utility vehicle

utility vehicle

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
Posted on by Simona  

In 2006, Land Rover took a risk when it strayed from its off-road roots and released the Range Rover Sport . This was a direct shot at the luxurious and sporty SUVs from Bimmer and Mercedes . The debut Range Rover Sport had two 4.4-liter, V-8 engines available, a naturally aspirated one with 300 horses and 315 pound-feet of torque, and a supercharged one that pumped out 390 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. In 2010, The RR Sport moved onto a 5.0-liter V-8 that produced 375 horses in its base form and 510 ponies with a supercharged V-8. In 2014, the Range Rover Sport underwent a full overhaul that resulted in a new, more aerodynamic body and a 3.0-liter V-6 that put down 340 horsepower replacing the base V-8. As we head toward the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 27, 2014, Land Rover has unveiled the most powerful Range Rover Sport yet, the SVR.

Developed by the company’s newly founded Special Vehicle Operations division, the Range Rover Sport SVR follows into the footsteps of the Jaguar F-Type Project 7 . Stuffed with an uprated version of JLR’s supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8, the SVR is the most powerful Range Rover ever built.

As with all SVO projects, the Range Rover Sport SVR is also unique by design, carrying styling cues and interior features that are not available on the standard model or even the Autobiography trim. The SVR is a truly special vehicle in all departments, but to find out why you’ll have to check out our full review past the jump.

Updated 8/15/2014: Land Rover reveals that the Range Rover Sport SVR will go on sale in October 2014 and that deliveries will begin in early 2015.

Click past the jump to read more about the Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR.

The Kia Sorento was launched in 2002 and went on sale in the United States the following year. The first-generation Sorento was a traditional body-on-frame SUV with off-road capabilities and a four-wheel drive system. The first-gen Sorento was replaced in 2009, when Kia introduced a completely redesigned vehicle. Now built on a car-based platform and relegated to crossover status, the second-gen Sorento began rolling off the West Point, Georgia production line for the 2010 model year. Slightly longer than its predecessor, the updated Sorento gained new 2.4-liter and 3.5-liter V-6 engines on U.S. soil.

The crossover received yet another makeover for the 2013 model year. Although Kia introduced it as a third-generation model with an all-new chassis and redesigned front and rear fascias, the update is commonly considered a facelift rather than a brand-new generation. Going into 2015, Kia introducing a revamped Sorento with hefty updates inside and out, including a longer wheelbase.

Updated 08/11/2014: Kia unveiled the first images of the new generation Sorento, with weeks before after its official debut in Paris. Details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Kia Sorento.

Dodge is now rolling out yet another "Blacktop" edition vehicle, this time it’s the Dodge Durango . Characterized by a more sinister appearance, the Blacktop Package adds features like glossy-black wheels, black exterior badging, body colored fascia panels, and semi-smoked headlights. The 2014 Durango Blacktop will be no exception.

The new accent package will be available on the Durango SXT, Limited, and R/T models and will hit showrooms starting in October 2014. For SXT trim level Durangos, the Blacktop package will add gloss-black 20-inch wheels, a matching gloss-black crosshair grille, grille surround and side mirrors, black headlight bezels and exterior badging, dual rear exhaust with bright tips, and body-colored fascia and moldings where chrome would normally reside. It creates one of the boldest looks on any current SUV . For the lower-level SXT trim package, checking the Blacktop box will cost an additional $1,590.

Druangos with the Limited trim package get all the same gloss-blak bits as the SXT, plus swanky HID headlights and LED daytime running lights with the Blacktop Package installed. Checking the Blacktop box with the Limited trim costs $1,990, or $400 more than the Blacktop Package on the SXT, mainly because of the HID headlights.

The Durango R/T only gains $295 to its MSRP to upgrade to the Blacktop package and gets gloss-black 20-inch aluminum wheels, gloss-black crosshair grille with matching grille surround and gloss-black badging.

All three trim are available in one of five colors: Billet Silver, Bright White, Brilliant Black, Granite Crystal, or Redline Red.

Both the SXT and Limited trims come powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which gains five horsepower from the new Blacktop Package’s exhaust, while the R/T model uses the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Dodge Durango.

Posted on by Austin Taylor  

The six-wheeled Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG is beyond ridiculous — either in a good or bad way, depending on your specific taste. Based on the 2014 G-Class , but with a host of upgrades, the 6x6 has five differentials, a $615,000 price tag, and off-road credentials that would make an original Army-spec Hummer H1 go weak in the knees. This isn’t stopping Carlsson , a well-known and popular Mercedes-Benz tuner, from upping the game even more, combining a healthy power upgrade along with special, customized interior trimmings to make the G63 AMG 6x6 even more over-the-top, if that’s possible.

The G-Class lineup is already a venerable, capable, and trendy offering, with record-breaking sales. This is impressive, considering this is basically a platform from 1979. That’s right; other than chassis and styling upgrades — along with plenty of modern, Mercedes-Benz luxury added in — you’re looking at an almost 40-year-old design.

Add another $500,000 in off-road hardware and upgrades, and things are bound to get interesting. But that’s just not enough for Carlsson.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mercedes G63 6x6 By Carlsson.


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