Off-Roading

Diverse and inspiring Rebelle Rally participants take on 2,300 km wilderness challenge

Team Record the Journey is taking on the 2,000-mile Rebelle Rally route in a CUV that has been adapted with hand controls.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.

The 2019 Rebelle Rally, an all-female off-roading competitive adventure kicked off this week in Squaw Valley, California. Among the 38 teams are a number that stand out for their beefy builds and courageous drivers.

Team #176: Escape the Paved

This team met under less than ideal circumstances. Rebelle Rally participants Sarah Homer and Lindsey Hunterwere first introduced when they were mucking out their houses after Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017 and they have become fast friends. Homer is a Houston, Texas resident and Director of Surgical Acute Care at Houston Methodist while Hunter is an engineer who now lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

They'll be piloting a 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor during the expedition and are sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Roush Performance, BuiltRight Industries, and Homer IP LLC Innovation Design and Graphics.

Team #106: Team Wild Grace

Driven and navigated by Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward, the team will be driving a 2019 Nissan Armada. Both previously competed in the 2017 Rebelle Rally and, like many other teams, has come back for another go.

Rebelle Rally Team Wild Grace Team Wild Grace will be driving the Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol across California.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Armada they're driving is the specially modified Armada Mountain Patrol. The rig is a world traveler, having traversed the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert and rock crawled in Moab, Utah. The SUV is outfitted with Nitto Trail Grappler tires; Icon Bronze rebound wheels; Rhino Rack Backbone System and shovel; Hi-Lift jack; Baja Designs XL80 lights, LP9 lights and light bar; Calmini bumpers, rock sliders, and a 6-inch lift; Icon coilovers; Warn Zeon Platinum 12S winch; Factor55 closeloop winch; and an ARB fridge, drawers, and twin screw air compressor.

Team #207: Record the Journey

The Rebelle Rally is all about overcoming obstacles and it's obvious even to the casual observer that Team Record the Journey will have to overcome more than most. Three-time Rebelle and Team Spirit Award winner and 31-year U.S. Army veteran Rachael Ridenour has partnered with Karah Behrend, a Houston, Texas-based U.S. Air Force veteran who is an adaptive athlete who uses a wheelchair.

Behrend is the first adaptive athlete to compete in the Rally. Mitsubishi Motors has specially equipped the 2018 Eclipse Cross the two will be adventuring in with hand controls and designated storage space for Behrend's wheelchair.

The partnership is the first step in Mitsubishi's new "Small Batch – Big Investment" corporate social responsibility initiative which allows a number of Mitsubishi vehicle loans to small nonprofits and start-up social benefit corporations to help support their local communities. Record the Journey, a non-profit run by Ridenour, will keep the vehicle after the Rally and use it for various charitable programming.

Team #124: Fueled by Chocolate

It's clear from their team name that teammates Kristian Rene and Chelsea Vachon love chocolate. So does their 1992 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, which has been re-engineered to run on a biofuel made from waste chocolate. Additionally, eighty percent of the vehicle is made from remanufactured or recycled parts.

View this post on Instagram
This is Rebelle We launch tomorrow October 11, 2019 There is no reality except in action. -Jean Paul Sartre LIVE TRACKING Make sure to follow us, Team #124 (#FueledbyChocolove), and the other Colorado teams--#105 Mile High Spirit Rebelles - Team #105 (Red FJ Cruiser), #154 Team Roads Less Traveled (White FJ Cruiser with orange and blue coloring), #130 Front Range Rebelles (Maroon FJ Cruiser) and #164 Team Anam Cara (Bright blue Land Rover Discovery) https://www.rebellerally.com/live-tracking/ YOU CAN GO HERE TOO: https://www.rebellerally.com/live/ REBELLE RALLY WEBSITE: https://www.rebellerally.com/ DAILY UPDATES https://www.rebellerally.com/daily-updates/ You can also follow Rebelle Rally on Facebook and Instagram at @rebellerally for updates too! You can attend the public awards ceremony and/or gala on the pier in San Diego! (Tickets for the gala must be purchased by October 11). The public ceremony is free and a great way to see the amazing women and the amazing vehicles they competed in! A great way to experience the spirit of the Rebelle Rally! https://www.rebellerally.com/product/2019-rebellation-awards-gala-ticket/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts, for all the incredible support from our family, friends, coworkers, and amazing sponsors and partners! ❤️❤️❤️ SPONSORS Chocolove Always Be Rolling PARTNER Rainforest Alliance And extra special thanks for Timmy, Chocolove, @waltconway, G Box, @karsbykevin @samcofab @rebellerally @live2ridegr8snow @connortieulie @sethbeckton @sumprods @emily_offroad
A post shared by Kristian (@kristian__rene) on Oct 10, 2019 at 1:40pm PDT

This team originally hails from Boulder, Colorado, where Rene still lives, but Vachon is coming to the U.S. for the event from her home in Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia. They are sponsored by Chocolove, Rainforest Alliance, and Always Be Rollling.

Team #200: Team Jeeves

Using #PardonMe to promote their drive is appropriate for CNET automotive journalist Emme Hall and her co-driver Rebecca Donaghe, a producer originally from Houston, Texas who lives in Marina del Ray, California. They're piloting a specially equipped Rolls-Royce Cullinan from Lake Tahoe to San Diego- easily the plushest and most expensive ride on the journey.

The teammates have been competing together since 2016 and are the 2019 co-champion Rebelle Rally team. Hall and Donaghe are no stranger to adventure. The CNET host is an avid off-road racer and recently went to Monster Jam University to learn how to drive a 12,000-pound monster truck. Following the Rally, Dongahe is planning to cross Morocco over seven days riding a 50cc motorbike.

Team #130: Front Range Rebelles

Team member Kathy Locke is originally from Okinawa, Japan but family camping trips in California, Nevada, and across the Rocky Mountains as a teen in a 1978 Ford Bronco that most shaped her adventurous spirit. Locke is the Creative Director for Toyota Cruisers & Trucks magazine. Locke first attended the Rebelle Rally in 2018 as a journalist and is returning in 2019 as a participant.

Littleton, Colorado resident Stacey May is a self-employed designer and Locke's co-driver. She too has an adventurous spirit. A dozen years ago she traded in her Manhattan high-rise lifestyle to travel the U.S. in an 18' travel trailer with her husband. That lasted three years before they once again put down roots, this time in Colorado.

They're driving a 20118 Toyota FJ Cruiser that has a long list of sponsors: Toytec Lifts, ActionTrax, Colorado FJ Cruisers, Refined Cycle and Offroad, and Blue Crush Auto Glass The Art Consultant, LLC.

The Rebelle Rally runs through Oct. 19. You can follow the journey online at www.RebelleRally.com.

The Nissan Titan has been significantly refreshed for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Forget the challenge of having the fastest lap around the Nürburgring. There may be no greater feat in the automotive industry at the moment than gaining full-size truck market share from the Big Three. That's exactly what Nissan is aiming to do with its refreshed 2020 Titan.

To get to the 2020 Nissan Titan, the automaker listened to its customers, who were vocal about a number of issues they had with everything from the truck's infotainment system to the dealership experience.

2020 Nissan Titan PRO-4X Nissan has given the PRO-4X trim a distinct new exterior design.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

On the outside of the truck there are more differences between trim levels than before. The PRO-4X grade is the most aesthetically robust with a big, black grille that features a blacked-out Nissan logo for the first time alongside 18-inch wheels; lava red badging, stitching, and tow hooks; and a skid plate. Other trim levels got flashy chrome trim and new chrome grilles.

There are numerous other highlights of the refresh. The Titan's new headlight design doubles the light output on low beams and reduces the glare for oncoming traffic. There are new LED fog lights that add an additional 15 degrees of visibility. Nissan has also given the Titan an available panoramic moonroof that is the largest in the segment. The company also employed new acoustic laminated glass to keep road and engine noise at bay.

2020 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve headlights front Nissan showed off their new LED headlight design as part of the first drive event.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Each trim level of the Titan is powered by a 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine that has 413 pound-feet of torque. That's a significant upgrade from the 2019 model and makes the engine the most powerful base offering of all full-size pickups. In testing on the roads and trails of Utah, Titan's nine-speed automatic transmission was sufficiently smooth shifting and its improved ratios worked in the Titan's favor. With 4,500 pounds of weight towed behind the truck and when traveling up steep off road climbs, the 2020 Titan did not show any strain while being tested.

2020 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve With its powertrain enhancements, the Nissan Titan didn't flinch when towing 4,500 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Inside, the Titan is improved where it matters. A new 9-inch touch screen is available and features the latest version of Nissan Connect and hardware. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. The system looks good, especially in its handsome housing, and works as advertised with much more responsiveness and quicker command activation than what you'll find in any other Nissan infotainment system to date.

Nissan has included numerous safety and driver assistance technologies in the Titan as part of the automaker's commitment to what they call "intelligent mobility." Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, high beam assist, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and eight airbags are standard equipment on every 2020 Titan.

2020 Nissan Titan infotainment screen system The truck now comes with an available 9-inch infotainment screen.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

With the revisions, the Titan is a complete package that doesn't feel left behind. It's not as nice on the inside as the Ram 1500, nor is it as easy to drive. It's also not as capable as the Ford F-150. However, the Titan is nicer all-around than the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, mainly because of its interior.

Pricing and fuel economy numbers will be released closer to the model's on-sale date in early 2020. Those factors will be the tipping factor as to whether or not Nissan truly boast about its improvements and value. Either way, the Titan is worth cross-shopping, especially if you're getting into a full-size truck for the first time.

Rolls-Royce has just introduced its latest Black Badge model, the Cullinan Black Badge.

Photo by Harvey Briggs

With the recent introduction of Cullinan, their first ever SUV, Rolls-Royce took their brand to new places. Now they're pushing the boundaries even further with Cullinan Black Badge, an edgier, more daring, and more powerful version made for the streets.

The smoked chrome parthenon grille comes at you like a shadow. The Spirit of Ecstasy is also darkened and unlike Wraith or Ghost now rides on a darkened mounting plate. All the rest of the traditional brightwork surrounding the windows, along the doors, on the boot, and exhaust tips have been blacked out. Cullinan Black Badge also gets model-specific black and brushed aluminum 22-inch alloy wheels.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge Cullinan Black Badge is the darker side of the brand's first SUV.Photo by Harvey Briggs

Black Badge is more than an appearance package. In addition to upping the 6.75-liter V12 engine's output by 29 horsepower to 600, Rolls-Royce has recalibrated the satellite-aided 8-speed automatic transmission which propels the three-ton SUV from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds.

Press the "low" button on the traditional Rolls-Royce column mounted shift stalk and you'll notice something rarely heard in a Rolls, engine noise. Cullinan Black Badge has a new exhaust system which issues a satisfying low rumble at idle and actually snarls and burbles at speed.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge The 6.75-liter V12 engine now offers 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.Photo by Harvey Briggs

The ride is also more dynamic with firmer spring and damper settings. The brakes, which, for the first time ever, feature painted calipers (red, of course) are also more aggressive with a raised engagement point and shorter pedal travel. Four-wheel steering also insures nimble handling for a vehicle with an almost 130-inch wheelbase.

Photo by Harvey Briggs

The hand-made interiors can be finished in any color you can imagine.

Inside, Cullinan Black Badge offers the Rolls-Royce signature starlight headliner – now with shooting stars! You'll also find carbon technical fiber trim panels. The infinity symbol they've placed throughout the cabin is the mark of Black Badge, honoring the legacy of Sir Malcom Campbell's record-setting, Rolls-Royce powered unlimited hydroplane,

Cullinan Black Badge is available for order now and pricing starts at $382,000.