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Sports Utility / 4x4

Sports Utility / 4x4

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

The Land Rover Defender will not win any conceptual design awards, but make no mistake, where it lacks in pizzazz, it more than makes up for in terms of all-purpose versatility.

In fact, the Defender is quite a popular model in the LR portfolio, so much in fact that the company has prepared a new special edition version of the Defender Xtech.

The 2012 Defender XTech will be available in either a three-door (90 Hard Top) or five-door (110 Utility Wagon) variant and will be offered in a choice of either Orkney Grey or Nara Bronze exterior colors. That’s then matched by a Santorini Black roof, wheel arches, and a black checker plate on the bumper and side sills. In addition, the Defender XTech also gets a body-colored front grille, black surround for the headlamps, a rear step bumper, DEFENDER decals, and last but not least, a new set of 16" Gloss Black Saw Tooth alloy wheels wrapped in specialized Goodyear tires.

As for the interior, the Defender XTech Edition gets seats and a central panel that come with the same color of the exterior; the Land Rover logo was also embossed on the front headrests with matching carpet mats.

Performance numbers remain the same, which means that the Defender XTech Edition is powered by a 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine that produces 120 horsepower and 265 lb/ft of torque while mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

Finally, the Defender Xtech retails for £27,995, which is around $43,000 based on current exchange rates.

The USA is celebrating its independence and Jeep is rolling out a special edition Wrangler to commemorate the occasion.

The special Wrangler is called the Freedom Edition and it’s being released as a limited-run model that’s based on the Wrangler Sport. In line with its "tribute to the military" theme, the Wrangler Freedom Edition will be made available in three special color finishes involving the three shades that make up the US flag: Deep Cherry Red, Bright White, or True Blue.

Among the exclusive features attached to the Wrangler Freedom Edition include "Oscar Mike" badges, an homage to the military lexicon of "on the move." In addition, star badges can also be found on the front hood and the rear-quarter panel while star images have been embroidered on the setbacks, which is then visually complemented by silver stitching. Likewise, silver accents can also be found on the interior, particularly on the Mopar slush mats.

As far as performance, the Wrangler Freedom Edition will be powered by a 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine, one that produces 285 horsepower.

Anybody interested in this special edition, patriotism-inspired Wrangler will need to fork over $29,090 for the two-door model and $31,595 for the four-door model. Better yet, for every model sold by Jeep, the automaker is sending over $250 to a number of charities, including the Fisher House Foundation and the I Support Foundation.

Kahn Design has become a reliable tuning company as far as building programs for a wide variety of vehicles. Unlike other tuners that specialize on a specific automaker, Kahn just tunes anything and everything.

Their latest example involves the 2012 Jeep Wrangler , which they’ve bestowed as the Military Edition. The copper paintwork on the utility vehicle adds a rugged look while the set of 20-inch smoked black alloy wheels offers a nice complement to it. Other modifications on the Wrangler include the addition of xenon crosshair headlamps, a black fuel filler cap, a rear wheel cover, tinted windows, mud flaps, brake calipers finished in the same copper color as the body paint, and a new sports exhaust system with twin tailpipes.

The British tuner is offering the Wrangler Military Edition for a wide variety of Wrangler models with the entire program priced at £41,875, which is around $65,100 based on current exchange rates.


While everyone’s attention is focused over in China where the Beijing Auto Show is taking place, Jeep has decided to offer the US market a new special edition Wrangler Unlimited Altitude. The new model is based on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara model and will go on sale in May 2012 at a price of $33,740.

The new Wrangler Unlimited Altitude will be distinguished by a body-color hardtop with matching painted center sections on the front and rear bumpers, as well as a new set of unique 18" five-spoke alloy wheels with black-painted spokes and polished wheel rings. For this special edition, Mopar has added a black fuel fill door, a matte black "Jeep" grille badge, and a black tone-on-tone hood graphic.

The interior gets red accent stitching on black leather seats, door panels, center arm rest, floor mats, and steering wheel. Vent rings, steering-wheel spokes, door pulls, passenger-side dashboard grab handle, and berber floor mats are all painted in black.

Customers can choose between Deep Cherry Red, Black, Bright White, and Bright Silver Metallic.

When Jeep revealed the Mighty FC Concept at the 2012 Easter Safari in Moab, Utah, we could really just think one thing, “bad-ass.” The Mighty FC is essentially a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon on ‘roids, as the designers hacked off the Wrangler’s hood and rear quarter, jacked it up into the sky a little, bolted an eight-foot bed onto it, and threw a set of nasty 40-inch tires under it.

Just the outward appearance of this thing is overwhelmingly awesome, but knowing that Jeep didn’t skimp out on it makes it even cooler. In the above video, you can actually witness the Mighty FC frolicking through the desert with the original Jeep forward control army vehicle, which features a two-cylinder two-stroke diesel engine, trailing it.

Watching this beast climb the rocks in Moab is awesome, but what really blew us away was the care that Jeep put into the interior. Unlike a lot of forward control vehicles, the Mighty FC has a regular old steering wheel, just like its donor Wrangler, and not that funny feeling bus-style steering wheel. It also features a carefully crafted plaid design that was actually one a part of a snowboard bag – some of the zippers and trimming are still on the fabric too.

Ultimately, the Mighty FC will likely never see production or it may be offered only as a fleet-type of vehicle, but it’s a sweet looking and performing concept nonetheless. Take a look at the video for yourself and also watch as one of the Mighty FC’s designers talks about this machine like a kid describing an awesome Christmas gift. We wouldn’t mind seeing this under the TopSpeed Christmas tree this year, that’s for sure.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 1
Toyota Yaris

Just a few short years ago, the World Rally Championship (WRC) was in crisis after both Mitsubishi and Subaru left the sport in quick succession. However, since then, newcomers Mini and Volkswagen have confirmed they’ll compete in the WRC in the next few years and if reports are to be believed, yet another historic racing manufacturer may make a return.

Toyota originally competed in the WRC from 1973 to 1999 and wrapped up three WRC titles and came home with 43 victories. A good enough record to warrant staying in the sport, you say? Well, it is a fairly illustrious record, but Toyota left WRC to instead focus on Formula One and we all know how that turned out. Not very well.

The Toyota Celica WRC rally car was one of the most recognizable cars Toyota entered into the sport, but despite the GT 86 and Scion FR-S recently being launched by the brand, Toyota has confirmed that neither will enter the WRC.

While discussing the topic, a Toyota spokesman said, “We’re leaning towards an S2000-style of car which would be available for customers first. This is a development project, but it’s very early days—the engine only fired up for the first time a few weeks ago. At the very earliest, a car won’t be available until next year. Obviously, this being a Global Race Engine, it could go in any car, but the Yaris seems to make sense.”

The Yaris may not seem like the obvious choice, but look at it this way; it’s a lightweight city car with an extremely short wheelbase, the ideal combination for rallying. And with the original Mini Cooper having such a successful WRC career with those same ingredients, Toyota could be on to a winner here.

At this stage, it’s very unlikely that we will see the Yaris competing in the WRC until 2014 or beyond, but either way, we’re still excited to see how having five manufacturers will spice up the sport.

Source: WRC

After displaying one image of the new generation G-Class secretly or accidentally in the official picture gallery of the new GLK-Class , Mercedes has finally decided to drop the official details on the new G-Class. The car has been heavily modified and includes a new interior with exquisite materials, a completely redesigned instrument cluster and center console, and some minor changes for the exterior.

The line-up now includes a new G63 AMG powered by an eight-cylinder biturbo engine combined with an ECO start/stop system and a new G65 AMG model featuring a new V12 biturbo engine.

"Our G-Class has been a force to be reckoned with for the last 33 years. In its latest evolutionary stage, it offers state-of-the-art, powerful engines, a further improved range of luxurious appointments and the very latest safety features, as well, of course, as its now legendary off-road capabilities. At the same time the design remains true to its down-to-earth, unmistakable style," said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Hit the jump to read more about the new generation Mercedes G-Class.

Jeep’s line-up of vehicles at the 2012 Easter Safari in Moab, Utah is rounding out into shape with the unveiling of two new vehicles - the Jeep Cherokee Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Concept and the Jeep Wrangler Traildozer - following last week’s announcement of the Mighty FC Concept, the J12, and the Wrangler Apache.

The Traildozer, in particular, is based on a Dozer Yellow 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and was co-designed by Jeep and the engineering boys over at the American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). For the project, the two collaborating heads fixed up the Wrangler with some off-road body protection, Mopar premium front and rear bumpers, and rear corner guards. Likewise, the off-roader was also given a Mopar performance heat reduction hood, a Mopar half-door kit, and a Mopar/Warn 9.5 Cti winch. Inside, the changes, minimal as they are, include an AEV ’F-1’ leather seat trim kit and Mopar slush mats. The wheels configuration includes 37" Mickey Thompson Baja Claw radials mounted on Mopar Classic five-spoke wheels, with a fully-installed AEV Dualsport RS 3.5" suspension lift.

Then there’s the most significant modification on this vehicle: the engine upgrade! For the project, Jeep and AEV installed a bolt-in 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine that produces 470 horsepower and mated it to a Getrag 238 six-speed manual transmission with the power running through Rubicon-specific Dana 44 axles equipped with 4:10 gears and electronic locking differentials.

It doesn’t do much in the way of aesthetics, but the Jeep Wrangler Traildozer is a powerful workhorse hiding in an otherwise simple body.


Chrysler’s in-house aftermarket specialist, Mopar, specializes in developing accessories for a lot of the vehicles under the Chrysler umbrella. At the 2012 Easter Safari in Moab, Utah, Mopar is showcasing what they can do to a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with their fancy accessories.

The Wrangler, which has been unoriginally tagged as the "Wrangler Mopar Accessorized," is exactly what its name suggests. Based on the Wrangler Rubicon, Mopar added a slew of their aftermarket enhancements to turn this off-road raider into one that comes chalk-full of new goodies.

Among the modifications done include a Mopar rock rails, front and rear off-road bumpers, new windshield-mounted LED lamps, a new hard-top headliner, a Warn 9.5ti XP winch, a two-inch performance lift kit, and a new set of massive 35" Goodyear Wrangler tires wrapped in Classic five-hole wheels. Inside, Mopar added Kicker dash 6.5-inch two-way speakers, all-weather mats, a locking center console box, a rear cargo cubby cover, and an “Add-A-Trunk” partition in the cargo area.

There’s not much to go around for this vehicle other than Mopar showing off what it can do to a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon if you let them get their hands on one. Nevertheless, it’s still an interesting look at "what-could-be," especially if you’re in the market for a Wrangler Rubicon.

BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Meritor Defense have been working on a military project dubbed the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program in an attempt to manufacture a lightweight vehicle that the U.S. armed forces can use anywhere in the world. This project had yet to be officially proposed, as its equipment was still in the developmental phase, but as of today, testing is over and the proposal is to be submitted.

You may be wondering “what does this have to do with production cars?” The driving force of this new military device, which is ultimately the replacement for the Humvee, is shared with one of the best-selling pickups of all time, the Ford F-Series SuperDuty . Yup, this large-caliber-gun-toting machine will come fitted with Ford’s now famous 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine.

The exact specifics of the engine have not been released, so we are not certain if this will be the same 6.7-liter you would see under the hood of a 2012 F-250 SuperDuty . Unfortunately, that will likely never be known, but we do know that the Power Stroke engine is up to the task, pumping out an impressive 400 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 800 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm.

This will likely end up similar to the Allison military transmissions vs. civilian models deal. The Power Stroke’s basic technology will remain the same, but the engine will be highly modified for combat usage. If the military accepts this design as one of the three it will select, this could mean that the Power Stroke could see much advancement in upcoming years, as the military tinkers with the engine and Ford mimics the modifications. This also means that we are in for a slew of “Ford’s so good, we power military vehicles” styles of commercials, oh boy.

On a semi-ironic aside to this announcement, Ford was once a part of the JLTV program, but dropped out earlier. We guess there are no hard feelings between Ford and BAE.

Hit the jump for the official press release.


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