By on November 9, 2021

Mazda has announced that the 2023 CX-50 will debut on November 15th, foreshadowing its production launch in January of 2022 at the Alabama plant it shares with Toyota. That means odds are good that the model will share more than a few components with the Toyota Corolla Cross. But Mazda has been adamant that CX-50 is a unique vehicle riding on its very own platform.

Unique is a relative term, however, when the upcoming model represents another “lifestyle vehicle” designed to convince consumers that a jack-of-all-trades crossover is ready and willing to drag them up the side of a mountain. Officially, Mazda is claiming this one caters to adults with particularly active lifestyles and has surrounded it with nature-themed marketing materials. That presumably has something to do with the CX-50 boasting “enhanced all-wheel-drive capabilities.” (Read More…)

By on October 20, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is the third car in the series from designer Franco Sbarro. Our premier Sbarro creation was a windsurfing-specific take on the Citroën Berlingo, and the second was a very hot hatchback called the Super Eight – a Ferrari underneath.

While both of those creations were one-off styling exercises, today’s Sbarro actually entered very limited production. Presenting the Windhound of 1978.

(Read More…)

By on August 26, 2021

Ford had been rumored to be developing a pickup variant of the Bronco with the assumed strategy of competing with the likes of Jeep’s Gladiator by 2024. However, reports have surfaced that Blue Oval is notifying suppliers the program is being abandoned. While we knew that there was supposed to be another Bronco vehicle in development, Ford never confirmed it and it was unclear exactly how far along the program had managed to get. But as the company continued introducing new trucks (e.g. Maverick and Lightning) we were over here wondering how far the pickup market could realistically be stretched.

Apparently, so did Ford.  (Read More…)

By on August 25, 2021

It’s an interesting coincidence that every Jeep vehicle we’ve featured so far in Rare Rides has been white. The white streak continues today with an absolutely pristine 1991 Wrangler Renegade, but here’s a picture of a red one.

(Read More…)

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…)

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