Sports Utility / 4x4

Sports Utility / 4x4

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

Posted on by Tushar  

As part of One Ford , the company will launch a new crossover for sale in late 2014 that is tailored to the universal global preferences of value and style.

The new global SUV will be revealed to the world media at the 2013 LA Auto Show before going on sale almost globally by 2015. So why all the mystery about what the new world-wise five-seat crossover will be?

It is the 2015 Edge, scheduled for display in LA as lightly dressed as a concept car before going on sale in Summer 2014 all over the world.

The current Ford SUV range in Europe consists of the EcoSport and the Kuga that can be categorized as crossovers unlike the new Ford Edge that is planned for launch next year.

The EcoSport and Kuga began life as a "global models" made specifically for certain target markets.

The rest of the Ford model range comprises of hatchbacks, sedans and MPVs that have been popular with folks in continental Europe.

Click past the jump for all the details known so far about the new Ford Edge, including the competition it will face in Europe for the first time.

Land Rover Defender

It is indeed a sad day as we learn of Land Rover’s plans to end production of the iconic but barely road-worthy Defender .

Automotive News reported that recent sales stats of this lovable truck are in a tailspin during its last years on the market before saying ‘bye bye’ for 2015.

U.S. federal safety, emissions and import duties on small trucks keep the go-anywhere vehicle from roaming our shores with its lack of compliance to such thing as crumple zones and airbags. The one Defender we did get is long gone even in England: the V-8 automatic convertible two-door. Almost all green and very charming, these were the rich-guy Wrangler Jeep of the 1990s.

In the markets where it is sold outside the UK, like continental Europe, 50 years of history is almost a negative feature versus ultramodern crossovers. The Defender’s main problem is that it drives like a ’lorrie’ and is more uncomfortable and thirsty with diesel than one too.

Europeans have simply lost interest in the Defender, with Land Rover selling a mere 561 units in the first eight months of 2013, according to JATO Dynamics.

The historic SUV first saw production in 1983 and was sold within the US in very limited numbers. It was built on both a 90-inch or 110-inch wheelbase and featured a variety of different powerplants - both gasoline and diesel – and body configurations.

The Defender ’s extreme prowess off road and its rarity have earned it a cult following among enthusiasts. Such conditions have kept values for Defenders rather elevated for those in the US – even causing some to enter the country via the black market and away from Uncle Sam’s watchful regulatory eye.

However, there may be a silver lining in losing the Defender . A replacement for the hard-hitting rover is likely in the works and would be built well within the safety standards of governments world-wide and feature amenities buyers no longer consider optional. Power steering, a suspension that absorbs bumps and strong A/C are all features the Defender lacks.

Much of JLR’s cash is tied up trying to resuscitate Jaguar, so the Defender is taking a back seat in the new world of Euro6 and Cafe fuel standards.

"The Defender replacement remains far from ready due to a lack of volume and weak business case," analyst Max Warburton with Bernstein Research wrote in a recent report on Jaguar Land Rover.

Land Rover did show the DC100 concept at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show , but according to Warburton, the project has since been scrubbed.

He says Land Rover is currently mulling over an aluminum-bodied vehicle that would employ the current Range Rover’s underpinnings as a possible Defender replacement.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Land Rover Defender.

Posted on by TB +  

Off-roading can be just as challenging, scary and life-changing as a high-speed track session with a supercar .

With supercars, the chances of a costly mistake are present but manageable. The tracks are typically perfect, the guard rails are there to keep you out of the trees in the case of a spin out, and generally, backing off the throttle is enough to recover control before anything goes *crunch*.

Off-roading, however, brings a real chance that poor driving or the wrong car will result in serious damage to both that driver’s confidence and the car’s rolling ability.

While most racetracks are filled with other cars to help you get home after putting yours into a wall, the situation out on desolate off-road trails is much more grim is something really breaks. Being stranded becomes a real possibility, with bad results almost a sure thing.

After popping three tires and cracking an alloy rim of the 18-inch wheels and 35-section tires of my (poor, abused) Subaru Legacy GT wagon in Oak Ridge, Tennessee a few years ago, I had to limp down the mountain on two hideously-bent donut spare steel wheels. Tires sheared off long before, so it was a clunky and scary ride to a place that a tow truck could find me.

It was this moment I finally realized something: as with everything challenging, to go off-roading the right way, you need the right tools.

Those tools have adjustable suspensions, huge wheel travel, and tires so knobby that a 65 mph cruise on the highway sounds like a Monster Truck.

Great A/C, comfy seats and mechanical reliability are also key parameters for this list.

Click past the jump for the full Top-Ten Best Off-Road SUVs, featuring everything from Bowler Land Rovers to the Nissan Xterra .

Okay, so we all loved the Ford F-150 SVT Lightning from the 1990s and 2000s, but it was never really a useful truck. You couldn’t take it off-road; well, we’ll rephrase that to you shouldn’t have tried taking it off-road; and it wasn’t much for towing either. So, it was basically a sports car with a bed...

After discontinuing the SVT Lightning, following its 2004 run, Ford went to task developing a new SVT pickup that was everything the Lightning wasn’t. And now we have the SVT Raptor : a jacked up F-150 with up to 12.1 inches of suspension travel, a snarling V-8 engine with 411 horsepower, and likely one of the best-balanced four-wheel-drive systems in a pickup.

Well, being car lovers, what else could we ask for? For Shelby to get its tuning hands on this beast it push it to extremes so obscene that the FCC is investigating it, of course — 575 horsepower, to be precise, thanks to a supercharger and some other tasty bits. Unfortunately, Shelby is limiting this supercharged, baja monster to only 100 units, so you’d better get to buying before supply runs out.

For those of you that can’t swing the $60k-plus required to own this Shelby-tuned pickup, World’s Fastest Car Show from Motor Trend has a test video (above) that at least sheds some light on what you’re missing out on.

You know as well as we do that Justin Bell wouldn’t take the Shelby down a six-lane highway in Southern Cali and tell us how smooth it runs. Rather, he opted to thrash the Shelby SVT Raptor in a more fitting manner by taking it to the Vegas Off-Road Experience (VORE) and gave it the hammering that Shelby intended it to have. We’re not too sure if Shelby saw the video yet, but It either loved the fact that it got a good workout and video evidence of its performance, or it billed Mr. Bell for the massive wear and tear on the suspension, tires, engine and brakes.

Either way, at least we get a nice look at this rare Shelby rig. Enjoy!

Posted on by TB +  

The Toyota Tundra really needs an all-star halo truck to liven up its competent but forgettable range of full-size trucks, which are redesigned for 2014. This exclusive speculative preview of the 2015 Tundra Baja 1000 imagines how a Ford Raptor rival from Toyota would compare with the hot-selling off-roader from the segment-leading F-150 .

The Tundra reached its U.S. sales peak in 2007, when the big rig was all-new and came from its billion-dollar assembly plant right in the heart of Texas. Since then, the Tundra has struggled to even crack 100,000 units, which is a major sore spot when even the dullest Toyota sedans like the Corolla are able to rack up more than triple the total volume of the Tundra.

So what is missing from the Tundra ’s three cab styles, short and long bed options, and three engines that top out with a potent 5.7-liter V-8 making 383 horsepower? The Tundra is missing more than a few million loyal customers, first and foremost, versus the long-trenched buyers of Ram , Ford , Chevy or GMC trucks.

Even the also-ran Nissan Titan PRO-4X is trying on some new off-road hero truck ideas for next year’s all-new model. For slow-moving
Toyota ? So far, the world’s most admired car maker has only dipped its toes into the pool.

The new 1794 Edition of the Tundra packs more fake silver trims than a Nokia factory, and the Toyota Racing Development 4x4 stickers its dealers like to apply do not seem to have the same effect as the Raptor ’s unique grille, huge fender flares, Fox racing suspension and sand-basted attitude.

TRD is just about the worst acronym imaginable, so this TopSpeed preview of a Tundra off-roader is dubbed the Baja 1000.

Click past the jump to get a closer look of the 2015 Toyota Tundra Baja 1000.

Posted on by Simona  

AS each week closes out, Mo and the folks at KAhn design roll out another fine example of the designer’s customization skills. This time, Kahn based its upgrade on the Land Rover Defender , and Kahn describes it as "a unique interpretation of an iconic vehicle." We couldn’t agree more.

As per usual with Kahn, the new Chelsea Wide Track package includes only exterior and interior updates, and the Defender is a good canvas for this, since it has never been about speed or power. Kahn took to task updating the look of the rugged Defender , and to enhancing its notorious off-road capabilities.

For this, Kahn added in a new aerodynamic kit with new front and rear wings, hood and side vents with mesh stainless steel, stainless-steel mesh for the front grilles,military-style headlights, and Kahn badges on the wing and tailgate.IT’s subtle, but it manages to give the rugged defender a refined look; kind of like putting an unshaven Clint Eastwood in a Armani suit.

Click past the jump to read more about the Land Rover Defender Chelsea Wide Track by Kahn Design.

Posted on by TB +  

Land Rover is taking fuel economy concerns with a stiff upper lip and a cup of tea, relaxed as it starts taking UK orders for its 45 mpg 2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid flagship starting in September 2013. The first customer deliveries are expected in early 2014, wearing far fewer off-road accessories and prepared for a life of luxury.

This pair of test prototypes is enduring the opposite of luxury: a 10,000-mile durability journey from Land Rover headquarters in England to Tata Group ’s home base in Mumbai. Called the Silk Trail 2013 experience, the plucky Brits seem to have forgotten their own maritime excellence, and the blue part of the map that has long been the best passage to India.

Calling it the Silk Trail is more accurate than its other description, the Silk Road. Mud up to the door mirrors cannot stop the Range Rover Hybrid’s mission.

Going over land is a bold undertaking, and also highlights the production 2015 Range Rover Hybrid’s fuel economy and off-road credentials along the way. Arriving in Mumbai around 55 days later, taking a brand new Range Rover into dozens of foreign countries along the way is certainly a vote of confidence in its reliability - long a sore spot for this advanced machine.

A 3.0-liter diesel engine is paired with a jumbo 35kWh Li-ion battery pack, which is fully production-ready and will also be rolled out on the seven-seat 2015 Range Rover Sport SDV6 Hybrid as well.

The diesel-electric power is not exactly peachy news for U.S. Range Rover devotees, but the technology package should work well with Land Rover ’s new 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 as well.

Updated 09/13/2013: When Land Rover launched the first details on the Range Rover Hybrid everyone believed it will be an European-only model. However, in a recent interview Andy Goss, the current CEO of Jaguar Land Rover USA confirmed that a North American version of the Range Rover hybrid "It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’" (LeftLaneNews)

Click past the jump for all the high-res images of this jungle-prepped ’Silk Road 2013’ test of the forthcoming 2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid.

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.

Posted on by TB +  

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.


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