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2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD

Classic off-roader style and capability, now with modern tech

First introduced back in 1995, the Toyota Tacoma is currently in its third generation. With nearly a quarter century of history behind it, the Tacoma nameplate is well-established as one of the most unbreakably rugged and reliable vehicles on the planet, and now this mid-size pickup is headed for a refresh for the 2020 model year. The latest Tacoma is framed as the “best-equipped ever,” and in TRD guise, it looks to mate its traditional off-roading chops in the rough stuff with newfound comfort and tech appointment in the cabin. However, considering the latest third-generation made its debut back in 2015, as well as a major influx of competition throughout the segment, does the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD still manage to keep pace?

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The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road is the Epitome of the Modern Compact Crossover

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road is the Epitome of the Modern Compact Crossover

It’s the first really interesting RAV4 since the original and the TRD just looks wicked

Modern compact crossovers are some of the most popular types of vehicles nowadays, and one of the nameplates that helped establish this trend is the Toyota RAV4 that debuted in 1994. But ever since the first generation, now seen as a classic of the genre, Toyota has been watering down the RAV4 formula. This trend peaked with the previous-gen model that, in my eyes, was the least desirable RAV4 ever.

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 A Buffed up 2020 Toyota RAV4 Was Built on the Pillars of a Rally SUV

A Buffed up 2020 Toyota RAV4 Was Built on the Pillars of a Rally SUV

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-road Comes With a Better Suspension and Great Looks

Who would have thought two or three years ago that Toyota will reveal the 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-road at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show? Well, I did, a bit, as back in 2016 Toyota decided it needed more young people (preferably males) in its showrooms that make deals on the RAV4. Toyota even entered a FWD rally competition with the cool RAV4 with Ryan Millen behind the wheel. And that was the start of the major revamp of the entire RAV4 character that has finally come to fruition with the reveal of the new Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 TRD Off-road, however, is a proper concoction spruced from the seats laid down by that Millen RAV4 rally SUV.

I freaking like it!

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The 'TRD Pro' that Toyota Teased Is The Age-Old Sequoia!

The ’TRD Pro’ that Toyota Teased Is The Age-Old Sequoia!

The automaker decides to inject the 18-year old veteran with a dose of ’TRD Pro’ steroid and bring it to the Chicago Auto Show

Toyota has managed to turn the TRD Pro badge into some sort a privilege for the SUVs in the Japanese lineup. It’s like an Ironman Triathlon where the beasts have to go through a series of challenges to earn the TRD Pro badge. The latest entrant to that list the Toyota Sequoia. Toyota teased a new vehicle being added to the TRD Pro lineup a couple of days back and to be honest, the Sequoia would have been the last option on everyone’s minds. But well, the TRD Pro Sequoia is ready and will be officially making its debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show.

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Toyota Teases a New TRD Pro Off-Road "Beast" for the 2019 Chicago Auto Show - is it the 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro?

Toyota Teases a New TRD Pro Off-Road "Beast" for the 2019 Chicago Auto Show - is it the 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro?

The plan to put a TRD badge on every Toyota out there continues unabated

Toyota dropped a teaser video for its next TRD Pro truck that will be unveiled on February 7th at the Chicago Auto Show.You don’t see much in the video, but we’re guessing Toyota is either previewing an updated version of the Tundra TRD Pro or a new model altogether.

We’ve talked about Toyota’s plans to add a TRD version to every Toyota there is in the past, and this means we’re on the cusp of getting more TRD Sport and TRD Pro models. This time around, Toyota is preparing us for a rugged new TRD Pro truck that’s seen disrupting the peace in a 15-second clip posted by the Japanese automaker on social media.

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The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Is A Surprisingly Good Off-Roader

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Is A Surprisingly Good Off-Roader

Go for the Adventure grade, and you’re sitting pretty, no matter the terrain

It seems like there’s no shortage of “off-road ready” crossovers on the market these days - or at least that’s the impression you might get glancing over all the PR fluff. But while glory shots on top of a mountain might look good, the actual capability of these machines doesn’t always live up to the hype. Fortunately, Toyota can both talk the talk and walk the walk, as I find out firsthand after the Japanese automaker flew me out to Carmel, California for a stint in the new 2019 RAV4.

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2018 Toyota Tundra for Kevin Costner by Working Complete Customs

2018 Toyota Tundra for Kevin Costner by Working Complete Customs

This is one Toyota Tundra that was built to thrive in the elements

A unique Toyota Tundra showed up at the 2018 SEMA Auto Show with Kevin Costner’s imprints all over it. The Hollywood A-lister hooked up with Toyota to build a custom Tundra Platinum that embraces Costner’s love for adventure and the outdoors. The one-off, custom-built creation is the ultimate adventure truck, fitting for a man whose famous for his love of the outdoors. They don’t make them as rough and tough as Kevin Costner; turns out, Toyota — and Working Complete Customs of McKinney, Texas — was up to the task of giving him a ride that suits his personality.

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2018 Toyota HiLux Invincible 50

2018 Toyota HiLux Invincible 50

Most Badass Truck On Earth Now With An Earth-Threatening Name - Toyota HiLux Has Become Invincible

50 years have passed since the introduction of the first Toyota HiLux. The Japanese company is celebrating this wonderful achievement with the production of the limited-edition HiLux Invincible 50 which will be available in the U.K. from the 1st of November.

The new HiLux Invincible 50 comes with an assortment of upgrades that dramatically improve the looks, increase its capabilities, and once again demonstrate the “tough as nails” character of the most badass truck in the world.

This is the truck that conquered everything and proved time and again that it is the only vehicle to be a perfect companion in a calm Swedish village, a tool in the remote parts of Mongolia, and a freaking war machine in Africa. It can do it all. Celebrating the 50th anniversary with a version like this is the least Toyota can do. Well, I have to tell you that this is not the only way Toyota is celebrating the HiLux anniversary. It actually unveiled a whole set of Invincible vehicles and provided a trim called the Invincible x.

This particular model - the Toyota HiLux Invincible 50 was created in cooperation with Arctic Trucks - an Island-based company famed for its extraordinary transformation of HiLux trucks into incredibly worthy off-road machines. You may have heard about this company as they’ve actually crafted trucks that the TopGear team used to reach the North Pole. They were HiLuxes too.

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2019 Toyota 4Runner Nightshade Special Edition

2019 Toyota 4Runner Nightshade Special Edition

A splash of black for the Japanese off-roader icon

For the last three-and-a-half decades, the Toyota 4Runner has been one of the go-to models for practical body-on-frame SUV adventure and outdoor cred. Now, the Japanese automaker is offering a new upgrade for the top Limited trim level. It’s dubbed the Nightshade Special Edition, and it adds a fresh coat of aesthetic appeal to the mid-size utility vehicle.

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Toyota Assists In Dino Bone Dig

Toyota Assists In Dino Bone Dig

A pair of Tundras and a Land Cruiser are helping haul serious dinosaur bones

Toyota is lending a helping hand to a team of paleontologists from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis who are surveying an undisclosed site in northern Wyoming. The team of scientists, led by world-renowned paleontologists Dr. Phil Manning and Dr. Victoria Egerton, are in the area looking for fossilized dinosaur bones. Toyota is supporting the expedition by lending a pair of Tundra pickups and a Land Cruiser to help carry the scientists, their gear, and whatever fossils they dig up.

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Toyota Truck Starts to Climb a Rock with Just the Torque From its Starter Motor

Toyota Truck Starts to Climb a Rock with Just the Torque From its Starter Motor

See - electric motors have always been torque demons, you just didn’t realize it

Pure-bred off-roaders are pretty wild machines, clawing their way through crazy terrain that looks more like the moon than anything you’d expect to find a car on. Enabling this capability is the right combination of mechanical bits, as evidenced by the Toyota featured above, which manages to mount a steep slab of granite through the torque of its starter motor.

Continue reading for the full story.

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The Toyota Sequoia is Old-School Cool

The Toyota Sequoia is Old-School Cool

A ladder frame, part-time 4WD, and a big V-8 add character

The Toyota Sequoia is far from the newest or most technologically advanced SUV on the road, even after its mild update for the 2018 model year. Rather, this three-row people mover is firmly planted in the past. It rides on a traditional ladder frame, uses a part-time 4WD system with low-range gears, and has a limited-slip center differential that can be completely locked on the fly.

While I have knocked the 2018 Sequoia for its very minor update and its poor fuel economy, the SUV remains impressive in the sense that it retains all the aspects of a traditional SUV. Yeah, it doesn’t have a solid rear axle and leaf springs, but it does have just about everything else that has made SUVs so utilitarian and lovable since the 1950s.

Let’s check out the Toyota Sequoia’s rugged underpinnings.

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2017 Toyota FT-AC Concept

2017 Toyota FT-AC Concept

It’s the future 4Runner you never knew you wanted

Toyota’s been hitting it big with its recent concept vehicles. This year alone, we’ve seen the Japanese automaker unveil the Concept-i, the FT-4X, and the GR HV Sports Concept. Now that we’re less than a month away from flipping our calendars to 2018, Toyota introduced one last concept at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s called the Future Toyota Adventure Concept (FT-AC), and in my mind, it’s the best Toyota concept to come out this year.

Yes, I’m picking it over the GR HV Sports Concept, the sexy, taiga-style, two-door concept that we first saw at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show last October. I like the GR HV Sports Concept, but given a choice, I’d probably pick the FT-AC Concept over it. There’s something about this angry-looking SUV prototype that’s hard to ignore. Maybe it’s because of its design. Perhaps it’s because of the assortment of tech and connectivity features it has. It might even be a combination of both. The FT-AC is a concept that screams to my imagination, telling me to tell Toyota to turn it into a production model. I don’t know if I have that kind of cache, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to seeing it happen.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Toyota FT-AC Concept

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Toyota is Killing The FJ Cruiser Three Years After It Leaves U.S.

Toyota is Killing The FJ Cruiser Three Years After It Leaves U.S.

Did you know the FJ Cruiser was still in production?

Toyota is ending production of the FJ Cruiser more than a decade after the retro-styled SUV hit U.S. shores. But, if you’re like most, you thought the FJ Cruiser was dead since 2014 when it stopped sitting in Toyota showrooms here in the U.S. However, that’s not the case as the 4Runner-based SUV has been on-sale in Toyota’s home market of Japan. Toyota isn’t giving the FJ Cruiser a loveless ending, though. The automaker is releasing a special edition of the FJ Cruiser appropriately dubbed the “Final Edition.”

The FJ Cruiser Final Edition is a Japan-only model and comes in a single color option: Beige. The spartan interior also gets the beige treatment with beige center sections on the cloth seats and beige trim on the dashboard. Other changes include 20-inch alloy wheels, black side steps, and that cool JDM mirror on the front fender. Toyota isn’t changing anything with the drivetrain – and why would it? The FJ Cruiser has soldiered on for a decade with that tired 4.0-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission. 4WD is most likely standard, but at the very least, is an option. Of course, the FJ Crusier’s most endearing quality is its ruggedness afforded by its body-on-frame construction, solid rear axle, independent front suspension, and its part-time 4WD system. An honest SUV was hidden under that retro bodywork and awkward interior. It was the FJ’s weirdness that both gained it a loyal following and ultimately brought its demise. Sales exceeding 55,000 in 2006 and 2007 quickly nosedived during the recession of 2008 and never recovered. Toyota only managed to sell 14,718 in 2014, making the bean counters’ decision to axe the SUV within the U.S. an easy one. Compare that to the 4Runner’s U.S. sales in 2014 of nearly 77,000 and its sales in 2016 of 112,000. It’s clear which body-on-frame SUV Toyota customers wanted.

Continue reading for more on the Toyota FJ Cruiser.

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Toyota Gives the 2018 Land Cruiser A Modern Flair for Frankfurt

Toyota Gives the 2018 Land Cruiser A Modern Flair for Frankfurt

It’s still the same, old-school SUV underneath

When’s the last time you’ve heard an automaker claim its latest vehicle is “easy to maintain and repair?” That’s exactly what Toyota said about its revised 2018 Land Cruiser, which makes its debut at the 2017 Frankfort Motor Show. It makes sense, after all, since the Land Cruiser is one of the most prolific vehicles in the world today. It’s sold in 190 countries worldwide and has a reputation of reliability and go-anywhere capability. Here in the U.S., the Land Cruiser is more of a status symbol, regulated to a few thousand sales a year with a fat asking price. Elsewhere, the Land Cruiser is viewed as a utilitarian beast that doesn’t mind trekking through foreboding countryside.

The Land Cruiser’s updates are mostly cosmetic. The front clip is new, the rear end is reworked, and the dashboard has been rearranged for better functionality. Toyota kept utility and functionality at the forefront, too, with impressive approach, breakover, and departure angles, along with 8.4-inches of ground clearance. Even the headlights were redesigned to make them more impervious to trail damage. Inside, the 4WD controls are placed on the center stack within easy reach of the driver. The greasy bits carry over unchanged, including the turbodiesel and two gasoline options. Toyota is dropping the gasoline option for Australia, however. Nevertheless, let’s take a dive into what’s new for the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser. Keep in mind, this isn’t the U.S.-spec version with its 5.7-liter V-8. We expect that to come later in the year with these same visual updates.

Continue reading for more information.

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Toyota Quietly Kills Regular Cab Tundra for 2018

Toyota Quietly Kills Regular Cab Tundra for 2018

Two-door Tundra only had a 0.4-percent take-rate

Amid Toyota’s February 2017 debut of the slightly updated 2018 Tundra pickup, the brand buried its plot to end production of the Tundra regular cab. The once-popular cab style has faded from glory as customers choose pickups versions with more interior room. As it turns out, the regular cab Tundra only mustered an abysmally low 0.4 percent rake-rate in the first five months of 2017. The larger Double Cab accounted for 34.1 percent of Tundra sales during the same period, while the Crew Max represented 65.5 percent of the 43,809 Tundras sold between January and May. Do the math, and Toyota only sold 175 regular cab Tundras in five months.

This isn’t a new trend, of course, with regular cab trucks from every automaker losing out to more spacious cab configurations. It’s also worth noting Toyota trails in half-ton pickup truck sales, followed only by the new Nissan Titan and Titan XD pickups, whose production is still being ramped up following their recent introductions. In contrast, Ford sold 351,965 F-Series pickups between January and May, while Chevrolet sold 212,425. The domestic brands also control the vast majority of the fleet and work-truck segments, which still skew towards low-cost trims and cab configurations. That presents this question: Why isn’t Toyota marketing to these segments? Other automakers do very well selling high-quantity, low-content pickups, Ford especially. Let’s explore this more below.

Continue reading for more information and opinion.

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2017 Toyota FJ by ICON

2017 Toyota FJ by ICON

Modern tech meets classic Toyota iron

Jonathan Ward has been working with Toyota FJs for well over a decade. His company, Toyota Land Cruisers (or TLC for short), specializes in buying, restoring, selling, and servicing Toyota SUVs ranging from the venerable FJ40 up through modern stuff like the FJ Cruiser. In fact, TLC was contracted by Toyota to build the first three FJ Cruiser prototypes ahead of its 2005 debut. But TLC isn’t Ward’s only operation. ICON has gained quite the notoriety in recent years by building high-dollar, custom vehicles for discerning customers. The bread-n-butter of ICON’s menu is the original Toyota FJ.

ICON offers four versions of its FJ series, aligning with the original FJ models produced by Toyota from 1960 to 1983. The FJ40 is the iconic, two-door Jeep CJ competitor, the FJ43 offers two doors with a longer wheelbase, the FJ44 uses the 43’s wheelbase but adds four doors, and the FJ45 is a two-door pickup variant. Each FJ ICON builds is for a specific customer looking for a rugged and reliable vehicle that’s built well enough to tackle daily driving. We’re taking a deep dive into ICON’s FJ lineup here, so keep reading for specifics.

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Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Sets World Speed Record

Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Sets World Speed Record

Chasing the title of fastest SUV requires serious horsepower

Toyota has a rich history of building outlandish one-off projects, but none of them can match the wild nature of this Land Cruiser. Built to break the world record for the fastest SUV, Toyota named this three-row, body-on-frame beast the Land Speed Cruiser. The play on works helps the reality of the project sink in. Engineers had to make a 5,800-pound SUV perform like a sports car in order to break the 211-mph top speed record in the SUV category. The stock 5.7-liter V-8 was heavily modified to make more than 2,000 horsepower, while the suspension was given new life with high-dollar speed parts.

The Land Cruiser’s interior also received a handful of updates like a FIA-certified racing seat and roll cage, along with information displays for keeping tabs on the mechanicals. Surprisingly, the rest of the interior remains factory. The wood grain and leather steering wheel, dashboard, and center console are all intact. A new shifter replaces the stock unit, however, as Toyota updated the gearbox with a new racing transmission designed for the extra power and speed. And all but the driver’s seat was removed for weight reduction. Toyota then put former NASCAR driver Carl Edwards behind the wheel at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. So how fast did the Land Speed Cruiser go? Keep reading for the official speed.

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