utility vehicle

utility vehicle

This is certainly not the first time we’re seeing the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class wandering the streets, but it is the camo-covered GLK’s first time captured cruising with its production-ready headlights and taillights, not to mention the uncovered grille for all to see.

Before now, the GLK had been sporting makeshift projector-beam headlights, and had its grille covered in swirly camo and wire mesh. Even its taillights looked to be of the JC Whitney variety.

Now with the production units in place, the GLK’s looks are coming together. Its new headlights appear to be HID units with a strip of LED lighting running along the bottom edge. In the close-up shot, a cutout for what will likely be a fog light sits just below the headlight, visible just forward of the front tire.

Out back, the taillights appear to be similar to those found on the upcoming C-Class Wagon. Horizontal bars help add width to the rather upright crossover and the detailing will add a level of posh.

We can expect to see the new GLK hit showrooms for the 2015 model year with a variety of powerplants and trim levels. Its starting price should remain in the $38,000 ballpark.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mercedes GLK.

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

Volvo’s recently released 2016 XC90 has the industry abuzz about the all-new crossover’s elegant design and futuristic interior. While the ink is still wet on the XC90’s debut headlines, Volvo has dropped an important piece to its latest vehicle’s puzzle. This Volvo-originated testing shows the new crossover getting subjected to the worst kinds of treatment.

The first battery of testing involves the common frontal offset crash at 40 mph. As the vehicle hits the barrier, the crumple zones do their job in defecting the majority of the crash’s energy away from the passenger compartment. It doesn’t even look like the side door was even scratched. Not even the windshield shows signs of damage.

The side impact test comes next, as the XC90 gets slammed with a dummy car at 35 mph. The simulated T-bone crash shows the side doors getting pushed inward, however the dual side-airbag system prevented the test dummy from ever hitting the door panel or window.

Lastly the rollover crash test simulates just that — a dreaded rollover where the vehicle spends time bouncing down the road on its roof. The test shows the side-curtain airbags deploying as the roof structure stays in place. It’s hard to tell for sure, but it seems all the occupants could simply open the doors and walk away from this crash.

While it hasn’t been official tested by the IIHS or NHTSA, it appears the all-new Volvo XC90 will pass with flying colors. It’s amazing how far crashworthiness of vehicles has come since Volvo became the first automaker to include seat belts in all its vehicles back in 1959.

The U.S. auto industry have given us some of the most incredible automobiles over the last 100 hundred years. Starting with the Ford Model T , the first vehicle mass-produced on moving assembly lines, and ending with the aluminum-bodied, 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck, America has made a name for itself as one of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers. Before the Great Depression, the U.S. produced over 90 percent of the vehicles sold globally, and after World War II it was responsible for 75 percent of the world’s production. That’s no longer the case in 2014, when China manufactures nearly 20 million vehicle a year, more than both the U.S. and Japan.

Sure, these numbers don’t mean U.S. manufacturers have lost their touch. Just look at the new Mustang and Corvette Z06 , and you’ll notice the brilliant engineering and the passion are still there. However, it’s common knowledge that global production works on different standards which restrict the availability of certain models in certain markets. It works both ways. Europe, for instance, can’t have many of the vehicles sold in the U.S., while Americans can’t buy cars made by a variety of European brands. Ironically, North American manufacturers have launched a bevy of nameplates that can’t be had in the U.S. And while most of them wouldn’t stir any interest on these shores, some vehicles have caused great frustration to the American enthusiast.

I’m going to talk about the latter. The cool cars we can’t buy and drive over various production or import issues, or even the manufacturer’s lack of interest in the U.S. market. Take a look at my choices below and tell me what you guys think. I narrowed the list down to 10 vehicles, so feel free to let me know which ones you think I should have included in the comments box.

Click past the jump to read more about the cool cars we can’t buy in the U.S.

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

In 1994, Toyota wowed the world with its new RAV4. Toyota had brought the world a machine that possessed the size and practicality of an SUV , but it promised the driving dynamics and comfort of a car. When it went on sale in 1995, it was an instant hit, and the crossover craze officially started. In 2014, 20 years later, the RAV4 has just moved into its fourth generation, and sales are still going strong. Over the last two decades, there have been dozens of competitors join the game, and Toyota is no longer the only kid on the block.

Is the RAV4 still the machine to buy, or has the king been dethroned by one of the many challengers. I had a 2014 RAV4 Limited with FWD for a week, and I decided I was going to do my best to figure out if this latest RAV4 is worth the badge on its bodywork, or the money in your wallet.

With a fresh exterior design, revised drivetrain options and a new interior, this is the most radical change the RAV4 has ever experienced. Read on to see if it is any good.

Continue reading to learn more about the new 2014 Toyota RAV4 Limited

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

BMW is preparing to launch a new version of its popular X5 SUV, the F15 Security Plus. To the casual observer, nothing is amiss with the X5, but to a firearm-wielding criminal bent on theft or worse, the F15 Security Plus is a rolling safehouse disguised as a BMW .

BMW will officially debut the armored X5 at the upcoming Moscow Auto Show next week, though the original concept made its first appearance in Frankfurt last year. The F15 Security Plus is designed to meet the VR6 protection level, meaning attacks from small arms fire like the AK-47, AR-15, and most hand guns will have no effect on the passenger’s health (well, save for panic or heart attacks).

Ballistic panels and glass aren’t the only modifications BMW has done to the F15. The chassis has been strengthened while the electronic management systems and brakes have been upgraded to deal with the added weight. Power comes from the twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 making 445 horsepower and 480 pound feet of torque.

This isn’t BMW’s first in-house armored vehicle. The German automaker has been producing armored versions of its 7 Series for nearly two decades. Currently BMW is producing the VR7-rated 7 Series rated to protect against more lethal threats like explosives and higher-powered rifles.

BMW will also offer a lighter, VR4-rated X5 SUV for customers looking for basic protection but with minimal changes in vehicle driving dynamics. More details are slated for release once the vehicle debuts in Moscow.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW X5 F15 Security Plus

Some people see the infiltration of compact SUVs into the luxury realm as a bit of a waste. They are only marginally larger than hatchbacks , get worse fuel economy than most hatchbacks and simply aren’t as composed as most hot hatchbacks. But most people haven’t driven the BMW X4 and the all-new Porsche Macan ; specifically, the Macan S Diesel and the X4 xDrive30d.

Steve Sutcliffe had the opportunity to not only test out both SUVs, but he also got a chance to test them out back-to-back. What’s more, Steve refrained from doing the typical "how fast does it go" test. Though he did get into straight-line speed, he also tested out their light off-road capabilities, roominess and handling.

The BMW X4 xDrive30d carries with it 258 horses, 560 Nm (413 pound-feet) of torque, a 0-to-62-mph time of 5.8 seconds and a 234-km/h (145-mph) top speed. The Porsche Macan S Diesel carries 258 horsepower, 580 Nm (428 pound-feet) of torque, a 0-to-62-mph sprint of 6.3 seconds and a 230-km/h (142-mph) top speed. On paper, it appears as if the X4 will trot to an easy victory, but Sutcliffe goes beyond paper to see if the X4 can hold up in real life too.

Check out the video to see the results of the test.

Source: Autocar UK

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