2016 Hyundai Tucson gets new styling, efficiency and safety features

2016 Tucson

2016 Hyundai Tucson

 FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. – Hyundai’s all-new 2016 Tucson compact crossover offers an unmatched combination of a modern design, enhanced driving dynamics, increased utility and the latest in safety and entertainment technologies, all with a starting price of $22,700. Hitting dealers later this month, the Tucson is ideally suited for today’s crossover buyers who are demanding a vehicle solution that fits seamlessly into their busy lifestyles. 

Tucson is available in four distinct trim levels, each with a compelling value proposition, offering a Tucson for different buyer preferences. Those include:

  • SE: Well-equipped, price-leading model including popular options
  • Eco: Affordable turbo model that delivers more power and improved fuel economy
  • Sport: Features sporty cues and driving dynamics
  • Limited: Luxury model with leather, advanced technology and other premium features

“The all-new Tucson hits the sweet spot of what consumers are looking for in a compact crossover with competitive pricing advantages at every trim level,” said Scott Margason, director, Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “For example, the Tucson SE has a MSRP advantage and averages $700 in additional content compared to its competitors in the class. As Tucson competes in one of the fastest growing and most competitive segments in the industry, we can’t wait for the 2016 Tucson to make its way to dealers in just a few short weeks.”


2016 HYUNDAI TUCSON PRICING BREAKDOWN

Model Engine Transmission Drivetrain MSRP
SE

2.0L 4-Cylinder

6-Speed Automatic FWD $22,700
SE

2.0L 4-Cylinder

6-Speed Automatic

AWD $24,100
Eco

1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

 7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch FWD $24,150
Eco  1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder  7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch AWD $25,550
Sport

1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

 7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch FWD $26,150
Sport  1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch

AWD $27,550
Limited

1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch

FWD $29,900
Limited  1.6L Turbo 4-Cylinder

7-Speed EcoShift Dual Clutch

AWD $31,300

Freight charges for the 2016 Tucson are $895 and not included in the prices above.

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2014 Acura MDX priced at $42,990 or $990 less than 2013

2014 Acura MDX

2014 Acura MDX

MDX flagship SUV now available with Two-Wheel Drive, direct-injected powertrain, Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, versatile interior,  AcuraLink™ Next Generation services
BY GERRY MILES

Acura’s flagship SUV, the all-new third-gen MDX with room for 7, goes on sale with an MSRP of $42,990 or $990 less than the 2013 model it replaces. The delivery charge adds another $895 to the tab before options and other fees.

New for 2014 will be a two-wheel-drive MDX – which begets the smaller price tag of $42,990.

MDX will be sold in one of what Acura calls grades, each available with front-wheel drive or Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

Engine power comes from an all-new direct-injected, 290 hp, 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 rated with 267 lb.-ft. of peak torque (both SAE net).

Another first includes the MDX with standard Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), switching  between 3- and 6-cylinder modes, depending on engine load and driving conditions for better fuel efficiency.

The new mill replaces the a 3.7-liter engine, offering an 8-percent increase in torque at engine speeds below 2,750 rpm for greater overall responsiveness.

It’s quieter, has a tad longer wheelbase, improved ride and drive, and the usual refinements one can expect and appreciate in a top-notch SUV luxuoliner.

The full presser, stats, options and pricing can be found below. Read on.

TORRANCE, California.

The all-new 2014 MDX, the third generation of Acura’s acclaimed 7-passenger luxury performance SUV, goes on sale at Acura dealerships nationwide tomorrow, offering comfort, connectivity and performance every luxury customer wants at a price that no other luxury brand can match. Available for the first time in a new two-wheel drive model, pricing for the 2014 MDX begins with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $42,290*, a substantial $990 reduction in starting price versus the outgoing 2013 model.

The 2014 MDX adds a bevy of new standard features – including Smart Entry with Push Button Start, Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, exterior and interior LED lighting, Extended Slide second-row seating with One-Touch Walk-In for third-row access, an 8-inch On-Demand Multi-Information Display touchscreen, Expanded View Driver’s Mirror, a powerful 432-watt Acura sound system, and an acoustic glass front windows and windshield.

The range-topping MDX with Advance Package boasts a wide range of new technologies and features, including Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, remote engine start with an extended range of at least 300 feet, a new Ultra-Wide DVD Rear Entertainment System with HDMI connectivity, and front and rear parking sensors.

Optional Acura Genuine Accessories for the 2014 MDX includes standalone features such as a heated steering wheel, LED fog lights and a Trailer Hitch ATF Cooler Kit (allowing for up to 5,000 lbs. of towing).

The all-new 2014 MDX offers even higher levels of luxury comfort and quietness, together with exhilarating dynamic performance, class-leading fuel economy ratings, and advanced safety features, and an even more luxurious, technology-packed and versatile passenger cabin.

Developed on an all-new platform that is optimized in every respect for the needs of today’s luxury SUV buyers, the 2014 Acura MDX is powered by a new 290-horsepower direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 powertrain with fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management technology. The new MDX, similar to its flagship sedan counterpart, the 2014 RLX, harnesses a host of Acura signature technologies including AcuraLink® Next Generation services and Agile Handling Assist to deliver on Acura’s “Synergy between Man and Machine” product direction, and the idea of creating vehicles that truly respond to the will of the driver.

The 2014 MDX is the third generation of Acura’s top-of-the-line SUV to be designed, developed and engineered in North America. Production of the new MDX and its powertrain will take place at the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Alabama.1

In designing the new MDX, Acura engineers built on the foundation of its excellent dynamic performance with a focus on three core values: class-leading fuel efficiency, new levels of luxury comfort, and top-level safety performance. At the same time, they sought to further enhance dynamic performance while maintaining the MDX’s core appeal – the family-friendly, 7-passenger cabin in a nimble exterior size and appearance.

ALL-NEW PLATFORM
New from the ground up, the 2014 MDX has a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase, and is lower and narrower for reduced frontal area and enhanced fuel efficiency. With high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium comprising 64-percent of its body structure, the 2014 MDX is 275 pounds lighter than the previous model with the lightest published weight in its segment, which directly contributes to improved acceleration, nimble handling, and class-leading fuel economy ratings. A redesigned MacPherson strut front suspension and new multilink rear suspension, along with new Electric Power Steering (EPS) give the MDX even greater agility and confidence-inspiring dynamic performance. The standard Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) lets drivers select their preferred driving mode (Comfort, Normal or Sport) to suit their mood and the driving conditions. Standard on the MDX, a signature Acura technology called Agile Handling Assist selectively uses the vehicle’s brakes to improve corner traceability and impart confident handling feel.

POWERTRAIN
Power comes from an all-new direct-injected 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 rated at 290 peak horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of peak torque (both SAE net). Closely related to the powerplant in the new 2014 Acura RLX luxury sedan, this 24-valve V-6 engine is Acura’s second Earth Dreams™ Technology engine, which features a next-generation set of advancements that greatly enhance both driving performance and fuel efficiency. For the first time, the MDX has standard Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which switches seamlessly between 3- and 6-cylinder modes, depending on engine load, effectively varying engine displacement to match driving conditions for improved fuel efficiency.

Compared to the 3.7-liter engine it replaces, the 3.5-liter V-6 in the 2014 MDX offers an 8-percent increase in torque at engine speeds below 2,750 rpm for greater overall responsiveness. Due to improved operating efficiency, horsepower output per liter is up two percent and torque output per liter is up 4.4 percent compared to the previous model’s engine. Together with the 2014 MDX’s substantial reduction in curb weight, overall performance is enhanced, including quicker 0-60 mph times and 8-second quicker lap times on Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschliefe (North Loop), where both the new and outgoing model were extensively tuned and tested.

The efficient new engine is paired with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sport Shift, and available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). For the first time ever, the MDX is available with front-wheel drive, which saves weight and enhances fuel economy ratings. This new 2-wheel-drive MDX is EPA rated at 20/28/23 mpg2 (city/highway/combined), a 28-percent increase in the EPA combined rating versus the previous SH-AWD model (the only drivetrain configuration previously available). The 2014 MDX with SH-AWD has a remarkable 17-percent increase in its EPA combined fuel economy rating versus the previous model, reaching class-leading ratings of 18/27/21 mpg2 (city/highway/combined).

INTERIOR
Perfect for kids or clients, the MDX interior is a luxurious and accommodating passenger compartment with roomy seating and a second-row seat with reclining seatbacks and a new Extended Slide feature that offers a total of 6-inches of fore-and-aft travel. Additionally, a new kid-friendly One-Touch Walk-In feature greatly improves access to the third row of seating, and a wider, lower step-in enhances convenience and usability. Cabin quietness and overall refinement have been dramatically improved, with hundreds of measures aimed at reducing noise, vibration and harshness, including thicker, 3-layer acoustic glass for the windshield and front side windows, thicker rear door glass, new triple side-sill door seals and Active Noise Control technology.

Repackaging of the rear-seat climate control system allows for a large center console storage space, concealed beneath the sliding, leather-trimmed center armrest. About 2 inches deeper and wider, and almost 5 inches longer, the main compartment offers 2.5 times more volume than the previous model and is large enough to accommodate a moderately sized purse, tablet computers and more. This is a key MDX advantage in the class, where many competing models offer little center-console storage.

AUDIO AND CONNECTIVITY
Acura customers have high expectations for state-of-the-art connectivity and entertainment. Enhanced connectivity in the 2014 MDX is made possible by the next-generation AcuraLink™ system, which offers thousands of media channels via Aha® mobile, all delivered via the owner’s internet-linked smartphone and data plan. There is also a host of new available assistive and convenience features, including collision notification, remote unlocking, stolen-vehicle tracking and surface-street traffic information, all delivered via built-in cellular technology (subscription fees are applicable).

The new MDX will also thrill audiophiles with its available music entertainment features. Four audio systems are available, starting out with the standard 8-speaker, 432-watt (up from 253 watts) Acura Sound System, and topping out with the Advance Package, which features an Acura/ELS® Studio 12-Speaker Audio System with new ceiling-mounted speakers, a 546-watt amplifier and 5.1-channel surround sound.

The available Technology and Entertainment package adds a DVD Rear Entertainment System with a ceiling-mounted 9-inch full VGA screen, while the MDX with Advance Package features a Rear Entertainment System with an all-new ultra-wide 16.2-inch full WVGA screen – the largest and highest resolution screen ever offered in an Acura vehicle. The system also includes a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port to allow the attachment of high definition players and compatible gaming consoles, along with standard composite video and audio inputs. A 115-volt power outlet is rated for devices up to 150 watts.

Both the AcuraLink™ and Acura/ELS Studio® systems take advantage of a 2014 MDX’s new 7-inch color On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD™) touchscreen with haptic feedback. The addition of the ODMD, along with other interior changes, allowed engineers to reduce the number of hard buttons in the center stack from 41 in the previous generation MDX to just nine in the all-new 2014 model.

The MDX with Technology Package and above grades feature the latest generation Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ (now available in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico). The MDX navigation system features an 8-inch high-resolution WVGA backlit color display and now also includes surface street traffic data, allowing the driver to choose faster, less-congested routes. The system offers a new level of convenience with AcuraLink, allowing users to send destination information to the MDX via the AcuraLink Connect phone app (with the available Connect Package).

SAFETY AND DRIVER’S ASSISTIVE 
Utilizing Acura’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, along with seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag, the MDX is anticipated to earn the highest possible safety ratings – a 5-Star NCAP Overall Vehicle Score from the federal government and a “TOP SAFETY PICK+” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a GOOD rating in the IIHS’ new rigorous small overlap frontal collision test.

Available safety systems include available Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and an available Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS).

The new MDX offers an impressive array of advanced driver-assistive, and information and media technologies. These include the standard next-generation AcuraLink™ connected car system with collision notification (Connect package required), a standard Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and Expanded View Driver’s side mirror, along with available Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Blind Spot Information (BSI) system.

MDX MODEL RANGE
There are four MDX grades, each available with front-wheel drive or Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

  • The well-equipped MDX has standard leather trimmed first- and second-row seats with heating on the front row, Smart Entry with Push Button Start (front doors and rear hatch access), a 432-watt audio system with 8-speakers, 18-inch alloy wheels, Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, and more.
  • The MDX with Technology Package adds 19-inch alloy wheels, Smart Entry for all four doors, the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, a 501-watt Acura/ELS® Studio audio system with 10-speakers, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Blind Spot Information (BSI) System and more.
  • The MDX with Technology and Rear Entertainment Package adds a 529-watt Acura/ELS® Studio audio system with 11-speakers and HD Radio™, a DVD rear entertainment system with 9-inch display, rear-passenger window sunshades, and other features.
  • The top-of-the-line MDX with Advance Package includes unique 7-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels, a 605-watt Acura/ELS® Studio audio system with 12-speakers, the Acura DVD Ultra-Wide Rear Entertainment System with 16.2-inch display, perforated Milano leather first- and second-row seating and ventilated front seats, front and rear parking sensors and remote engine start, along with Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Collision Mitigation Brake System, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, and additional luxury features.
TRIM MSRP* EPA Ratings2
MDX $42,290 20/28/23
MDX with Technology Package $46,565 20/28/23
MDX with Technology and Entertainment Package $48,565 20/28/23
MDX with Advance Package $54,505 20/28/23
MDX with SH-AWD $44,290 18/27/21
MDX with SH-AWD and Technology Package $48,565 18/27/21
MDX with SH-AWD and Technology and Entertainment Package $50,565 18/27/21
MDX with SH-AWD and Advance Package $56,505 18/27/21

About Acura
Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 272 dealers within the United States. The Acura lineup features six distinctive models including the all-new MDX luxury sport utility vehicle and RLX luxury flagship sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX sedan and Sport Wagon, theILX compact luxury sedan, and the RDX luxury crossover SUV.

Connect with Acura: 
Consumer Information: www.acura.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Acura
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Acura_Insider
YouTube: www.youtube.com/acura
Flickr: www.flickr.com/acuranews
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/acura
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+acura

1 The MDX is built using domestically and globally sourced parts.

2 Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, vehicle options and destination charge of $895.00. Dealer prices may vary.

 

’14 Audi SQ5 stickers for $51,900

all-new Audi SQ5

all-new Audi SQ5

• Pricing starts at $51,900 for Audi SQ5 high-performance luxury crossover

• SQ5 is the first-ever S variant of any Audi Q model
• Audi SQ5 achieves 354 hp, 347 lb-ft of torque

BY GERRY MILES

For those salivating for the info of the all-new 2014 Audi SQ5 performance based SUV, er did I type that – I meant luxo crossover – they better dig deep for the sticker begins at $51,900. It’s not expected in dealer showrooms until later this summer.
Similar to other “S” lines in the Audi line, it’s the first S variant of the popular Q5, which was the second best-selling model for the marque last season.
The 2013 Q5 model line adds a TDI clean diesel mode, augmenting the current line of 2.0T, 3.0T and hybrid variants.

The SQ5 boasts plenty of power with a supercharged 354 hp, 3.0-liter TFSI® direct-injection V-6 engine that needs but 5.1 seconds to run up to 60 mph from a stop. It has a top track speed of 155 mph.
Power is dispersed through an 8-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission and Audi’s famed quattro all-wheel-drive system.
If you like technowizardry, consider that the Q5 has a roof rack detection system that’s directly linked to the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) control unit. When the crossbars are installed, a signal is sent that adjusts driving dynamic relevant parameters according to the center of gravity. When the crossbars are not installed, the ESC program adjusts dynamics to allow for more enthusiastic driving. The SQ5 will run on standard 20-inch wheels and optional 21-inch wheels.

Audi side assist, which is optional on Premium plus models, monitors blind spots alongside in addition to fast-closing cars about 150 feet behind. Adaptive cruise control is also optional, helping to monitor the road ahead and changing speed to maintain a predetermined distance.
A delivery price was not included in the press release and may yet to be determined. In fact you better count on it.

Subaru Forester atop small SUV class: Consumer Reports

2014 Forester Premium 2.5

2014 Forester Premium 2.5                                                                                  Gerry Miles  photo

Consumer Reports cites superb practicality, fuel-efficiency as hard to beat

BY GERRY MILES

Well you knew an entire state couldn’t be wrong, right?

If there’s one state in New England that has a true love affair with Subaru, it’s Vermont. And perhaps in a close second place race is Maine.

Folks just like the ability of their cars to laugh at the cold weather, drive through the snow, sleet and rain with the greatest of ease while maintaining the surefootedness of a mountain goat with hiking boots.

The all-new redesigned Forester now boasts greatly increased leg room, head room, and cargo room along with a variety of engines in addition to its symmetrical all-wheel-drive. (why they’ve moved away from the tag line of ‘transferring power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip – succinctly summarizing how the AWD works – escapes me.)

That reworking led to Consumer Reports to award the 2014 at the top of its class over the recent redesigns including the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.

CR liked Subaru’s keeping its basic Forester shape that doesn’t cramp window room with sloped styling that scrubs visibility out the back. At a Subaru presentation, a rep noted that when Forester was first offered for sale in the US marketing wags in Japan proffered naming it the Turtle Top … which would not have translated very well.

“Overall, if you’re looking for a small SUV that’s very functional and fuel-efficient, the Forester is hard to beat,” said Jake Fisher, director, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center.

Also new is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Forester now delivers better acceleration in addition to a class-leading 26 mpg overall and 35 on the highway in Consumer Reports tests. While some folks whine that the CVT is a drain on power and performance it’s hard to notice it holding the Forester back under acceleration whereby the engine doth not protest too much

CR dinged the Forester’s ride changing from “calm and cushy, but now is rather firm and jittery.” CR’s engineers also declared that the Forester isn’t as agile as the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, or Toyota RAV4. And, they deemed Subaru’s in-car infotainment “is behind the curve.”

Consumer Reports bought and tested a Forester 2.5i Premium for $26,814, which included heated front seats, a big sunroof, a backup camera, and a power driver’s seat.  Because above-average reliability is anticipated, it is CR Recommended.

Complete tests and ratings of the Forester appear on www.ConsumerReports.org today, and in the July issue of Consumer Reports.

Toyota unveils 5th Gen 2014 4Runner

Toyota_4runner_StyleRugged_InfogrfV2
BY GERRY MILES

I remember when the 4Runner was essentially a plastic, hard topped capped off version of a Tundra or Tacoma pickup with an optional bench seat that would have been luxurious on a buckboard but rivaled the uselessness of the rear seat in my CJ-7.

Still, it provided a 4-wheeler’s dream: seating and a roller across the rear truck bed, truck functionality and a new style that was immediately embraced.

Now into its 5th Generation, the 2014 4Runner appears as muscular and squared as ever, a comfy SUV (interior refinements in PR speak) resting behind the rugged Tundra’s front facade and the marque’s legendary powerful engine and powertrain to do the pushing or pulling to places off the beaten or snow-covered paths.

The new 4Runner will be offered in 3 grades. All grades now feature a roof rack as standard. Optional third-row seats on SR5 and Limited boost capacity to 7 people and gives Toyota a chance to say they have a ‘third-row’ SUV.

  1.  value-driven SR5
  2. top-of-the-line Limited
  3. Trail grade for off-road capability.
  • 4Runner will offer three power-train setups
  • rear wheel 4×2
  • part-time 4×4
  • full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential.

Every 4Runner comes equipped with a 4.0-liter, 270 hp V-6 mated to a 5-speed ECT-i automatic transmission. It’s one of the few vehicles that still offers a transfer case.

Here’s the full Toyota press release on the 2014 4Runner. Enjoy.

2014_Toyota_4RunnerTORRANCE, Calif., April 27, 2013 – – For nearly three decades, the Toyota 4Runner mid-size SUV has been a stalwart for off-roading enthusiasts seeking a SUV with rugged, go-anywhere capability. Currently in its fifth-generation, 4Runner continues as one of the few fully capable mid-size SUVs, and the redesigned 2014 4Runner receives a rugged new exterior design, and interior refinements that add comfort and convenience without sacrificing its hallmark performance capability and excellent value.

The 4Runner combines rugged body-on-frame construction with comprehensive suspension technology that yields optimal off-road capability with a smooth ride and comfort more often associated with crossovers.  The 2014 4Runner is available in three grades: a well-equipped, value-driven SR5; top-of-the-line Limited, and a Trail grade for those who want maximum off-road capability.  Optional third-row seats on SR5 and Limited allow for up to seven-person capacity.

4Runner owners will have the choice of a rear wheel 4×2, part-time 4×4 or a full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential.  All models are equipped with a powerful 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower V6 teamed to a five-speed ECT-i automatic transmission and one of the few vehicles that continues offer a transfer case.

2014_Toyota_4Runner02

4Runner’s Rugged Exterior Design Projects Its Off-Road Heritage With a Premium Refinement
The refreshed 4Runner features a redesigned front fascia that conveys a more rugged and aggressive appearance.  This includes a muscular front grille, and edgier smoked headlamps for a more forceful look.  The SR5 and Trail grades feature a color-keyed grille insert and front bumper that is surrounded by fog lamps set in sharply cut inlays that extend from the headlamps down to the bumper.

The Trail grade features new color-keyed bumpers and overfenders, and it continues to be distinguished by an aggressive hood scoop and silver painted front and rear bumper accents.  All grades are now standard with a roof rack.

In addition to the distinctive new grille, the premium Limited’s front design stands apart with a chrome-plated grille insert and chrome front bumper that extends to the fog-lamp bezels. The side molding, roof rack and rear bumper are also chrome trimmed.  The headlamps have also changed from halogen to projector beam, with both the headlamps and redesigned rear combination lamps on all 4Runner grades now featuring LED lamps.

Both the SR5 and Trail grades will ride on 17-inch alloy wheels with a new wheel-design for both, while the Limited continues to ride on 20-inch alloy wheels, which are now painted black prior to machining to add contrast.  All grades continue to come standard with a full-size spare.

The 2014 4Runner will be available in eight exterior colors that include new additions: Super White; Attitude Black Metallic; Barcelona Red Metallic; and Nautical Blue Metallic.  They will join carryover colors that include: Blizzard Pearl; Classic Silver Metallic; Magnetic Gray Metallic; and Black.

New Interior Styling Has a refined style with the Comfort expected of a Mid-size SUV
The 4Runner exterior updates are complemented by touches of refinement on the inside.  Both the SR5 and Trail grade add standard Soft Touch door trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather shift knob provide a premium feel and atmosphere.

The SR5 receives a new bright and highly visible Optitron instrument panel that houses speedometer, tachometer, voltage, fuel and coolant temperature gauges, plus a multi-information display that offers multiple functions.  An Eco-Driving feedback system allows the driver to monitor fuel consumption in real time.  On 4Runner Trail, an overhead console within easy reach organizes the off-road control switches into one location.  A compass indicator and outside temperature display add functionality.  A manually controlled air conditioning system is standard on SR5 and Trail grades; the Limited features an automatic dual-zone climate-control system.

For second-row passengers, a sculpted front seat-back shape provides additional knee space.  The second-row seats, which include a center armrest, individually recline up to 16 degrees in four steps for relaxing passenger comfort.  The 40/20/40 second-row seat configuration also has a one-touch walk-in function, making access to the third row easier. Third-row seating is available on SR5 and Limited grades and features a roomy, supportive seating area.

The SR5 and Trail grade come standard with comfortable fabric-trimmed seating available in Sand Beige, Graphite or Black.  Available SofTex seats offer a soft, rich feel.   New for 2014, the SR5 adds a standard eight-way power driver seat.

The Limited comes standard with a leather-trimmed interior with new ventilated driver and front passenger seats in Sand Beige, Black and a new Redwood color.  Front seats are also heated with eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and four-way power-adjustable passenger seat.  Both front seats are now standard with memory settings.

Powerful 4.0-liter V6 Helps Take 4Runner Anyplace, Anytime
The 4Runner 4.0-liter V6 generates 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque.  Dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’s operating range. Fuel economy ratings rival some crossover SUVs with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for 4×2 models, and 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for 4×4.  Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds and all vehicles feature an integrated tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness as standard equipment.

4Runner Balances Full Off-Road Capability with Smooth Around-town Handling
A double-wishbone independent front suspension, combined with a variable-flow rack-and-pinion steering, help give the 4Runner precise control on demanding roads.  Coil springs over gas shocks are used at all four wheels for a comfortable ride and controlled handling.  The four-link rear suspension maximizes off-road axle articulation, whileproviding a smooth ride for rear-seat passengers on and off pavement.

The Limited grade comes standard with an X-REAS suspension system that further improves performance, comfort and control.  With X-REAS, 4Runner corners flatter, smoother, and handles choppy pavement more easily.  X-REAS automatically adjusts the damping force of shocks when driving over bumpy surfaces or when cornering.  The system uses a center control absorber to cross-link shocks on opposite corners of the vehicle, substantially reducing pitch and yaw by offsetting opposing inputs.

The 4Runner SR5 and Trail 4×4 models have a two-speed, part-time four-wheel-drive system with neutral position, maximizing fuel efficiency when a 4×4 configuration isn’t needed.  The 4Runner Limited is equipped with a full-time, four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential and a three-mode, center console-mounted switch.

The A-TRAC traction control system is standard equipment on all 4×4 models.  The system can distribute driving force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, making terrain irregularities and slippery patches virtually transparent to the driver.  An electronic-locking rear differential is standard on the Trail grade.

The Trail grade is designed to maximize off-road performance with superior approach and departure angles, high ground clearance, and an array of functional upgrades for the most demanding active outdoor enthusiast.  The Trail grade offers an optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS).  KDSS significantly improves terrain-following ability by dynamically disconnecting stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel, and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain.

Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature is standard on the Trail grade.  The system helps maintain an appropriate speed to keep the vehicle under control and minimizes the load on drivetrain and suspension components.

With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five driver-selectable low-speed settings.  This allows the driver to maintain focus on steering over rough level ground or steep grades without having to also modulate the throttle or brake pedal.

The Trail grade also features a Multi-Terrain Select system that dials in wheel-slip control to match the terrain.  In loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor.  On bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential.  The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges, uphill or down.

All models come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to hold the vehicle stationary before starting on a steep incline or slippery surface.  All 4Runner 4×4 models feature standard Downhill Assist Control (DAC).  This feature augments the low-speed ascending ability of low-range by helping to hold the vehicle, allowing time for the driver to a target speed with no driver intervention.

Versatility and Convenience Provide Comfort and Utility
An array of convenience features and versatile seating configurations provide the 2014 4Runner with ample passenger comfort and utility.  Fold-flat second-row seats provide a level load floor in the 4Runner, and it is not necessary to remove the headrests to fold the seats flat.  The available third-row seat is split 50/50 and folds flat.  The seats can be folded from the side or at the rear, using separate one-touch levers.  With this arrangement, more cargo space is available without removing seats, and longer items can be conveniently carried.

A Smart Key system featuring keyless entry with push-button start is standard on the Limited grade.  The system allows the driver to unlock or start the vehicle by carrying the keyless remote.  The cargo door window has jam control, like the moonroof and power side windows.

An available pull-out cargo deck is capable of carrying up to 440 pounds to make loading and unloading heavy items easier and to provide seating for tailgating and campsite relaxation.

All 4Runner models come standard with a 120V outlet and two additional 12V outlets.

A front and rear clearance sonar system is standard on Limited models, and a rear-view backup camera is now standard on all 4Runner models.  The system displays in the audio screen, increasing visibility at the rear of the vehicle.

New Audio Systems Include Standard Entune™  Multimedia System
New for 2014 on SR5 and Trail grade 4Runner models is Entune™ Audio Plus,  which includes Toyota’s Entune multimedia system,  an AM/FM/MP3 CD player with eight speakers, integrated SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (includes 90-day trial subscription), USB port with iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability and music streaming.

Standard on the Limited grade is the new Entune Premium JBL Audio system, which incorporates today’s most in-demand connectivity features.  It includes the Entune multimedia system, a JBL® premium sound system with navigation, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with a 90-day trial subscription), HD Radio with iTunes® tagging and 15 speakers.  The navigation system includes a large seven-inch monitor.

Entune is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access.  Once a smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune’s features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition.  Entune offers mobile apps for Bing™, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, and Pandora®.  Entune data services include a fuel price guide, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather.

Standard on all audio systems is a unique “party mode” audio setting that is ideal for tailgating, raises bass response and shifts sound balance to the rear of the vehicle.  Party mode is in addition bolstered by rear liftgate-mounted speakers, which function with or without party mode selected.  The pole antenna has been dropped in favor of a new in-glass antenna.

Toyota’s Exclusive Star Safety System, Eight Standard Airbags, Safety Connect
The 4Runner features Toyota’s standard Star Safety System™ that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST) brake-override system.  VSC helps the driver to ensure control by compensating for front and rear wheel slip.  The system uses selective braking and modulated engine output to help keep the vehicle in line with the driver’s steering inputs.  On 4×2 vehicles, the Auto LSD (Limited Slip Differential) system allows for better traction on slippery sections of roadway. The four-wheel ABS with EBD provides the 4Runner with optimal brake proportioning, regardless of vehicle load.

Eight standard airbags includes front, side-mounted and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, and side-curtain airbags for the second and third rows.  All 2014 4Runners have active headrests for driver and passenger, and three-point seat belts for all seats.

The 2014 4Runner Limited offers the Safety Connect™ telematics system.  Available by subscription, with or without the optional navigation system, Safety Connect offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance.  When Safety Connect is ordered, it includes a one-year trial subscription.

In case of either airbag deployment or severe rear-end collision, an Automatic Collision Notification system is designed to automatically call a dedicated response center.  If a response agent cannot communicate with the occupants, the agent can contact the nearest emergency-services provider to dispatch assistance.

Pushing the in-vehicle “SOS” button allows drivers to reach the response center to request help in an emergency as well as for a wide range of roadside assistance needs.  If a 4Runner equipped with Safety Connect is stolen, agents can work with local authorities to help locate and recover the vehicle.

4Runner Includes Toyota Care Complimentary Maintenance
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items.  Additional 60-month warranties cover powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation.  The 4Runner will also come standard with Toyota Careä, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Toyota to unveil new 4Runner Saturday at Stagecoach Music Fest

2013 Stagecoach Country Music Festival Sets the Stage for 2014 Toyota 4Runner Reveal

–       First-ever Toyota Global Automotive Reveal at a Major Music Festival
–       Exclusive Musical Performance by Multi-Platinum Country Music Star Dierks Bentley
–       ‘World of Wonders’ Circus-themed Fan Experience, Ride & Drive and Campground Activities


Got this release from Toyota and it’s timely since the event takes place tomorrow. So here it is in all of its well-crafted PR glory. Can’t wait to see the new 4Runner.

-Gerry Miles
2014_Toyota_4Runner_InfoG_001Toyota will stage the world debut of the redesigned 2014 4Runner mid-size SUV on Saturday, April 27 at 1:15 p.m. PDT at the 2013 Stagecoach Music Festival in Indio, Calif., near Palm Springs.  The event marks the automaker’s first-ever public reveal at a major music festival.The Toyota 4Runner, now in its fifth generation, has been in the Toyota SUV lineup for nearly three decades and continues to be one of the few fully capable SUVs available in its segment.  The 4Runner combines rugged body-on-frame construction with suspension technology that yields ride comfort more often associated with car-based platforms.  4Runner is available in a variety of configurations and in three models: a well-equipped SR5, top-of-the-line Limited, plus a Trail grade for amazing off-road capability.

Returning for its seventh year as presenting sponsor of Stagecoach, California’s premier country music festival, Toyota will kick off the three-day event with vintage circus-themed fan experiences followed by the unveiling of the 2014 4Runner.  The reveal takes place on a unique Toyota stage and will be hosted by SiriusXM™ radio personality, Buzz Brainard with a very special performance by chart-topping country recording artist, Dierks Bentley.

As part of the reveal celebration, Toyota invites fans to enter a sweepstakes from April 22-29 for a chance to win one of six guitars autographed by Dierks Bentley. Information and official rules can be found on the Toyota USA Facebook page and athttp://www.toyota.com/stagecoachsweepstakes/terms.html.

Toyota World of Wonders
In addition to the 4Runner festivities, Toyota will host the World of Wonders, a whimsical atmosphere of carnival curiosities where music fans can take a break from the desert sun. On-site activities include:

  • Camry Claw – A custom-built Camry with an arcade-style claw machine operated through the sunroof offers a chance at fun prizes.
  • RAV4 Palm Reader – Guests can get a glimpse into the future and find out if their wishes will be granted.
  • Tacoma Charging Station – A rapid-charging station will be available for guests to recharge their mobile devices.
  • Tundra Strongman – Guests can see how their strength measures up to Toyota’s full-size pickup truck.
  • Carnival Arcade – This retro-styled game zone is outfitted with a ring toss and milk jug throw.
  • Cooling Zone – Music fans can lounge under misters in an attempt to beat the heat.
  • Big Top Photo Booth – Guests can accessorize themselves with circus-themed props for a personalized photo opportunity.

Toyota World of Wonders will also feature hourly line dancing lessons, temporary tattoo parlor and leather accessory creation station. Off-road racing legend Ivan “Ironman” Stewart will also be on hand to greet fans, sign autographs and provide driving demos throughout the weekend. Stagecoach commemorative silkscreen posters and cooling bandanas will also be available while supplies last. Toyota World of Wonders activities will operate Friday through Sunday from noon until 8:00 p.m. PDT unless otherwise specified.

Volvo’s XC60 SUV wins top safety pick from IIHS

Volvo XC60 SUV

Volvo XC60 SUV

Sure it might be like a meat house crowing about having the best hamburger, but Volvo is rightly proud of having its XC60 SUV win a Top Safety Pick+ nod from the IIHS. The honor makes it the first and only mid-sized luxury SUV to get such an honor.

Volvo notes it is now the only luxury manufacturer with two TOP SAFETY PICK+ vehicles. The 2013 Volvo S60 sports sedan received an IIHS safety honor in an earlier test.

“We’re so confident in our safety heritage that we went ahead and volunteered the XC60 for the test,” said VCNA President and CEO John Maloney. “We don’t design our vehicles to pass a specific crash test; we design them to pass the most important test of all, everyday life.”

The 2013 Volvo XC60 and S60 both earned the top rating of “good” in the tests. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in a moderate overlap frontal crash, small overlap frontal crash, side impact and rollover, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. TOP SAFETY PICK+ winners must earn good ratings for occupant protection in at least four of five evaluations, with no less than acceptable in the fifth test.