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I recently spent a week behind the wheel of a 2013 Toyota 4Runner , and while it missed Toyota’s 2014 mild refresh , it still had the guts of a true off-roader and honest-to-goodness sports utility vehicle. My 4Runner was decked out with the Trail package that included part-time four-wheel-drive, a locking differential and Toyota ’s KDSS suspension system with Multi-Terrain Select. With all the right option boxes checked, this 4Runner was set to live up to its name.

It was 1984 when the 4Runner began making its name known to Americans as the SUV adaptation of Toyota’s popular pickup. In fact, the 4Runner was basically a Toyota pickup, or Hilux as its known outside the U.S., with a removable fiberglass camper shell over the bed and a removable rear seat installed inside. It competed directly against the Ford Bronco and Chevrolet Blazer and won a loyal following with its nimble size and bulletproof powertrain.

Over the years, the 4Runner has undergone many changes and became its own vehicle apart from the pickup. But that body-on-frame construction, four-wheel-drive, and nimbler size still lives on. Even in a time when the traditional SUV is becoming an endangered species, the 4Runner hasn’t lost its rugged appeal. The crossover crowd has the Highlander , and that’s just fine, as it leaves the 4Runner to cater to a more adventurous crowd who still use low range and the trailer hitch.

Click past the jump to continue reading our review of the 2013 Toyota 4Runner

Acura has had a run of disappointments in recent years, particularly when I happened to receive the Acura TL in place of an RLX that had some "issues" preventing me from getting a fair shot at it. And it was little more than a Honda Honda wrapped up in an Acura costume. In fact, my tester Accord had more features than it, but I digress. I am here to talk about the 2014 Acura MDX.

For 2014, Acura scrapped the old MDX body and slapped on some brand-new sheet metal with all sorts of sharp angles and gorgeous lines. No longer does it look like a Honda Pilot wearing a different mask. It honestly looks like something that belongs in the same class as the BMW X5 and Mercedes GL-Class — at least in the press images it does.

So you can imagine that I was pretty antsy to get my hands on it, and that was multiplied by my crappy experience with the TL. So, what did I think of the TL once I got my chance behind the wheel?

Click past the jump to read my full Driven Review and find out.

There’s just something about a sports sedan that just does it for me. Maybe it’s the fact that I now have a family and a sports sedan caters to both the father and teenager inside of me, by offering up four doors, a stylish look and acceptable performance. Then again, maybe I am just an old man that has grown used to rocking a sedan, man purse and a diaper bag — yeah, that’s probably it.

Well, enter in the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT that I got my hands on for a week, and was really surprised with what I saw. I am definitely no fan of the Lancer as a whole lineup — sans the EVO , of course — because it has become a stale look that feels really, really dated. But add in the GT trim level that tosses in the 18-inch wheels, big rear wing and some niceties on the inside, and it was acceptable. Sure, I would have preferred the 237-horsepower Ralliart model, but at least the GT looks the part.

The Lancer never really gets its fair chance in the compact sedan market, as the Focus, Corolla , Civic and Forte really hog up all the attention. So, we’re here to give it a chance to warm our hearts.

Click past the jump to read my full Driven review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer GT.

The 2014 Nissan GT-R is the flagship of the Nissan brand and represents one of the greatest price-to-performance bargains of all time. Thanks to a 545 horsepower engine, a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission and an advanced all-wheel drive system, the GT-R has set multiple track records for production cars around the world.

Despite its ability to blitz most Ferraris and Lamborghinis around a track, the GT-R carries a price that is less than half those competitors.

Nissan has even tried to infuse a large dose of day-to day livability by giving the GT-R four seats and a large trunk.

But where did Nissan sacrifice to keep the price down? Can it match the more expensive competitors in refinement, comfort or technology? I spent 10 days and more than 1,600 miles behind the wheel to figure out if the newest version of Nissan’s ultimate sports car is everything it seems to be.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is really one of the more polarizing roadsters available today. Those who are fans of it — myself included — rave about its handling, power-to-weight ratio, analog feel and balance on the track. Those who hate it argue that it looks like a "chick’s car," isn’t fast enough, too loud and never has all of the cool features found in modern cars.

Well, Mazda has — for the most part — ignored all of the MX-5 haters and focused on what the MX-5 lovers desire from the Japanese roadster. When Mazda redesigned the MX-5 in 2006, it listened to enthusiasts by adding in a Club Spec model that eliminated all of the higher-end features and replaced them with performance goodies, like Billstein struts, a strut tower brace and upgraded tires. Well, Mazda was gracious enough to bestow upon me a 2014 MX-5 Club for a week, and as a Miataphile, I was more than thrilled to get a crack at a new model.

I personally own a modified 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 that pumps out about 225 to 250 horsepower, so I had a good base to go off of for this review. Some of you may think that since my daily driver is a modded MX-5 that I may not find the new Club model all that thrilling, but you would be absolutely incorrect.

Click past the jump to read our Driven review of the 2014 Mazda Miata Club.

When Mazda replaced the 626 — some considered it a simple rename — with the Mazda6 in 2003, its lineup started to regain its long-forgotten sporty feel. As time went on, even after its 2009 redesign, the Mazda6 became a little stagnant and buyers started looking elsewhere for their sports sedans .

Well, Mazda is currently in full redesign mode with its all-new Kodo design language in an attempt to regain some buyer interest. The first of its sedans to get the Kodo treatment was the 2014 Mazda6 , and boy did it completely change the outlook for Mazda’s flagship sedan.

We all know that there is no better way to get to know a car better than by taking out for a spin yourself. And it’s even better if you get the car for an extended period of time. Well, that’s just what I did, as Mazda dropped off a shiny, new Mazda6 i Touring and gave me a week to get to know it a little better.

In all honesty, I was pretty skeptical at first, but I am now a believer that Mazda is back and better than ever. Not to say there were zero flaws, but I found many more pros than cons.

Click past the jump to read our full Driven review of the 2014 Mazda6 i Touring.

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The 2014 Camaro RS really knocked my socks off. Its arrival was perfectly timed with some incredible track videos of the brand-new Z-28, and we hit it off right away.

Let’s address the elephant in the room. This is a V-6 engine ponycar - three words that over the years have become synonymous with soft, underpowered and uninspiring editions of the Mustang and even the previous F-body cars.

No màs.

The 2014 Camaro V-6 is hard from its $24,555 base pricing: with a creamy six-speed, 5.8-seconds to 60, and a limited-slip diff out back (unless you get the 6-cog auto).

Over the week we spent having a ball driving this potent and rear-drive machine, the improvements versus any previous Camaro V-6 are significant. With all the highest-tech equipment now in reach of the V-6 buyers, there simply is no ’wimpy’ version of this car.

Even with lots of work to do back at the office, every lunch run was a lot more fun in the 2014 Chevrolet RS.

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review for all the details.

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The Juke NISMO is a hilarious riot to drive. If you take one thing away from this full review, that should be it.

Highway fast lanes clear rapidly when any hint of GT-R or NISMO is coming up from behind.

As the second NISMO-tuned effort after the incredibly transformed 370Z Nismo, the Juke is the perfect combination of economy-car basics, but with the highest-tech racing components outside, inside and under the hood.

A similar upgrade in a past Nissan phase would have been the Nissan Sentra SE-R. Nismo isthe new hotness.

There are amazing details all over the Juke Nismo, especially with its very fun and entertaining persona on the roads. This car loves to be floored in AWD V-spec and Sport modes, slamming through seven virtual - and seriously sporty — upshifts at the red-line. In a CVT!

It is true. A huge part of the NISMO magic in the Juke is the reprogrammed ECU that makes sport mode a mandatory button push - right after lighting up the push-button ignition.

TopSpeed’s Juke Nismo press loaner is the $25,000 AWD automatic with the navigation system upgrade, but all the joy and fun cornering stance is also on offer in the manual-transmission, front-drive Juke Nismo from just $22,990.

The Nissan Juke NISMO is an incredible machine for sports-car fans and hooning boy-racers alike.

Click past the jump to hear all the reasons why this might be the smartest Fiesta ST alternative on the market.

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The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty is heavily revised with new air suspension options, an all-new interior, and a fifth-wheel trailer towing option that allows these huge trucks to hitch a trailer right into the bed of the pickup truck.

The Heavy Duty Ram line also brings a mild exterior refresh with the projector-beam lights on posh trims like the Laramie test truck.

A quick spin was enough to have me looking for poundage to haul somewhere, maybe a friend who likes to ride dressage horses competitively?

Sadly, not enough time to test the limits of this tall workhorse by towing some show ponies out back.

This all-new 2014 Mega Crew Cummins 2500 is the big chief of the Ram family, with over 800 pound-feet of torque and tow ratings that would make a tractor trailer blush with embarrassment. For a non-truck-guy, the 2500 Ram is generally thought of as the 20,000-pound trailer max — in the right settings.

The 3500 Ram is now in a class of one with a 30,000-pound towing max, again with the right option boxes ticked.

With base pricing just below $30,000, how does the Ram HD line compare with the best-sellers from Ford and Chevy ?

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty 2500 Diesel.

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The 2014 XJ sedan finally achieves all the potential of this iconic luxury brand with long-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive or even supercharged versions that match buyer priorities and also Jaguar ’s inherent sportiness.

The previous XJ sedans have all been brilliant at one or two of the executive limo buyer’s checklist areas, including style and interior panache. At different times, the previous XJR was hilariously fast and full of roaring character. But never has the XJ offered buyers such a wide swath of excellence in body styles, technology, style and performance.

The XJ really snapped to attention on the sales charts with the 2013 inclusion of a new 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6 and AWD grip near the base $74,000 configuration. This not only catapults the XJ into consideration for Audi and Lexus buyers, but it also improves the previous standard V-8’s mileage stats.

So like a chorus or an orchestra, all the instruments in the Jaguar symphony finally seem to be playing the same some. And it is a catchy tune with the XJ’s beautiful nose and subtle styling that is a perfect match for the ultra-limo segment’s discerning buyers.

A brief sample of the 2014 XJ L 3.0 AWD was enough to take in its liquid curves, attractive nose detailing, and a cabin so full of leather that it smells like the inside of a Burberry purse.

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Jaguar XJ L 3.0 AWD, including photos of the huge back seat and details about the entire XJ lineup.


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