By on May 7, 2021

Tread Lightly!

Tread Lightly!, with the help of partners and volunteers, cleared 11 miles of tamarisk from Hey Joe Canyon, an off-road trail in Moab, Utah. The Easter Jeep Safari stewardship project was completed during the event. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is an early example of the Cherokee, built while AMC was still alive and well-ish. And it just so happens to be the same color and trim as the Comanche pickup featured here recently.

And it’s just about factory fresh.

(Read More…)

By on November 30, 2020

Honda Talon. Pic: Rob Eckaus

I’ve been very fortunate to attend eight driving schools. This one was definitely the slowest, but the fun factor was unquestionably among the highest. I was driving a four-passenger Honda Talon 1000X-4; a fantastic machine for the miles of trails present in the northwestern region of Maui. Yes, that Maui.

Featuring stadium seating for the rear passengers, Honda Talons are quite accommodating. Utilizing a 116.4-inch wheelbase (think Dodge Challenger), they are powered by a 999 cc parallel twin-cylinder engine. The acceleration was very good, even with the throttle rarely pinned to the floor. When was the last time you said that about a rental car – or off-roader?

(Read More…)

By on November 24, 2020

In Part I of this very orange Rare Ride, we covered the love child of Rover, BMW, and (eventually) Ford which was the L322 Range Rover. Today we’ll talk about just what makes this one so special, aside from the glaringly orange paint.

(Read More…)

By on November 23, 2020

Today’s subject is the first time a Range Rover appears in the series. We’ve come as close as a Discovery badged as the Honda Cro$$road previously, but today’s truck is much more special.

It’s a 1 of 20 G4 Challenge.

(Read More…)

By on November 17, 2020

Electric-vehicle manufacturers often tout their products’ ability to double as a mobile generator for laborers needing a place to plug in their tools. But a few have also suggested a reliable power source would be similarly beneficial for recreational actives. In 2019, Rivian began showcasing the camp kitchen its designers had made fit into the gear tunnel located between the R1T’s truck bed and passenger cabin. Easily deployed, the kitchen comes with an electric stovetop, electric kettle, small sink (fed by a five-gallon water tank), and enough storage space to house the items necessary to cook and serve a meal.

It was looking like an incredibly slick option for woodsy weekend warriors — until we learned the price, that is.

(Read More…)

By on November 13, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride was a unique offering in Europe in its day, though not an original idea. Simple as pie, it’s plastic, low-powered, and meant for adventure!

It’s a Renault Rodeo, and someone’s taken the trouble of importing this one to California.

(Read More…)

By on July 6, 2020

Ford/YouTube

A 1970 Dodge ad campaign once said of the viewer, “If you can cope with a whole new image, you could be Dodge material.” Well, today — a week out from what this writer has dubbed B-Day — Ford is appealing to those wild at heart to leave their old lifestyles, and the pavement, in the past.

Are you Built Wild? (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is a little off-road truck that hails from the era when a single SUV could be small, light, cheap, and capable. It’s an oft-forgotten Daihatsu Rocky, from 1990.

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2020

2017 Toyota Highlander profile

One of your author’s biggest pet peeves is the complete lack of confidence some drivers have in their own abilities — and that of their vehicle. It’s an odd thing, as these days the rolling stock on any street or highway consists mainly of car-based CUVs outfitted with increasingly capable all-wheel drive systems.

You’d think these drivers would show a little less trepidation when the weather turns bad — after all, they bought that particular vehicle for a reason — but no. After a recent, fairly heavy dump of the white stuff, the irksome observations began all over again. But an incident last night revealed the one thing that seems capable of motivating such drivers into taking action and using their vehicle to its full, confidence-inspiring potential: frustration. (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover is reportedly working a system for the new Defender that would allow for low-speed maneuvers with all occupants outside the car. While it sounds like a good way to guarantee the safety of friends and family when traversing a cliff face that might be a bit too narrow, recent hiccups with Tesla’s new summoning tech has proven it’s best to exercise caution.

Fortunately, Land Rover says it wants to utilize the Defender’s 3-D Scout system to map the area surrounding the vehicle and allow drivers to control the Defender remotely from the outside in off-road environments (minimizing collision risks). This will likely require the addition of some level of vehicular autonomy, as JLR stipulates drivers will be controlling the model via the automaker’s wearable “Activity Key.” Present incarnations of the device are basically proximity sensors without the necessary controls to accomplish any meaningful level of remote control.  (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

Can you kill a ghost? While Hollywood and some Catholic priests say yes, in the automotive realm the process of ridding oneself of a spectre usually involves a new sheet on the drawing board, not a ceremonial ritual.

As you may have already heard, a ghost long rumored to haunt Detroit’s future product stable has reportedly disappeared into the ether from which it came. It never had much of a form, its name carried a question mark, and no one officially admitted to its existence. It only had a clear rival: the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and upcoming Ford Bronco. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2019

When the invite from Fiat Chrysler came in, I hemmed and hawed. The event in question was an off-road drive of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, along with other off-road-oriented Jeep and Dodge rigs, taking place at an off-road park in west-central Indiana. This was a regional event — media invitees all came from Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis.

If I hadn’t already driven the Gladiator in March, I’d have gone without a second thought. That’s why I hesitated – I’d driven the truck on the launch, and I’ll learn more from a second-look that takes place over a week-long loan (I have one scheduled) than I would from a few more hours of rock-crawling. Was it worth the time out of office?

(Read More…)

By on May 16, 2019

In The Current Year, new car lots are filled with family-friendly adventure vehicles. They’ve got lots of seats, lots of cladding, and some sort of system to drive all four wheels (even if it’s a lousy system like on the CR-V). But our Rare Ride comes from a time when family 4×4 options were much fewer in number. 1989 was a very different time for the adventuresome family buyer.

Enter Quigley, and the Chevrolet Beauville.

(Read More…)

By on April 8, 2019

Every year, the Easter Jeep Safari treats us to a batch of Fiat Chrysler’s finest off-road concepts and breathes a little fun into the auto industry.

While assuredly a marketing ploy, it’s one of the most enjoyable (and something this author eagerly waits for every spring). This year’s marketing proved a little more heavy-handed, thanks to the presence of Jeep’s all-new Gladiator, but no less palatable. Jeep is bringing six models to Moab for 2019 and every one comes with a truck bed and loads of accessories Mopar cannot wait to sell you via the Jeep Performance Parts catalog.  (Read More…)

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