Sports Utility / 4x4

Sports Utility / 4x4

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

Nissan announced over the summer that it would commence in building its second crowdsourced vehicle, a 2014 Titan pickup. The one-off truck would be built with the help of Nissan’s 170,000 Facebook fans in preparation for an epic Alaskan adventure, led by two veterans with the Wounded Warrior Project.

The truck started life as a stock Titan, no different than one found at a local dealership and through the last several weeks, Nissan’s Facebook fans have voted on which parts to add, including wheels, tires, bumpers, mechanical modifications, interior accessories, and exterior graphics. With the truck completed, WWP Alumni David Guzman and Kevin McMahon are setting off on a week-long adventure through the Alaskan wilderness.

Nissan is creating a video mini-series that will debut in the fall of 2014 on YouTube that documents the two veterans’ extreme journey.

While this is Nissan’s first off-road iteration of a crowdsourced vehicle, it’s the automaker’s second similar build. Back in 2012, Nissan’s Facebook fans helped build a 370Z with a twin-turbo kit, a revised and track-ready suspension kit, and a host of visual changes to attract attention.

Updated 09/08/2014: Nissan unveiled a new video revealing a series of new details on its latest Project Titan. The new video shows the Titan with new hardcore wheels, LED lights, and wrap the exterior in a bold, military inspired, custom digital camo print.

Click past the jump for more info on the Titan project

The Lexus GX sport utility has been around since 2003 when Lexus added the midsize SUV to its lineup. Slotted between the smaller crossover RX and the larger LX platforms, the GX offered plenty of room for seven passengers and loads of rugged abilities that the then up-and-coming crossover segment lacked. A heavy refresh came in 2010 and included the 4.6-liter V-8 to replace the older 4.7-liter, a revised interior, and some slight updating to the exterior. Now for 2014, Lexus has reworked the GX460, giving it the corporate-wide Spindle Grille up front with HID and LED lighting, a reshaped rear bumper, and a new range-topping trim level. Lexus has also subtracted some stuff, namely the pricing. In fact, the base GX460 is roughly $4,700 cheaper than 2013 model. That said, the GX460 isn’t a cheap SUV, thanks to a starting price still touching $50,000.

The GX460 does offer a lot for that scratch, however, and it makes a solid case for itself when considering its heritage and capabilities as a true SUV — and one that can still haul seven people. It’s able to tow a 6,500-pound trailer, engage low range and hit the trails, yet still look at home parked at the county club.

I recently spent a week getting to know the 2014 GX460 with all its quirks and strong suits. The week was spent doing mixed driving, split pretty evenly on highways and city streets. Hauling passengers and hill climbing even happened on a few occasions.

Click past the jump for the full report

Chevrolet has launched its online configurator for the all-new 2015 Colorado. General Motor’s newest truck, along with its GMC twin, head up the long-awaited return of midsize trucks to the U.S. market. Fans and potential buyers can now spend time building their Colorado of choice just they way they like it, including two cab sizes, two bed lengths, two engine options, four trim packages, and either two- or four-wheel-drive.

While the GMC Canyon’s online configurator is noticeably absent as of 9/4/2014, the Colorado’s configurator makes easy work of building the right truck . For example, if frequent towing is part of the plan, then choosing the 3.6-liter V-6, locking rear differential, and Z82 trailering package would be a good choice. For those looking to save on gas, the extended cab Colorado can also be had with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission.

Pricing for the Colorado starts at $20,995 and can rise past $40,000 for a crew cab, long bed Z71 with four-wheel-drive and nearly every available option tacked on. Those options include everything from cargo bed accessories, side steps, and tonneau covers to navigation, leather seating, and even a first aid kit.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado’s configurator.

Source: Chevrolet

Launched in 1979 in its civilian version, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class remained largely unchanged to this day. Now an icon of the SUV market, the G-Wagon is also one of the very few vehicles to still carry its classic body and chassis configuration. The boxy Merc underwent several updates since 1990, but a beefed-up, AMG -badged version wouldn’t arrive until 2006.

That first version came powered by a supercharged, 5.5-liter V-8 and dubbed G55 AMG. The G-Class received a makeover for the 2012 model, when output was increased to 536 horsepower and the nameplate switched to G63 AMG. That same year, an even more extreme version was introduced - the G65 AMG. This SUV is powered by a 6.0-liter V-12 that generates 604 ponies and 738 pound-feet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have it in the U.S. But that will change starting in 2016 as the Germans are planning on offering the G65 AMG on these shores as well.

At least that’s what Automotive News claims, quoting "company sources." The outlet also adds the G65 AMG will fetch more than $250,000, nearly double the base price of the G63 AMG, which retails from $135,700. Ouch!

Note: European model pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mercedes G65 AMG.

This partnership between Azfal Kahn and Ant Anstead just might be on to something. The collaboration between these two industry savants has paved the way for the creation of two new models, one of which is the Ant-Kahn Flying Huntsman. Unlike the Evanta Barchetta , the Flying Huntsman is based on an actual vehicle that Kahn Design knows a great deal about: the Land Rover Defender . But this isn’t just a simple tuning project for the Defender. The Flying Huntsman is being prepared as a completely new model that will have a more aesthetically pleasing identity than the utilitarian looks of the Defender.

The Flying Huntsman will carry a "long-nose" front section, which essentially means that it’s going to be a little longer than the standard Defender, thanks to the extra 400 mm (15.7 inches) of bodywork attached into the nose. That makes the Flying Huntsman look more sophisticated and dare I say, more aesthetically balanced than anything we’ve seen from the Defender.

Under its hood, the Flying Huntsman is powered by a GM -sourced, 6.2-liter, V-8, LS3 engine that produces 550 horsepower — far and away more powerful than anything a standard Defender was capable of.

The Ant-Kahn Flying Huntsman is still in its development stages so there should be more details about this vehicle once the first prototype is completed. The early information, though, has been pretty impressive.

Updated 8/27/2014: Ant-Kahn has released another image of the upcoming Flying Huntsman, this time wearing a more traditional paint job. Check it out above.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Ant-Kahn Flying Huntsman.

Having the right tool for going off-road is just like having the right tool for the track; purpose-built vehicles work best for their intended purpose. And just like we at TopSpeed often compare track toys that go fast, we also like to compare the dirtier side of the automotive spectrum.

Below the jump is our pick of the top-five best off-road vehicles currently on the market. They hail from five brands, three continents, and two vehicle types. These trucks and SUVs represent the best in modern innovation tied in with proven technology wrapped in attractive packages.

Just like at the track, it’s all about getting power to the ground when heading off the beaten path. Locking differentials, axle articulation, and proper tires make all the difference. With pricing in the comparison ranging from $31,000 to in excess of $50,000, the group varies wildly from spartan to outright luxurious. But no matter what the interior looks like, the greasy bits underneath are what count the most.

Click past the jump for TopSpeed’s Top Five Off-Roaders

The Land Rover Defender , one of the most coveted off-road vehicles ever built, will get the axe in 2015, 22 years after its introduction and 66 years after its ancestor, the Land Rover Series, was launched. An icon will cease to exist, although the Brits are working on a successor that will arrive sometime in 2017. While the disappearing of the original Defender is sad news for all off-road enthusiasts, Land Rover is bidding fairwell to its potent SUV by releasing several special-edition models. The most recent to come out of the company’s Solihull plant is the Africa Edition, of which only 50 units will be built.

As the name suggests, this extremely limited SUV pays tribute to the vehicle’s go-anywhere capabilities and its countless encounters with the African continent, and its harsh climate and landscape. Be it military , humanitarian aid missions or rally raids, the Defender remains one of the few vehicles to conquer Africa on land, and the Africa edition emphasizes on these achievements once more. Sure, we don’t need a special-edition SUV to remember the greatness of the Defender, but every iteration is welcome as the iconic vehicle is preparing its exit from the market.

Click past the jump to read more about the Land Rover Defender Africa Edition

Have you noticed how more and more pickup trucks have come to match regular cars in terms of fancy, luxurious convenience features and technology ? Gone are the days when trucks used to feature a simple dash, a vinyl-wrapped bench, and roll-down windows. Nowadays, truck drivers travel in comfy leather seats and benefit from infotainment systems and other electronic gadgets. Heck, the 2015 Ford F-150 can even be had with massaging seats. The trend isn’t exactly new, however. Back in the 1970s, Detroit began offering visual features initially available on muscle cars on its trucks too. The second-gen Chevy C/K, for instance, was offered with the same Rally wheels and stripes that could be ordered on the Camaro . And it looked downright cool, too. Fast forward to 2015, Chevrolet is expanding the Silverado lineup with a Rally Edition model.

Although unrelated to the aforementioned C/K, the Silverado Rally Edition is only about enhanced visuals. The two distinct packages, available on 1500 Double Cab and Crew Cab pickups, add a tad of fancy to Chevy’s bread-and-butter truck without meddling with its drivetrain. Read on to find out what makes this special-edition Silverado special.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Silverado Rally Edition

The Ram truck has been around since its nameplate was officially used on the 1981 Dodge pickup. Dodge trucks dating back to 1933 were known for their ram hood ornament, so the mascot went from decoration to the trucks’ name. Big news happened again in 2010 when the Fiat Chrysler Group moved the Ram lineup outside the Dodge umbrella, making the Ram its own brand. Now in its fourth generation, the Ram truck is breaking ground on uncharted territory. That uncharted ground includes innovations like dumping the traditional leaf-spring rear suspension design in favor of a smoother-riding, five-link with coil springs and introducing the industry’s first V-6 turbo-diesel in a half-ton package. The diesel aspect has garnered the Ram some notable attention from both the auto industry and the truck-buying public.

In fact, more than 8,000 EcoDiesel trucks were ordered by Ram dealers in the first weekend the books opened — a number than represents nearly half of the Ram 1500’s normal monthly production run. Since that February weekend in 2014, Ram EcoDiesel sales have exceeded the automaker’s expectations and have contributed to Ram’s overall sales increase over last year.

So what’s the big deal about a diesel, you ask? Well, I squeezed 33 miles per gallon out of my Ram 1500 EcoDiesel tester I recently had. Sure, that was with me babying the throttle down the highway, but by the week’s end, the dash still showed an average of over 24 mpg. That’s the big deal. Not to mention my tester was equipped to pull 9,200 pounds at the hitch and haul an impressive 1,620 pounds in the bed.

Skip on down fore the complete run-down of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

When people talk about cars that symbolize America, they usually talk about trucks or muscle cars . For my money, though, there is nothing more American than a Jeep Wrangler . Born from the Willys MB that conquered the land during World War II, the modern Wrangler still embodies the same virtues of rugged simplicity from all those decades ago.

At least, that is how it looks from an exterior design point, but the newest Wranglers have satellite navigation, heated leather seats and even hard tops now. Has our march toward comfort finally taken the edge off the most capable off-road vehicle to come from an American company? Is the Wrangler still willing to get dirty and climb through mud and rocks to get somewhere?

I recently spent some time with a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X to find out. As the Rubicon , it has the most aggressive off-road equipment, but it has also been loaded with as many creature comforts as possible too.

So who broke first, me or the Jeep?

Continue reading to find out more about the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X


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