Off-Roading

Recaro debuts new seats designed specifically for off-roading

Recaro has developed two new seats for off-road racers.

Photo courtesy of Recaro Automotive Seating

Recaro Automotive Seating is expanding its offerings in the U.S. market by two. The new Recaro Cross Sportster ORV is designed for off-road vehicles and the Recaro Pro Racer SPG XL ORV is for off-road race cars. Recaro developed the seats in partnership with award-winning off-road racers.

"It's been an incredible journey being part of the development for the Recaro off-road vehicle seats," said Loren Harley, five-time Ultra4 champion. "Recaro's commitment to safety, technology and design is second to none. After the more than two years of development and testing that went into the CrossSportster ORV and the Pro Racer ORV, my mind is blown on how much safer and more comfortable these seats are for the demanding nature of off-road."

Recaro Automotive Seating seats off-roading truck car race The seats are made from lightweight foam and feature a slim design.Photo courtesy of Recaro Automotive Seating

The Recaro Cross Sportster ORV is tailored to have a snug, supportive seat structure. Its side bolsters are designed for optimal shoulder and torso support, stabilizing the body against lateral forces by cocooning it. The seat is made of a vibration-damping foam and a hardy covering. Its lightweight design includes a headrest and it's adaptable for three-, four-, and five-point belts.

The ergonomically optimized Recaro Pro Racer SPG XL ORV seat is specifically designed to address the needs of off-road racers on a dirt track. It protects the neck and back with its energy-absorbing foam core that is covered in a robust covering.

Both of the seats are currently available at retailers nationwide.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 Ram TRX is the chief competitor to the Ford F-150 Raptor.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Ram Trucks calls the 2021 Ram TRX an "apex predator", serving it up as a direct rival to the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor. The new TRX is a heck of a truck, and that's an impressive feat considering just how bloody good the Raptor is.

A quick recap of the TRX's impressive stats. Its 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque are generated by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that sends power to all four wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The sprint to 60 mph takes just 4.5 seconds off the line, and it'll hit an electronically-limited 118 mph.

2021 Ram TRX The Ram TRX has a beefy exterior with bits and bobs that give it a more aggressive appearance.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's a Hellcat in pickup truck form, so it drives a lot like you'd imagine. At least, on the street. The truck's full-time all-wheel drive system prevents you from doing burnouts, but it will bias power to the rear so you can get your slide on. Sport mode stiffens up the suspension a bit and tightens up the steering. It's by no means a sports car, but engineers have done everything they could to make the truck drive well on the street. You can quickly forget you're piloting a 3-ton brick; but fortunately the 15-inch front brakes save you from getting into real trouble.

Once you get off the tarmac, as expected, the TRX really shines. The truck has 13-inches of front suspension travel, and 14-inches of travel in the rear. The truck is designed to use every inch of travel, and handle it well, thanks to the 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk e2 adaptive performance shocks. These shocks are state-of-the-art, and the same quality you'd find in bespoke off-road racers. While the Fox LiveValve in the Raptor is a good setup, driving the TRX on any off-road surface quickly shows the weaknesses of the Ford's setup. Ram's suspension feels expensive.

The TRX sits on a frame that is lengthened and beefed-up compared the traditional 1500 setup, giving it much improved body rigidity. During the product development stage, Ram engineers took a few Raptors and drove them until they broke, then made sure that they beefed up those components on the TRX. That means the TRX can handle more ridiculous terrain at more ridiculous speed, and still drive you home at the end of the day.

2021 Ram TRX The TRX is capable of having a good time, whether it's on the trail or on the track.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

While driving on a high-speed, 3-mile off-road route, the investment in strength was noticeable. It's hard to make a ladder frame rigid, even a fully boxed one. While on the Raptor – even the new one – the bed will shake a bit off-road, the TRX's bed hardly moves in similar situations and speeds. It feels solid, and it feels controllable.

Ford calls the Raptor the "911 of off-roaders," and they're right, because it's one of the best handling trucks off road. But the TRX has more stability in the same driving situations and feels just as predictable and controllable. If the Raptor does have an advantage at off-road speed, it's that it's lighter. Especially in the front where a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 naturally weighs less than a 6.2-liter V8 with a supercharger attached. The TRX's nose just feels heavier.

A raptor is a bird of prey, and I've jumped my share of Raptors in my day. The TRX is just as capable at getting airborne. In fact, the extra horsepower makes it easier to leave Terra Firma. That Bilstein suspension, though, makes coming back down easier.

2021 Ram TRX The 2021 Ram TRX has a more robust frame than the traditional Ram 1500.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Even at high speeds, when the truck returns to the ground the body motion is controlled. There's no excessive bouncing while the suspension tries to sort things out. The suspension simply compresses, rebounds, and then you're on your way. The whole time the wheels are on the ground you have traction and are in control. This truck makes jumping easy.

The TRX comes in a few different trim levels, depending on how much luxury you want in your truck. You can spec the truck to almost $100,000 and have all the amenities in a Ram 1500 Limited but be able to pre-run the Baja 1000 in comfort and style.

Or, pick up a base truck at $71,690 with destination and get the least expensive FCA product with the Hellcat engine in it and with all-wheel drive, plus a comfortable daily driver with all of the trick off-road features.

2021 Ram TRX The 2021 Ram TRX is plenty capable on paved roads as well.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It sounds better than the Raptor. It's faster than the Raptor. It flies better than the Raptor. For now, at least, the claim that the TRX is the Apex Predator of the truck world is accurate.

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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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