Off-Roading

North Korea leader Kim Jung-un does something few Lexus owners do

North Korea’s leader took a spin in a Lexus LX today and made news.

Photo courtesy of Twitter

The Supreme Leader of North Korea has done something few owners of a Lexus LX 570 do - gotten it dirty off-roading. Technically though, given North Korea's... we'll call them infrastructure challenges ... it might just be muddy on-roading. Still, it's a rather filthy LX 570 and that's a taste of something the model rarely gets.

Photographs of Jung-un driving the LX 570 recently appeared on Twitter via an article on nknews.org.

The LX 570 is the flagship SUV in the Lexus lineup. It has two or three rows of seating (the two-row option was new for the 2018 model year). While it's not immediately clear which model year Jung-un was driving in the photo opp, it's clearly one from the last few years as it shows several of the updates the LX has received over the last few years.

It's also not immediately clear how Jung-un got his LX though it's likely that it came from China. There are no Lexus dealerships in North Korea.

When contacted, Lexus refused to assist with information for this story. Despite that, given what we know of the pricing and body style of the LX 570, there's some things we can infer about LX buyers.

It's safe to say that the same vehicles that are frequently parked at Whole Foods with a level of sheen that can only come from a car wash on them rarely see a dirt path, let alone a trail. In truth, despite the fact that the LX 570 is nearly as capable as the Toyota Tundra, its 6,000 pound curb weight is a lot of body to haul up a trail.

2020 Lexus LX 570 For the 2020 model year, Lexus introduced a Sport version of the flagship SUVPhoto courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Lexus has given the SUV 8.9 inches of ground clearance (about the same as a Subaru Outback), a 25-degree approach angle, 20-degree departure angle, and 23-degree break over angle. Those numbers are comparable to the Ford Expedition and best the prowess of the Nissan Armada.

With a starting price close to $90,000 in the U.S. when destination charges are added in, LX 570 customers are undoubtedly affluent. According to CarFigures.com, the starting price of the LX in China is equal to about $180,000 USD.

Reliability is likely important. J.D. Power rates the LX as having extremely high reliability and the models are typically the subject of very few recalls.

Buyers are probably also boastful and prefer showing off their ability to afford the model over the practicality of it. The LX achieves miserable fuel economy - its 5.7-liter V8 is more fuel-inefficient than the similarly powered BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS achieving just 15 mpg combined. There's also other models with far more cargo space - the three-row Land Rover Range Rover has nearly the double the cargo are the LX does.

The 2020 Lexus LX 570 is on sale now.

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Larger tires headline the upgrades.

Jeep

The off-road wars are heating up. This year alone, we've seen the new Ford Bronco, Rivian's R1T electric pickup truck, new off-road models of the Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, and Chevrolet Silverado, and more rugged versions of the Subaru Outback and Forester. Jeep, already deep in the game, doesn't need to do much to bolster its off-road offering, but the brand is doing just that for 2022. The automaker is offering a new Xtreme Recon Package for the Wrangler Willys SUV, which brings more capability and style to the boxy off-roader.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package The package can be ordered for Wrangler Willys models later this year. Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package

Beyond beefy 35-inch tires tires, the Wrangler Willys with Xtreme Recon Package gets a 1.5-inch factory lift, a 4.56:1 axle ratio, 17-inch wheels and swing gate reinforcement. Jeep says those improvements give the Willys best-in-class approach and departure angles, ground clearance, and water fording capability. Approach angle improves to 47.4 degrees, breakover angle improves to 26.7 degrees, and departure angle jumps to 40.4 degrees. The extra ride height also pushes ground clearance to 12.9 inches and the water fording depth to 33.6 inches.

The package's 35-inch tires make the Willys Jeep's third Wrangler model with hardcore rolling stock. It joins the Wrangler Rubicon and Wrangler Rubicon 392 in the 35-inch club, all of which can be equipped with the tires directly from the factory.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package A factory lift helps improve ground clearance and capability.Jeep

The Xtreme Recon Package can be ordered starting in October and will be available for the Jeep Wrangler Willys with 3.6-liter eTorque engine. The package adds $3,995 to the Wrangler Willys' price tag, which brings the total starting price to $40,930, including a $1,495 destination charge.

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Hardcore off-road SUV

Ford Bronco Raptor is real and on its way in 2022

Ford's video gave up very little on the new SUV.

Ford

The long-awaited Ford Bronco went on sale earlier this year and overwhelming demand has many buyers waiting months for the opportunity to own one. Ford isn't resting on that success, however, and is already hitting the gas on the SUV with the tease of a new model. The even longer-awaited Ford Bronco Raptor is coming, though we don't yet have many details to share, but Ford CEO Jim Farley shared a video to Twitter this morning that gives us a little to go on. More importantly, the video confirms that the Bronco Raptor is coming, which is music to our ears.

Ford Bronco Raptor Pause the video at the exact right moment, and you can catch a blurry glimpse of the Bronco Raptor.Ford

Being a tease, it's not surprising that we don't get a big, clear picture of the SUV. We can see that the Bronco Raptor's grille is different, with the Ford name spelled out in bold letters, just like the brand's other Raptor vehicles. We can also see that the Bronco's daytime running lights have shifted to orange.



Ford did not share any other details, but other Raptor models paint an enticing picture for the future hardcore Bronco. The SUV should get upgraded off-road suspension, brawny bodywork, and fat all-terrain tires. One of the biggest questions is what Ford will choose for the Bronco Raptor's powertrain. Two engines are currently offered for the standard Bronco, including a turbo-four and turbo-six. Rumors have pointed to the possibility that the Explorer ST's EcoBoost engine could make an appearance in the Raptor, which would bring up to 400 horsepower to the SUV. There may also be more than one wheel and tire option, which is the case for the upcoming F-150 Raptor, where buyers can choose to upgrade the stock 35-inch tires to 37-inchers.

There's no word on release date or pricing, but it's a safe bet that the Bronco Raptor will outpace its "normal" counterparts by more than a few dollars. Regardless of price, Ford should sell a ton of the SUVs, assuming it can keep up with demand on the production side.

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