Tag Archives: Toyota

Why Car Magazines are fading…


Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend… They seem to be fading out.   Motor Trend as a brand is doing the best, thanks to the YouTube video efforting… but I’m talking about the pulp magazine articles.
The latest issue of Car and Driver had a head to head comparo between the Toyota Taco and Chevy Colorado.  With the outrageously imaginative idea to drive the two trucks from Tacoma Washing to Colorado.  Whoever had that idea – demote them to Spell Checker.  Because that’s just… not even trying.

But what’s worse about that idea, is that they missed the opportunity.  They didn’t write about the Journey.  If you take a long road trip like that – tell the story of the road trip and then talk about each truck helped or hindered that trip.  Instead they just made it a long linear road test that’s about as interesting as watching the gauges on an emissions test.   Tell a story and work the review into it.
Most articles I’ve been reading have been like this.  Again, Motor Trend seems to be doing the best job of Creative Non-Fiction.
But Car and Driver and Road & Track are just boring to read and disappointing.  Good photography though.


Between the two trucks though… The Toyota has had some slight upgrades but is still very outdated inside.  It wins on the outside though, hands down.  It has the right stance… some ground clearance and can handle bigger tires.  The Colorado is just the opposite.  It’s great inside the cab, and while handsome on the outside, it pretty much just an Equinox with a pickup bed.  It needs more ground clearance and tires better suited for all terrain work.  But then again, Chevy is just playing to the truck’s strengths – it’s a street truck. Chevy knows that.  So Chevy isn’t even trying.   But it needs to.

Toyota’s small work-truck reputation is built on being able to go anywhere and do just about anything.  World wide.  Chevy needs to build that reputation.
And how is it going to do that?
It needs the Automotive Press to push that narrative.  Chevy needs to make a version that looks like it’s a tough SpecOps Warfighter that eats rocks and spits gravel.   Then Chevy needs Auto-Writers who have no damns to give, and will take these trucks on some Orc-Hunting Adventures.   Write about that and write about how the Colorado tanked through it all like it just didn’t care and would rather be on top of some summit.  And they need to take that Colorado, maybe a couple Colorados… and go Everywhere.  Do All kinds of crazy stuff.  Write about the Journey.  The Adventure.  And how those trucks got them through.    Write about it.  Video it.  The Long Way Around Style – with Midsized Trucks.  Look what The Long Way Around did for BMW Motorcycles.  You can’t have any conversation about Adventure Bikes without talking about BMW Motorcycles.  Chevy needs to get that Reputation by getting out there and DOING IT.
Car and Driver is not going to give you that kind of article.  Road & Track is certainly not going to give you that kind of article.
Maybe Motor Trend can.  Maybe.

Top SUV’s

As I said before, I have a Top 3 list of SUV’s.  I’ve studied the current market in detail, and compared all the vehicles in this segment.  I’ve dismissed the Cross-Utes out of hand as they are not true SUV’s.  This does not mean that I’ve dismisses a Unibody construction, but vehicles bases on car platforms and then swollen into a taller hatchback.   So here is my top 3, but not in any specific order.

Number 3:  The Toyota 4Runner.

This is one of the last true Truck based SUV’s in it’s class.  This is a real Body On Frame rig here, and that gives it some some advantages over the rest.  Towing, off roading, and otherwise not being ever mistaken for a Girly-Ute.  Just look at it… It looks pissed.
4.0 Liter V-6, 270 Horses, room for 5, and rolling 17 City/ 21 Highway.
While the 4Runner is under powered, it’s high degree of off roading chops give it an advantage.  But it loses points for not being made in the US when Toyota is making other vehicles here.

Number 2.  Dodge Durango.

The new Durangos look awesome.  Aggressiveness personified.  A lot of the stuff under the skin is actually Mercedes developed.  This gives it some advantage over the older Durangos.  In fact, the new Durango shares nothing more than the name with the older rigs.  These are now unibody rigs, which is not a bad thing.  Dont call them a cross-ute though, as the platform is shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  In fact, they are coming out of the same factory.  Unlike the JGC, the Durango doesn’t pretend to be an Off-Road Warrior.   These are build for streets, with occasional Soft-Roads.  Most SUV’s live on pavement only anyways.   I didn’t pay the new Durangos any mind because of this… at first.  Then I saw one in person.  A local LEO friend drives one now, and It is 100% Bad Ass.  His is the R/T version.  I really love the looks.  It makes me question just how often I would go off road… the answer is probably more than the Durango would be comfortable with.

Number 1.  Jeep Grand Cherokee

The new JGC is that guy you always hated… You know that guy, the one that is good looking with the trophy wife and everything always falls into place for him and he always wins everything… that guy.  The JGC is that guy in automotive form.  It does everything pretty damn well, and it looks great.  The V6 version does good on gas too, for a vehicle in this class.  The V-8 version can tow 7400 pounds…. enough to pull a Senator’s arrogance.  And it can off-road very well.  Not really Moab rock-crawling, but you can easily go trail exploring.  The SRT version though, it goes around taking lunch money from sports cars… sports cars built in Italy.  But the one I like the best is the upcoming diesel variant.  That gives you over 700 miles range per tank.  That’s amazing to me.  The only problem I have with it, is I like the looks of it the least.  And there are a million of them around town.

All three have solid good points.  All three have downsides… well… except for the JGC.  I’m still trying to find actual faults.

Toyota 4runner

The new 4runner
The new 4runner

I’ve been looking into the SUV market and I’ve grown fond of three of the new models available.  The number 1 and 2 of my choices will be discussed in a future post.  Number 3, I do like a lot, but it is under powered compared to the others, and well… every time I look at it… I think of Cylons.

I could hit that.
I could hit that.


Tango Uniform Truck.

Many of you know my old Chevy truck. It’s a 2500 Scotsdale four by four, with an extended cab. It’s been all over with multiple trips to Vegas and has carted around four of those who contribute to Concealed Carry Magazine. It’s been a great truck and I am very fond of it. My wife is even more taken with it. She enjoys the strong engine and capacity to haul pretty much anything.
Unfortunately the old War Wagon is on it’s last legs and othe thing could go Tang Uniform at any time now. It’s now leaking oil from multiple locations, smoking, overheating, and running like total crap now. I’m not sure what the problem is… But it’s more than what I want to deal with right now.
I have the chance to buy a Toyota Forerunner… If my check from the publisher is what I hope it is. Then my Bride can have her baby blue Explorer back and I’ll have a rig to drive through winter. Driving the Chevy back and forth to work every day isn’t going to happen. Especially since it doesn’t have a heater anymore. I think if I get this Toyota, I’m going to do something with it…
Check certain engine parts, check mileage per gallon, try to measure just how good the rig is running. Then do a full Slipstream treatment on it. A long term test. See if Slipstream has solid benefits like what we think it has. The Chevy is just too beaten down to be a good test mule.