utility vehicle

utility vehicle

Minivans are strange beasts, wielding a two-edged sword of unmatched utility and a soccer-mom stigma. That stigma is hard to get past for some, but once the shear versatility and people-hauling capabilities have been explored, it’s hard to consider the minivan anything less than spectacular. I spent a week behind the wheel of Chrysler’s Town & Country to experience the conundrum for myself.

I’ve driven a number of rather interesting vehicles in my line of work, so I was admittedly a little weary about piloting the mom-mobile. However, as luck would have it, a minivan was just what I needed during the week. Up first was hauling my two-year-old around town for the week. The double DVD screens truly came in handy as a loveable mouse kept her attention off the “are we there yet?” statements. Next was chauffeuring a large group of friends to a social event. We had room to spare and all were comfortable.

Finally a family trip to the beach confirmed my suspension the Town & Country could do it all. With the third row folded flat, fishing poles lying between the second row captains’ chairs, and gear for the day packed all around, the Chrysler proved its worth. What’s more, the van’s front wheel drive also proved confident in the loose sands of Daytona Beach.

Click past the jump for the full review.

Ferrari will have five new cars to release in the next five years. And that number doesn’t include special editions, one-offs or anything like that. Doesn’t that sound super amazing?!

Well it does sound cool, but the news is not as big as it sounds. Ferrari has been on a yearly update schedule for quite a while now. That is simply their main business plan. Every year we get a revised model, and every four years, that model gets a heavy update. So we had things like the 599 GTB that became the 599 GTO . For the current lineup, we got the California, then the 458 , the FF came after that, and now we have the F12 Berlinetta . Then the cycle began its repeat with this year’s California T , the first major refresh. Next year should see a faster, modified version of the 458 arrive.

Ferrari is also still enforcing its 7,000-car maximum production limit, so there won’t be any more available than there already are. I think the really big takeaway from the announcement was the fact that Ferrari said they are still exclusively using V-8 and V-12 engines. There were rumors of something like a forced induction V-6 in a potential 458 update, so those are now basically dead. Ferrari also is not going to heavily invest into hybrid systems until the tech reaches a level they deem satisfactory.

As cool as the announcement of a new lineup of Ferrari’s seems, it’s actually just business as usual.

But what if Ferrari didn’t do business as usual? What if Ferrari decided it wanted to dramatically increase sales, and didn’t care so much about its brand prestige and message? It worked wonders for Porsche with models like the Cayenne .

Hit the break to see our self-destructing, five-year Ferrari plan; brand prestige be damned.

Every year, BMW brings a number of its vehicles to RETTmobil, considered as the best European expo for emergency vehicles. This year, the Bavarian automaker is doing it again with a handful of models that are built specifically for this occasion. One of these models is the BMW X5 xDrive30d Paramedic Vehicle, which gives a whole new meaning to a luxury SUV ambulance.

The BMW X5 xDrive30d Paramedic Vehicle isn’t your ordinary X5. It’s actually been fully equipped to serve a specific purpose. The exterior colors pretty much say it all, right? The white base of the X5 makes way for orange graphics throughout the body. Custom-issued emergency lights sit on top of the X5 and just under the kidney grilles, further showcasing the breadth of customization BMW undertook to turn this SUV into a full-fledged paramedic vehicle.

The interior of this X5 xDrive30d wasn’t shown in any of the photos, but to serve its purpose, we can surmise that BMW removed most of the accessories from a standard X5 and slapped on a host of life-saving equipment. It should also have tremendous amounts of space and an automatic tailgate that makes it more accessible in times of emergency.

Another important element of this paramedic vehicle is its engine. In this case, this X5 comes with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder in-line diesel engine that produces 258 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, more than enough power to be of good use in emergency situations. It’s also been equipped with xDrive all-wheel drive, allowing it to successfully navigate through the toughest of terrain.

The BMW X5 xDrive30d Paramedic Vehicle is one of seven vehicles BMW is bringing to ReTTmobil. But we’re guessing that lots of eyes will be on this one.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW X5.

We already knew that the Lamborghini Urus would go on sale for the 2017 model year, but the SUV’s powertrain was still a mystery, with both naturally aspirated V-10 and V-12 options on the table. A twin-turbo, V-8 powerplant has also been in the rumormill, as was a hybrid drivetrain, but it appears that the Italians might be forced to go with the former in order to meet the rigorous global emissions regulations that are looming in.

"An SUV could be a turbo engine for the first time for us," Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Auto Express, while head of R&D Maurizio Reggiani hinted the company may be forced to drop turbocharged units into its models by 2017.

Although the representatives declined to go into specifics, Audi ’s new twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 mill is the most likely candidate for the Lamborghini Urus, which will also share underpinnings with the upcoming Audi Q7 and Bentley SUV .

The said engine currently pumps 560 horsepower into the RS6 Avant and the RS7 , but output could be increased to reach the 600-horsepower mark, given Lamborghini ’s desire to roll out the sportiest SUV on the market.

Click past the jump to read more about the Urus.

Source: Auto Express

Just like the RX crossover, the LX full-size SUV has helped define the Lexus brand in terms of luxury and capability. And the recipe was pretty much simple, blending the off-road potential and reliability of the Toyota Land Cruiser ’s platform with a sumptuous and comfortable interior and rounding things off with a commanding exterior design.

Sure, the third-generation LX is getting a little old compared to its rivals, but no serious manufacturer really wants to dismiss it just yet. Its more recent facelift came for the 2013 model year , which means we’re stuck with the current layout for another couple of years, but the company’s Kuwaiti dealer decided the LX 570 needs yet another update.

You might be tempted to think we’re talking about a more luxurious version of the SUV , with gold-plated cabin inlays and maybe some Swarovski crystals here there, but that’s not the case. The appearance changes were actually done in good taste, but the most important improvement took place under the hood, where a supercharger was fitted to increase output beyond the 400-horsepower mark.

It sounds exciting yes, but don’t start dreaming just yet. This special edition LX isn’t likely to come to North America. However, that didn’t stop us from having a closer look at the vehicle and highlight all of its brand-new features.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus LX 570 Supercharger.

Source: Qabaq

With monstrous power, an extra pair of wheels, and loads of off-road tech and features at its disposal, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 is one hell of an SUV /truck ; seemingly unstoppable when driven in the roughest terrains.

Well, "seemingly" seems like the proper word after seeing the video above, in which one of these behemoths gets stuck on a beach and needs to be towed out of the sand by what appears to be a Caterpillar front-end loader.

That’s really embarrassing for a potent vehicle such as the G63 AMG 6x6, even though there are no specific details as to what might have caused the vehicle to get stuck. At first glance, everything seems to be in order, but a closer inspection of the footage reveals a deflated left, front tire.

It’s true that the G63 AMG 6x6 is fitted with a self-deflating/inflating tire system that helps it move in various terrains, but this time we’re looking at a flat tire. Of course, the embarrassing moment could be linked to another issue that’s not visible on the outside. Maybe an electrical failure of some sort?

Either way, you don’t get to see a monster of an SUV that costs more than half a million bucks being dragged away by a tractor too often. It must be pretty frustrating for the driver to not be able to use those 544 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

Thundering around town in a three-row SUV isn’t typically an exciting event. Slow and cumbersome with loads of body roll and understeer can make for a rather uninspiring trip. Then again, the refreshed 2014 Dodge Durango isn’t a typical SUV.

Coated in Granite Crystal Metallic paint with matching 20-inch rims, blacked-out windows, color-keyed bumpers and grille, and that ‘racetrack’ LED taillight fixture out back give this bad boy a snarling bad attitude. Equipped with the Rallye Appearance Package, this Durango seems to hold up an inappropriate gesture to any sneering onlookers.

Get on this bad boy’s good side, however, and you’re coddled like a king – even in the third row. The revised interior for 2014 is much improved over last year and includes numerous refinements. There’s an all-new steering wheel with standard paddle shifters controlling the standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic, a reworked center stack with the optional 8.4-inch Uconnect system, and a large seven-inch TFT display within the gauge cluster.

Though this Dodge is refreshed for 2014, all the good stuff from its 2011 total makeover is still present. The killer exterior looks, the loads of room in the second and third rows, its two optional engines, and all-wheel-drive set-up are among the most notable features in the Durango’s returning repertoire.

I recently spent a week with this beastly SUV, doing everything from commuting around and hauling kids, to blasting around cloverleaf interstate on-ramps. Head past the jump for my full run-down.

Click past the jump for the full review

Jeep pulled a surprise on all of us with all the concepts it brought to the Beijing Auto Show . We say ’surprise’ because we actually thought that if there was an auto show that would have had a strong Jeep presence, it would’ve been the recently-concluded New York Auto Show . But we’re not complaining that Jeep chose Beijing to strut its new wares, including the Jeep Wrangler Sundancer, which by all accounts, looks right at home in China with its fancy colors and even fancier new additions.

You don’t need to tell us how sophisticated this Wrangler looks, relative to its status as a weekend off-road warrior. But it’s a good thing that Jeep decided to dress up this Wrangler for the occassion. After all, it’s not often that you see a utility ride like the Wrangler receive a tri-coat Chocolate Brown Metallic paint with gold accents, and did we mention the Golden Bronze tone-on-tone ghosted pattern on the fender flares and the bronze-tinted windows?

But that’s not the extent of changes you’ll see on the Wrangler Sundancer. Notice how the front and rear bumpers have been also been painted in the same tri-coat Chocolate Brown metallic paint to complement the body lines. But instead of the gold accents on the body, the bumpers received golden bronze accents to go with the linear LED lighting.

This isn’t your normal Jeep Wrangler. That much we know just by looking at it. It’s a Wrangler that clearly knows how to dress up to cater to the Chinese market, something we suspect Jeep did intentionally, and even quite proudly.

Click past the jump to read more about the Jeep Wrangler Sundancer

Pioneering technology is a phrase that’s being thrown around rather loosely in the auto industry these days. But every so often, it applies to something that could potentially be really groundbreaking. For its part, Land Rover seems to think that it has something groundbreaking with the world’s first Transparent Bonnet concept.

Really, the name of this new technology is pretty self-explanatory. The bonnet, or hood, as we like to call it here, allows what Land Rover explains as a "new level of driver awareness". What that means is the hood provides a "see-through" augmented-reality view of the terrain ahead, making it easier for drivers to navigate around less-than-ideal conditions.

Land Rover accomplished this by putting cameras in the Discover Concept’s grille to capture data that will then be fed to a Head-Up Display inside the cabin of the vehicle. With it, the driver can see an unobstructed "see-through" view of the terrain. It’s never before done in the industry, making it that much more intriguing for everybody, us included.

The Transparent Bonnet concept is expected to be shown at the 2014 New York Auto Show with the Discovery Vision Concept . Rest assured, we’re going to keep a close eye on this new technology and see where Land Rover takes it from here.

The 2014 Nissan Xterra checks a lot of boxes on the "Needs" lists of buyers, but even with its relative versatility, customers are likely to veer towards other models. This is not for lack of quality, but rather because it looks So. Dang, Boring.

But even if aesthetics aren’t a particular strong suit for the Nissan , you should be happy to know that the Xterra is one of those SUV s that doesn’t really care about its looks. It’s all about its function and versatility and to be fair, it has both of those attributes in abundance.

That’s what you stand to receive with the 2014 Xterra. It may not have the prettiest face at the party, but it’s all sorts of smart and has the endurance and capacity to be by your side wherever you go. Whether its taking your kids to soccer games or heading out to the woods during a long weekend, Nissan’s resident off-road SUV can handle both tasks handily.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Nissan Xterra.


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