Off-Roading

Rolls-Royce owner from the UAE pushes Cullinan's Magic Carpet Ride to the extreme

This Rolls-Royce Culliinan was pushed to its limits in Dubai.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to one of the most well-known sand dunes on Earth, Moreeb Dune. The challenging landscape of that, and other dunes across the nation's landscape are punishing on even the best of off-roaders. This includes the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

A Cullinan owner from the UAE recently put his Rolls-Royce SUV to the test, pushing its Magic Carpet Ride ride and promised "effortless everywhere" drive experience to the limit. Thankfully, it was all captured on video and in photos (see below).

Led by the car's illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy, the car awakens from its parking area and hits the road. Pavement rolls out in front of the black Cullinan as it speeds down a patch of asphalt between two horizons of golden sand. Suddenly, the viewer is taken off-road, onto the sand, where the Cullinan hightails it across a flat patch as sand is thrown from under the tires and spewed toward the camera. Drifting commences, in slow motion and real time, with sand dancing around the SUV like water from the Bellagio's fountains. Cullinan ascends a dune, rides along the ridge, the sun sets.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the United Arab Emirates

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

While the video is possible thanks to a number of different video techniques, the drive is possible thanks to Cullinan's engineering. The drivetrain of the Cullinan was engineered to do just one key job explained Caroline Krismer, Engineering Project Leader for the Cullinan upon its debut in 2018, "To bring the famed Rolls-Royce 'Magic Carpet Ride' to all other terrains possible, while ensuring class-leading on-road behaviour in the SUV sector."

The famous Magic Carpet Ride benefits from Cullinan's lightweight platform, dubbed the Architecture of Luxury, and self-leveling air suspension. There's larger struts on the Cullinan than there are in other Rolls-Royces as well as four-wheel drive. The bespoke automaker reworked their customary 6.75-liter V12 engine to deliver more torque at lower revs, a key to off-roading success.

The suspension makes millions of calculations every second to continuously vary the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system. The double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle delivers control over lateral forces ensuring stability. Rolls-Royce describes how the system operates specifically under off-road conditions: "The electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction to ensure every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is being provided to all wheels."

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The Bronze Edition model builds on the XLE trim.

Toyota

The Toyota Highlander entered its fourth generation for the 2020 model year, which brought sleek style, updated tech, and a premium-look interior. A new XSE trim joined the lineup for 2021, and for 2022, Toyota is adding a new hybrid-only Bronze Edition trim.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition adds useful features, such as a hands-free power liftgate.toyota

The new Bronze Edition Highlander builds on the XLE trim with:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Memory driver's seat with 10-way power adjustments
  • Hands-free power liftgate

Toyota notes that the Bronze Edition previews features that will show up with the greater 2022 Highlander release. Among them are the new Wind Chill Pearl color, which replaces Blizzard Pearl from the previous model, and height/tilt passenger seat adjustments.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Highlander is a supremely comfortable SUV with room for the family.Toyota

The Highlander carries on into 2022 with a standard 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. A Highlander Hybrid is available, which mates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. Combined system output is 243 horsepower. With the V6 on board, the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition is available for Highlander Hybrid models.Toyota

All 2022 Highlander models get Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, road sign assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts, lane tracing assist, a sway warning system, and automatic high beams. Those features and the Highlander's excellent crash testing scores were good enough for the SUV to earn a Top Safety Pick + designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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Buying guide

How to buy a modified car: Three tips

This is a clean modified truck, but they don't all end up this way.

Bring a Trailer

Modified cars are a mixed bag. Sometimes, they're incredibly well built and better than the original, but too many times they're only partially finished or end up being rushed as their owners get late-project anxiety. Whatever the case, buying a modified car can be a stressful process if you haven't done your homework ahead of time. The good news is that you can get a good deal on a reasonably well sorted project or modified car, but you'll need to be careful. Looking at used Lexus LXs earlier today, it became clear that there are as many modified vehicles for sale as there are clean examples.

This LX got me thinking about the breakdown between buying a rig and building one. The modifications made by this Lexus' seller are almost exactly what I would do if I were building a light overlanding rig. What could go wrong? I'm still on the fence about the Lexus, but the three topics below will help you make the right decision on buying a modified car.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Even if the mods are well done, you'll want to have the vehicle inspected before you buy.Bring a Trailer

Understand your personal taste

I mentioned the LX470 and how the owner's updates were pretty close to what I'd do with the truck. That's an exception to the rule, because 90 percent of the time I walking away from a sales listing because of modifications, rather than the other way around. If you're hoping to find a tastefully modified car that matches your exact tastes, you could be waiting a while. If you're hoping to sell a modified car, the same is true in reverse. Finding a buyer for your extremely personalized project car may not be the easiest thing you've ever done.

2004 Lexus LX 470 It's a good idea to seek out vehicles in solid shape, regardless of mods.Bring a Trailer

Be aware of condition and quality

This Lexus looks to be well maintained and in good shape. It also doesn't hurt that the LX is one of the most reliable vehicles built by one of the world's most quality-conscious automakers. Even so, it's hard to know what you're getting with this, or any other, modified vehicle. There's a little rust in this image, but the lift kit, wheels, and bumper mods all look good. However, even if the truck looked brand-new, you'd want to get a pre-purchase inspection. An independent mechanic can tell you if there are potential issues that are unrelated to mods, and you'll want to be sure that any modifications are installed properly.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Some mods are more useful than others.Bring a Trailer

Keep an eye on the price

Most people are reasonable when it comes to selling their modified cars, but there are hundreds of "I know what I got" memes on the internet for a reason. Some sellers want to recover every penny of the money they spent customizing their cars. They're convinced that the mods drastically increased the car's value and can't understand why the customized car isn't as attractive to you as it is to them. Tread lightly and be careful not to insult the owner, but it's your job to work toward a reasonable, fair price.

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