Posts Tagged ‘off-road vehicle’

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 29th, 2015

A few days ago we got our first peek at what the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser may end up looking like. After reading some of the feedback from our own readers and others around the web, it turns out that not many folks like the new look that they’re seeing in the facelifted Land Cruiser. Personally, we’d be more excited if Toyota gave some love to their retro off-roader, the FJ Cruiser. Here’s a 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser for reference:

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser

The current FJ Cruiser has been on the market for almost 10 years now with only one minor update for the 2011 model year. But, it still stands out as one of the most eye-catching cars on the road (and off the road, as the case may be). It would make perfect sense for Toyota to upgrade the FJ Cruiser, since they just recently came out with a new version of their Hilux pickup, whose platform the FJ Cruiser is built on.

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is rugged and retro, and this 2013 model year is no exception. You can see that this car looks to have received some aftermarket treatment… The tires are Mud Grippers Extreme Terrain truck tires, and the grille and rear tire cover both look to have received some extra chrome. Beyond that, you’ll have to get more details via the auction sheet translation at the bottom of this post.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser rear

Under the hood, this Toyota FJ Cruiser runs on a 4.0L V6 engine paired up with a six speed automatic transmission and AWD. The engine outputs 260 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. The car boasts almost 10 inches of ground clearance, which is enough to make it a true off-road vehicle. For those of you familiar with off-road lingo, you can get a steep 34-degree approach and 30-degree departure with that ground clearance, and the SUV is capable of driving in up to 28 inches of water and can tow a full 5,000 lbs.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser interior

Inside, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is a tad sparse (you could call it utilitarian), but it still keeps the same retro styling as the exterior. The quirky colorful nature of the FJ Cruiser is maintained in the cabin with color inserts such as the bright orange one you can see in the image above.

I probably don’t need to tell you that this 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Japanese car auction find is in above-average condition. It’s got an overall rating of 4.5 with a B-grade interior… So about what you’d expect from a 2013MY. For more information, keep reading below the auction sheet.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser auction sheet

“Interior B, first registered October 2013, Color Package model, FAT, AC, service book, four-wheel-drive, power steering, power windows, original TV, original navigation system, airbag, one owner, digital TV, reversing rearview camera, A-TRAC, right-hand drive, Bristic Jester 20 inch 9J alloy wheels, Fuel Mud Gripper 33 x 12.5R 20, Pro Comp 3 inch raised suspension kit and 4 x shock absorbers, Eagle Eye colourless indicators and front turn signals, chrome parts, grill cover, hood trim, rear mounted spare tyre cover has matching paint, driver’s seat wrinkled and worn, interior has area of grime, scratches and light scratches, front windshield has stone scratches, other marks as per map”


2016 Toyota HiLux is Better in Every Way

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 22nd, 2015

2016 Toyota Hilux blue

After a whole bunch of spyshots and some very revealing unofficial spoilers (plus an accident involving a trailer carrying two brand-new 2016 models for debut), Toyota has finally unveiled the official all-new 2016 Toyota HiLux – the eight-generation model for the 47 year-old pickup.

2016 Toyota Hilux

If you’re reading this in the US, chances are that you’ve never heard of the Toyota HiLux pickup truck… That’s because it’s not sold in the States. But, it’s one of Toyota’s most well-known and beloved models in other markets, like Australia and Thailand.

The old Toyota HiLux has been on the market in its current form for at least a decade. The new model is better in literally every way. It’s bigger, it looks better, it’s more fun to drive, it can hold and tow a lot more weight, it’s more efficient, it’s got a larger cabin and it even holds more gas with a massive 80L fuel tank.

2016 Toyota Hilux rear

Under the hood, Toyota says that they’ve expanded the model’s “legendary prowess” with a substantially stronger frame, two new high-torque turbocharged diesel engines (expanding the powertrain options to four) and improved body rigidity for better on-Road toughness and improved steering response. Toyota has used high-tensile steel to keep the truck agile without sacrificing strength and toughness.

2016 Toyota Hilux interior

As for those two new engines, Toyota says that the turbo-diesels are “notable for their low-end punch and develop substantially more torque than the current model’s 3.0L unit”. This is especially impressive since both new engines are of a smaller displacement than the outgoing model. One is a 2.4L outputting 400 Nm, the other is a 2.8L outputting 450 Nm of torque, while both plants have about 10% improved fuel economy. Depending on which engine and trim you go with, Toyota says the new HiLux’s towing capacity has increased up to 3.5 tonnes (~7,700 lbs) and 1,240 kg (~2,700 lbs).

2016 Toyota Hilux interior dash

Inside the cabin, Toyota’s goal was to make the new HiLux feel more like an SUV than a pickup without sacrificing the model’s rugged, simple cabin appeal. You’ll find that the larger eighth-gen model has allowed Toyota to create a much more spacious and comfortable cab, with more room for all occupants, luxury seating, and better quality materials used throughout. They’ve also updated the interior to match the conventional tech. amenities found in today’s most popular SUVs, including a crisp audio system and a massive, vibrant multi-touch control screen.

Toyota says that we can expect the 2016 HiLux model in showrooms in early October. You can read the full press release here for more information.


Here’s the 2015 Toyota RAV4 Rally Car

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 8th, 2015

2015 Toyota RAV4 Rally Car

Toyota has an innovative new rally racer that they will bring to several rally competitions later this year. It’s a tuned up 2015 Toyota RAV4 LE, pictured here in full racing form.

The Japanese automaker unveiled their high-performance rally RAV4 this weekend at the Monster Energy Supercross Championship finale, which took place at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Obviously, it’s not every day that you see a commercial crossover competing in pro-level races like the Idaho Rally or the Mt. Hood Rally. Toyota plans to bring their RAV4 to several of the races in the 2015 Rally America season in the 2WD-Open Class.

Ryan Millin & RAV4

The modified 2015 Toyota RAV4 LE will be driven by Ryan Millen – a seasoned Toyota racer in his own right. He recently won the 2014 Baja 1000 driving a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro series, and he has high hopes for the RAV4. “I’ve driven just about everything Toyota has to offer,” he said. “And I’ve been very impressed with the RAV4 is tight, compact body and smooth handling. I’m looking forward to putting it through the paces this season.”

What kind of modifications has Toyota made to transform their commercial RAV4 into a rally-ready machine?

One thing they did NOT change is the engine… The RAV4 rally car runs on the same stock powertrain in the normal RAV4 LE, which is a 2.5L inline four-cylinder engine. It outputs 176 hp and just 172 lb-ft of torque, and the engine is fitted to the LE’s stock transmission. So, how will the RAV4 hope to compete?

Ryan Millen & RAV4 profile

Millen’s crew stripped over 500 lbs off the small crossover to make it a much more agile vehicle. They added a roll cage and fitted the wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain DOT 215/75R15 tires. They also upgraded the unpderpinnings with a front and rear TEIN suspension.

You may be asking why Toyota would care about getting their RAV4 crossover into the motorsports spotlight; we certainly were. Turns out, they’ve got something to prove. The press release makes it clear they’re tired of the RAV4 being known “only” for its immense practicality and superiority to its “more-cumbersome” SUV brethren. Now, they want everyone to know that the RAV4’s “lighter and leaner design” makes it the perfect car for anyone who regularly makes “desert, beach and other outdoor excursions.”

Okay, Toyota, we get it. The RAV4 is an off-road vehicle. Let’s see what it can do.


Japanese Car Auction Find – 2006 Toyota Hilux Surf

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Yesterday we got our first unofficial peak at the eighth-generation Toyota Hilux pickup truck which is set to go on sale sometime in the next few months. Although the Hilux pickup hasn’t been available in Japan for quite some time, the Hilux Surf SUV was sold there from 2002 to 2009. Today we’re looking at a 2006 Toyota Hilux Surf SSR-X Limited model.

2006 Toyota Hilux Surf

Just to set the record straight, the Toyota Hilux Surf is basically the Japanese version of the Toyota 4Runner. The only difference is that the Hilux Surf has a side-opening tailgate whereas the 4Runner’s tailgate lifts up from the bottom (at least it did in this generation of production). Otherwise, both cars run on the same double wishbone front suspension and solid rear axle for extra durability. This is in stark contrast to the Toyota Highlander – a similar size crossover that isn’t really intended for off-road use. The Hilux Surf is certainly off-road friendly.

It’s also worth noting that as a Limited model, this Hilux Surf would have come with Toyota’s new suspension technology that debuted in this generation – the X-Relative Absorber System (X-REAS) – which dramatically reduces body roll during intense cornering.

2006 Toyota Hilux Surf rear

Under the hood, the auction sheet shown at the bottom of this post tells us that this Hilux Surf is powered by a 2.7L engine. After digging around for some JDM manufacturer specs, we found that this particular engine offers 160 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm. Not too shabby, although it should be noted that other Hilux Surf models have engines up to 4.0L in displacement if you want more ‘oomph’.

2006 Toyota Hilux Surf interior

Inside, the Hilux Surf has decent cabin amenities like automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and a color DVD-based infotainment/navigation system paired up with a 10-speaker JBL sound system. However, what really sets it apart is the sheer space offered in the cabin. Looking at the pictures from the auction find, you can see the driver here has enough room to almost fully recline in the front seat! And you’ll sit extremely comfortably thanks to power driver’s lumbar support and a tilting telescopic steering wheel.

On the whole, this is a great Japanese car auction find with an overall rating of 4. The gleaming chrome alloys that you can easily make out in the pictures above are definitely our favorite part. Just like the 4Runner, the Hilux Surf is widely regarded as an easy-to-drive SUV that does exactly what it says on the box. It’s the perfect mix of reliability, comfort and utility. To learn more, you can get a full translation of the specs below the auction sheet:

2006 Toyota Hilux Surf auction sheet

“Interior B, first registered March 2006, SSR-X LTD model, CBA emissions code, FAT, AAC, gasoline engine, AM HDD navigation system, digital TV, Dolce 20 inch alloy wheels, roof rail, 2 x keyless entry keys, power steering, power windows, ABS< airbag, fog lights, floor mats, visors, keyless entry, spare key, front windscreen scratches, interior grime, wheel arch flares scratches, side steps scratches and dents, rust underneath, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map"


Nissan Project Titan Pickups Are Ready for Adventure

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Nissan has a really special way of saying thank you to some of their most passionate fans. As a way of paying homage to the 170+ thousand people who like Nissan Trucks on Facebook, the Japanese automaker has created the epitome in off-road adventure. Meet Nissan’s second-ever crowdsourced vehicle – the Project Titan pickup truck:

Nissan Project Titan Pickup

The Project Titan truck is the result of collaboration between Nissan’s Facebook fan base and the Wounded Warrior Project. Nissan asked their fans to vote on 10 ways they should augment an ordinary Titan pickup to create the ultimate off-road vehicle. Then, Nissan teamed up with the Wounded Warrior Project to actually outfit the pickup that you see here.

Nissan Project Titan Pickup rear view

So, what did Nissan’s fan base want in their ultimate off-road truck?

Starting with a stock 2014 Nissan Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X, here are the changes Nissan made:

Wheels: 18×9-inch Fuel Revolver D525 wheels

Tires: 35×12-inch Nisso Trail Grappler M/T off-road tires

Suspension: 4” PRG Long Travel Kit

Front Bumper: ARB Deluxe Bull Bar w/ Bulldog LEDs & Winch

Exhaust: Borla Catback Dual-Exhaust System

Utility: ARE Camper Topper w/ ARB Fridge, Dry Storage, Shower, Slide-out Rack

Trailer: Manley Off-Road Trailer

Exterior: 3M Custom Desert Digital-Camp Wrap

Roof: Custom-Fabricated Rack w/ Bulldog 360˚ LEDs

Interior: Katzkin Leather Seats, Rockford Fosgate sound system, Custom Extra-Large GPS Nav., Stiffer Shift-Knob and Steering Wheel

As you can see, even though Nissan only added onto 10 areas of the Titan pickup truck, they actually upgraded a lot more than just 10 parts. What you see above is surely one of the most off-road ready vehicles in the world, and Nissan wants to prove it.

That brings us to what comes next for the two Project Titan trucks… Nissan has charged two Wounded Warrior Alumni, Kevin McMahon and David Guzman, with the task of “beating the heck out of” these two trucks with a trip through the Alaskan wilderness. Their journeys will be shared as a web series due out this fall, and we’re sure that each man will enjoy his share of adventure.

Oh, and we should mention that on top of all the changes listed above, Nissan quietly took the liberty of outfitting the Titan’s 5.6L V8 engine with a NISMO cold-air intake to keep it running smoothly in even the most extreme conditions. After all, winter is coming in Alaska and these trucks will definitely be driving in snow.

If you’d like to learn more about Nissan’s Project Titan, you can either visit the Nissan Trucks Facebook Page or you can watch the three build videos below:


Toyota Brings Back Original Land Cruiser Series 70

Posted by Stephen On Monday, September 8th, 2014

2015 Series 70 Land Cruiser

Did you know that the Toyota Land Cruiser is the single oldest car in the automaker’s lineup?

That’s right – as of 2014, Toyota has been commercially manufacturing their off-road SUV for 30 years, with the first Series 70 Land Cruiser hitting their domestic market in 1984 and spreading globally soon after. In fact, the prototype that eventually became the Land Cruiser actually started out as a military vehicle. Toyota was ordered to develop the original vehicle before the Korean War so that the Japanese military could have their own version of the American Jeep.

2015 Series 70 Land Cruiser Pickup

Of course, this isn’t a history class, so we’ll keep the boring background stuff to a minimum, but it’s important to illustrate that this often overlooked SUV actually has deep roots in Japanese culture. Even though today’s Land Cruiser is arguably more luxury than utility (and only available in a few select markets), Toyota hasn’t forgotten the vehicle’s simplistic military background. And Toyota’s Japanese drivers haven’t either, even though the Land Cruiser hasn’t been sold there for 10 years.

For one year only, Toyota is bringing back of the original Series 70 Land Cruiser in Japan. This week marks the beginning of that year, which is intended to be a sort of “Thank You” to their Japanese fan base.

Okay, we’re done with the history lesson! Let’s talk specs:

Toyota will bring back the ’84 Land Cruiser in two different body styles – a double-cab pickup and the more conventional van. Both versions will be built on the Land Cruiser’s traditional closed ladder frame with extremely rigid cross braces – a simple-but-strong chassis that can handle even the most grueling off-road terrain. The van will offer more comfort with the extra interior space, while the pickup makes up for it with a sturdy deck that can take on up to 600kgs without any trouble.

2015 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 powertrain

Beneath the hood, the re-released Series 70 Land Cruiser will run on a powerful 4.0L V6 engine with part-time four-wheel drive and a rugged manual transmission. The engine uses VVT-i technology and an Acoustic Control Induction System to help optimize the car’s admittedly feeble fuel efficiency, which sits at 6.6 km/L (about 15mpg). However, it doesn’t need to be said that this is one very powerful engine, capable of 228hp and 265 lb-ft of torque.

2015 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Interior

As you look through the pictures, you’ll notice that Toyota has made a few quality of life changes to ever so slightly modernize the Series 70. Additions like a new grille and headlight configuration make the original Land Cruiser subtly better-looking. Meanwhile, SRS airbags and ABS makes the off-road vehicle safer than ever, while an updated-but-still-functional instrument panel makes it easy to keep your eyes on the road while monitoring the dash.

2015 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 optional winch

All in all, we’d be lying if we said that we weren’t a little bit jealous of the Japanese market. This Land Cruiser 70 re-release looks very well done, and the 200 or so drivers per month who’ll get one should certainly count themselves lucky. Fortunately, all hope is not lost for our American readers – if you really want a traditional Series 70 Land Cruiser, you can still find used models if you’re willing to look. In fact, if you come back tomorrow, we’ll show you a great place to find one!

Otherwise, you can watch this video to see the new-old Series 70 Land Cruiser in action: