Off-Roading

2,500-km Rebelle Rally will be a proving ground for 6 fresh off-road vehicles

Nissan is the only automaker to have fielded a vehicle for each Rebelle Rally. The streak continues with the 2020 Nissan Frontier.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

As the 2020 Rebelle Rally prepares for its 5th annual running that begins this week, founder Emily Miller and her support staff of more than 70 couldn't be more thrilled. There are 36 teams registered to participate in the country's longest competitive off-road navigation rally that will take place over 10 days along nearly 2,500 kilometers of spectacular backcountry. The only all-female rally in the U.S. will travel along a mix of dirt roads, off-road trails, and on sand dunes from Nevada to southern California.

One of the most exciting elements to this year's event is the sextet of new vehicle entries that join the lineup from nine auto manufacturers. New are the all-electric Rivian R1T, 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, 2021 Infiniti QX80, 2020 Nissan Frontier, 2021 Kia Telluride, and three 2021 Ford Bronco Sports.

2020 Rebelle Rally terrain The vehicles that participate in the Rebelle Rally are required to traverse a wide variety of terrain.Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

There are two classes – 4×4 and Crossover—and, while it's no surprise that Jeep vehicles have been the top model represented since the rally's inception, a variety of different vehicles have been showcased at the rally, such as the Rolls Royce Cullinan, which took home a first-place finish in the Crossover class last year, with co-pilots Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe at the wheel.

"We are very grateful for such strong participation this year," enthused Miller, who has added an Electrified Designation "test program" to the rally. "The world has been anxiously awaiting an opportunity to see the new Bronco line-up in action, and we're excited to have three Bronco Sports showcasing their capabilities this year along with the five other new vehicles to the rally."

Click here to read more about the Rebelle Rally, including an insiders look at the schedule of the drivers and details of the competition.

Rivian R1T

Emme Hall Rebecca Donaghe Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

Making its debut at the Rebelle, the all-electric Rivian R1T is entered in the 4×4 class and will be piloted by two-time Rebelle Rally champions Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe.

"Adventures like the Rebelle Rally are what Rivian vehicles are made for. It's meaningful to join as the rally's first all-electric vehicle," said Rivian Creative Director Larry Parker.

The Rivian R1T is an battery-powered electric truck that can get up to 300 miles of range and 750 horsepower from its four electric motors and 135 kilowatt-hour battery. It will be the first to roll off Rivian's Normal, Illinois, assembly line, with the serial No. 1.

The R1T will not be fitted with additional features or special equipment, according to Brian Gase, chief engineer of special projects at Rivian. Even the on-board air compressor is stock equipment.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

Mitsubishi returns to the Rebelle for its second year fielding the 2020 Outlander PHEV in the Crossover class; it is the first hybrid electric vehicle to compete in the event.

"Rebelle Rally shows us what is possible when we have the courage and ambition to do more with the cars in our driveway, and we need that inspiration now more than ever," said Mitsubishi Motors North America Chief Operating Officer Mark Chaffin. "We are thrilled to continue our support for Team Record the Journey (RTJ) this year with the world's best-selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and to continue to prove our legacy of quality, dependability and reliability."

RTJ founder and team navigator Sergeant Major Rachael Ridenour, a 32-year U.S. Army combat veteran, will pair up with driver Master Sergeant Kristie Levy, a 25-year U.S. Army combat veteran and current federal law enforcement officer. Last year, the team piloted a minimally modified Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross to second place in the Crossover class.

Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

Ford has joined the Rebelle Rally for the first time this year fielding three teams in stock Bronco Sport Badlands models. Competing in the Crossover class are teammates Shelby Hall and Penny Dale, experienced off-roaders and navigators; freelance automotive journalist Elana Scherr, who has covered off-roading for many years, and Betsy Anderson, an experienced off-road racer; as well as Ford employees Jovina Young, Brand Manager of Bronco Sport, and Erica Martin, Ford's Marketing Communications Manager for SUVs (shown above); both are novices to off-roading and rallies.

"The Rebelle Rally is a great match for Bronco Sport – with proven high-speed, off-road capability and best-in-class features to enable our teams to have the adventure of a lifetime," said Adrian Aguirre, Bronco Sport Project Manager. "Bronco Sport is designed for just that--to enable adventures in the outdoors and nothing says adventure more strongly than a rally raid event. You are heading out with nothing but instructions on how to get to that next waypoint, your thirst for overcoming challenges and confidence that your equipment is up to the task of getting you there.

"With Bronco Sport's twin-mechanical rear-drive unit, we are able to tailor the vehicle's behavior to different off-road conditions. This makes driving off-road easier and safer, and for the Rebelle Rally ultimately faster as a result. By using the GOAT modes, the driver will be able to select the appropriate drive mode and have the RDU adjust its behavior to match the terrain."

Infiniti QX80

2021 Infiniti QX80 Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Nicole Wakelin, a writer who covers the auto industry, and her navigator Alice Chase, will be in command of the 2021 Infiniti QX80 - the company's first entry into the Rebelle.

At Infiniti, we believe that luxury should be lived in and there are few who will test that theory more than our team in the Rebelle Rally this year," said Phil York, Infiniti General Manager of Global Marketing. "Ten days of navigating the desert in a QX80 will certainly showcase that our flagship SUV has as much grit as it has grace."

Nissan Frontier

2020 Nissan Frontier Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

This updated pickup makes a debut at the Rebelle with a new 3.8-liter V6 engine that gets 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque; its new automatic nine-speed transmission is borrowed from bigger brother Titan but geared specifically for the midsizer.

"The 2020 Frontier focuses on the needs and demands of midsized truck owners in the U.S.," offered Melaina Vasko, Vehicle Program Development Manager. "Featuring the heart of the next-generation Frontier, it is the beginning of the end of an extraordinary era and the start of a new exciting era to come. Customers will notice more power, quicker gear shifts, and improved fuel economy making for an enjoyable ride whether on the highway or off the beaten path."

The legendary off-roader, will also get a boost from Nissan's aftermarket performance brand - NISMO. Frontier will showcase a new line of off-road parts, including a high-performance suspension kit, an off-road bumper, off-road lighting and off-road wheels.

"We are fired up to watch Team Wild Grace show current and future Nissan Frontier owners what this beast can do on some of the most extreme terrain in the country," said Michael Soutter, vice president, Nissan Aftersales U.S. "These new NISMO off-road parts, created by people who deeply understand trucks and the desire for ultimate off-road performance, will elevate Frontier to a new level of capability."

Nissan is the only automaker to sponsor a team every year since the Rebelle began in 2016. Team Wild Grace, with co-captains Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward, will pilot the vehicle.

Kia Telluride

2021 Kia Telluride Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Telluride is one of the most popular three-row SUVs in America. The 2021 version of the model will be the mode of transportation for Team Telluriders, a duo made up of Alyssa Roenigk, a senior writer at ESPN, and actor Sabrina Howells.

Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia Motors North America & Kia Motors America is also looking forward to following the Telluriders team. "This is a significant event for Kia," he said. "The Telluride is one of our most successful vehicles ever and the Rebelle Rally is a real test of its capability, durability and versatility. We expect it to perform extremely well and will be cheering on Alyssa and Sabrina as they take on this tough challenge."

The Telluriders are used to winning. Roenigk was part of the first U.S. team to win the Aïcha des Gazelle Rally in Morocco, and to-date, is the only American driver to win. Howells has competed in four consecutive Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in Morocco, including the Expert Class in 2015. She competed in the Rebelle Rally in 2016, taking 1st place in the crossover class, and again in 2017, placing second.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Lexus has one of the best reputations as a brand, according to new research.

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

Reputation.com has ranked North America's automotive brands. Each brand was scored, with the industry average coming in at 594, the highest of any industry Reputation.com measures. However, it's not all sunshine and roses.

The industry's average dropped from February 2020's score of 603. Reputation.com says that the lower average is driven by a decrease in review volume due to Google suspending reviews for weeks in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the health crisis, Reputation.com found that a dealership's valet service is the top new driver of positive sentiment while dealership hygiene is the key driver of negative sentiment. Overall, price-related complains constitute the second-highest factor driving negative sentiment, behind service.

Nissan retained its ranking as the top dog with its Reputation Score nearly the same today as it was in February. Mitsubishi had the highest increase over the February rankings (up 54 points) while Cadillac's score dropped the most (down 45 points).

Tesla had a hard go of it. While consumers tend to like their Tesla cars, the company has the lowest rate for responding to negative reviews and lowest engagement scores, as well as worst for pricing and speed of service.

Here's a look at the brand rankings, from worst to first.

No. 32 - Genesis

2020 Genesis G70 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Reputation Score: 366
Sentiment Score: 65%
Visibility Score: 24%
Engagement Score: 61%

No. 31 - Cadillac

2020 Cadillac CT6 Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Reputation Score: 504
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 36%
Engagement Score: 80%

No. 30 - Tesla

Tesla Model S

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Reputation Score: 520
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 40%
Engagement Score: 4%

No. 29 - Jaguar

2019 Jaguar I-PACE

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Reputation Score: 542
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 43%
Engagement Score: 57%

No. 28 - Mazda

2020 Mazda CX-5 Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Reputation Score: 549
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 51%
Engagement Score: 64%

No. 27 - Volvo

2020 Volvo XC90 T8 Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Reputation Score: 560
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 43%
Engagement Score: 57%

No. 26 - Fiat

2020 Fiat 500L Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 578
Sentiment Score: 66%
Visibility Score: 57%
Engagement Score: 65%

No. 25 - Land Rover

2020 Land Rover Defender Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Reputation Score: 588
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 49%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 24 - Mitsubishi

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors America

Reputation Score: 593
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 52%
Engagement Score: 61%

No. 23 - Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Reputation Score: 596
Sentiment Score: 69%
Visibility Score: 54%
Engagement Score: 66%

No. 22 (tie) - Ram

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 601
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 22 (tie) - Chrysler

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 601
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 20 - Jeep

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 602
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 19 - Honda

2021 Honda Ridgeline

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Reputation Score: 603
Sentiment Score: 71%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 18 - Kia

2021 Kia K5 Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Reputation Score: 604
Sentiment Score: 69%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 17 - Porsche

2021 Porsche 911 Targa Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Reputation Score: 612
Sentiment Score: 78%
Visibility Score: 48%
Engagement Score: 70%

No. 16 - GMC

2020 GMC Terrain Photo courtesy of GMC

Reputation Score: 614
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 52%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 15 - Dodge

2020 Dodge Challenger

Photo courtesy of Dodge

Reputation Score: 615
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 64%

No. 14 - Chevrolet

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet​

Reputation Score: 616
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 53%
Engagement Score: 69%

No. 13 - Infiniti

2021 Infiniti Q50 Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Reputation Score: 617
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 54%
Engagement Score: 70%

No. 12 - Audi

Audi E-Tron Sportback Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Reputation Score: 625
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 11 - Hyundai

2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Reputation Score: 626
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 66%

No. 10 - MINI

2020 MIIN Cooper Photo courtesy of MINI

Reputation Score: 630
Sentiment Score: 79%
Visibility Score: 50%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 9 - Ford

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat Tremor Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Reputation Score: 631
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 8 - Mercedes-Benz

2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 S

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Reputation Score: 633
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 69%

No. 7 - Toyota

2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Reputation Score: 633
Sentiment Score: 71%
Visibility Score: 62%
Engagement Score: 74%

No. 6 - BMW

2021 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe Photo courtesy of BMW

Reputation Score: 654
Sentiment Score: 75%
Visibility Score: 61%
Engagement Score: 73%

No. 5 - Lincoln

Lincoln Aviator Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Co.

Reputation Score: 658
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 63%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 4 - Acura

2021 Acura TLX

Photo courtesy of Acura

Reputation Score: 666
Sentiment Score: 78%
Visibility Score: 57%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 3 - Subaru

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Reputation Score: 669
Sentiment Score: 75%
Visibility Score: 65%
Engagement Score: 78%

No. 2 - Lexus

2021 Lexus RX Black Line Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Reputation Score: 673
Sentiment Score: 77%
Visibility Score: 63%
Engagement Score: 77%

No. 1 - Nissan

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Reputation Score: 681
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 71%
Engagement Score: 79%

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Jeep Jamboree events allow Jeep drivers to off-road and enjoy the comraderie that comes with owning the same style of vehicle.

Photo by Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

The dates and locations of the 2021 Jeep Jamboree schedule have been announced. The roster includes 31 events, with a new event in Ohio making the calendar as well as a three-day event in Missouri.

Jeep Jamborees are weekend events that have been a part of the Jeep lifestyle since 1953. It was then, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, that Mark A. Smith (now a member of the Off-Road Hall of Fame and the Explorers Club) arranged an off-roading expedition across the Rubicon Trail. The following year Willys, the original Jeep manufacturer got involved and the rest, as they say, is history.

Each Jeep Jamboree is a family-oriented four-wheel drive adventure that allows for fun for everyone from novices to experts. Organizers advise that any Jeep with a 4-LO transfer case can participate. The style of Jamboree varies by event: Classic, Select, Signature, and Adventure. Be sure you research the event style ahead of registering so you know what to expect, including the cost, which varies by event.

Jeep descending in Sedona, Arizona Jeep Jamboree events have guides to assist drivers when they encounter tricky terrain. Photo by Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

The Jeep Jamboree website has a helpful FAQs section that can help you navigate the ins and outs of the events.

2021 Jeep Jamboree events, dates, cities, and states:

  • March
    • March 4-6, 2021 - Table Mesa, Anthem, Arizona
    • March 18-20, 2021 - Texas Spur, Llano, Texas
  • April
    • April 22-24, 2021 - Arch Canyon, Blanding, Utah
    • April 29- May 1, 2021 - Palo Duro, Amarillo, Texas
  • May
    • May 6-8, 2021 - Tennessee Mountains, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
    • May 6-8, 2021 - Big Bear, Big Bear Lake, California
    • May 13-15, 2021 - Land Between the Lakes, Marshall County, Kentucky
    • May 20-21, 2021 - Badlands, Attica, Indiana
  • June
    • June 9-12, Top of the Ozarks, Seymour, Missouri
    • June 10-12, Tillamook, Tillamook, Oregon
    • June 17-19, Drummond Island, Drummond Island, Michigan
    • June 24-26, Penn's Woods, Bradford, Pennsylvania
  • July
    • July 8-10, 2021 - Killington, Killington, Vermont
    • July 15-17, 2021 - Northwoods-Mole Lake, Crandon, Wisconsin
    • July 22-24, 2021 - Silver Valley, Mullan/Wallace, Idaho
    • July 29-31, 2021 - Coal Mountains, Coal Township, Pennsylvania
  • August
    • August 12-15, 2021 - Rubicon Trail, The Rubicon Trail, California
    • August 18-22, 2021 - Beartooth Adventure, Cody, Wyoming
    • August 26-28, 2021 - Big Horn Mountains, Dayton, Wyoming
  • September
    • September 9-11, 2021 - Killbuck, Killbuck, Ohio
    • September 16-18, 2021 - Catskill Mountains, Monticello, New York
    • September 16-18, 2021 - Ouray, Ouray, Colorado
    • September 23-25, 2021 - Black Hills, Deadwood, South Dakota
    • September 23-25, 2021 - Ozark Mountains, Ozark, Arkansas
    • September 23-25, 2021 - Uwharrie, Troy, North Carolina
    • September 29 - October 3, 2021 - Emigrant Trail Adventure, Black Rock Desert, Nevada
    • September 30- October 2, 2021 - Maine Mountains, Bethel, Maine
  • October
    • October 14-16, 2021 - Gateway to the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, Kentucky
    • October 21-23, 2021 - Greenbriar Valley, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
    • October 21-23, 2021 - Moab, Moab, Utah
  • November
    • November 4-6, 2021 - Death Valley, Death Valley, California
Rolling registration happens December 7-11, 2020.

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