Toyota unveils new off-road trucks at the Chicago Auto Show

Even though a pure off-road vehicle like the FJ Cruiser is out of its lineup, Toyota is making a play for those who love digging into the dirt with a trio of trucks.At the Chicago Auto Show, it took the wraps off the trail-tough versions of the Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma.The three come with 2.5-inch TRD Pro-exclusive Fox Internal Bypass shocks, but each are specifically tuned to suit the individuality of each by Toyota Racing Development engineers.There's also other rugged off-road equipment. The Tacoma TRD Pro, for instance, has an updated front skid plate to prevent rocks, stumps or other obstacles from damaging the truck's underside. There's a fancy exhaust pipe with a black chrome tip in back. The trucks is also equipped with foglights, projector-style headlights and TRD Pro badging. Inside, the goal was to make the pickup plush. It has an upscale stereo, the Entune Premium JBL Audio with subwoofer amplifier and Integrated Navigation and App Suite, along with TRD Pro-branded floor mats and leather-trimmed seats. Continue Reading

Tesla’s debut of road-rocket Roadster and electric semi-truck raise big questions

By Ethan Baron | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: November 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm | UPDATED: November 18, 2017 at 3:08 am (Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.) PALO ALTO — A day after Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled a $200,000 supercar and an electric semi-truck, questions were swirling about whether the infamously tardy company can meet its own delivery deadlines. In a performance resembling theater Thursday night near Los Angeles, Musk revealed an electric semi-truck and — surprise — inside it was a new edition of the firm’s first vehicle, the Roadster. The car, he said, sets world speed records, and the truck outperforms diesel in every way. But skepticism met Musk’s claims that the truck would be available in 2019 and the Roadster in 2020. In the company’s most recent earnings report, Musk admitted that production of Tesla’s entry-level sedan, the Model 3, had been delayed three months, and that the company had suffered a $619 million quarterly loss. The company’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV were plagued by delays. “Elon’s showmanship remains intact, even as his customers’ patience for Model 3 delivery wanes,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. “The specs on the new semi truck and sports car would put both vehicles at the top of their segments — assuming they can be produced and sold as part of a sustainable business plan. So far that final element has eluded Tesla Motors, which makes it difficult to see these vehicles as more than ‘what if’ concept cars.” Kelley Blue Book analyst Rebecca Lindland added that the Roadster was “fabulous” and Musk’s ambition “admirable.” “But,” Lindland said, “as a Model 3 depositor looking at an 18-month wait, I do wish he was a little bit further along in the Continue Reading

Toyota unveils new off-road trucks

By Neal Morton Updated 8:09 pm, Thursday, February 6, 2014 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Chris Burkard / Courtesy Photos Image 1of/30 CaptionClose Image 1 of 30 At the Chicago Auto Show, Toyota has debuted off-road TRD Pro Series editions of the San Antonio-made Tacoma (from left) and Tundra pickups and the Japanese-built 4Runner SUV. Past TRD models have won numerous awards. less At the Chicago Auto Show, Toyota has debuted off-road TRD Pro Series editions of the Continue Reading

Delivery trucks to U.S. Foods creating traffic headache

WEST CHESTER TWP. – Some trucks trying to make deliveries to U.S. Foods may have to find a new place to wait for the gates to open.That’s because the township is poised to prohibit parking along International Boulevard, the south side of Spellmire Drive, and the nearby cul-de-sacs.At issue are semi-trucks that begin arriving in the overnight period and begin to stack up on International and Spellmire until U.S. Foods, located on Spellmire, opens the gates to its parking lots and allows the trucks to unload.“The trucks start lining up, block the driveway access to neighboring businesses and block the road,’’ Police Chief Joel Herzog said. “It’s a problem we’ve dealt with for several years.”Oftentimes the trucks block all access to neighboring businesses and prevent traffic from moving. It’s a safety hazard, Herzog said, because there are times when emergency vehicles are blocked.Jim Golem faces the frustration on a daily basis. As director of human resources at CTL Aerospace Inc., he says early morning shift change – when 117 employees are trying to get to work on time – is particularly difficult although there are troubles all day with trucks blocking entrances.“We’ve got a gridlock that happens – it’s all through the day," Golem said.“It’s gotten to where people get impatient and mad,” added Joe Hatter, facility manager. “It’s just a matter of time before people get hurt … tempers flare.”Herzog said U.S. Foods has tried staggering times, talking to the independent truckers and other things to alleviate the problem, to no avail.“From our standpoint, we know there’s a problem. There’s a lot of over-the-road truck drivers – we don’t have control over them,’’ said Al Schadler, transportation manager at U.S. Foods.“I feel the pain of our local businesses. We’ve tried several times Continue Reading

Review: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is an off-road beast

The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is an off-road beast with midsize dimensions — a rarity among pickups that’s ripe for a loyal following.The Colorado ZR2's dimensions give it a smaller footprint than serious off-road trucks, which are mostly full-sizers (think Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram 1500 Rebel). Though it's a few inches wider than lesser Colorado variants, the ZR2 is some 5 to 10 inches narrower than the full-size off-roaders. It's a bit wider than the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, however.The form has function. Developed at parent company General Motors' Arizona proving grounds, the ZR2's suspension employs softer tuning, taller coil springs in front and longer leaf springs in back.With a 2-inch suspension lift, 3.5-inch wider track and clipped bumpers below the headlights, the ZR2 bares its tires — 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac off-roaders — when viewed from the front. Gone is the lower air dam that shaves ground clearance in other Colorado variants, even with the milder Z71 off-road package. An aluminum skid plate protects the ZR2's radiator and oil pan. Another shield protects the transfer case. Steel tubes guard the lower sides, while the rear bumpers ditch the regular Colorado's outboard steps.  More: Review: McLaren 720S is a jet fighter for the street More: Review: Chevrolet Equinox sheds pounds and still charms More: Review: Buick Regal GS gets a V-6 for more silky power You can even relocate the full-size spare tire from underneath the truck to an optional bed-mounted carrier to improve departure angles. All told, it's an impressive visual display — the sort that looks like an aftermarket kit, or something in the vein of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' erstwhile Ram Runner conversion, more than a factory package.The big news is the sophisticated shock absorbers, which have three spool valves apiece to control compression and rebound for on- and off-road situations. It's the Continue Reading

Video: Red Bull team captures record-breaking truck jump with 360-degree camera

Last Friday marked one year since Red Bull racer, Bryce Menzies, set a new world record when he jumped an amazing 379.4 feet over an abandoned ghost town in New Mexico. The incredible feat was accomplished with two specially-designed ramps and a heavily-modified 900-horsepower Pro2 off-road truck. Fortunately for those of us not lucky enough to witness such an insane stunt, the Red Bull team recorded Menzies’s jump with a high-definition 360-degree camera. That footage is here now for your viewing pleasure and for a chance to be a part of the action. The video of Menzies’s record-breaking accomplishment provides a true virtual reality experience, with 360-degree shots from both inside the truck’s cabin and directly on top of the landing zone. Those with a fear of heights may want to hesitate before pressing play. Despite the success of this jump, it turns out Menzies wasn’t satisfied with his nearly 400-ft. record. Apparently the daredevil driver greedily tried to top that performance, but unfortunately crashed and broke his shoulder. Tough break! However, I won’t discourage any additional attempts, as long his team promises to keep taking these beautiful slow-motion shots of it. Continue Reading

What it’s like to drive the 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon anywhere but off-road

Full Car Details More Reviews Running boards (n.): a footboard extending along the side of a vehicle for use as a step when entering or exiting the vehicle. When used in a sentence: “Where are the damn running boards on this thing?” Alternatively: “You have to get a running start just to board this truck.” Believe it or not, running boards aren’t even an option on the 2017 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, and when your heavy-duty pickup boasts 14.3 inches of ground clearance and an additional foot or more just to reach the floor of the interior unless you’ve got the legs of a basketball player or runway model, you’re going to want to have running boards. But why don’t you want running boards on a serious off-road truck? Because they’d inevitably get damaged or ripped off completely by a rock, obviously. If you’re wondering why I decided to begin a review with a definition and discussion of the merits (and demerits) of running boards, consider this: when you spend a week and almost 1,000 miles in a pickup truck for America’s birthday bash, you and your passengers start to get real tired of having to vault into the vehicle you’re driving. Passengers will complain (or at least mention it every time), and you’ll make a fool of yourself trying to slide into or out of the massive truck that somebody in the spot next to you parked too close to while you were in the store. But you know what? Screw it. Who cares? I’m glad I had to exert effort every time I entered or exited the Power Wagon, because it speaks to just how hardcore this truck treats everyday life. Now, before we get into the nitty gritty, I must make a disclaimer: I did not, in fact, get the chance to drive the Power Wagon off road. Before you cry “blasphemy!” and call the state of New York to formally Continue Reading

Chicago 2016: Ram shows us why they are America’s off-road truck leader

Auto show news is beginning to heat up in the Windy City, and this afternoon’s latest comes from an automaker just north of Illinois. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. Michigan-based Ram Trucks, “America’s off-road truck leader,” has made a few announcements at the Nation’s largest auto show press conferences. First up is the announcement of Ram’s 4x4 Off-road Package, which is offered in the Rebel and Power Wagon models. Today, the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty model joins those two models and will now be offered the package as well. The 2500 Heavy Duty with 4x4 Off-road Package features stability control enhancements, all-terrain tires, along with ¾-ton pushing, pulling and hauling capabilities. In other words, thanks to the package and rugged look, this thing is a beast. Also announced by the popular truck maker was the 2017 Ram Power Wagon, or as they call it, “the Ultimate off-road truck.” This Power Wagon has officially overtaken the 1500 Rebel in the super-sized grille department, making it daunting just to stand in front of this mammoth. It will be offered in numerous colors, along with wide array of different lighting, wheels, grilles, and legacy graphics. It features a 6.4-liter hemi V-8 with 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque. No wonder this thing is one of the best in its class. “The Ram Power Wagon is an off-road, all-access pass, removing the limitations, instilling confidence and allowing owners to reach areas of recreation and lifestyle not attainable with any other pickup,” said Mike Manley in a press release. Manley, Head of Jeep Brand and Ram Brand, FCA – Global, exudes a confidence similar to the Power Wagon itself when it comes to off-roading. With the 2500 Heavy Duty 4x4 Off-road Package and the new Power Wagon, Ram continues to cement itself as the country’s off-road leader without a Continue Reading

FBI joins probe into Ohio truck driver facing multiple murder charges and whether there’s more victims

The FBI has joined a local investigation into an Ohio truck driver facing multiple murder charges to see if there are any unsolved killings he may have had a part in, authorities said. Robert Rembert Jr. pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $5 million bond during a court appearance in Cleveland on Friday. Rembert, 45, is charged with four counts of aggravated murder in four slayings — three this year and one from 1997. He already served prison time for a separate 1997 murder. An FBI spokeswoman on Friday confirmed that agents would be assisting prosecutors and Cleveland homicide detectives in the investigation. “Robert Rembert is a serial killer,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said earlier this week. “So far, we know he's purposefully executed five people.” “An investigation of his activities as an over-the-road truck driver is currently underway,” he added. Authorities are looking at Rembert’s past as a truck driver in Ohio and Pennsylvania to see if any unsolved murders could be linked to the homicidal trucker. One of Rembert’s newly assigned attorneys declined to comment Friday. DNA evidence allegedly tied Rembert to the strangulation deaths of 47-year-old Rena Mae Payne in 1997 and 31-year-old Kimberly Hall this June, prosecutors said. The two women were sexually assaulted, prosecutors said. Payne was found raped, beaten and strangled in the bathroom of a Cleveland bus station. Rembert was a bus driver at the time and knew the entry code to the locked restroom. Hall’s body was found in an open field in east Cleveland on June 10. She had also been raped and strangled. Rembert is also charged with the Sept. 20 fatal shooting of his cousin, 52-year-old Jerry Rembert, and 26-year-old family friend Morgan Nietzel at the apartment he shared with the pair. Rembert was arrested by police the following day after taking a shower at a truck stop south Continue Reading

2nd racing champion dies: Rick Huseman, off-road truck racer, dies in California plane crash

LOS ANGELES - Professional racing lost a second champion Sunday when off-road truck driver Rick Huseman was among three killed in a small plane crash in California's Mojave Desert. The single-engine propeller plane, a Beechcraft Bonanza, was traveling from Las Vegas to Corona, Calif., when it called for help and attempted to make an emergency landing, cops said. The crash followed less than hour after the fiery IndyCar pile-up that killed reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon in Las Vegas. Huseman, 38, was killed alongside his brother Jeffrey Huseman, 26, his website said.INDY CAR RACER DAN WHELDON KILLED IN CRASH "They did declare they had an emergency and stated they were going to attempt to land at Daggett," Jodi Miller, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff, said. "The wreckage was down in a ravine where people had to be guided in," she said. The county coroner identified the plane's pilot as 35-year-old Daniel Hicks. All three victims were from Riverside County, officials said. Federal aviation authorities are investigating the accident. "Tragically, Rick and his brother, Jeff, passed away October 16th in a plane crash," Huseman's website said. "Rick was an enthusiastic and extremely talented member of Toyota's off-road racing program," Les Unger, Toyota's National Motorsports Manager, said in a statement. "He was a true champion both on and off the track." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading