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 Toyota Tundra is due for a redo, but it still has a lot to like if you're not too picky.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Americans buy millions of trucks every year. Even in the midst of a pandemic, folks are still buying trucks. In 2019, between all the various full-size truck models from Ford, Ram, GM, Nissan, and Toyota, U.S. customers bought nearly 2.5 million pickups — and that doesn't include all the smaller midsize models, which add another 600,000 to the truck total.

Nearly all of those truck sales are dominated by the big three of Ford, RAM, and GM, but there's a not insignificant niche carved out by Toyota as well. The endlessly-popular Tacoma is the best-selling midsize truck, and the full-size Toyota Tundra has a loyal and dedicated following.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition On the outside, the truck looks strong and capable - it is.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

I know a few Tundra owners who love their trucks just as passionately as Ford and Chevy owners do. I've driven most of the pickups on the market, but I haven't spent much time behind the wheel of Toyota's big truck — and I was curious to see what Toyota was doing to compete.

My test unit was the premium, Western-themed "1794 Edition" that honors the founding of the JLC Ranch in San Antonio, Texas on which Toyota now has a truck assembly plant. Unsurprisingly, it's the same plant that built this truck. 1794 is basically Toyota's version of Ford's King Ranch, only with less-impressive brand awareness.

The model weighed in at $55,199, including option-boxes ticked for the TRD Off-Road Package ($155), running boards ($345), moonroof ($850), and a spray-on bedliner ($579). All in, it's certainly not a cheap truck, but it's not crazy expensive either. The big three all have ultra-luxe truck trims that can run well-north of $70,000, so this was a very reasonable top-line truck.

It's also not nearly as well-appointed as those other trucks, but it's certainly nice enough. Inside, there is "1794" embellishment on the floor mats and the center console, plus wood trim on the steering wheel, dash, and gear shift.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition There are nods to the 1794 Edition throughout the cabin.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

It's very roomy, and things are laid out logically — which is a good thing considering how old the Tundra is. The interior was last redesigned the better half of a decade ago, and this generation of the truck is nearly old enough to enter high school. So, it's a bit old, but aging gracefully which, perhaps, shows why Tundra owners like it so much. They know what they're going to get.

One thing they'll get is a lot of stops at the pump. The 5.7-liter V8 is extremely thirsty, scoring just 14 mpg combined city and highway, though the engine itself is buttery smooth and capable. Pushing 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, you won't have any complaints as long as fuel prices stay around two dollars per gallon. If prices shoot back up north of $4, it might be another story.

The exterior is pleasing enough, with a giant big chrome grille on the front and special 1794 badging on the doors. The Tundra has aged well and was particularly striking in the brilliant Voodoo Blue coloring that my tester sported.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition The cabin is straight out of the middle of the last decade.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The interior is solidly dated compared to the competition, but it's all functional enough. The 2020 edition of the Tundra gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is enough to get me to ignore the massive "Home/Apps/Audio" buttons that surround the screen.

With the competition launching enormous 12-inch-plus touchscreens, I don't think Toyota will be able to wait too much longer before reworking this interior. In the middle console are numerous cupholders and storage cubbies, surrounding an enormous phallic shifter. There's a massive center storage bin under the armrest, which will come in handy for those using their truck as an office.

The rear seats have tremendous amounts of legroom, and the seats fold up to allow for more interior storage, though I wish the rear floor was totally flat to make loading Costco water bottles a little easier.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition The rear seats fold up allowing for more versatile cargo space.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

In the back, there's a truck bed. It's for putting stuff in. There's nothing elaborate here with in-bed lighting or fancy tailgates like the GMC Sierra has. It's just a truck bed, with a tailgate, that you can fill with things.

That's perhaps the best way to describe the Toyota Tundra. It's a pickup that allows you to haul things around. No fuss, no muss, nothing crazy. It gets you and your stuff from here to there, while slurping down massive amounts of fuel.

It's a Toyota. You know what you're getting. Enjoy it.

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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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