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2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven

An aging, lumbering beast that somehow wins hearts with its old-school vibes

The Toyota Sequoia is alive and kicking. You’re forgiven if you’ve forgotten, even despite Toyota giving the full-size SUV a slight update for 2018. The Sequoia’s sales pale in comparison to its rivals, and as such, there are simply fewer on the road. But that doesn’t mean the Sequoia is a bad SUV, right? We decided to have a look.

Our tester came decked out with all the extra goodies thanks to the range-topping Platinum trim. Of course, it also carried all the update Toyota gave it for the 2018 model year, including a new nose, a revised gauge cluster, and the now-standard Toyota Safety Sense-P active safety system. Beyond that, however, the 2018 Sequoia looks and feels nearly identically to the 2008 version.

It’s hard to believe the Sequoia’s second-generation is now a decade old. It harks back to Toyota’s major revamp of the Tundra pickup. It changed to a full-size truck for the 2007 model year and the Sequoia followed suit the next year. The Sequoia shares plenty with the Tundra, including its drivetrain and interior. Toyota did cater the Sequoia towards family usage with an independent rear suspension with available air ride rather than the Tundra’s solid axle and leaf springs. Yet despite the differences, the Sequoia still felt like a truck. In practice though, many full-size SUV customers were into that sort of thing. It fosters a sense of invincibility and a go-anywhere attitude. Well, so long as there’s a gas station close by.

Continue reading for our full review.

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Inside the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

Inside the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

An aging design get slight changes, remains massively roomy

Toyota’s truck-based, full-size SUV, the Sequoia, is big. Its exterior dimensions are imposing and its interior volume feels like the vastness of an airplane hanger. The three-row SUV boasts seating for up to eight people and has an impressive amount of cargo area. This week we’re testing the refreshed 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum optioned with the Red Rock interior color. Standard with the Platinum trim is the second-row captain’s chairs with the center console. That might reduce the Sequoia’s seating to seven, but it adds an air of luxury not had with the bench seat.

The Sequoia has a 2+2+3 seating arrangement. While three across in the third row spells disaster is most crossovers, the girthy Sequoia has room enough for actual people back here. There’s even an impressive amount of legroom thanks to the sliding second-row bucket seats.

There’s more to the Sequoia’s interior, so keep reading for our impressions.

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The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is Thirsty

The 2018 Toyota Sequoia is Thirsty

The ole 5.7-liter V-8 has a drinking problem

The Toyota Sequoia has undergone a mild refresh for 2018, bringing a slightly different front fascia, a slightly revised dash, and the Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard equipment. But unfortunately, the rest of this full-size SUV dates back to 2008. Yep, that’s a full decade without change. That includes the 5.7-liter V-8, six-speed automatic transmission, and the optional part-time 4WD system.

Now, the 5.7-liter isn’t a bad engine. Its dual overhead camshafts use variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides to offer better low-speed efficiency with high-end power. The engine generates 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. And like all good V-8s, the engine makes plenty of torque down low; Toyota says the 5.7-liter makes 90 percent of peak torque at just 2,200 rpm. That certainly helps with off-the-line power and allowing the six-speed automatic to up-shift sooner and hold gears longer.

Nevertheless, the V-8 does not have modern features like cylinder deactivation or direct fuel injection. And these days, eight- and 10-speed automatic transmissions continue to squeeze more and more from a gallon of gas.

The Sequoia, on the other hand, is EPA-estimated to only achieve 13 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, and 14 mpg combined. Over the last few days of mixed driving, I’m only averaging 13.3 mpg. Ouch.

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What's New on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia

What’s New on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia

Minor changes keep the Sequoia hanging on

Toyota has given the full-size Sequoia SUV a mild update for the 2018 model year. In fact, “mild” is putting it, well, mildly. Yet these changes are the biggest news for the Sequoia since its introduction in 2008 – a full decade ago. Needless to say, Toyota isn’t paying too much attention to the big brute. Its sales reflect this, too, with the Sequoia only moving 12,156 examples in 2017.

The most surprising thing is a rather steady rate of the Sequoia’s sales numbers. Toyota has sold between 11,806 and 13,848 Sequoias annually since 2010. Of course, that’s a far cry from the 70,187 Sequoias Toyota moved during the SUV’s first year in 2002. It also pales in comparison to its competition. The Chevrolet Tahoe found homes in 103,306 driveways in 2016 and the Ford Expedition sold 59,835 examples during the same time – and that wasn’t even the new aluminum-bodied model that’s new for 2018.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s updates for the 2018 Sequoia are likely to help attract customers. Just don’t expect a massive surge in people banging down Toyota’s door for the old-school, body-on-frame SUV.

We happen to be driving the 2018 Toyota Sequoia this week. Our tester is fitted in the range-topping Platinum trim, meaning it comes basically standard with all the optional extras Toyota has to offer. So, let’s check out what’s different about the 2018 model and see if it helps the ole Sequoia’s case.

Continue reading for more on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia.

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2019 Ford Edge

2019 Ford Edge

Ford’s mid-size crossover gets a mid-cycle refresh

The Ford Edge has been around since 2007 and its current generation debuted in 2015. But the second-generation Edge was getting a little, well, dull, so Ford has given the mid-size crossover a sharpening. This mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year brings revamped aesthetics, few minor changes to the interior, and a slew of active safety equipment. In fact, Ford is claiming the 2019 Edge comes with more standard driver assist features than any of its competition.

So what makes the Edge so technologically adept? Well, the standard safety features list is long. It includes Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection; Blind Spot Information with Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Alert; Lane-keeping Assist; Auto High Beams; and Hill-Start Assist. Basically, the 2019 Edge comes with all the latest (almost autonomous) driver aids without having to order an expensive option package. Here’s how the 2019 Ford Edge shapes up.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ford Edge.

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2018 Subaru WRX STI – Driven

2018 Subaru WRX STI – Driven

The rally racer for everyday errands

Those television commercials say Subarus are made from love. That’s only the case if we’re talking about the love of motorsports and rally racing. See, generations of Subarus, most notably the Impreza WRX and WRX STI models, have taken home World Rally Championship trophies from events around the world. Thankfully, Subaru injects this racing pedigree into the production version of its WRX models, making them some of the best performing, all-weather and terrain racing machines on the planet. And now for 2018, the WRX and WRX STI receive a slight cosmetic refresh paired with a handful of mechanical upgrades.

I recently spent a few days with a 2018 WRX STI Limited painted in that lovely WR Blue Pearl hue. At first glance, the acid-green brake calipers and tall rear wing command the eye’s attention. But looking deeper, you’ll see the front grille is ever so slightly more aggressive than before. A new set of 19-inch, Y-spoke wheels are new, as are those bright brake calipers and the larger rotors they squeeze. Things inside change little, too, through the small changes make big improvements in comfort. A larger information screen atop the dash has new graphics, the StarLink Infotainment system now measures 7.0 inches, the rear seat gets a folding center armrest with cup holders, the door panels have new grab handles, and road noise is hushed thanks to thicker side glass and added insulation. Mechanically, Subaru gave the STI a new fully electronic center differential that’s said to work faster than the previous mechanical and electrical DCCD. Sadly, Subaru chose not to completely rework the WRX STI onto the Impreza’s new-for-2017 chassis. Even the 2.5-liter Boxer engine remains untouched at 305 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. But does this dull the rally-inspired driving experience. Hardly. Keep reading to find out more.

Continue reading for the full review.

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2018 Dodge Durango R/T

2018 Dodge Durango R/T

The dethroned king inherits its successor’s appearance

For years, the Durango R/T was Dodge’s flagship performance SUV. It came with 360 horsepower from the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, a performance-tuned suspension and exhaust, rear- or all-wheel drive, and a racer appearance. But for 2018, the Durango R/T loses its crown to the 6.4-liter Hemi-powered Durango SRT. The big V-8 kicks out 475 horsepower, making the most powerful three-row SUV with an American badge. Thankfully Dodge isn’t letting the humbled Durango R/T be forgotten. It receives the same cosmetic upgrades found on the Durango SRT, namely the functional performance hood and front fascia.

These exterior updates aren’t mere cosmetic consolation prize. Both the hood and front fascia are aerodynamically tuned to better ingest cool air while extracting heat from the engine bay. Officially, these enhancements don’t improve the 5.7-liter’s horsepower or torque stats, but in practice, it’s likely the cooler intake temperatures and mild ram-air effect the Durango SRT’s cold-air duct system, combined with lower engine bay temperatures, help boost performance. Then again, Dodge would surely announce any performance gains. In addition to the new bodywork, the Durango R/T will be available in “B5 Blue,” the legendary electric hue only offered on Dodge’s SRT products. Other updates include a new T-handle gear shifter that replaces the rotary knob and a new sport steering wheel. Pricing will be announced closer to the 2018 Durango’s on-sale date in the third quarter of 2017.

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2018 GMC Yukon Denali Gets a New Grille and Two Extra Cogs

2018 GMC Yukon Denali Gets a New Grille and Two Extra Cogs

GM’s 10-speed auto arrives in range-topping Yukon models

The popular GMC Yukon and Yukon XL Denali are getting a few welcomed updates for 2018. General Motors’ new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission makes its first appearance in a GM SUV, first appearing in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Denoting the model-year changes are a new Denali “cheese grater” chrome grille and a new, real-wood interior trim called Mastique Ash. As before, the Denali comes standard with GM’s powerful 6.2-liter V-8 derived from the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 small-block V-8.

The remainder of the Yukon Denali remains unchanged. That’s not completely terrible, as the Yukon still feels fresh, having debuted for the 2015 model year. The new transmission features a wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio that offers a shorter first gear of 4.70:1 and taller 10th gear of 0.64:1. Combined, the result is better acceleration off the line and improved fuel economy at highway speeds over the outgoing eight-speed automatic’s 4.56 and 0.65 respective ratios. Helping the 420-horsepower V-8 keep cool are larger openings in the new Denali grille. As before, active grille shutters ahead of the radiator close when extra cooling airflow isn’t needed in order to improve aerodynamics for fuel efficiency.

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2014 - 2020 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

2014 - 2020 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

The Active Tourer and Grand Tourer get facelifts for 2018

BMW is updating its 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Grand Tourer for the 2018 model year with some slight changes to the bodywork, some new bits on the interior, and a few modifications to the drivetrain. Beyond that, the two cars carry on unchanged from their 2015-model-year introduction.

Since BMW’s naming scheme is a bit ambiguous, some explanation is needed. The Active Tourer and Grand Tourer are basically the same car. They ride on the same platform and share the same design, interior styling, and powertrain. The difference comes with the number of seats and the wheelbase length. The Active Tourer seats five while the Grand Tourer is 8.2 inches longer, 1.9 inches taller, and has room for seven people thanks to the added third-row seat.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

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2018 BMW 4 Series Convertible

2018 BMW 4 Series Convertible

The compact drop-top is getting its very-first mid-cycle refresh

The BMW 4 Series made its global debut in 2013, right after the German brand decided to split the two- and four-door versions of the 3 Series into different nameplates. While the 3 Series kept the sedan body style, the coupe and convertible were rebadged as 4 Series models. Despite the different name, the 3 Series and 4 Series shared everything from platform and drivetrains to exterior design and interior features. Come 2017 and BMW launched mid-cycle facelifts for the entire range, including the 4 Series Convertible.

After nearly three successful years on the market against dated competition from Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the 4 Series Convertible finally has something to worry about. With Mercedes-Benz and Audi having introduced redesigned versions of the C-Class Cabriolet and A5 Cabriolet, the Bimmer will have a hard time until a new-generation model is designed. However, the facelift brings a few updates inside and out that might keep BMW enthusiasts coming into dealerships for a few more years.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 4 Series Convertible.

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2017 Infiniti QX60

2017 Infiniti QX60

More improvements after last year’s mid-cycle refresh

Infiniti has announced the 2017 model year will bring a host of updates for its popular QX60. Headlining the updates is a heavily revised 3.5-liter V-6 with direct fuel injection and other improvements, along with an updated infotainment system and an upgraded rear-seat theater package. Exterior and interior designs aren’t changing, however, as Infiniti gave the QX60 a hefty update for 2016.

The QX60 continues to be based on the Nissan Pathfinder, so it’s no surprise Infiniti’s version is getting similar updates as the 2017 Pathfinder. Both are FWD-biased, unibody crossovers with three rows of seating that can fit seven passengers.

Introduced in 2012 as the JX35, the Infiniti got a name change in 2013 as part of the brand’s nomenclature realignment. Now a member of Infiniti’s QX SUV segment, the QX60 is joined by the QX30, QX50, QX70, and the QX80.

So without further ado, let’s look at the updates for the 2017 Infiniti QX60.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Infiniti QX60.

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2017 Chevrolet Colorado

2017 Chevrolet Colorado

New V-6 powertrain give the Colorado a mid-cycle boost

Chevrolet introduced the second-generation Colorado for the 2015 model year, along with its GMC corporate counterpart, the Canyon. Both trucks have remained unchanged since then, besides the introduction of the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel in 2016. But now for the 2017 model year, the Colorado is getting a heavily revised gasoline V-6 and GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission.

As we detailed in a news piece, the upgraded V-6 and eight-speed automatic bring more power, better off-the-line acceleration, and improved fuel economy. The rest of the Colorado remains unchanged for the 2017 model year. That’s not a bad thing as the pickup’s design still looks fresh.

The Colorado comes in both extended and crew cab configurations, with both short and long bed sizes. Three trim levels appeal to a wide range of buyers and budgets – from the base WT to the mid-grade LT and to the off-road oriented Z71. Three engines are available, as well, giving customers plenty of options.

The base powertrain is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. It can be mated to a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Customers who drive long highway distances or regularly tow or haul will love the 2.8-liter Duramax with its 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Optioned in a 2WD Colorado, and the Duramax will return 31 mpg on the highway. The volume-leading engine is the 3.6-liter V-6. We’ll dive into that engine below.

Chevrolet has not released pricing details for the 2017 Colorado, but we expect a slight increase to the truck’s pricing scale.

Continue reading for the full run-down of the 2017 Chevy Colorado.

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2017 Ford F-150

2017 Ford F-150

Mid-cycle changes center on powertrain updates

Ford is working to keep the F-150 ahead of its competition with powertrain updates for the 2017 model year. The venerable 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is moving into its second generation with more power and torque, while an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission helps boost fuel economy and performance. These changes come only two model years after Ford completely reworked the F-150 for 2015. We expect Ford to have more widespread changes ready for the 2018 model year, including updated looks inside and out.

This latest news is all about the powertrain, though. The EcoBoost engine family has been a hot seller for Ford, powering roughly 60 percent of new F-150s. Along with the 3.5-liter V-6, Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 helps meet the majority of customers’ needs without the added cost of reduced fuel economy from the typical V-8. The smaller EcoBoost delivers impressive power similar to a V-8 just a few years ago.

Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer says, “The 2017 Ford F-150 now delivers the best torque in the segment. This class-leading torque arrives with a transformative 10-speed automatic that improves nearly every aspect of F-150 performance.”

So what are these changes and how do they affect performance? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Ford F-150.

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