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2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition

2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition

You won’t have any problems gearing up for the outdoors with this SUV

With a manufacturing facility sitting deep in the heart of the state, Toyota is always a lock to be in attendance at the Texas State Fair. Past years have shown the automaker debut models like the Toyota 4Runner Nightshade Edition to go with SX versions of the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tacoma.

This year, Toyota is returning the to the fair with a more functionally inclined special edition model called the 4Runner Venture Edition. The exclusive touches are mostly of the cosmetic variety, but there’s enough of them in the 4Runner Venture Edition to go around to pique the interests of prospective owners of the special edition SUV. The Toyota 4Runner Venture Edition is already available for order so if you’ve got an eye for a new roof rack, among other things, you can buy Toyota’s latest special edition SUV for a tidy sum of $45,405.

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2019 Toyota LC70 Land Cruiser by PCOR

2019 Toyota LC70 Land Cruiser by PCOR

Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with such big, beautiful beasts

Have you heard of the Patriot Campers? Well, these guys are magicians. If you haven’t heard about them, here’s a little brief. The company was born in 2013, but it has already taken over the world by storm. Patriot Campers is an Australian company that has diversified itself into many branches. The company’s trailers are quite famous amongst camping enthusiasts. Patriot Campers even works on creating off-road beasts. The PCOR – Patriot Campers Off RoadRoad – division handles the mods on SUVs and trucks. A staple within this is called the Supertourer, wherein the company works on the Ford Ranger, the Landcruiser 200, and the Ram truck, apart from the LC79. The company recently posted a video on YouTube where they show us a custom-built LC79 right before its handover. Will this particular LC79 be any different from the other Supertourers?

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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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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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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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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.

Continue reading for more information.

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2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven

A week with the Taco Supreme

Toyota has a long history with mid-sized, high-riding pickups in America. Many might remember Marty McFly’s 1985 Toyota truck with its tube bumpers, lifted suspension, alloy wheels, and black paint job. While most of these trucks have rusted into the history books, their spirit lives on in Toyota’s modern Tacoma – and no more so than with the Tacoma TRD Pro. This lifted truck with its blacked-out wheels and bold grille give it a flair for the past, while still answering the trends of today.

I had the chance to spend a week with the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which came dressed in Super White and built on the Double Cab platform. I spent an extensive amount of time driving the highways and surface streets surrounding my Central Florida home. And of course, I sampled the deep, sandy ruts of trails running through wooded landscapes that appeared untouched since the Spanish Conquistadors landed in the 1500s.

The Tacoma TRD Pro attracted a lot of attention during its stay in my driveway, and it’s no wonder. The Tacoma is the best-selling mid-size pickup in the U.S. these days, outselling the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline. There’s something about the truck that snags people’s interest. Most comments tended to focus on the black-on-white color scheme and the blocky TOYOTA grille.

So what’s it like living with the Taco Supreme? It’s spicy… but sometimes not in a good way. Keep reading for the explanation.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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2015 Toyota 4Runner – Driven

2015 Toyota 4Runner – Driven

They say honesty is the best policy, and in the world of SUVs, it doesn’t get any more honest than this. The Toyota 4Runner has foregone the popular changeover to a unibody structure, keeping instead its old-school, body-on-frame design, solid rear axle, and manual transfer case (at least in the Trail and TRD Pro models).

The 4Runner has been around since the dawn of time – or at least Toyota’s influx into the U.S. back in the 1980s – and was derived off Toyota’s pickup truck line, which is now the Tacoma. The 4Runner’s genealogy continues today, with it sharing much of the underpinnings and powertrain of the last-generation Tacoma.

Though the 4Runner is due for an update following the 2016 Tacoma, the 2015 model soldiers on unchanged since its last update in 2014. Still present is the old 4.0-liter V-6, and five-speed automatic transmission. The pair certainly isn’t known for its fuel economy, but the engine and transmission offer rock-solid operation and get-there-and-back reliability. No turbos, no fancy direct injection – just a no-nonsense powertrain.

The same is true for the rest of the SUV. Practicality and function win out over appearances and luxury. Sure, the 4Runner can be had with leather seats, navigation, an electronic transfer case, and other niceties, but that’s just a bandage on top of its ruggedness. As Taylor Swift says, “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes,” so neither do the luxuries take away from the 4Runner’s macho presence. That’s something sorely missed in today’s lineup of soft crossovers and road-biased SUVs.

So what’s it like to live with such an undomesticated beast? Well, it’s easier than you might think, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2015 Toyota 4Runner - Driven

2015 Toyota 4Runner - Driven

They say honesty is the best policy, and in the world of SUVs, it doesn’t get any more honest than this. The Toyota 4Runner has foregone the popular changeover to a unibody structure, keeping instead its old-school, body-on-frame design, solid rear axle, and manual transfer case (at least in the Trail and TRD Pro models).

The 4Runner has been around since the dawn of time – or at least Toyota’s influx into the U.S. back in the 1980s – and was derived off Toyota’s pickup truck line, which is now the Tacoma. The 4Runner’s genealogy continues today, with it sharing much of the underpinnings and powertrain of the last-generation Tacoma.

Though the 4Runner is due for an update following the 2016 Tacoma, the 2015 model soldiers on unchanged since its last update in 2014. Still present is the old 4.0-liter V-6, and five-speed automatic transmission. The pair certainly isn’t known for its fuel economy, but the engine and transmission offer rock-solid operation and get-there-and-back reliability. No turbos, no fancy direct injection – just a no-nonsense powertrain.

The same is true for the rest of the SUV. Practicality and function win out over appearances and luxury. Sure, the 4Runner can be had with leather seats, navigation, an electronic transfer case, and other niceties, but that’s just a bandage on top of its ruggedness. As Taylor Swift says, “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes,” so neither do the luxuries take away from the 4Runner’s macho presence. That’s something sorely missed in today’s lineup of soft crossovers and road-biased SUVs.

So what’s it like to live with such an undomesticated beast? Well, it’s easier than you might think, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - Driven

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - Driven

The Tundra has quietly soldiered on largely unchanged for the better part of a decade, save for the skin-deep refresh that came along in 2014. However the mad scientists and engineers that roam the halls of the Toyota Racing Division have done their own thing and created a beastly off-road package for the 2015 Tundra, along with matching packages for the 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD and (now aged-out) 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD .

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2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - Driven

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro - Driven

The Tundra has quietly soldiered on largely unchanged for the better part of a decade, save for the skin-deep refresh that came along in 2014. However the mad scientists and engineers that roam the halls of the Toyota Racing Division have done their own thing and created a beastly off-road package for the 2015 Tundra, along with matching packages for the 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD and (now aged-out) 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD.

Known as the TRD Pro edition, the package adds an extensive list of upgrades that transform the Tundra into a factory-tuned desert racer. Remote-reservoir Bilstein shocks, high-performance springs, additional ground clearance, skidplates, tow hooks, and a bevy of cosmetic changes inside and out constitute the bulk of the package. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Having been on the market since the last quarter of 2014, the Tundra TRD Pro has already made quite a name for itself in the off-road community. Thanks to its stout V-8 that kicks out an impressive 401 pound-feet of torque, the Tundra has enough cojones to power over sand dune and through mud pits with ease. Toyota offers the TRD Pro option on both its Double Cab and CrewMax cabs. Only three paint choices are available and include black, white, and Inferno orange.

Toyota recently lent me an Inferno orange Tundra TRD Pro fitted with the larger CrewMax cab configuration and most of the desirable options. I picked the truck up in Atlanta on my way to visit the family farm in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. The trip would prove a fantastic test of the truck’s everyday livability and its prowess tearing down gravel roads and through freshly cut hay fields.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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2016 Toyota Tacoma - First Drive

2016 Toyota Tacoma - First Drive

It may be needless to say, but the Toyota Tacoma is extremely important in the midsize truck category and has been for decades. Its contribution to the industry is undeniable and its yearly sales figures are impressive. Sadly, Toyota let the Tacoma get long in the tooth in recent years – letting it span from 2005 to 2015 nearly unchanged. However 2016 brings a heavy refresh that borders on the “all-new” term so loosely thrown around in the auto industry.

Why is Toyota’s newest pickup not considered all-new? Well the 2016 Toyota Tacoma’s frame is mostly a carryover piece, despite its strengthening, and the base four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual are indeed unchanged. Regardless of these nit-picky details, the 2016 Tacoma feels like a brand new truck.

Thanks for the refresh can be given to General Motors and its 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon twins. Without these two trucks throwing wrenches into the midsize status quo, the Tacoma may have soldiered on unchanged. Now the newest player on the block, the Tacoma enters the market with an all-new V-6 engine, new six-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions, a welcomed exterior update and a very welcomed interior redo.

But are the changes enough to keep the Tacoma selling faster than the GM twins, or will the updates be lost against the ever-strengthening Colorado and Canyon? I drove one to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review

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