Chicago Auto Show 2020

Toyota adding Highlander XSE to lineup for 2021

Toyota has introduced a new Highlander grade.

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

The Toyota Highlander is one of the best-selling SUVs in the country. Toyota is looking tp draw in even more customers by offering a high level sport grade to its Highlander lineup.

For the 2020 model year, the three-row SUV underwent a complete redesign giving it better passenger space, more high-tech features, and a cost-effective hybrid variant. This new trim level adds another sport-driven variation for customers to choose with a long list of enhancements. It is positioned between the XLE and Limited grades.

2021 Toyota Highlader XSE

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

The exterior of the Highlander XSE features machined-faced 20-inch wheels with black accents; a fresh front fascia, grille, and lower spoiler; and headlamps with black accents and light-strip daytime running lights. Black mirror caps, roof rails, and winndow moldings add to the look. There are also unique rocker panels and the first dual-tip exhaust on a Highlander.

The new model features the same power plat that is in the rest of the non-Hybrid models in the Highlander lineup, a 3.5-liter V6 that achieves 295 horsepower and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota will offer the model with standard front-wheel drive and make it available with all-wheel drive. Drivers will be able to choose the SUV's drive mode via the Multi-Terrain Select dial on the center console.

Its underpinnings feature higher-rate springs, a rear stabilizer bar, and shock absorbers that have been re-tuned for lower friction. The midsize SUV's steering has also be re-tuned to deliver a sportier steering feel. Toyota says that the enhancements allow the Highlander to keep its comfortable ride quality.

Inside are black Softex-trimmed seats with fabric inserts. Ambient lighting and carbon-fiber accents on the instrument panel are standard. A two-tone black and red leather is available and comes complete with a red-stitched instrument panel.

Like the other Highladers in Toyota's lineup, the XSE grade features Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. There are five USB ports in the model and an available 11-speaker JBL sound system.

Toyota says that other updates to the 2021 Highlander will be announced later, but the XSE is slated for launch this fall. Pricing is expected to be announced closer to the model's on-sale date.

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The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is made to be trail-ready

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

If you want to go off-roading but you’re apprehensive behind the wheel? Jeep is introducing the Jeep Adventure Academy, a program that provides hands-on, off-road driving instruction to Jeep 4x4 owners.

"Off-roading is a rite of passage for Jeep 4x4 owners and the new Jeep Adventure Academy will provide key knowledge every off-roader can use for hitting the trails," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand, FCA - North America. "The new Jeep Adventure Academy underscores the Jeep brand's commitment to delivering Jeep 4x4 vehicles that provide owners with a sense of capability, safety and security to handle any condition or adventure with confidence."

2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Jeep Trailhawk models are trail-tested ahead of their retail salePhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Academy kicks off this October and will take place at select locations nationwide. Instructors from Jeep Jamboree USA will lead the program alongside off-roading experts.

Each Academy session will focus on several essential areas of off-roading instruction, including 4x4 system basics, driving techniques, trail etiquette, vehicle preparation and equipment, how to properly read terrain and challenging obstacles, safety tips and more.

The Jeep Adventure Academy will take place during the first three weeks in October at the following locations:

  • Holly Oaks Off-road Vehicle Park, Holly, Michigan: October 2-4
  • Southern Missouri Off-Road Ranch, Seymour, Missouri: October 9-11
  • Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area, Hollister, California: October 16-18

Registration is available at jeepadventureacademy.com. A one-day session starts at $99 and requires Jeep 4x4 vehicle ownership. The academy sessions will be led by professional staff from Jeep Jamboree USA, an organization that has been conducting off-road adventures since 1953.

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Famed puzzle maker Ravesburger has created a new Lamborghini-themed 3D puzzle.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

The Lamborghini Huracán EVO is the most successful V10-powered Lamborghini ever. Now, the supercar is getting the Ravensburger 3D puzzle treatment. The 3D jigsaw puzzle faithfully replicates the Huracán EVO V10 car in a 1:18 scale.

The puzzle is mounted to a replica chassis. Lamborghini fans will be able to pick out the car's signature Y-style front bumper and Y-shaped embedded in the headlights. It also has the hexagonal details of the traditionally sized Lambo and wears a Arancio Xanto orange paint job. The low-slug profile of the puzzle gives it volume though it measures just 26 cm in length.

Ravensburger Lamborghini Huracán EVO 3D puzzle

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

Ravensburger is making the puzzle available with 32 high-quality feature accessories, such as the axles and four rotating wheels that faithfully replicate the Aesir rims found on the real car, along with front splitter and rear diffuser.

The puzzle contains 108 numbered pieces.

Ravesnburger recommends that the puzzle is best for adults and children ages 8 and older. It is sold in Europe for €34.99. In the U.S., a Lamborghini Huracán EVO goes for upwards of $208,000.

Earlier this year, Lamborghini bounced that it had pattered with Lego to create the Lego Technic Lamborghini Sián FKP 37Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. That model includes a V12 engine; a moveable rear spoiler; front and rear suspension; and steering powered by a wheel complete with the Automobili Lamborghini badge. There's also scissor doors, which open to reveal the intricately recreated cockpit, with a fully-functioning eight-speed sequential gearbox controlled by a movable paddle gearshift.

Lego also sells LEGO Technic versions of the 2020 Land Rover Defender and Nissan GT-R. Additionally, LEGO recently started selling a replica of Dom's Chargerfrom the "Fast & Furious" franchise. Additionally, a Ducati motorcycle model was recently sold by the company.

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