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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.

Porsche Cayenne

We are still awaiting our first "official" peek at the Porsche Macan , but all of the spy shots have pretty much given all of its details away. For 2015, it looks as if Porsche is preparing to debut another SUV in the form of a revised Cayenne . We don’t expect this to be a complete overhaul, but we do expect it to receive a healthy and much needed facelift.

The 2015 Cayenne , which we expect to see hit the show circuit sometime in 2014, will carry a nearly identical design as the Macan. The most notable of similarities, at least according to the spy shots, are the taillights. Much like its little brother — the Macan — the Cayenne has some stickers shaped just like the current Cayenne’s taillight covering up the revised taillights. What is it with VW products and wearing pasties over the goodies?

We anticipate the 2015 Cayenne to carry the current engine lineup into the 2013 model year, but we do expect a slight power increase across the board.

Click past the jump to see more spy shots up close

Posted on by Simona  

Ford unveiled the Explorer back in 1990, and since this debut, the Explorer has seen five generations. The latest of these generations came in 2011.

The fifth-generation Explorer moved on a new D4 platform, a modified version of the D3 platform that is also used for Flex and Taurus . With this shift in platforms, the Explorer also received a completely revised exterior, a new line of engines and an interior that is both refined and very user friendly.

Like with pretty much all the other models in Ford’s lineup, the 2014 Explorer is offered in three trim levels: base, XLT and Limited, with prices starting from $29,600 plus $895 destination and delivery charges.

For 2014, the modifications given to the Explorer are minimal, and include a few new exterior colors and the shuffling of standard features.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford Explorer.

Posted on by TB +  

Comfort, safety, durability and power are the key reasons for upgrading to these heavier pickups from the lighter-duty Silverado that is all new for 2014 . Even while the new model has projector beam headlights and some extra cabin tech, the 2500HD and 3500HD Silverado’s continue with only detail tweaks for 2014.

These updates include a new standard final drive ratio that boosts tow ratings by 4,500 pounds across the board, and a bi-fuel option that can run on normal gasoline or clean and affordable natural gas at the flip of a switch.

Chevy packs quite a bit more strength into these $30,000 to $50,000 2500 HD and 2500 HD trucks than their fierce cross-town rivals from Ford’s F-Series Super Duty and the Ram Heavy Duty choices.

These trucks have the rock-solid capabilities that would have required heavy and specialized machinery even a few decades ago.

Two quite unique buyer groups exist for these Texas-sized pickup trucks: people using the HD trucks to earn a living, and people who are so rich that they need to be able to transport all their toys to the cabin - at the same time. 10,000-plus tow maximum’s and fifth-wheel trailer hitches available, the Chevrolet Silverado HD trucks are only of the only ways to move a family of five, a large boat, jet ski’s and ATVs all in one trip.

These days, the Silverado HD series will happily get filthy doing the dirty work from dawn to dusk, but it must also deliver far more friendly service during the off hours. This is the real challenge for all pickup trucks, and the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models are the last bastion of (at times) crude manners and a DuraMax exhaust drum wider than a telephone pole.

All this while hauling its drivers and their families in comfort and safety that still seems unimaginable at times for these big work trucks. Is the aging 2014 Silverado HD still up to the task in the face of a revised 2014 Ram Heavy Duty with an air suspension in back? How about versus the ever-popular Ford F-Series Super Duty and its huge cabin space?

Don’t expect anything completely out of the ordinary with Ford’s new F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks. The truth is, the pickup’s no frills, go-get-’em aura strikes a lot of us as the epitome of what a heavy-duty vehicle should be.

That’s an important quality to have because the market demands it, especially with competitors like the RAM Heavy Duty and the Chevrolet Silverado engaging Ford in a constant game of one-upsmanship for heavy-duty pickup supremacy.

The 2014 model of the F-Series Super Duty, which consists of the F-250 and F-350, doesn’t do much in the way of aesthetic improvements. Instead, Ford focused on giving the new model minor improvements to the braking system, including bigger rotors and a larger parking brake. It’s not going to catch the attention of the aesthetically-inclined, but there’s an argument to be made that these changes will offer more in turning the 2014 F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks into more capable to bring the fight to its competitors.

At the end of the day, that’s what you should expect with these four-wheeled monsters. Anything more will leave you disappointed and anything less will leave you pleasantly surprised.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups

Posted on by Simona  

Ford unveiled the production version Flex at the 2007 New York International Auto Show and put it on sale in the summer of 2008. A mild facelift was revealed at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show , when the model received an updated exterior look with a single-bar grille replacing the old three-bar grille and "FLEX" lettering replacing the Ford logo. A more powerful V-6 version was also added.

Given all the updates offered for the 2013 model year, it’s no surprise that the 2014 Flex remains pretty much unchanged, with the only updates including new exterior colors — Sunset Metallic and Oxford White — and a series of new standard features.

The model will continue to be offered in three trim levels — SE, SEL and Limited — with prices starting from $31,100 plus $895 destination and delivery charges. Buyers can order it in six- or seven-seats versions, plus front wheel drive or all wheel drive configurations.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford Flex.

The 2014 truck season is in full swing, and some of the main manufacturers are launching all-new variants of their resident pickups. Chevrolet already released its new 2014 Silverado , and Ford is set to reveal its all-new 2015 F150 that will be based on the 2013 Atlas Concept .

Even SUVs are off to a good start, with the debut of the 2014 X5 and 2014 Range Rover Sport . Toyota has been waiting patiently for the pickup market to come back, and its is now set to launch the 2014 Tundra with "Truck Of The Year" aspirations.

The Tundra looks quite similar to last year’s model but if you look closer, you’ll find that it is loaded with improvements.

Toyota invited us to the woods of Georgia to test drive it and see how it does on and off the road, as well as with a trailer hitched to the back end.

Click past the jump to read what we think of it.

Posted on by TB +  

Mitsubishi ’s biggest seller brings a number of new updates for 2014 to increase refinement, style and interior technology. Both models move up a notch in driving ability, helping maintain the 2014 Outlander Sport’s class-leading status among the compact crossover market segment.

A new LED running light design is available up front, along with some snazzy blue LED brake lights out back for 2014. A black leading edge of the roof is also quite stylish, and marks out the Outlander Sport SE at the top of the range. In the top trim level, the 2014 model year also brings better leather and a a standard display audio screen.

All Outlander Sports now pack a new balancer shaft for the engine, extra insulation and redesigned steering wheel controls. Overall, the Outlander Sport is still one of the sportiest and best-handling compact crossovers out there.

Is the Mitsu ’s tight handling and build quality enough of an incentive over the Jeep Patriot ? How about the turbocharged Nissan Juke ?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, with all the updates for this model year, options info, and pricing data on the optional huge glass roof


Volkswagen’s Amarok pick-up doesn’t get nearly the same recognition as some of the more heralded models in the VW lineup. But the German automaker wants to change that and to its credit, it’s doing something about it.

At the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show , Volkswagen is bringing a special edition Amarok, called the Dark Label Edition.

The model is based on the Amarok Trendline trim and comes with plenty of aesthetic upgrades to differentiate itself from the rest of the Amarok line. Contrary to its name, the Amarok Dark Line actually comes in a variety of colors, including every paint finish available on the Trendlie trim. In addition, Volkswagen decided to add tinted rear windows, blacked-out B-pillars, smoked tailights, a silver underbody guard, and a set of 18-inch Durban-style alloy wheels. Black accents on the rollover bar, door handles, mirrors, and rear bumper conclude the exterior re-styling of the notoriously boxy Amarok.

Moving to the interior, you’ll be treated to a steady diet of expensive and high-grade modifications, highlighted by Alcantara upholstery, velour floor mats, and heated front seats. And that’s on top of the new multi-function steering wheel, a newly-installed RCD 310 radio, and a Durabed bed liner coating.

While not overly impressive in the grand scheme of things, the Amarok Dark Line Edition does succeed - somewhat, at least - in giving the Amarok a sportier look and appearance.

Sometimes, small victories like this are worth all the effort.

The Amarok Dark Label Edition is set to go on sale later this year at a price of €36,271, which is just a shade over $48,000 based on current exchange rates.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Amarok

Posted on by TB +  

Detail changes refine the best-selling Ford Escape for 2014, including a new backup camera and better towing compatibility when equipped with the clever foot-activated power tailgate. The biggest other change to celebrate? A price cut of over $1,000 on the sporty Titanium EcoBoost trim versus 2013.

Full (versus partial on 2013 and before) leather trim inside the Titanium specification is joined by a gigantic available moonroof and a new style of wheels, in what Ford calls 18-inch sparkle nickel painted aluminum.

The Escape still carries much of its concept-car style onto the roads even without the upgraded Titanium’s xenon and LED lights. The proportions are firmly modern but maintain a sense of adventure with tough plastic for the fenders as sills. Overall, this redesign of the previous boxy Escape is a large leap, perhaps two or three normal generations in a single bound.

As such, the tech underneath also matches the future-tech mission of the exterior styling. Three available engines and a twin-clutch automatic are at the very forefront of tech in the crossover space, where the RAV4 and CR-V still bumble along with dated four-bangers and thirsty transmission setups. Is there anything slower than a Honda driver on the phone?

The Escape’s appeal is very solid in the crossover market, even with a price range that can grow far larger than its budget rivals. In top specification, this is truly the thinking man’s Evoque : a mechanically identical sibling of the mini Range Rover , but for almost exactly half the price at all trim levels.

In the real world, is the Escape as sporty as the Mazda CX-5, or as big as the brand-new, 2014 Nissan Rogue that arrives at dealers in November?

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Escape, including all the new colors and trim options to go along with the latest backup camera and SYNC technology.


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