utility vehicle

utility vehicle

Posted on by Simona  
Volvo XC90

We have been following the development of the all-new Volvo XC90 for quite some time. Last year we brought spy shots of the 2015 Volvo XC90 mule, and now we have a true pre-production model.

It may be covered in heavy camouflage but one look at the rear lights and it’s immediately obvious this is a Volvo . This prototype looks to be sized similarly to the previous car, and will include room for seven passengers.

The 2015 XC90 will be built on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture platform. The SPA platform has been designed to be extremely safe and employs a massive amount of ultra-high-strength steel in the main safety shell of the vehicle. The 2015 XC90 will be the first model to utilize the new platform, but it will become the core of every product Volvo sells from the S60 up.

Thanks to the SPA construction, Volvo expects the 2015 XC90 to be the safest SUV ever sold to the public.

Volvo is expected to drop all the engines in the current-gen XC90 in favor of more fuel-efficient, four-cylinder powertrains. All the engines will be turbocharged, and Volvo is developing both gasoline and diesel engines. No word on if the oil-burner will hit U.S. shores.

We are not entirely sure if American buyers will responsive to a three-row SUV without at least a six-cylinder engine, but only time will tell.

Expect the new Volvo XC90 to be put on sale in early 2015.

The venerable Highlander has been a strong seller for Toyota since its debut back in 2001, when it helped usher in the era of uni-body crossovers. Back then, the Highlander represented a solid alternative to the mundane four-door sedan with its higher ground clearance, upright view of the road and tidy dimensions. Five passengers and a decent amount of cargo could trudge though snow or down wooded paths with more confidence than in a Camry , thanks to the available all-wheel drive. The little CUV That Could embodied the premise of the whole crossover craze; combining the on-road manners of a car with SUV -like capabilities in a smart package.

The Highlander moved into its second generation in 2008, and received a mid-life refresh in 2010. Those changes helped it stay competitive, but the time has come for the next generation. Enter: the all-new 2014 Highlander.

Everything inside and out has a new look. Sharper, crisper lines make the CUV more manly and rugged, while its overall look still labels it as civilized. It rides on the same wheelbase but has grown some three inches, giving more rear passenger legroom.

An eight-passenger configuration is available on mid-level trims, and a powerful 3.5-liter V-6 can send power to all four wheels when the right option boxes are checked. Both the four-cylinder and hybrid models return for 2014, but with improved fuel economy.

I had the chance to drive the Highlander through the “snowpocalypse of 2014” along the icy streets of Charleston, South Carolina, as the town suffered its first snowfall in years.

Click past the jump for our 2014 Toyota Highlander review

For the second time in its run, the Volkswagen Amarok is getting the Canyon special-edition treatment.

This time around, the Amarok Canyon makes its way to the UK market, where it will be sold in very limited quantities.

It’s based on the Amarok’s Trendline trim, which means that the pickup will carry a host of new amenities. After all, you can’t be called a "special edition" without these exclusive digs, can you?

In this particular instance, some of the most noticeable upgrades given to the Amarok Canyon include a choice of three different body colors — Deep Black, Reflex Silver and Copper Orange — as well as an exterior that now has a matte-black roll cover, a load area protective coating and a set of 19-inch Cantera alloy wheels.

Moving inside, the Amarok Canyon’s cabin is a picture of high-class amenities, a surprising move considering that the pickup is more well-suited to get down and grimy. But there it is, a cabin that not only has heated leather seats, but those seats have also been dressed in fine Nappa and Vienna leather. Likewise, the steering wheel also gets the fine-leather treatment with orange stitching, while the rest of the cabin boasts of a 6-inch color touchscreen display, Bluetooth, front and rear parking sensors, and even privacy glass.

The Volkswagen Amarok Canyon takes its power from a 2.0-liter BiTDI engine that produces 180 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Those aren’t staggering numbers by any means, but enough to tow up to 7,054 pounds when the situation calls for it.

Only 350 units of the Amarok Canyon will be made available with 300 units earmarked with automatic transmission and a smaller set of 50 units for the manual transmission models. Expect to see a price tag of £30,720, which is about $51,000 based on current exchange rates.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Volkswagen Amarok

Posted on by Simona  

When Nissan unveiled the Murano CrossCabriolet at the 2010 Los Angeles Show, it entered a zone of the market that had never really been explored before, as it was the world’s first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible. Since then, the Murano CrossCabriolet continued nearly no updates to speak of, and much of the same carries into 2014.

So, how did the Murano become a convertible crossover? With a lot of work, of course, and a tiny bit of insanity on from Nissan’s R&D department. In order to obtain this crazy transformation, the front doors were stretched by 7.9 inches, and the B-Pillars and rear doors were eliminated. Nissan’s mad scientists then hacked off the roof and replaced it with a cloth convertible top with a rear skylight.

For the 2014 model year, Murano Crosscabriolet will be offered in one fully equipped model with prices starting at $41,995.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet.

Posted on by Simona  

A few days ago, Toyota previewed its "Muppets" commercial that was set for air during this year’s Super Bowl on February 2nd. Today, the company revealed the full commercial, which features the 2014 Toyota Highlander , Terry Crews and the Muppets.

The commercial, called "Joyride," shows Terry Crews — star of the FOX series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and former NFL player — driving his Highlander until his ride is invaded by the little Muppets. Just like most other Muppet capers, it also includes an original song. This time around, Crews joins in with a little dance of his own...

"Our game-day spot shows how Toyota Highlander puts the ’fun’ in function," said Jack Hollis, vice president of Toyota Division Marketing at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Toyota vehicles are built to last and can even endure the most boisterous Muppets, a former NFL player as well as a center console full of chickens."

The 2014 Toyota Highlander is on sale at a price of $29,215.

You know chicks dig sports cars , right? We’ve seen it happen time and time again, and yet it never occurred to us that there might be another kind of vehicle that will get the ladies’ attention.

That’s what Chevrolet wants us to believe with this new Super Bowl ad for the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD . It’s a cute concept that features a young cowboy driving a newly bought bull in a trailer. It gets a kinda sentimental for a few seconds before the punchline comes into focus.

Apparently, the cow is quite the bachelor because he arrived in a farm full of heifers and heiferettes — young female cows, for all you non-farmers — in a Silverado HD and all the "ladies," definitely took notice... of the cow, not the driver.

The commercial went in a number of directions that, quite frankly, made it a little hard to keep up with. But in the end, the message was clear, at least in our eyes. The Silverado HD, for all of its hulking and intimidating presence, also has an edgy side to it, the likes of which the ladies can’t get enough of.

Click past the jump to read about the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado

Posted on by Simona  
Jeep Renegade

The upcoming Baby Jeep was caught testing for the first time back in October 2013, and it looked identical to its Fiat cousin. Since then, the small Jeep has evolved a bit, as the prototype that our spy photographers caught today looks more like a typical Jeep .

Also known as the Jeepster, the future baby Jeep will be built on the same Small Wide platform that will see use under the Fiat 500 L and 500 MPW. Jeep is planning to use this model as a competitor to the Nissan Juke and Peugeot 2008 .

We have no details on the engine lineup just yet, but depending on the market, the next baby Jeep will be offered with gasoline and diesel engines. We expect the new Jeep to come standard with front-wheel drive and have all-wheel drive as an available option.

Expect the new Baby Jeep to be unveiled later this March, most likely at the Geneva Motor Show. The model will be built in Italy along with the Fiat500X .

Click past the jump to see more about the Baby Jeep.

We’ll be honest; we expected a little more from the Chevrolet Silverado Reaper.

When it was teased last week, it promised so much yet when it was introduced it delivered, well, not so much. Granted, the performance boost is impressive, but anytime you mention the word "reaper", we expect something sinister.

Instead, we get this. It’s...red.

To be fair, the work put in by Southern Comfort Automotive and Lingenfelter shouldn’t be shortchanged. We just expected it to be a little darker than what was actually presented. That being said, the aero kit is pretty comprehensive, thanks to a Southern Comfort and a Supercharged Reaper Package.

The former is what’s responsible for the restyled look of the Silverado . Yes, it looks pretty different from the standard Silverado, something that we can attribute to the front clip restyling grille that it makes it look like the hood extends a little further than usual into the trapezoidal grille. Notice that’s different, too, compared to the rectangular grille of the standard Silverado.

A new light system was also installed on the Silverado, which in this case is an integrated Rigid Industries Flood light system and daytime LED running lights. That’s short way of saying the Reaper has more intimidating lights. Speaking of intimidating, the kit also includes a rock guard and side steps, an auxiliary switch panel, a Reaper gauge package, custom stitched headrest covers, Reaper custom graphics and serialized Reaper badging.

Taken all together, the program is really intense, but somehow, Southern Comfort Automotive forgot that black, maybe even matte black, is a far more imposing look on the Silverado than red is.

As far as Lingenfelter’s involvement is concerned, the tuning firm famous for its Corvette programs produced two sets of upgrades for the Reaper Silverado. The less powerful of the two is for the 5.3-liter V-8 EcoTec 3 engine that now pumps out pumps out tidy 475 horsepower, compared to the 355 ponies of the standard unit. The bigger version of the two involves the range-topping 6.2-liter V-8 EcoTec 3 engine. From the standard 420-horsepower output of the Silverado, Lingenfelter’s TVS1900 Magnuson Supercharger managed to increase the output to an impressive 550 horsepower.

Lastly, suspension work to improve the pickup ’s overall sturdiness was done courtesy of Fox Racing while the nee exhaust comes by way of Corsa.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Silverado Reaper by Southern Comfort Automotive and Lingenfelter

Posted on by Simona  

Until the new, lighter Audi Q7 hits showrooms, the British market gets to enjoy a new special-edition version of the current Q7. The new Q7 S Line Style Edition is built on the S line Plus trim and, despite tons of updates, it only includes a £1,500 ($2,500) price hike.

The new S Line Style Edition is offered with 21-inch wheels in a five-arm rotor design and painted a matte-titanium color. The model is further distinguished by stainless-steel underbody protectors and extended wheel arches, special bumpers with modified lower sections.

Customers can choose between seven exterior colors: Night black, Teak brown, Lava grey, Orca black, Graphite grey, Daytona grey or Scuba blue.

The new Audi Q7 S Line Style Edition is priced from £52,975 (about $88,000 at the current exchange rates) for the 245-horsepower model and up to £62,600 ($104,000) for the 340-horsepower version.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Audi Q7.

Quite frankly, we can’t wait to see what the new and lighter Audi Q7 is going to look like. But until then, we’re going to have to settle with these special-edition models that the German company has just released for the UK market.

In addition to the Q7 S Line Style Edition, the other "unique" model is the Q7 S Line Sport Edition, which comes with its own unique set of upgrades that standard Q7s don’t offer. Among the modifications you’ll see in the S Line Sport Edition include body-colored wheel arch extensions, which adds more width to the full-sized SUV.

Enlarged front air intakes with high gloss slats, lower bumper spoilers, a stainless steel underbody protection, and dual oval exhaust tailpipes integrated into the rear bumper are also part of the package, all of which add character and performance enhancements to the SUV . The changes may not be all that evident at first glance, but they’re there, and Audi put them in there for a reason.

A full slate of paint finishes are also offered for the Q7 S Line Sport Edition. There are 13 choices in all with varying paint effects, including solid, metallic and pearl.

Both S Line models come with "standard equipment" that are unique to both of ’em, if that even makes sense. Privacy glass from the B-pillar rearward, xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, fancy Verano leather upholstery and stainless-steel side running boards are among the features list, as is a powered tailgate operation, an HDD satellite navigation, the Audi parking system advanced with visual and acoustic guidance, the Audi Music Interface, Audi connect, adaptive air suspension, and double glazing.

That’s a lot of features, fellas, and maybe a big reason why Audi is touting both these full-sized models to its customers.

Anybody interested in the Q7 S Line Sport Edition will have to spend anywhere from £52,975 ($72,462) to £64,100 ($87,,679).

Click past the jump to read about the Audi Q7


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