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Torsus Terrastrom puts all other minibuses on notice with 4x4 off-road capability

The Torus Terrastorm is designed to be nearly as off-road capable as a Jeep Wrangler.

Photo courtesy of Torsus

The Torsus Terrastrom follows right in the footsteps of the Praetorian. It's a minibus with tremendous off-road capability. Plus, it can seat up to 20.

Available as either right- or left-hand drive, the model is offered with the buyer's choice of a 2.0-liter biturbo diesel engine with either a 138 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque or 174 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Torsus Terrastorm

Photo courtesy of Torsus

The whole rig rides on the Volkswagen Crafter/MAN TGE 4Motion chassis though engineering was done at the Torsus production plant in Slovakia. Off-road testing, designed to put the Terrastrom through the paces, commenced in the Czech Republic and Slovakia including at the Tatar testing ground.

"At Torsus, we believe that strong, rugged, commercial vehicles aren't only for working hours but can be used for fun as well," said Vakhtang Dzhukashvili, founder and CEO of Torsus. "The Terrastorm aims to break that tradition as we set new standards in this market. We have taken what we know from PRAETORIAN and translated it to a smaller overall footprint, but the dependability and toughness remain. By working with customers and listening to feedback and hearing their problems, we find solutions to create the ultimate off-road minibus."

Specific body trim has been crafted to protect the lower panels of the vehicle. There's an integrated winch (with a 5.5-ton capacity) and Duraluminum skid plate. Additionally, an off-road suspension (MacPherson struts and Bilstein B6 shtick absorbers up front, leaped springs and Ironman 4x4 Load Plus shock absorbers out back), all-wheel drive with locking rear differential, and side steps are fitted to the model as standard equipment.

Ironman 4x4 Adjustable Camber bolts are fitted to offer ± 1.75 degrees camber adjustment. Profender Dakar shock absorbers are available.

The bumper was designed with approach angles in mind. It houses LED high beams, daytime running lights, fog lights, and spotlights as well as the winch. The Terrastorm has ground clearance of 11.42 inches, approach and departure angles of 26 degrees and 20 degrees, and a wading depth of 27.17 inches. Potential buyers have the option to select the 'Deep Wave' pack allowing the Terrastorm to wade through up to 32.28 inches of water.

The model rides on heavy-duty 17-inch BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 tires.

Torsus offers the model in two trim levels: TT1 Coach and TT2 Nomad.

Upgrading to the TT2 Nomad gets the buyer a front metal bull-bar and rear light metal grilles, roof rack with integrated lights, spare tire rack, and rear ladder.

Depending on the model, the Terrastorm can accommodate nine to 20 passengers. The seats are upholstered in fabric and eco-leather. They are fitted with three-point seatbelts. Five-point harnesses are available for travelers expecting to encounter more rigorous terrain. Additionally, the Terrastorm's seating configuration can be position with swivel seats and multifunction tables.

Additional modifications can turn the Terrastorm into a camper van, MEDIVAC transport van, or cargo carrier.

The cockpit features a touch screen control panel above the infotainment system that controls heating, lighting, air conditioning, and speakers.

Additionally, a luggage rack that allows each seat to have lighting, air conditioning vents, and speakers can be installed.

Torsus prices the Terrastrom starting at €57,461. Deliveries will begin in the third quarter of this year.

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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 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge is coming to dealerships soon.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Volvo's first fully electric vehicle, the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge, is coming to the U.S. with a starting MSRP of $53,990 and a 208-mile range. Those numbers make it more expensive and with a shorter battery range than most electric SUVs on the market today.

Currently, in the U.S., there aren't many all-electric SUV options. The 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric starts at $37,190 and comes with a EPA-estimated 258-mile range. Kia's 2020 Niro EV has a 239-mile rage and starts at $39,090. The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now starting at $39,995 and comes with a 250-mile range. Tesla sells the base grade Model Y $49,990 and has given it a 326-mile range.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Audi sells two electric SUVs, the E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback. Both are larger than the XC40, Kona, and Niro. The 2021 E-Tron starts at $65,900 and has a 222-mile range. The E-Tron Sportback is more expensive, with a starting MSRP of $69,100, and has just 218 miles of range.

Most of the models on the list qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.

The XC40 Recharge is more premium than most of the models on the list, but its range is bound to be a sticking point for buyers, many of which still have looming issues surrounding the issue of range anxiety.

While its range is lower, the Volvo XC40 features strong powertrain figures. It delivers 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque.

The model can charge its 78-kilowatt-hour battery to 80 percent I about 40 minutes via a 150-kilowatt DC fast-charger. Volvo has teamed up with ChargePoint for nationwide charging access. ChargePoint offers 115,000 places to charge and gives users the option to purchase a ChargePoint Home Flex home charger when they buy the XC40 Recharge,

Volvo has given the model an Android infotainment operating system. It comes standard with Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Google Play Store. Updates can happen over the air.

Its list of standard features includes a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, 19-innch alloy wheels, 12.3-inch driver information display, 9.0-inch infotainment touch screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, four USB-C ports, and a rearview camera.

All Volvo XC40 Recharge models come with blind spot monitoring with steer assist, cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, adaptive LED headlights, lane keeping assist, and more.

To their XC40 Recharge, buyers can add a Climate Package ($750) that includes heated windshield-wiper blades, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. The Advanced Packages ($1,300) adds high pressure headlight cleaning, Pilot Assist driver assistance system with adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, a 12-volt power outlet in the luggage area, and wireless smartphone charging.

Single options include metallic paint ($645), Lava-colored carpet ($100), a 13-speaker Harman/Kardon Premium Sound system ($800), a heat pump ($350), and 20-inch five double-spoke Black Diamond Cut alloy wheels ($800).

Production of the XC40 Recharge is currently underway and it will soon be available in the U.S.

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