utility vehicle

utility vehicle

The Audi Q5 and Q7 understandably get all the love among Audi’s roster of crossovers and SUVs. But let’s not forget about the Q3 . This little brother got some spunk and it definitely deserves a path on the back, or in the case of German tuner MTM , a dedicated aftermarket program.

We’re all familiar with Audi ’s packaging of the Q3. It’s an economic crossover that has plenty of sweet features combined with Audi’s fabulous technical engineering. Then there’s the RS Q3 - the subject of this program - that breathes a little more fire as a more performance-oriented model of the Q3. But still, even something "good" has a chance to be "better", and that’s what MTM set out to accomplish with its new tuning kit for the RS Q3 2.5 TFSI quattro.

As a performance-heavy update, MTM is charging quite a lot for this program. The cost of the engine tune is €3,357, which is about $4,500 based on current exchange rates. Meanwhile, the new exhaust system and the carbon fiber rear diffuser will set you back €4,699, right around $6,400.

Then again, you can just opt for getting everything, car and tuning kit together. For that, you’re gonna have to pay €76,650, or about $104,150 in American money.

That might be a steep a price to pay, but what you can get out of it is pretty awesome in its own right.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi Q3 RS 2.5 TFSI Quattro By MTM.

From when the iconic Willys MB went off to fight WWII until 2014’s Wrangler JK , good gas mileage hasn’t exactly been the Jeep’s strong suit. Even with modern advancements of electronic fuel injection, five and six speed gearboxes, and emission controls, the current Wrangler only manages 17 mpg city and 21 mpg on the highway. Then again, that’s not bad when considering it’s got two solid axles turning short ring gears, knobby tires, and a flat windshield. When the 2018 Wranglers roll out, we may be in for a lot more mpgs, given a recent report from Edmunds is true.

But more is always better, right? Well things appear to be headed that way. Jeep boss Mike Manley said in a recent press conference that the next generation of Jeep Wrangler would focus heavily on weight reduction and fuel savings without compromising its legendary off-road performance.

"We must be innovative in terms of what we do for the next Wrangler because clearly we have to make sure that vehicle survives into the future," Manley said. "It is vital for the brand." Of course, the dark cloud of CAFÉ standards and growing customer expectations are the two confronting factors. Also looming on the horizon is a future Wrangler competitor from Land Rover , Manley mentioned.

But take heart, Jeep fans. Manley continues saying, “There will be no compromises.” So we can apparently expect a Wrangler just as capable off the beaten path as the 2014 JK, but with better gas mileage. Okay, so how is Jeep to increase the Wrangler’s fuel efficiency while not killing its off-road prowess?

Though Manley didn’t go into specifics, we’ve been hearing rumors of a fully independent suspension system and perhaps intensive uses of lightweight materials like aluminum and possibly a diesel powerplant. One thing’s for sure; we can look forward to a future Wrangler that doesn’t strangle our wallets at the pump.

Note: Current Jeep Wrangler pictured here.

Click past the jump for some more speculation

Source: Edmunds

Ram Trucks just announced its newest product headed for the U.S. marketplace, the 2015 Ram ProMaster City. For American buyers, the ProMaster City might be all-new, but in actuality, the Class One light van has deep roots in Europe as the Fiat Doblò. The Fiat was introduced in 2000 and saw its second generation come in 2010. Now in its third generation, the Fiat is dawning a Ram grille, rear trim pieces, and an Americanized powertrain we’re familiar with in other Chrysler products.

The jump across the Atlantic Ocean makes perfect sense for Ram as its competition have developed some small vans of their own, namely the Chevrolet City Express, Ford Transit Connect, and the Nissan NV200. The American van market hasn’t been this hot since the 1970s when full-size conversion vans and hippy machines were all the rage. Now smaller yet more mature, these vans are taking care of work rather than pleasure. You won’t find any shag carpet or chrome side pipes here — it’s all about cargo capacity, interior volume, fuel economy, and overall cost of ownership.

Though Ram hasn’t release many of the important data facts like price and fuel economy, brand CEO Reid Bigland says the ProMaster City will lead the class in several key area, making it a top choice for small businesses and delivery services across the country.

Click past the jump for the full rundown on the 2015 Ram ProMaster City

The Outlander Sport joined Mitsubishi’s lineup in 2011, and save for a mild tweak to the continuously variable transmission, it hasn’t changed much since. When it debuted, the Outlander Sport was essentially a smaller version of the larger Outlander model. That all ended in 2014, when Mitsubishi completely revised the front end of the bigger Outlander model and left the Sport model to carry the sportier, Lancer-inspired grille. Heading into 2014, the Outlander Sport gains a few extra goodies, including new steering wheel-mounted controls and HD radio on the range-topping SE model.

I once loved Mitsubishi models. You had the Eclipse , Lancer Evo and the 3000GT to do the sporty stuff in, a few SUVs to do the heavy hauling with, and a slew of sedans and hatchbacks to do your A-to-B driving. Well, now Mitsubishi is due to lose the Evo , the 3000GT is long gone, and the Eclipse is gone, leaving the lineup rather bare.

Last year I had the chance to drive the 2014 Outlander , and I came away a little disappointed in what it offered. Now I am getting the chance to drive the range-topping 2014 Outlander Sport SE. Can this compact SUV fare any better than its big brother did?

Click past the jump to read my review on the 2014 Outlander Sport SE to find out.

Update: Ram is set to kick off the live stream at 11:00 a.m. ET, so grab some popcorn and find out what this new product will be!

When Fiat Chrysler executives were spilling the beans last May about the big-picture-plans concerning nearly every single product under the corporate umbrella, Ram Trucks CEO Reid Bigland got his turn to divulge future product plans for Ram. Well, it seems we’re only a week away from that first debut.

Ram Trucks released an invitation to a livestream event scheduled for Thursday, June 26th at 11 a.m. EDT. The invitation simply says it’s a “new product announcement.” What exactly Ram is announcing, we can’t be completely sure. However, we have a pretty strong suspicion.

Within last month’s Fiat Chrysler five-year plan layout, Ram was listed as giving a mid-cycle refresh to the Ram 1500 for the 2015 model year. Though we haven’t seen any camouflaged 1500s roaming the streets, we’re sure this will be topic on the 26th.

Like always, the heavy-duty lineup gets its refresh the following year — and Fiat Chrysler’s plan follows that pattern. The Ram 1500’s refresh for 2015 will serve to keep the truck selling big numbers until its next scheduled generation change in 2017. Then the HD cycle starts over again with new 2500 and 3500 trucks rolling out in 2018.

As always, stay tuned to TopSpeed for the update next week as Ram pulls the covers off its latest truck.

Click past the jump for more info on the current 2014 Ram 1500

The Cherolet Colorado debuted in 2004 as the replacement to Chevy’s first-ever, American-built compact pickup: the S-10 (the LUV that predated the S-10 was an Isuzu product). The Colorado continued with only minor changes through the 2012 model year when it was abruptly discontinued. Little did we know at that time, this was more of a break than a discontinuation of the model, as the covers were pulled off the totally redesigned 2015 Chevy Colorado at the 2013 LA Auto show joining the still fresh Silverado and Silverado HD. The Colorado is based on the global truck platform, but is highly ‘Americanized’ with many key components swapped out for heavier-duty items based on the new Silverado.

The Colorado rides on a fully-boxed, hydroformed steel frame giving it a sturdy platform for hauling and towing. Initially the Colorado will come with two gasoline engine options with a diesel debuting the following year. This diesel engine shows just how serious Chevy is in making the new midsize pickup a class-leader. We suspect that other automakers will soon follow suit and offer diesels in their midsize pickups.

Updated 06/18/2014: Chevrolet announced specifications for the 2015 Colorado which will go on sale this fall. With output starting from 200 horsepower, the new Colorado will be the most powerful in the midsized truck segment. Full details after the jump.

Updated 08/05/2014: Chevrolet announced prices for the 2015 Colorado which will be put on sale later this fall. Prices will range from $20,995 for the base version and up to $34,990 for the Colorado Z71 crew cab 4x4 with the 5-foot box.

Click past the jump for photos and details of the all-new 2015 Chevy Colorado

The Volkswagen Amarok is one of the youngest pickup trucks on the mid-size market. Launched for the 2010 model year, and assembled in both Germany and Argentina, the truck is sold with a range of four engines across the world, three of which use diesel as fuel. Currently the Amarok is not available in the United States, but word has it Volkswagen is considering a North American introduction in the near future.

The fact that Volkswagen is not bringing the Amarok pickup truck to the United States has become increasingly frustrating lately. Especially with so many special editions and trims offered across Europe. The Canyon and the Dark Label editions are the first that come to mind, but we also dig the Power Concept , which could turn into a cool, sportier version of the pickup.

And to rub more salt in our wounds, Volkswagen is introducing a new high-spec model to sit atop the Amarok lineup for the 2014 model year. Dubbed Amarok Ultimate, the new truck borrows the well-equipped status of the Highline model it is based on, and features additional visual and tech upgrades meant to increase its appeal.

Making things even better is the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel unit that comes with it. The mill is available in two flavors, packing 138 horsepower and 177 horsepower, respectively. Like with the rest of the Amarok lineup, the only downside of the Ultimate is its exclusive double-cab body configuration. There’s also the hefty sticker, which is set at €34,770 and €41,376.30 respectively ($47,158 and $56,135 as of 06/12/2014).

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.

Ever since the Land Rover’s Range Rover trudged over its first rough ground in 1970, the SUV has been leading the pack in terms of off-road ability and useful amenities wrapped in a utilitarian package. Originally only sold outside the United States, the Range Rover didn’t make its first official (and non gray-market) U.S. sale until 1987. Since then, the Range Rover has undergone three generational changes, with each becoming more luxurious than the last. The fourth-generation Range Rover debuted for the 2013 model year with a heavily revised and highly stylized design, and a more rounded, aerodynamic look.

I recently spent a week getting to know the Brit inside and out. My tester came nearly fully stocked with every conceivable option available from Land Rover, including the ultra luxury Autobiography Package. The list of amenities reads like a dream car wish-list. Full Semi-Aniline leather seats; rear seat entertainment package; 18-way power front seats with memory, massage, heating, and cooling; 1700-watt, 29-speaker Meridian 3D surround sound system; exterior Surround Camera System; Adaptive cruise control; Parallel Park Assist; four-zone climate control; and Adaptive front headlights. And that’s just the most notable of the optional extras.

The list of standard features is twice as long and includes things like the 12.3-inch TFT gauge cluster screen, the full panoramic glass roof, 21-inch alloy wheels, permanent four-wheel-drive with Land Rover’s Terrain Response System, and of course, power everything.

Speaking of power, the Range Rover had no shortage of it under its aluminum hood. Perched inside is a supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 cranking out 510 horsepower and a rock-crawling 461 pound-feet of torque. Guzzling back the required premium gasoline, the massive 5,100-pound SUV sprints to 60 mph in a scant 5.2 seconds. To say the Range Rover Autobiography is an exercise in excess is an understatement, but for a select number of buyers, it combines the right amount of high-end luxury with the go-anywhere capabilities Land Rovers are known for.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Range Rover Autobiography

Nissan has been building midsize trucks since 1985, with models stretching all across the globe. Here in U.S., the Hardbody and then Frontier have filled the slot, but overseas in nearly every other country, it’s been the Navara. Now for 2015, the Navara moves into its twelfth generation with the NP300 Navara.

While we were expecting Nissan to announce the U.S.-spec Frontier sometime soon, the automaker has been quiet on the details. We do suspect many if not most of the Navara’s details will transfer over to the Frontier, but we cannot be certain. That’s especially true when considering the powertrain options.

As for the new NP300, the updates are more evolutionary than revolutionary. A more ridged high-strength frame holds still the independent, coil-over suspension up front with a leaf spring suspension out back. Power comes from two — so far — improved engines: a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder, gasoline mill and a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder, turbo-diesel. Both engines are more efficient and powerful, helping the truck do more with less fuel. A seven-speed automatic and a six-speed manual transmission are offered with both engines.

An electric, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system is available and is assisted by Nissan’s Vehicle Dynamic Control system, Hill Start Assist, Hill Decent Control, and Active Brake Limited Slip. That last feature uses the brakes to apply force to a spinning wheel in low-traction situations on both the front and rear axles. The mechanical differential then sends power to the opposite wheel.

These nitty-gritty features all work together to get make the Navara look like a solid contender for Nissan in the upcoming years. As far as the U.S. version, it appears we’ll have to wait a bit longer for any news. But when it comes, rest assured that TopSpeed will have it covered.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan NP300 Navara.

Nissan has accompanied its teaser photo of what we assume is the 2015 Frontier with a teaser video ahead of its June 11th unveiling. The drop of the new teaser video is confirmation that Nissan has high expectations for the midsized pickup truck . That’s not a surprise considering that the Frontier has been in dire need of an upgrade for years now.

The teaser photo didn’t do much in showing the truck in all its glory. Unfortunately, the video isn’t any better. There are some quick cuts to the pickup, but you’re either going to have sharp eyes or quick hands to pause the video to get a better look at it ahead of its unveiling next week.

Still, give credit to Nissan because it’s done a good job building up the hype surrounding the pickup’s debut, boldly proclaiming that it has undergone over 40,000 quality control tests covering a distance of 1 million km in real-world conditions.

Those are serious numbers if Nissan isn’t exaggerating them. Should they be true, you can bet that expectations surrounding the new truck will go to another level.

Time to prove the hype, Nissan.


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