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Sports Utility / 4x4

Sports Utility / 4x4

  Sports Utility Vehicle and 4x4 cars and trucks news and reviews

Posted on by TB +  

The Local Motors Rally Fighter is still going strong two years after the first deliveries of this 2000-unit purpose-built off-road racer’s production run. With 50-state compliance on lighting and emissions, the road-legal Rally Fighter runs a 6.2-liter V-8 to the giant rear wheels before reaching a tire-limited top speed of 131 mph.

Available for special orders from anywhere on the globe, the Rally Fighter is one of the most unique and exciting launch models from a new manufacturer. Outside the muddy ruts of the English countryside and the mutant Land Rovers , like the Bowler EXR-S and RallyRaid DW3 , most new supercar ventures are focused on the 6-lane drag strips of central Dubai.

Local Motors takes a totally different path, with its unique engineering and prototype method leveraging the passion and skills of the internet to draw in R&D talent from across the world.

The result is a steel space frame and crash cage that looks Armageddon-proof, and suspension travel and off-road prowess to stop a 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition in its tracks. The final piece of the Rally Fighter puzzle is this: styling so otherworldly that it causes more of a stir in traffic than taking the Gravedigger monster truck to the grocery store.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter, including a mega image gallery, links to the new online configurator, and info on how to order your own custom version of this off-road beast.

Posted on by TB +  

The Lexus GX 460 is fresh for 2014 with a far deeper facelift than the LED and spindle grille applied to the Lexus LX 570 last year.

The smaller GX 460 SUV is just as tough and trail ready as its big brother, and now has a striking front grille design and huge rear fender flares like a baja race truck.

Clear LED taillights bring up the rear of the GX, which looks much more familiar in profile than it does from up front with this extreme L-finesse grille treatment. The GX is still not the sleekest SUV out there, and prides itself on its global heritage as the hugely popular Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.

As one of the few remaining off-roaders with real survival skills in harsh and barren climates, the body-on-frame GX V-8 has never been quite as popular among U.S. crossover shoppers as the firms lighter-duty haulers, like the RX. A truck-like demeanor is still evident the moment the GX starts to move, despite layers of Lexus leather and sound-proofing to make this SUV as quiet inside as an ISO tank.

A final treat on this revamped seven-passenger SUV? A price cut of about $5,000 for 2014, despite additional technology and safety equipment included as standard.

Versus the new seven-seat Range Rover Sport and Mercedes-Benz GL , the Lexus certainly still has dozens of advantages when the going gets life-threatening. But in a dwindling market for real off-roaders with $3,000 metallic paint jobs: is all the GX 460’s unstoppable off-road equipment still enough of a selling point?

Click past the just for the full review of the 2014 Lexus GX 460, with high-res images of the new exterior styling and interior features.

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Kahn Design has revealed the styling of their latest Land Rover Defender 90 up-fit, which includes a comprehensive exterior and interior makeover and the Chelsea Wide Track name. The Kahn personalization options list is immense, with near limitless combinations of paints, tweeds and leathers to camouflage this classic off-road machine in urban war paint.

Ever the victim of aggressive personalization, the Defender is still trendy because of how impractical and hilariously uncomfortable it is to drive. The mechanicals for Kahn’s extreme makeover stay the same as the stock model, aside from some light engine enhancements to the 2.2-liter turbo diesel and of course the giant wheel/tire/spring package.

These vehicles are part of a new co-branding effort between Kahn Design and the Chelsea Truck Company. Forming what must be the most absurdly wordy name in history, the truck is best referred to as the Chelsea Defender. Offered in the 90 or 110-inch body styles, the Chelsea Defender offers some tasteful and some not-so-tasteful ways for customers to part with their cash.

Cynicism about modified Defenders is possible only from afar. Driving a Defender is still a strange treat off road, but its rude manners on pavement mean that owners have little choice: they must try to engineer improvements themselves via the aftermarket.

Kahn’s custom Land Rover will not be joining the official U.S. price lists any time soon. A fun competitor might be the Nissan Murano CrossCarbiolet ] - but sadly, the convertible Defender is not one of the five body styles offered for this legendary truck’s designer up-fit.

Click past the jump to read the full review of the new 2013 Land Rover Defender 90 - Chelsea Wide Track By Kahn Design, with a mega gallery of images of the various personalization options.

Posted on by Simona  

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen multiple spy shots of the 2015 Ford F-150 , but none of these spy shots were of the SVT Raptor version. This, of course, does not mean there won’t be an SVT Raptor variant of the next F-150 . Because the SVT Raptor is a virtual certainty for the next F-150, we decided it was time to throw together a rendering for you.

On the outside, you should expect to see some inspiration from the 2013 Atlas Concept unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, but with a meaner appearance. We expect to see a distinct headlight setup that is partially separated by a body-colored strip, more squared-off front fenders, "SVT" badges on the side-view mirrors, defined rocker panels, taillights that match the headlights and an aggressive-looking tailgate.

Just like on the base 2015 F-150, Ford will focus on reducing the truck’s total weight by making use of lightweight aluminum materials. Under its hood, the new SVT Raptor will likely retain the same V-8 engine found in the current model, but with the output increased somewhere in the 450-horsepower area. Ford will also work on reducing the fuel consumption by about 10 to 15 percent.

We expect the new-generation SVT Raptor to arrive a few months after the base F-150 hits the market.

Click past the jump to read more about the next Ford F-150 Raptor.

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A monster 6.4-liter V-8 joins the Ram Heavy Duty ranks for 2014 along with two new air suspension designs for the rear ends of the 2500HD and 3500HD. Big motors and soft rides make sense at some of these hefty entry prices.

In bottom Tradesman trim, the 2500HD is a capable hauler with new fifth-wheel towing abilities but a stripped interior. In top trims, the Ram 3500HD Cummins diesel can do all the dirty work and heavy lifting. The goal of the both 2014 Ram HD series models is to do all this with new levels of cabin tech, quietness and ride comfort.

There are typically big trade-offs when moving from the half-ton class upwards. The new Ram HD line aims to literally smooth some of the edges from one of its most distinctive vehicles and make it an easy – but pricey – transition to a real work truck.

Paired with the big purchase price comes some of the most capable and sophisticated technology ever to grace one of these full-size middleweights.

Where Ram Trucks loses points for the generic Ram HD name, it regains face with 2014’s new intake design called… Ram Active Air – or just Ram Air for short.

How do the Ram HD trucks carve out appeal beyond bragging rights for best-in-class towing and cargo loads? Is the evolutionary look too cautious in the face of the Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 and the Ford F-250 SuperDuty ?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ram 2500HD and 3500 HD pick-up trucks with details on all the latest changes and updates.

Updated 10/23/2013: This article has been updated with the latest specs, photos and even full 2500HC and 3500HD Tow Charts, in downloadable PDF form from Ram Trucks.

New-for-2014 Laramie Limited and Outdoorsman trims also join the Ram Heavy Duty line, with high-res images of both new trucks after the jump.

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The Lexus LX 570 is an important model that’s reaching near-icon status by delivering a blend of luxury and off-road ability that sets it apart from other $80,000 full-size SUVs. It helps define the brand and add some much-needed cool points based on its redesigned exterior and massaged features for the 2013 model year.

It is easy to dismiss the LX 570 as a big player on the super-SUV scene that also includes the Audi Q7 , Infiniti QX56 and the Land Rover Range Rover . After all, the core Lexus high-dollar models like the LS and LF-A make up an increasingly slim portion of sales for the luxury heavyweight, as prices ratchet ever upwards and the competition grows increasingly fierce.

In fact, the biggest, toughest Lexus has a strong global following in high-dollar markets as diverse as Russia, North Africa and the Middle East region. The reasons are easy to fathom: unstoppable off-road, a seriously opulent interior, and the hard-earned reliability of the LX’s Land Cruiser sibling all bolstering its image.

The LX has been a fixture since launching in the U.S. exclusively in 1996 as the LX 450, a true bruiser only slightly dressed up for the occasion. The most recent iteration has been around since 2008 and is on a bit of a sales up-swing to nearly 28,000 units globally in 2012. The United States only accounted for 18 percent of that number, but remains a trend-setting market among international consumers.

As such, the 2013 model features heavily updated styling to bring the LX into the latest “spindle grille” and “arrowhead LED” styling themes embraced by the rest of Lexus line. Dozens of detail tweaks also help the LX 570 stay current with the leading luxury off-roaders.

Click past the jump for the full review of the legendary Lexus LX, plus a mega photo gallery of the new exterior and interior and a video from INKAS Armored about their bullet-proof LX 570.

Posted on by Simona  

Next to the Insignia Sport Tourer, Opel is also testing a new addition to the Insignia family: a Cross Four version aiming against models like VW Passat Alltrack or Audi Allroad. This decision shouldn’t be such a surprise for you considering that in Europe offering Off-Road look on wagons has become very popular.

This car was in fact previewed by Opel ’s in house tuner Irmscher back in 2011, but now Opel finally decided to make it official in order to improve sales on the Insignia . The new Cross Four version will be based on the Insignia Sport Tourer version, but it will add a raised ground clearance, bigger wheels, black flared fenders and different bumpers with aluminum details. There will also be different and wider side sills.

We expect the new Cross Four version to arrive in the same time with the revised Insignia lineup, so keep an eye on the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Click past the jump to read more about the Opel Insignia Cross Four.

Posted on by Simona  

Land Rover is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a special event that will also include the launch of a special-edition Defender LXV (65 in Roman numerals). Is not a surprise that Land Rover has chosen to base this special edition on a Defender model, especially when you consider it i the best sold model on the company’s lineup with over two million units sold since its official launch.

The new Defender LXV can be ordered in either Santorini Black or Fuji White. Both colors will get contrasting Corris Grey roof, grille and headlight surrounds, plus a set of 16-inch Sawtooth alloy wheels.

For the interior, Land Rover has opted for a unique orange contrast stitching on the seats, steering wheel and center cubby compartment. There are also "LXV" logos embossed on the front headrests. As an option, customers can also get a union flag decal placed on the rear of the vehicle.

The new Defender LXV will be put on sale in August.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Land Rover Defender.

Posted on by Simona  

The Japanese market has received yet another special edition in the form of a very cool Mercedes G550 Night Edition. It will be limited to only 100 units and is priced at 13,900,000 Yen (about $141,663 at the current exchange rates).

The new special edition features special AMG fenders and is painted in a titanium gray combined with 18-inch five-twin-spoke aluminum wheels. While these are pretty much all the updates offered by the exterior, the interior does offer a wider list of options.

Customers can choose between two colors — classic red or white porcelain — for the door panels and the seats. They can be combined with a piano-lacquer wood interior trim, a dashboard wrapped in Kana jet black leather, an Alcantara roof liner and dedicated floor mats.

The new G500 Night Edition will be unveiled on April 22nd at Mercedes-Benz Connection in Roppongi.

Hit the jump to read more about the standard Mercedes G550.

Posted on by TB +  

RallyRaid International brings 16 years of hard-fought distance rallying expertise to the creation of their latest model, the Desert Warrior 3. The DW3’s rise and current dominance of FIA endurance rallying is an interesting “underdog” story. Exclusive interviews with team principle Paul Round and lead designer Mike “BD” Jones reveal the details of the BMW-powered DW3’s exotic in-house design and the current two-model range.

The RallyRaid DW3 looks like a simple body-style evolution on the familiar Bowler template for Land Rover-based Dakar rally cars. In fact, the Evoque appearances are just a cosmetic touch to provide continuity between the DW3 and RallyRaid’s previous generations of Defender -inspired Desert Warriors.

UK-based RallyRaid International is a small, battle-hardened operation that shies from the limelight much more than others in the high-dollar rally prototype scene. The competition schedule demands the bulk of the team accompany the race cars on their frequent two-week-long, 1,000-plus-mile off-road races in some of the most desolate, inhospitable corners of the globe. There is no road-legal variant and there’s no fancy customer showroom - aside from the dusty podiums of the Dakar finish line.

Please follow the jump for the full mechanical specifications, an awesome video montage of the car’s design and construction and image gallery of the Desert Warrior 3 inside and out.


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