2018 Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing
The toughest truck on earth – the Toyota Hilux - received a cool Gazoo Racing rework for Brazil. Introduced at the Sao Paulo Motor Show, the Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing represents something one may even consider a Ford Ranger Raptor competitor. Yet, aside from being really cool, the Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing introduces the whole GR brand in Latin America. Introducing it with a popular truck is only expected.
Nope, as I have said numerous times before, we in the U.S. do not have access to the Hilux. Not even to special versions like the Invincible 50 I wrote about only days ago.
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Is A Surprisingly Good Off-Roader
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.
Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy
The market trend is quickly shifting from sedans to crossovers and SUVs. However, SUVs have two major cons when compared to their segment counterparts - high retail price and poor fuel economy. Even though they are a practical choice thanks to additional cabin and cargo space, it’s a little difficult for everyone to afford an SUV. So why not go for a used SUV instead? You don’t take the depreciation hit that first owner does, and since SUVs are built to last a lifetime, you can get an almost-new SUV at half the original price.
Now that we’ve planted this seed in your head, let’s have a look at the best used SUVs from 2016 with high fuel efficiency.
Toyota Assists In Dino Bone Dig
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.
Chuck Norris is Tough and So is the New Toyota Tacoma Pickup, Apparently
We all have our favorite Chuck Norris jokes, but apparently, we all forgot about the power of his autograph. That’s right; it’s been scientifically proven that Chuck Norris’ signature can turn random objects into all-conquering superheroes. Take a look at what happens to the Toyota Tacoma once it got bestowed with Chuck’s perfectly legible John Hancock.
Jekyll And Hyde: Toyota’s New RAV4 Is A Hit And Miss Proposition
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 has been unveiled at the 2018 New York Auto Show, and it arrived in Manhattan in two different trim levels: the RAV4 Adventure and the RAV4 That may be understating it a little, but we can all agree that, for better or worse, Toyota’s hot-selling SUV received two sides of a complete makeover. We’ll let you be the judge if you think Toyota did well with the new-look RAV4, but in our minds, one design hit the mark while the other missed it completely.
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
Toyota’s 2019 updates to its trio of TRD Pro models brings some impressive upgrades to the Tacoma. Headlining the features is the new Desert Air Intake, a high-rise snorkel that not only looks awesome but sucks in cleaner air from higher above trail. The suspension is also updated Fox Racing Shocks and a handful of cosmetic changes keep the truck fresh.
The Tacoma TRD Pro has been around since 2015 and jumped to the third-generation Tacoma for 2017 after skipping the 2016 model year. Now for 2019, the truck’s updates work to better align the Tacoma TRD Pro with the new and highly impressive Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor. While the Tacoma enjoys a fat sales margin over the Colorado, its lead has been dwindling. Once Ford’s new Ranger his the streets for 2019, Toyota will have a real fight on its hands. Read on to see how the 2019 updates prepare the Tacoma for a tough battle.
Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is one of the capable SUVs on the market today. While most SUVs have softened into crossovers with unibody chassis, the 4Runner continues its body-on-frame tradition matched with the even-more-capable TRD Pro suspension system. Yet, for 2019, Toyota is turning up the heat.
The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro gets upgraded Fox Racing Shocks that help better handle high-speed desert running while providing a civil ride around town and a new roof rack offers more storage for dirty gear. A few other changes inside and out help keep the 4Runner fresh as interest explodes for its main rival, the Jeep Wrangler.
Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.
2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
Toyota has upped the ante with its Tundra TRD Pro for the 2019 model year. The off-road package receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes both cosmetic and suspension upgrades. The move is completely understandable considering how hot the off-road segment is getting these days.
It’s important to understand the Tundra TRD Pro’s place in the market. It competes most directly with the Ram 1500 Rebel, both of which fall short of the Ford F-150 Raptor’s outright ownership of the high-speed desert racing niche. But while Ford is busy making the Raptor an extremely capable but very expensive upgrade to the F-150, both the TRD Pro and Rebel are more obtainable for the everyman. In other words, the Tundra TRD Pro might not match the Raptor’s off-road performance, but it’s also far less expensive.
Nevertheless, Toyota’s 2019 updates push the Tundra TRD Pro beyond what it was capable of from 2015 to 2018.
Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
2018 Toyota Sequoia - Driven
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.
What it’s Like to Daily Drive the 2018 Toyota Sequoia
Open the heavy door, use the running board to climb inside, sit atop a leather seat with a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel in hand, and gaze over the world like a king riding his chariot. That’s what it’s like getting into the driver’s seat of the 2018 Toyota Sequoia.
Despite its age, the Sequoia isn’t bad to drive. Its 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 offers plenty of pep, especially with its 401 pound-feet of torque and a 4.30 rear axle ratio. The sprint to 60 mph takes only 6.7 seconds and its top speed is capped at 115 mph. The Sequoia might share much of its architecture with the Tundra pickup, but Toyota ditched the solid rear axle and leaf springs in favor of an independent suspension with airbags. The front suspension uses MacPherson struts between the double wishbone control arms. The Platinum trim even comes with adaptive dampers with Sport, Normal, and Comfort modes.
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Inside the 2018 Toyota Sequoia Platinum
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 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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The Toyota Sequoia is Old-School Cool
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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What’s New on the 2018 Toyota Sequoia
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.
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - Driven
The Toyota Tacoma has been a mainstay in the compact and mid-size pickup segments for more than 30 years. Even before the Tacoma name, the Toyota pickup impressed hard-nosed Americans with innovation, durability, and performance. Those traits continue today with the third-generation truck. And like any proper truck should, Toyota offers the Tacoma with several cab, bed, trim, and drivetrain combinations. Generally speaking, there is a Tacoma for everybody.
If I were a single man who didn’t need room for car seats and kiddos, the Tacoma Access Cab would be a tempting acquisition. I’ve never really been a big fan of extended cab trucks, favoring the roomier crew cab (double cab in Toyota’s case) over the cramped quarters behind the front seats of an Access Cab. However, a week behind the wheel of a 2017 Tacoma Access Cab has changed my mind. There’s enough room for smaller people and plenty of room for groceries. Better still, the Tacoma’s six-speed manual transmission won my heart thanks to its more engaging driving experience over the automatic.
Continue reading for my full thoughts on the 2017 Toyota Tacoma.
2018 Toyota Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser is about as iconic as vehicles come, so it’s a big deal when something changes. For 2018 in global markets, the Land Cruiser is getting a few appearance upgrades and a redesigned dashboard – both in an effort to keep this go-anywhere, three-row SUV flying off showroom floors. Toyota debuted its updated Land Cruiser at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of its on-sale date later this year.
The Land Cruiser’s reputation is rooted in reliability and its rugged dependability in off-road situations, often far from civilization. It makes sense, then, that Toyota boasts about the SUV being “easy to maintain and repair” right in its press materials. You won’t find that in a Land Rover’s press kit. While easy trail repairs isn’t the Land Cruiser’s best selling point in North America where customers view it as a status symbol, many of the 190 countries place an extreme value on making a round trip when leaving the house. Of course, the 2018 Land Cruiser is more than just reliable transportation. It offers plenty of luxury and creature comforts, too. Let’s check out what changes Toyota has made for 2018. Perhaps some of these will even make it to the U.S.-spec Land Cruiser, as well.
Continue reading for more about the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser.
Toyota “Invincible 50” Celebrates 50 Years Of Hilux
Hey, did you know the Toyota Hilux is a capable pickup that’s sold basically everywhere besides North America and is apparently indestructible against the best Jeremy Clarkson can throw its way? Of course, you know that since it’s practically common knowledge and rumored to be on driving tests in at least 95 countries. What you might not realize is Toyota has been selling the thing for half a century. Yep, 2018 marks the 50th birthday of the iconic Hilux pickup. Naturally, Toyota can’t let such an occasion pass without building some tribute, so here it is, the 2018 Hilux “Invincible 50.”
This Double Cab Hilux has several Toyota dealership parts bolted on, along with a custom wrap, all designed to grab attention at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Toyota says the truck is “ideally suited to a broad range of both professional and leisure activities,” or basically, that a so-configured Hilux is at home on the job site and doing fun stuff on the weekend. Sounds like the automotive equivalent of a mullet hairstyle, right? Unlike the mullet, the Hilux’s popularity didn’t die in the 1990s. In fact, the truck is expected to sell more than 40,600 examples in Europe for 2017, besting its previous record of 40,104 sold in 2007. That’s pretty impressive, especially in a place where pickups aren’t the “it” vehicle to drive. Perhaps Toyota’s expectation rides on folks falling in love with the Hilux “invincible 50” and its customized flair. Probably not, but let’s have a close look at this one-off show truck.
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Mercedes-Benz X-Class Vs. The Competition
Mercedes-Benz just made quite the splash when it dropped the new X-Class. Framed as the first truly “upscale” pickup truck, the X-Class intends on redefining the midsize segment with unprecedented levels of luxury and refinement. It might seem like a strange combination to mate luxury with pickups, but as Mercedes points out, “the number of pickups for private use is increasing. They are no longer viewed purely as workhorses.” As such, the X-Class aims to broaden the pickup’s buyer appeal, seeking out folks like “land owners and farmers in Argentina, business owners and building contractors in Australia, families with an affinity for premium products in Brazil, trend-conscious individualists in South Africa and Great Britain as well as sporty adventurers in New Zealand and Germany.” Sounds like quite the collection of buyers. But here’s the thing – is the X-Class really all that revolutionary?
To find out, we placed it alongside some of its biggest competition, including the Toyota Hilux, the Volkswagen Amarok, and the Ford Ranger. And, since its possible Merc might bring the X-Class stateside eventually, we threw in the GMC Canyon Denali as well. Read on for all the specs and info you need, and let us know in the comments how you think the X-Class stacks up.
Continue reading to learn more about how the Mercedes-Benz X-Class compares to the competition.
2015 - 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – Driven
The 2015 – 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is Toyota’s most rugged and capable SUV. Thanks to some clever engineering in the Toyota Racing Development labs, the 4Runner enjoys a truly hard-core off-road version that usurps even the venerable Trail Edition 4Runner. Heavy duty Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs, thick coil springs with a 1.0-inch suspension lift, upgraded wheels and tires, and a tank-like front skid plate makes the TRD Pro a natural in the dirt. All the same off-road tech on the 4Runner Trail Edition carries over to the TRD Pro, too. This includes the electronic locking rear differential, manual transfer case, and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system.
A unique front grille with the blocky T-O-Y-O-T-A lettering sets the TRD Pro apart, along with TRD Pro badging on the C-pillars and bespoke TRD Pro wheels and all-terrain tires. Things inside aren’t much different than other 4Runners, beside a TRD gear shifter and some like-branded floor mats. So how does the TRD Pro handle everyday life and the sandy trails of Central Florida? Keep reading to find out.
Continue reading for the full review.
2017 Toyota Tundra Platinum – Driven
The Toyota Tundra has been around since 2014 with nary a change. Before that, it was 2007 when the Tundra saw any action from Toyota designers – and that was the second-generation Tundra’s debut! Needless to say, Toyota’s full-size pickup is long in the tooth. But how does this decade-old pickup perform? To find out, I spent a week with the truck on familiar streets I’ve traversed plenty of times with the Tundra’s competition.
As mentioned, the current Tundra debuted in 2007 as an all-new, ground-up truck that replaced a much smaller pickup bearing the same name. Toyota had been accosted by consumers and journalist alike for not having a true full-size competitor. To much applause, Toyota delivered. The truck came with a powerful 5.7-liter V-8, three cab options, available 4WD, and payload and towing capacities that ranked well against Detroit’s Big Three.
The Tundra then lay dormant for seven years. A mid-cycle refresh came in 2014 bringing some new sheet metal and a revised interior. However, the powertrain, frame, and suspension remained unchanged. Fast forward, and the first major change is scheduled for 2018. Even that is limited to the TRD Sport trim and consists of new grille mesh, LED headlights, and some active safety systems. We’ll have to wait at least to 2019 or 2020 before Toyota finally brings an all-new model. But despite its age, the Tundra isn’t a bad truck. Here’s why.
2019 Toyota Tundra
The current Toyota Tundra has been around since 2007, with only a modest update for the 2014 model year. This makes Toyota’s full-size truck the oldest in the segment, falling well past its competition. News from Toyota is nearly nonexistent on an update, but there is a solid case for 2019 being the target year. In typical Toyota fashion, a game-changing update isn’t expected, but rather a well conceived renewal of what works. In an attempt to capture this, we’ve created a rendering that plays off the Tacoma’s detailing yet still captures the Tundra’s main theme.
As for what’s under the bodywork, well, there is speculation Toyota will employ its newest D-4S dual fuel injection technology into a heavily revised, if not all new, V-8 engine. An eight- or 10-speed automatic transmission might be in the works, while a strengthened steel frame gives the pickup a stronger backbone.
The Tundra’s reach into the luxury truck stratosphere is also expected, with upscale equipment and niceties added to the 1794 Edition and Platinum models. Toyota could also introduce a new Limited Platinum model as a range-topping trim, just as on the Highlander. Trucks like the Ford F-150 Limited and GMC Sierra 1500 Denali offer luxuries far beyond what’s available on the Tundra. The remaining trims will likely carry over, including the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro. The three cab configurations are expected to make the generational jump, including the Regular Cab, Double Cab, and CrewMax cab.
For more speculation on the 2019 Toyota Tundra, click “continue reading.”
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Hands Down The Coolest Feature of the Toyota Tundra
Take a gander at the image above. Notice anything missing? Yep, the back window. No, it didn’t get busted out, but rather is rolled neatly into the rear bulkhead of the Tundra’s CrewMax cab. Controlled by a rocker switch by the driver’s left knee, the power-operated rear window drops down for the best open-air driving experience available in a modern pickup. Not even a panoramic moonroof gives the same effect.
Toyota has a long history will roll-down rear windows. The 1984 4Runner started the trend in the U.S., and the Tundra carried the tradition in 2000 when it was introduces as a replacement for the T100 pickup. The roll-down window made the generational jump in 2007 to the second-gen Tundra, and again with the 2014 facelift.
The roll-down rear windows brings several benefits. First is that open-air driving experience. With all five windows down in my 2017 Tundra test truck, the wind moves quickly and quietly through the truck, even at highway speeds. There’s no buffeting or swirling – just a nice steady flow of air through the cab. My wife’s hair even stays out of her face.
The second benefit is utility. Imagine needing to haul eight feet of PVC pipe. Just roll down the window. It also makes easy access between the cab and cargo bed. And how Toyota hasn’t marketed this feature RV manufacturers for a full-width pass-through into a slide-in pickup camper is beyond me. How cool would that be?
Ranting aside, there’s plenty to love about the Toyota Tundra. There’s even more to hate/wish Toyota would finally update this decade-old truck. However, the Tundra’s coolest feature is still that roll-down back window.