis. If you’re not planning to go off-road on a regular basis, then the 4Runner is a poor choice. Stick with a crossover or something like a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 4Runner, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2016 Make: Toyota Model: 4Runner Trim: Trail Premium Engine: 4.0L DOHC Dual VVT-i 24-Valve V6 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, 4WD Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/21/18 Curb Weight: 4,750 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $39,095 As Tested Price: $40,148 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge and $750.00 'Keep it Wild' savings) Options: Remote Engine Start - $499.00 All Weather Mats/Cargo Tray - $200.00 Cargo Cover - $155.00 Cargo Net - $49.00 View full article
  5. Toyota Motor Sales Reports 5.2 Percent February Increase TMS light trucks set new February record RAV4 charges ahead, marks best-ever February Lexus LX, RX, and NX see double-digit gains TORRANCE, Calif. (March 1, 2016) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. today reported February 2016 sales of 189,852 vehicles, an increase of 5.2 percent from February 2015 on a volume basis. With the same number of selling days in February 2016 and 2015, sales were also up 5.2 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. Toyota division February 2016 sales were up 5.8 percent on both a DSR and volume basis with sales of 166,618 units. “Light trucks continue to drive strong demand in 2016,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota division. “The Toyota division had back-to-back, best-ever light truck monthly records, supported by another best-ever month in February for RAV4.” Lexus reported February 2016 sales of 23,234 units, an increase of 1.0 percent on a volume basis. “As leaders in luxury crossover vehicles, it’s no surprise to us that our SUV lineup continues to propel our sales performance,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager for the Lexus division. “It wasn’t just a good month for SUVs, however—IS, CT and RC have exceeded our sales expectations for the month of February, validating the appeal of these models to the next generation of luxury consumer.” February 2016 Highlights: Combined TMS light truck sales of 96,086 units, up 11.2 percent RAV4 posts best-ever February with sales of 25,523 units; up more than 16 percent Highlander reports best-ever February sales with sales of 12,466 units 4Runner and Sienna up 32 and 5.5 percent respectively Tacoma up 14.5 percent with sales of 14,172 units NX up 39.1 percent RX up 10.8 percent with sales of 7,192 units LX up more than 81 percent *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted sales volume 2016 TOYOTA U.S. SALES SUMMARY February, 2016 -- CURRENT MONTH -- DSR % VOL % 2015 CHG CHG -- CALENDAR YEAR TO DATE -- DSR % 2016 2015 CHG VOL % CHG TOTAL TOYOTA 187,954 180,467 4.1 4.1 349,237 349,661 4.0 -0.1 TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. 164,864 157,472 4.7 4.7 305,214 303,535 4.7 0.6 TOTAL LEXUS 23,090 22,995 0.4 0.4 44,023 46,126 -0.6 -4.6 YARIS 908 1,364 -33.4 -33.4 1,456 2,806 -45.9 -48.1 COROLLA 29,342 27,839 5.4 5.4 51,704 55,196 -2.4 -6.3 MIRAI 30 0 N/A N/A 56 0 N/A N/A PRIUS 10,550 12,018 -12.2 -12.2 19,861 24,262 -14.7 -18.1 CAMRY 32,405 32,942 -1.6 -1.6 59,253 59,705 3.4 -0.8 AVALON 3,961 4,102 -3.4 -3.4 7,558 8,883 -11.4 -14.9 SCION FR-S 554 806 -31.3 -31.3 1,061 1,552 -28.8 -31.6 SCION iA 2,305 0 N/A N/A 4,145 0 N/A N/A SCION iM 1,317 0 N/A N/A 2,567 0 N/A N/A SCION iQ 1 90 -98.9 -98.9 3 167 -98.1 -98.2 SCION xD 1 122 -99.2 -99.2 4 342 -98.8 -98.8 SCION xB 787 1,469 -46.4 -46.4 1,569 2,897 -43.6 -45.8 SCION tC 917 1,377 -33.4 -33.4 1,632 2,596 -34.5 -37.1 TOTAL SCION 5,882 3,864 52.2 52.2 10,981 7,554 51.4 45.4 TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. CAR 83,078 82,129 1.2 1.2 150,869 158,406 -0.8 -4.8 CT 762 978 -22.1 -22.1 1,384 1,983 -27.3 -30.2 IS 2,961 3,383 -12.5 -12.5 5,139 6,758 -20.8 --24.0 RC 920 984 -6.5 -6.5 1,675 1,831 -4.7 -8.5 ES 3,826 4,192 -8.7 -8.7 7,226 8,272 --9.0 -12.6 GS 1,167 1,851 --37.0 --37.0 2,465 3,530 -27.3 -30.2 LS 374 506 -26.1 -26.1 771 1,172 -31.5 -34.2 LFA 2 1 100.0 100.0 3 3 4.2 0.0 TOTAL LEXUS CAR 10,012 11,895 -15.8 -15.8 18,663 23,549 -17.4 -20.7 TOTAL TOYOTA CAR 93,090 94,024 --1.0 --1.0 169,532 181,955 -2.9 -6.8 RAV4 25,523 21,943 16.3 16.3 47,077 41,767 17.4 12.7 FJ CRUISER 0 25 --100.0 --100.0 1 183 -99.4 -99.5 VENZA 124 2,272 -94.5 -94.5 308 4,377 -92.7 --93.0 HIGHLANDER 12,466 11,263 10.7 10.7 23,724 22,323 10.7 6.3 4RUNNER 8,476 6,420 32.0 32.0 15,972 13,365 24.5 19.5 SIENNA 11,541 10,935 5.5 5.5 22,533 19,868 18.1 13.4 SEQUOIA 954 856 11.4 11.4 1,806 1,760 6.9 2.6 LAND CRUISER 229 205 11.7 11.7 502 456 14.7 10.1 TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. SUV 47,772 42,984 11.1 11.1 89,390 84,231 10.5 6.1 TACOMA 14,172 12,372 14.5 14.5 26,889 23,781 17.8 13.1 TUNDRA 8,301 9,052 -8.3 -8.3 15,533 17,249 -6.2 -9.9 TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. PICKUP 22,473 21,424 4.9 4.9 42,422 41,030 7.7 3.4 TOTAL TOYOTA DIV. TRUCK 81,786 75,343 8.6 8.6 154,345 145,129 10.8 6.4 NX 3,709 2,666 39.1 39.1 6,842 5,478 30.1 24.9 RX 7,192 6,490 10.8 10.8 14,148 13,059 12.9 8.3 GX 1,650 1,653 -0.2 -0.2 3,258 3,456 -1.8 -5.7 LX 527 291 81.1 81.1 1,112 584 98.3 90.4 TOTAL LEXUS TRUCK 13,078 11,100 17.8 17.8 25,360 22,577 17.0 12.3 TOTAL TOYOTA TRUCK 94,864 86,443 9.7 9.7 179,705 167,706 11.6 7.2
  6. William Maley

    2014 Review Wrap-Up: SUVs

    While crossovers haven taken the space that SUVs occupied only a few years ago, a number of automakers are still producing them as there is still an audience for them. One that wants the off-road and towing ability SUVs offer. So come along as we take a look at three specimens in our latest 2014 review wrap-up. First Up: 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium It is hard to believe that 30 years ago, Toyota introduced the 4Runner. The sister vehicle to the all-mighty Land Cruiser was to give Toyota a true competitor to the likes of the Jeep Cherokee and Ford Bronco. Since that time, the 4Runner has grown up somewhat in terms of size and position, but it never lost its mission; a vehicle that can get you anywhere. But with the recent 4Runner, does it still hold true to that mission? The 4Runner’s exterior has a look of being able to get you anywhere with no problem. This is firmly expressed in the front end as it looks like it’s wearing a muzzle. There’s a large grille to allow the standard V6 engine to breath, along with C-Shaped faux air vents above the front bumper. The rest of the 4Runner’s design is the same as the model shown in 2010 with the folded angle design, flared wheel arches, and rear tailgate with a power window. A set of seventeen-inch wheels finish off the look of the 4Runner. Inside, the rugged attitude continues with chunky controls for the climate control, infotainment system, and transfer case. A large instrument cluster provides all of the key details needed to go off the beaten path. Despite its rugged attitude, the 4Runner is a nice place to sit in. Seats are comfortable and come with heat as part of the Premium package. Rear seat passengers will find a decent amount of legroom, though I found headroom is a little bit tight due to the optional sunroof.Power comes from a 4.0L V6 engine with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired up to a five-speed automatic and a part-time four-wheel drive system. The V6 is a workhorse for Toyota’s pickups and SUVs, and its easy to see why. Power comes on immediately and the engine roars with glee. The five-speed automatic doesn’t quite fully mesh with the V6 as first-gear takes a bit longer to kick down than I was expecting. Thankfully, all other gears did not have this same experience. Fuel economy is rated at 17 City/21 Highway/18 Combined. I got 17.4 MPG during my week of testing. As for ride and handling, the 4Runner exhibits a mostly comfortable ride with the suspension able to smooth out potholes and road imperfections. Wind and road noise were kept at decent level. On the curves, the 4Runner does exhibit a bit of body roll and lean due to its off-road suspension. Steering was perfectly weighted and provided excellent response for an SUV. Off the beaten path is where the 4Runner truly shines with impressive ground clearance and ability to go over some of the roughest terrain with no problem. This is an SUV that dreams of going on the trail.The 4Runner is built for those who seek adventure and their travels take them off the beaten path more often than not. If your travels are limited to payment, then you’ll be better off with a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 4Runner, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Toyota Model: 4Runner Trim: SR5 Premium Engine: 4.0L DOHC VVT-i 24-Valve V6 Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Part-Time Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/21/18 Curb Weight: 4,675 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $37,615 As Tested Price: $39,045 (Includes $860.00 Destination Charge) Options: Rigid Running Boards - $345.00 Carpet Floor Mats & Floor Mat - $225.00 Next: 2014 Lexus GX 460 Luxury Did you know that there two variations of the Toyota Land Cruiser sold in the U.S.? No, I’m not referring to the Lexus LX 570 which is a dressed up Land Cruiser. I’m referring to another model in the Land Cruiser family, the Land Cruiser Prado. This model sold in certain parts of the world is a direct competitor to the Land Rover LR4 with a body-on-frame SUV with all of the four-wheel drive tech to get through some of the worst conditions that mother nature has on offer. So you might be wondering where is this smaller Land Cruiser is in the U.S.? Well you only need to head down to your local Lexus dealer and check out the GX 460. But in this age where crossovers are taking the place of SUVs, does the GX 460 have a place anymore? You can’t miss the GX 460 at all, especially in the front. The model now features the gaping maw that is known as the spindle grille. I really don’t think the spindle grille works on the GX as it looks like an afterthought to make it fit in with the rest of the Lexus lineup. But the rest of the GX’s design is mostly the same as the first-generation model introduced back in 2002. That means a high-stance, a side-hinged tailgate, and large headlights with LEDs. Moving inside, the GX 460 feels slightly old when compared to competitors as the basic dashboard layout hasn’t changed a lot since it was introduced back in 2002. You also won’t find the remote touch infotainment system or a configurable gauge package in the GX either. At least Lexus has gotten the luxuries part right in the GX with leather, soft touch plastic, and wood trim along the door panels and dash. Seats in my GX tester were wrapped in semi-aniline leather and came equipped with heat for the first two rows, while cooled seats were standard for the front passengers. There is a third-row in the GX, but it really is only usable for small kids. Also with the third row up, cargo space is non-existent.Power comes from a 4.6L V8 engine with 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel drive system. Despite the high power numbers, the 4.6L feels like its struggling to move the GX. Tipping the scales at 5,340 pounds explains some of struggle, as does a lazy throttle. Plus points on the V8 is not much noise when idling or accelerating in the lower rpms. The six-speed automatic delivered smooth shifts and seemed to be in a good rhythm with the engine. The GX comes with a full-suite of off-road technologies such as a central differential lock, adjustable suspension, and hill descent control which means you’ll be able to go anywhere you want. But in reality, many GXs will be in the urban jungle. During my week of testing, the only real off-roading I did in the GX was driving down a gravel road which really didn’t challenge the four-wheel drive system at all. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2014 GX 460 at 15 City/20 Highway/17 Combined. You’ll be lucky if you can get 15 if you decide to drive like your grandmother. Drive normally and you’ll likely see numbers of around 12 to 13 MPG. Ouch.I was bit worried on how the GX would handle day to day driving duties as it has all of those four-wheel drive technologies, along with a tall ride height. But the GX surprised me as it provided a very comfortable and smooth ride. Bumps and road imperfections didn’t upset the GX ride, while road and wind noise were kept down. The only way I could recommend the Lexus GX 460 is that you want something luxurious to take on your adventure to death valley or the wilderness. If your main driving takes to on the mean streets, then a crossover such as the Acura MDX or Buick Enclave would be a better choice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the GX 460, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Lexus Model: GX 460 Trim: Luxury Engine: 4.6L DOHC VVT-i 32-Valve V8 Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 5,500 Torque @ RPM: 329 @ 3,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - Curb Weight: 5,340 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $60,715 As Tested Price: $62,770 (Includes $910.00 Destination Charge) Options: Mark Levinson Premium Audio - $1,145.00 Next: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 4WD There are very few times where I’ll drop my jaw because of the price tag of a vehicle I’m reviewing, whether its a bit too high or low. Such was the case for the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ that stopped by for a weeklong review. When I was reading through the window sticker, I dropped the sheet after seeing the price tag of $69,130. After letting the shock pass over me, I was wondering who would buy an almost $70,000 Tahoe? A GMC Yukon Denali I can see, but a Tahoe?! Well Chevrolet has got the design part of the Tahoe right. The new model has the same silhouette as the last-generation, but Chevrolet’s designers have given it some distinctive touches. Up front is a larger grille with larger chrome pieces and uniquely shaped headlights. Around back is a slightly tweaked tailgate design with new taillights.Moving inside and Chevrolet deserves a gold medal for the improvements made in here. Gone is the bland dashboard design with the hard plastic and terrible looking wood trim. In its place is a dashboard full of contours and distinctive shapes, along with much better materials such as leather and soft-touch plastics on the dash which makes it a pleasant place to be in. My LTZ tester came with a eight-inch touchscreen and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. MyLink still has some bugs to work out such as how long it takes to respond when pressed and overall speed, but at least stability is much better than when I last used it in the Silverado. Second row passengers get a set of captain chairs with heat, along with a set of climate controls to make themselves them comfortable. Space back here is good for headroom. Legroom I found was a little-bit tight. The third row is best reserved for small kids as head and legroom are very much at a premium for adults, or to be folded into the floor to increase cargo space. Power comes from the 5.3L V8 that powers so many of GM’s light-duty trucks and SUVs. Ratings are 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and optional four-wheel drive system. Those looking for a more powerful V8 in their GM SUV will need to step up to the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade for the 6.2L V8. As I have stated before in the Silverado/Sierra review with the 5.3L V8, the throttle response when leaving a stop is very sluggish. It feels like there is a hump you have to overcome with the throttle before you get the full power of the V8. I get this is a way for GM to save fuel, but I think there are better ways to do the same thing. Once over the hump, the V8 engine has more than enough oomph to get you moving while providing very little noise. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2015 Tahoe 4WD at 16 City/22 Highway/18 Combined. My average for the week was around 15 MPG. On the ride and handling front, the Tahoe is excellent. The model feels more like a luxury sedan than an SUV with good isolation of bumps and imperfections, and outside noises being kept to an almost whisper. Some of the credit has to go to the Magneride magnetic ride control system which adjusts damping characteristics in as little as 10 milliseconds. Steering is somewhat light, but has good feel.So after a week in the Tahoe, I can see kind of see why it has a high price tag. The new model is a massive improvement over the old one and leaves competitors such as the Nissan Armada in the dust. But I’m still wondering if the Tahoe is a just a hair too high price-wise for its own good. Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Tahoe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Chevrolet Model: Tahoe Trim: LTZ 4WD Engine: 5.3L EcoTec V8 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5600 Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4100 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/22/18 Curb Weight: 5,683 lbs Location of Manufacture: Arlington, Texas Base Price: $62,000 As Tested Price: $69,130 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge) Options: Sun, Entertainment, Destination Package - $3,255.00 Adaptive Cruise Control - $1,695.00 Max Trailering Packager - $500.00 Crystal Red Metallic Paint - $495.00 Theft-Deterrent System - $395.00 Cocoa/Mahogany Trim - $295.00 View full article
  7. William Maley

    2014 Review Wrap-Up: SUVs

    While crossovers haven taken the space that SUVs occupied only a few years ago, a number of automakers are still producing them as there is still an audience for them. One that wants the off-road and towing ability SUVs offer. So come along as we take a look at three specimens in our latest 2014 review wrap-up. First Up: 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium It is hard to believe that 30 years ago, Toyota introduced the 4Runner. The sister vehicle to the all-mighty Land Cruiser was to give Toyota a true competitor to the likes of the Jeep Cherokee and Ford Bronco. Since that time, the 4Runner has grown up somewhat in terms of size and position, but it never lost its mission; a vehicle that can get you anywhere. But with the recent 4Runner, does it still hold true to that mission? The 4Runner’s exterior has a look of being able to get you anywhere with no problem. This is firmly expressed in the front end as it looks like it’s wearing a muzzle. There’s a large grille to allow the standard V6 engine to breath, along with C-Shaped faux air vents above the front bumper. The rest of the 4Runner’s design is the same as the model shown in 2010 with the folded angle design, flared wheel arches, and rear tailgate with a power window. A set of seventeen-inch wheels finish off the look of the 4Runner. Inside, the rugged attitude continues with chunky controls for the climate control, infotainment system, and transfer case. A large instrument cluster provides all of the key details needed to go off the beaten path. Despite its rugged attitude, the 4Runner is a nice place to sit in. Seats are comfortable and come with heat as part of the Premium package. Rear seat passengers will find a decent amount of legroom, though I found headroom is a little bit tight due to the optional sunroof.Power comes from a 4.0L V6 engine with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired up to a five-speed automatic and a part-time four-wheel drive system. The V6 is a workhorse for Toyota’s pickups and SUVs, and its easy to see why. Power comes on immediately and the engine roars with glee. The five-speed automatic doesn’t quite fully mesh with the V6 as first-gear takes a bit longer to kick down than I was expecting. Thankfully, all other gears did not have this same experience. Fuel economy is rated at 17 City/21 Highway/18 Combined. I got 17.4 MPG during my week of testing. As for ride and handling, the 4Runner exhibits a mostly comfortable ride with the suspension able to smooth out potholes and road imperfections. Wind and road noise were kept at decent level. On the curves, the 4Runner does exhibit a bit of body roll and lean due to its off-road suspension. Steering was perfectly weighted and provided excellent response for an SUV. Off the beaten path is where the 4Runner truly shines with impressive ground clearance and ability to go over some of the roughest terrain with no problem. This is an SUV that dreams of going on the trail.The 4Runner is built for those who seek adventure and their travels take them off the beaten path more often than not. If your travels are limited to payment, then you’ll be better off with a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 4Runner, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Toyota Model: 4Runner Trim: SR5 Premium Engine: 4.0L DOHC VVT-i 24-Valve V6 Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Part-Time Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600 Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/21/18 Curb Weight: 4,675 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $37,615 As Tested Price: $39,045 (Includes $860.00 Destination Charge) Options: Rigid Running Boards - $345.00 Carpet Floor Mats & Floor Mat - $225.00 Next: 2014 Lexus GX 460 Luxury Did you know that there two variations of the Toyota Land Cruiser sold in the U.S.? No, I’m not referring to the Lexus LX 570 which is a dressed up Land Cruiser. I’m referring to another model in the Land Cruiser family, the Land Cruiser Prado. This model sold in certain parts of the world is a direct competitor to the Land Rover LR4 with a body-on-frame SUV with all of the four-wheel drive tech to get through some of the worst conditions that mother nature has on offer. So you might be wondering where is this smaller Land Cruiser is in the U.S.? Well you only need to head down to your local Lexus dealer and check out the GX 460. But in this age where crossovers are taking the place of SUVs, does the GX 460 have a place anymore? You can’t miss the GX 460 at all, especially in the front. The model now features the gaping maw that is known as the spindle grille. I really don’t think the spindle grille works on the GX as it looks like an afterthought to make it fit in with the rest of the Lexus lineup. But the rest of the GX’s design is mostly the same as the first-generation model introduced back in 2002. That means a high-stance, a side-hinged tailgate, and large headlights with LEDs. Moving inside, the GX 460 feels slightly old when compared to competitors as the basic dashboard layout hasn’t changed a lot since it was introduced back in 2002. You also won’t find the remote touch infotainment system or a configurable gauge package in the GX either. At least Lexus has gotten the luxuries part right in the GX with leather, soft touch plastic, and wood trim along the door panels and dash. Seats in my GX tester were wrapped in semi-aniline leather and came equipped with heat for the first two rows, while cooled seats were standard for the front passengers. There is a third-row in the GX, but it really is only usable for small kids. Also with the third row up, cargo space is non-existent.Power comes from a 4.6L V8 engine with 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel drive system. Despite the high power numbers, the 4.6L feels like its struggling to move the GX. Tipping the scales at 5,340 pounds explains some of struggle, as does a lazy throttle. Plus points on the V8 is not much noise when idling or accelerating in the lower rpms. The six-speed automatic delivered smooth shifts and seemed to be in a good rhythm with the engine. The GX comes with a full-suite of off-road technologies such as a central differential lock, adjustable suspension, and hill descent control which means you’ll be able to go anywhere you want. But in reality, many GXs will be in the urban jungle. During my week of testing, the only real off-roading I did in the GX was driving down a gravel road which really didn’t challenge the four-wheel drive system at all. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2014 GX 460 at 15 City/20 Highway/17 Combined. You’ll be lucky if you can get 15 if you decide to drive like your grandmother. Drive normally and you’ll likely see numbers of around 12 to 13 MPG. Ouch.I was bit worried on how the GX would handle day to day driving duties as it has all of those four-wheel drive technologies, along with a tall ride height. But the GX surprised me as it provided a very comfortable and smooth ride. Bumps and road imperfections didn’t upset the GX ride, while road and wind noise were kept down. The only way I could recommend the Lexus GX 460 is that you want something luxurious to take on your adventure to death valley or the wilderness. If your main driving takes to on the mean streets, then a crossover such as the Acura MDX or Buick Enclave would be a better choice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the GX 460, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2014 Make: Lexus Model: GX 460 Trim: Luxury Engine: 4.6L DOHC VVT-i 32-Valve V8 Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 5,500 Torque @ RPM: 329 @ 3,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - Curb Weight: 5,340 lbs Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan Base Price: $60,715 As Tested Price: $62,770 (Includes $910.00 Destination Charge) Options: Mark Levinson Premium Audio - $1,145.00 Next: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 4WD There are very few times where I’ll drop my jaw because of the price tag of a vehicle I’m reviewing, whether its a bit too high or low. Such was the case for the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ that stopped by for a weeklong review. When I was reading through the window sticker, I dropped the sheet after seeing the price tag of $69,130. After letting the shock pass over me, I was wondering who would buy an almost $70,000 Tahoe? A GMC Yukon Denali I can see, but a Tahoe?! Well Chevrolet has got the design part of the Tahoe right. The new model has the same silhouette as the last-generation, but Chevrolet’s designers have given it some distinctive touches. Up front is a larger grille with larger chrome pieces and uniquely shaped headlights. Around back is a slightly tweaked tailgate design with new taillights.Moving inside and Chevrolet deserves a gold medal for the improvements made in here. Gone is the bland dashboard design with the hard plastic and terrible looking wood trim. In its place is a dashboard full of contours and distinctive shapes, along with much better materials such as leather and soft-touch plastics on the dash which makes it a pleasant place to be in. My LTZ tester came with a eight-inch touchscreen and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. MyLink still has some bugs to work out such as how long it takes to respond when pressed and overall speed, but at least stability is much better than when I last used it in the Silverado. Second row passengers get a set of captain chairs with heat, along with a set of climate controls to make themselves them comfortable. Space back here is good for headroom. Legroom I found was a little-bit tight. The third row is best reserved for small kids as head and legroom are very much at a premium for adults, or to be folded into the floor to increase cargo space. Power comes from the 5.3L V8 that powers so many of GM’s light-duty trucks and SUVs. Ratings are 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and optional four-wheel drive system. Those looking for a more powerful V8 in their GM SUV will need to step up to the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade for the 6.2L V8. As I have stated before in the Silverado/Sierra review with the 5.3L V8, the throttle response when leaving a stop is very sluggish. It feels like there is a hump you have to overcome with the throttle before you get the full power of the V8. I get this is a way for GM to save fuel, but I think there are better ways to do the same thing. Once over the hump, the V8 engine has more than enough oomph to get you moving while providing very little noise. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2015 Tahoe 4WD at 16 City/22 Highway/18 Combined. My average for the week was around 15 MPG. On the ride and handling front, the Tahoe is excellent. The model feels more like a luxury sedan than an SUV with good isolation of bumps and imperfections, and outside noises being kept to an almost whisper. Some of the credit has to go to the Magneride magnetic ride control system which adjusts damping characteristics in as little as 10 milliseconds. Steering is somewhat light, but has good feel.So after a week in the Tahoe, I can see kind of see why it has a high price tag. The new model is a massive improvement over the old one and leaves competitors such as the Nissan Armada in the dust. But I’m still wondering if the Tahoe is a just a hair too high price-wise for its own good. Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Tahoe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Chevrolet Model: Tahoe Trim: LTZ 4WD Engine: 5.3L EcoTec V8 Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5600 Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4100 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/22/18 Curb Weight: 5,683 lbs Location of Manufacture: Arlington, Texas Base Price: $62,000 As Tested Price: $69,130 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge) Options: Sun, Entertainment, Destination Package - $3,255.00 Adaptive Cruise Control - $1,695.00 Max Trailering Packager - $500.00 Crystal Red Metallic Paint - $495.00 Theft-Deterrent System - $395.00 Cocoa/Mahogany Trim - $295.00

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