Concept Cars

New Lexus J201 Concept is basically the LX 570 on off-roading steroids

The Lexus J201 Concept will be put to the test in the Rebelle Rally this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

It's lifted. It's blacked out. And it's ready to hit the trail (and beyond). Meet the Lexus J201 Concept, a LX 570-based concept car that's the result of a partnership between Expedition Overland and Lexus. It's basically the LX 570 on off-roading steroids.

The concept model takes its roots in the off-roading community, a community that is known more for their acquisition of the LX's little brother, the GX, than the LX itself.

The concept didn't happen upon its name by some random luck of the draw. It takes its moniker from the code for the Lexus LX platform: URJ201. That's the same platform the Toyota Land Cruiser uses, however, the LX is rarely thought of as being as capable as the Land Cruiser.

Lexus J201 Concept

Photo courtesy of Lexus


With the design of the J201, Lexus and Expedition Overland strived to make a model that is both tasteful and capable. The concept had to be "always on" and ready to take on terrain in a better way than the standard LX. It also needed to be human-focused.

At the front is a CBI off-road bumper, Warn Zeon 10-S winch, and a 30-inch Rigid Industries RDS SR-Series Pro light bar. The rig rides on 17-inch x 8-inch EVO Corse DakarZero wheels wrapped in General Grabber X3 tires. It has drilled front and rear rotors, Super Sport performance brake pads, and color-matched calipers from StopTech.

The drivetrain has been improved by the addition of a Magnuson supercharger that helps the SUV deliver 550 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. It has front and rear performance differentials and ARB air lockers. A TJM Airtec Snorkel helps with air flow. There's also an ARB high performance twin on-board compressor that is mounted using a Slee Off-Road system.

CBI Offroad rock sliders and skid plates protect the underside of the J201, which includes an Icon Vehicle Dynamics upgraded suspension. With the new suspension, the LX 570 has received a 2-inch front lift and a 1-inch rear lift in Normal Mode. With four settings, the suspension can provide up to 4.8 inches of lift at the front and 4.1 inches in the rear.

On top os a Prinsu Design roof rack system and a 40-inch Rigid Industries SR Series Spot Midnight light bar.

The rear of the car features a CBI Offroad rear bumper system with a rear ladder, dual swing-outs, spare tire, and Baja Designs S2 Sport lighting. Sceptor 5-gallon water can complete the exterior enhancements.

On the roof console there's a new ARB Line accessory interface to digitally control lighting, air lockers, and the compressor, as well as monitor the status of the battery and angle of the model.

Goose Gear drawer models are in the cargo area an house the car's Warn Epic Recovery Kit. Zero Halliburton has provided Pursuit Aluminum travel cases.

The J201 Concept will be put to the test by defending Rebelle Rally champions, Rachelle Croft and Taylor Pawley of The X Elles as part of the 2020 Rebelle Rally.

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The new Grand Cherokee L is on its way to dealers now.

Stellantis

The all-new three-row Grand Cherokee L was unveiled earlier this year, and features an ultra-premium interior, a load of new tech, and sharp styling that shouts back to Jeep models of the past. Just a few weeks ago, we learned pricing and feature details for the new model, and now Jeep says the vehicle is on its way to dealerships across the country.


Jeep Grand Cherokee L The L is the first three-row Grand Cherokee.Stellantis


In terms of styling, the L's shape has been reworked from previous Grand Cherokee models to be more reminiscent of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The automaker says that the grille has been tilted forward and is now wider for better air flow and a more dramatic appearance. The idea was to make the Grand Cherokee L look rugged, but keep it sleek and technical in the process.

The stretched Grand Cherokee retains the engines that powered its predecessors. That means a 3.6-liter V6 is standard, which delivers 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter V6 is optional, and makes 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or al-wheel drive. Either powertrain option will provide decent towing capability, but the V8 is unsurprisingly more powerful. With a V6 on board, the Grand Cherokee L can tow 6,200 pounds, while V8-powered models can pull 7,200 pounds.


Jeep Grand Cherokee L The L's styling is modern but nostalgic.Stellantis


Inside, Jeep says the L can be equipped with the latest tech and entertainment features. Running the latest Uconnect infotainment software, the Grand Cherokee L will be capable of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and can be had with a head-up display, a rear-seat monitoring camera system, and a 950-watt 19-speaker McIntosh audio system. At the top end of the lineup, the Summit Reserve model gets Palermo quilted leather, open-pore waxed walnut wood, and 21-inch wheels.

Pricing for the L starts at $38,690 after destination, which buys the base Laredo trim. The range-topping Summit Reserve model starts at $61,690 after destination. Dealer deliveries are underway now, supported by almost 5,000 employees at Stellantis' Detroit Assembly Complex.

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The Nissan Pathfinder is just at home on the trial as it is on the road.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". The message is about making choices and, how the road taken made all the difference. Often in life and on the road, we have to make one choice. Take one road. No turning back. I thought of this poem on my recent test drive in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder in the hinterlands of Montana, when I could take two different roads—paved and dirt—and that made all the difference!

Nissan has redesigned and retooled its fifth-generation Pathfinder instilling greater latitude for buyers who want to travel both types of roads and expand their adventure footprint. After seven decades of off-road development, 35 years in the business of selling Pathfinders, and with more than 1.8 million sold in the U.S., this Japanese automaker has moved the needle with a ground-up revision of the previous-gen model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a capable off-roader.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The full-sized sport utility is available in four trims (S, SV, SL and Platinum) and two- and four-wheel drive versions; Nissan expects that nearly 60 percent of buyers will choose four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder is in a segment that has grown larger each year as more families want a vehicle for around-town, school and playdate runs and for weekend getaways with traction technology that allows travel in the backcountry and good towing capability. Direct competitors are the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer.

A day-long drive of approximately 150 miles on tarmac and over a variety of dirt roads and tracks provided the opportunity to assess the Pathfinder's updates. A late-spring snowstorm added slickness to all the road surfaces in the region and allowed the Pathfinder to show off its traction capabilities at both slow and higher speeds and with lane change and emergency-braking maneuvers, when towing. I concentrated my evaluation on the augmented hardware and software designed to enhance the crossover's capabilities for backcountry travel and towing.

What I found most notable over every road surface was the comfortable ride and responsive handling that come from a collection of upgrades—and, in particular, as a result of the following: the gearing on the new nine-speed transmission, with paddle shifters for personal and more precise shifting for sport driving and slowing over rough terrain; the new terrain mode system that's engineered for different driving conditions; the four-wheel drive system that moves torque more quickly to avoid wheel slip; the improved suspension system; and new tires with a larger contact patch and more aggressive tread pattern, among other changes.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Pathfinder provided sure-footed motoring and comfort over uneven surfaces. Its 7.1 inches of ground clearance easily maneuvered over the small obstacles on the trail and hill descent control took the reigns without hesitation for steeper and longer downhills on traction-compromised surfaces.

I was also impressed with the Pathfinder's towing competence and appreciated the standard trailer sway control onboard all trims. It offered notably strong, mannered acceleration from a standing start and excellent straight-line braking without porpoising for either exercise.

The new 2022 Pathfinder brings off-road and towing attributes that are important to families who are seeking to spend time in the backcountry for days trips and longer and for overlanding in terrain that doesn't require a true off-road vehicle with a low range. It's will appeal to buyers who want don't want to have to choose only one road.

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