Filed under: Chicago Auto Show , Truck , Toyota , Design/Style , Off-Road To the general public, Toyota is often thought of as a maker of bland but dependable cars, crossovers and SUVs that get their owners and a whole herd of whatever from Point A to Point B. Generally speaking, they’re fuel efficient, comfortable and affordable. What the general public may not realize, however, is that Toyota enjoys a very strong history of going off road, too. The legendary Land Cruiser arguably established the trend, helping explore remote parts of the globe, while various guerilla warfare outfits and world military branches have unwittingly joined up with the boys from Top Gear to help cement the Hilux pickup’s reputation for invincible performance. Now, though, Toyota is launching a new line of trucks and SUVs in the US that are even more explicitly targeted at hitting the trails. Meet the TRD Pro Series. Featuring the 4Runner , Tacoma and Tundra , each Pro Series vehicle features TRD-tuned springs with Bilstein shocks, a TRD front skid plate, a TRD shifter, black wheels, branded floor mats and a “TOYOTA” grille badge, the latter of which harkens back to classic models. TRD Pro Series vehicles will be offered in the new Inferno paint color shown above, as well as Black and Super White. The Tundra benefits from softer TRD springs that also provide a two-inch lift and a better ride in the rough, while the truck itself rides on 18-inch wheels with Michelin ORP tires. Each truck gains an extra two inches of wheel travel in front and 1.25 inches in back, while a TRD dual exhaust should generate a nicer sound than the trucks’s standard V8 engine.
Filed under: SUV , Safety , Videos , Toyota , Off-Road Disaster can strike just about anywhere, but the likelihood – and severity – often increases the further you are from civilization. That’s what one couple in Washington State found out when they went camping with their Toyota 4Runner along the Barlow Pass in the northern Cascade mountains. When a storm approached they sought shelter, but fortunately didn’t hide inside their Toyota . A hundred-foot-tall hickory tree fell on it, crushing the back portion of the SUV. With emergency and park services apparently refusing to help, it took them a while to get a few friends out their with chainsaws to cut the tree away from the Toyota. But once they did, they were astonished to find the truck not only started, but drove them back into town where they were able to call for a tow. Of course, the truck was virtually irreparable, but the very fact that it got them to safety after being crushed by a giant tree has the owners looking at another 4Runner – and with good reason. Are we surprised by the Toyota’s fortitude? After that now-legendary Top Gear Hilux abusefest , nothing surprises us. Scroll down to watch a video of the crumpled Toyota in action, then follow the link to the forum for more images.
Filed under: SUV , Lexus , Toyota , Rumormill , Design/Style , Luxury Add another one to the endangered list. The number of traditional body-on-frame SUVs has been dwindling as manufacturers replace them with crossovers, which is the direction the Lexus GX 460 is heading. According to Ward’s Auto , the GX will likely be supplanted by a unibody, three-row crossover at the end of its current lifecycle. Toyota introduced the current Lexus GX in 2010 , at the same time it also redesigned the 4Runner , on which the Lexus model is based. If the GX is shifted to a unibody platform, that could mean that Toyota would do similarly with the 4Runner, or the two vehicles could diverge and the GX could assume the underpinnings of another model. This is mere speculation, but Toyota could shift the GX to the Highlander platform that is currently shared with the Lexus RX . Since the RX is not available in a three-row model, the move would allow the GX to retain its third row as a differentiator without upsetting the successful formula of the RX, Lexus’ best-seller. Regardless of what Toyota decides to do with the GX and 4Runner, Ward’s says the company is also investigating the use of turbocharged four-cylinder engines in Lexus products. Since Toyota already has one of the best engines in the world in its direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 that sits under the hood of most Lexus models, we wouldn’t expect the brand to introduce a turbo four any time soon, at least not in its volume products. Lexus GX to go unibody, gain turbo power?