Pre-Production Review: 2014 Toyota 4Runner (With Video)

I would normally start a car review with an item of trivia or history about the vehicle under review, or about the segment in general. This time I’m going to start by talking about the elephant in the room: the 2014 4Runner SR5/Trail front end. Yikes! I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when the attractive new 2014 Tundra pulled away revealing the 2014 4Runner, I was reminded of a woman I worked with in 1998. Drawn in by the promise of eternal good looks, she had her eyebrows surgically removed and lines tattooed on her face. The only problem was the tattoo artist (accidentally?) gave her a permanently surprised “eyebrows”. Oops. Perhaps the 4Runner also regrets going under the knife and that’s why the fog lamp slits make it look like it’s crying. What say the best and brightest? Click through the jump and sound off in the comment section.

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2015 GM Full-Size SUVs Revealed
Any minute now, GM will be taking the wraps off the 2015 GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban. For now, we’ve got some press shots to keep you held over. T…
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Capsule Review: 2014 Jeep Cherokee

There may not be a more important car launched this year than the Jeep Cherokee. A symbol of the union between Chrysler and Fiat, designed to lead Jeep’s push into the booming global crossover market, a bold new styling direction for the brand – these elements are all inextricably bound with the vehicle itself, with the Cherokee’s success in the marketplace vindicating all three. Predicting how well a vehicle will sell is always a crapshoot. I try to refrain from forming opinions of vehicles before driving them, but I couldn’t help but root for the Cherokee a little. It had sufficiently angered the Internet Product Planning division with its out-there styling, car-based platform and bold claims of off-road superiority. Charmed by the sheer gall of its contradictory mission (a CUV that can hang with true SUVs off-pavement), I wanted it to be a good vehicle on its own and succeed in the marketplace.

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Capsule Review: 2014 Toyota 4Runner – Derek Goes Off-Roading, Eats Dirt, Learns About The Value Of Body-On-Frame Construction

I grew up as a city kid, but my parents made sure I had every opportunity to experience the great outdoors. Most of the time I elected to skip those opportunities. Although I enjoyed attending a rustic summer camp where we slept in tents and warded off raccoon and skunks each night, I did not take well to camping, coming back with over 300 mosquito bites. Fishing was too slow of an activity to capture my attention, but sport shooting was the opposite. After that, I never once picked up an Xbox controller, finding Halo and Call of Duty to be unsatisfying facsimiles for sending rounds downrange. A pity that it took me nearly 25 years to actually go off-roading; I may have never bothered with sports cars in the first place.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 International Harvester Scout II

Here in Denver, the Jeep DJ-5 often shows up in Junkyard Finds. Another truck that forms a regular part of The Crusher’s diet in Colorado is the International Harvester Scout. Yes, there was once a time when a farm-equipment manufacturer made highway-legal light trucks, and the Scout was (and is) a Colorado favorite. Here’s a battered ’74 I spotted a few weeks back.

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Cadillac Escalade To Debut In New York City
While GM’s next-generation SUVs are slated to debut at September’s Texas State Fair, the Cadillac Escalade will get its own launch event in New…
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Long Term Review – 2013 BMW X1 (aka My Wife's Car is Smarter Than Me)

This past June, my wife took possession of her 2013 BMW X1. Last month I drove it for the first time.

Its official, I am a now a luddite.

This troubles me, because I have always been comfortable with technology, but the gadgets on this car are maddening.

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Are Failures Really Failures?

I think my colleagues would agree that we, as automotive journalists, do not devote enough attention to the burgeoning convertible SUV segment. This is partially my fault. I stood idly by when the segment doubled in size with the 2011 arrival of the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. And again, I’ve hardly batted an eyelash at reports of yet another entrant: the Range Rover Evoque convertible.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to provide a highly useful convertible SUV buyers guide, which you can use later, once the inevitable craze hits, to determine which model is right for you. Here it is:

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Vellum Venom: 2012 Honda Crosstour

Here are a few books I consider required reading for Transportation Design students: The Reckoning, Rude Awakening, All Corvettes are Red and Car: A Drama of the American Workplace. These show what it takes to make a car…to make a designer’s work come to fruition.

Sadly, during my (short) time at the College for Creative Studies, we focused on creativity at all costs: pay no attention to the business behind the curtain. So while the Honda Crosstour is a curious stylistic exercise, does this dog hunt in the real world?

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Capsule Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

My junior year of high school involved a social studies course taught by a dour, acid-tongued woman, a Scottish leftist in the tradition of George Galloway, who delighted in admonishing us for our bad behavior by labeling us “a bunch of spoiled, upper-middle class brats”. Well, guilty as charged for this writer. Despite the not-so-hidden proletarian contempt she may have had for us, I credit her with teaching a lesson on the Simon-Erlich wager, an event that proved formative in shaping my view of the world.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Like Dizzy Gillespie’s cheeks playing trumpet vs. at rest, cars are bigger in every direction compared to their predecessors. Perhaps you’ve seen a 1980s Honda Accord in front of the latest platform. Or perhaps an old/new Chevy Silverado. But what about a copiously large Cadillac, like the one made (somewhat) famous in a Moby music video?

What happens when you put that machine, an unrivaled King of The 1970s, against a pair of modern land barges? You already know, but go ahead and click to see anyway.

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Review: 2013 BMW X6M – Swansong Edition

With Mercedes cranking out AWD versions of their AMG products and Audi finally bringing their AWD “RS” products to America, it was only a matter of time before BMW have in and added some front-wheel motivation to their M5. Just kidding. BMW maintains that the M5 will forever retain RWD. This means the M5 will focus on dynamics and not acceleration. BMW’s answer to this deficiency since 2010 comes in the form of the X5M and X6M cousins.

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Jeep Consolidates Patriot/Compass Starting In 2014

Buyers hankering for a more macho alternative to the Buick Encore won’t have to wait too long for something to fill that void. According to Edmunds, an all-new Jeep, similar in size to the Encore, will debut next year.

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Review: 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel

Heresy can be fun. Certainly it is so for an Irishman, what with Behan’s, “wonderful lack of respect for everything and everyone.”

And so, it has to be said, I’ve developed a certain fondness for Porsche’s big fat trucks and sedans precisely because they get up the nose of the purists – folks who think that Stuttgart’s time would be better spent trying to figure out how to build a durable, engaging sports-car experience rather than some donk-wheeled gin-palace with an expiry date like a lit fuse. I mean, they’re not wrong, it’s just a wee bit amusing to see how mad they get. Look – that one’s just bitten a policeman.

This two-tonne blasphemy is even better than usual, it’s a diesel. A truck-engined Porsche! Well, we’ve been here before: 924 fans eat your heart out.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Jeep Wagoneer

The Jeep Wagoneer was made for about 180 years (OK, actually just 28 years), going through three corporate owners during that period. This is only our second Wagoneer Junkyard Find (after this late-in-the-game ’89), though I walk past many more every time I hit my favorite Denver wrecking yard. This ’81 grabbed my attention with its super- Malaise-y purple paint, so here we go!

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  • Kcflyer Seems like a nice enough vehicle. But hard to imagine there are not much more compelling options for 65 grand.
  • MaintenanceCosts This was one of the only good engines Subaru ever made wrapped in a body made of human repellent.
  • MaintenanceCosts Headed soon to occupy four parking spots at your local Costco.
  • MaintenanceCosts I have yet to drive either this one or its Pathfinder sibling. I had zero objection to the CVT in their predecessors, though. You need smoothness more than instant response in this class of vehicle, and it was possible to drive the CVT-equipped Pathfinder very smoothly indeed. Both it and my own "eCVT" Highlander Hybrid are much better in that respect than the last 8-speed Sienna I drove, and I'll be surprised if I actually think the 9-speed is an improvement.
  • Tonycd Bullnuke, I had my own run-ins with Farago, who described himself to me with some accuracy as a southerly bodily orifice. But on balance, that site was a damnsight more interesting than the cost-cut ad vehicle that VerticalScope has turned it into since.