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2020 Jeep Gladiator breaks cover, brings AEV Brute to production

One of the most anticipated reveals of recent automotive times has been leaked ahead of its LA Auto Show debut, and it finally lets us rest our eyes on the upcoming pickup of many folks’ four-by-four dreams.

Here it is: the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. In its most basic description it’s exactly what you’d expect: a Wrangler Unlimited shod with a bed. But it’s more than that, and it promises the company’s legendary off-road heritage with a good dose of hauling-and-towing capability. For many, it will be the perfect do-it-all truck, and for Jeep it will be the perfect competitor to trucks the likes of the Tacoma, Colorado/Canyon, and upcoming Ranger. In a growing segment, the Gladiator cannot come soon enough, and now we finally know what it will truly look like (though didn’t we all along…?).

So, finally, Wrangler capability with a pickup bed. I suspect that some kind of development was shared with a little company by the name of AEV, and there’s plenty more to unpack here from what are the first “official” unofficial pictures of Jeep’s new cash printing machine. Hit the jump with me and let’s dissect what there is to make of things.

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Up for sale: 5-speed manual 1995 Land Rover Discovery

Ross Ballot November 9, 2018 For Sale

The Land Rover Discovery is an extremely capable, long-standing warrior in the wheeling-meets-commuting world of shared missions. It’s a versatile, competent vehicle and one that has made an impact on the market it competes in and that has established itself as a nameplate of significance therein. From the Camel Trophy to the suburbs, the truck can seemingly do it all. Today’s Disco is– as we have found out time and time again— has built on the original’s purpose as a do-it-all SUV, something that can get you to and through the trail in equal comfort. Over the years the truck has evolved a substantial amount, but once-upon-a-time it was available with what now looks to be a very special option.

Back in early 2017 I drove a a 1995 Discovery with a V8 and a 5-speed manual a somewhat obscure example of the Series I run. Prior to my friend telling me about this specific truck, I didn’t know they even sold one with a stick. In hindsight it’s not surprising; the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, 4Runner, and so on could all be bought with a third pedal. And while the truck I “reviewed” was far from the best example, I loved it. Hell, even our own Jeff Glucker briefly considered buying it. The style, seating layout, V8, 5-speed, and British charm made for it to be a true gem. And now, another has turned up for sale.

This white 1995 Discovery has the right look and the right foundation. The 3.9L V8 that wooed me is present, and the white wheels match the paint for a very safari-esque (real safari, not “safari” in the sense of the trendy Porsche movement going on now) look that would be perfect on the trail or prowling about New England during the fall and winter months. It might need a little work, but what 20+ year-old vehicle– and especially, what 20+ year-old Land Rover– doesn’t?

Should you want a stick-shift Discovery of your own, hit the link to the For Sale ad here.

Teaser: Changes coming to the Stormtrooper 4Runner

Ross Ballot November 9, 2018 Project 4Runner

It’s finally happening: the Stormtrooper 4Runner is about to receive some very desperately needed upgrades.

“What’s in the box?,” you ask? No, it’s not ARB armor– though that is what the company has come to be known for here in the ‘States. Rather, the contents of the deceptively large package are goodies from Australian suspension company–and subset of ARB– Old Man Emu. The Stromtrooper 4Runner has been in need of repairs and upgrades for a long time now, and the parts in the box pictured above are a vital step towards it becoming more comfortable, more capable, and more reliable as a long-term off-roading tool/toy. Of course, as is the case when working on a truck of this age and of the abuse that it’s seen, there’s a lot of “repair/replace that too while we’re in there” going on, so a few other parts have been acquired in addition to those from OME so as to make for a clean and structurally solid starting point going forward.

Yes, this is a deliberate and shameless teaser-plug to keep you and myself excited for things to come. It’s difficult to contain my excitement, and looking at the box on the floor every day– and not looking at the parts on the truck– is just shy of torture. Things should come together within the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more.

Spied (Again): 2020 Land Rover Defender 2-door SWB

Ross Ballot November 5, 2018 All Things Hoon

Source: Autoblog

As the off-road community continues to hold its breath amidst fear of the Land Rover Defender getting Independent Front Suspension for the first time, the namesake’s overhaul and subsequent release is getting closer with every passing day. And, as is tradition for automakers now, that means taunting us who care by testing the upcoming vehicle out on public streets wearing not-doing-much-to-fool-us camo, as a deliberate tactic to keep us on the hook for the reveal as much as it is to see how it performs in the real world. And with the company rolling out a new vehicle as important– conceptually and with regard to its significance to the brand, at least– as this, they have to do every bit of recon they can.

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This 1991 Toyota Mega Ace is for sale and it’s extra-rad

Ross Ballot November 5, 2018 For Sale

Not all vehicles are created equal, and this 1991 Toyota Mega Ace 4×4 is one that is a cut above the rest. In fact, this one is better than that: it’s so good that I’d be willing to put in my Rad Hall of Fame. And it’s for sale, so you can own this incredible piece of ’90s van greatness.

It ticks every box: It’s right hand drive. It’s Japanese, and from 1991. It’s short-wheelbase, cab-over configuration. It’s got fold-flat seats, skylights, a diesel motor paired with a 5-speed gearbox, and styling that gives off the impression it was designed for an early-’90s sci-movie. It’s got the right rad-tastic paint, and it’s even got the right name, Mega AceEven the ad lists it as a “spaceship window van,” which, barring the fact that we know it is very unlikely to be an actual spaceship, is a very accurate description. Having grown up in the 1990s, this is everything my childhood self would have dreamed of as cool.

This Mega Ace brings up visions of selling everything, learning how to surf, and living out of the van for months at a time while your dog lounges under the shade of an awning and your only worries in the world are what to throw on the BBQ for dinner and how spectacular that night’s sunset will be. Or, you know, just buying it and driving it wherever the hell you point it, regardless of terrain, because with ground clearance and dimensions like it has, you probably can.

Somebody, please buy this amazing example of early 1990s Toyota greatness and give it the home and life it deserves. Should you have the funds to put it in your garage– or simply want to torture yourself by looking at the ad and then doing your best so as to not drool on your keyboard, as I have been– click for the Craigslist ad here.

Hooniverse Asks: What car are you crushing on?

Ross Ballot October 26, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

Image courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Every enthusiast has “The List,” a theoretical registry of the automobiles they would like to own should the opportunity, timing, and financial means present themselves. Of course there’s the opposite end of the spectrum which we toyed with yesterday, but the prospect of hitting it big in the lottery is, rather unfortunately, extremely unlikely, rendering the attainable car much more realistic. And with that in mind, we all have that one car that’s on the forefront of our mind: the car we have a “crush” on.

For me, that has taken a surprising turn, with the 1999-2000 Honda Civic Si ocupying my mind as of late. It doesn’t even make sense why it’s the car I’m spontaneously lusting after, seeing as I generally like all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive cars with forced induction or eight-cylinder powerplants (and yes, I very much like a combination of the two), and the Civic is wholly neither. It’s the simplicity that has me as much as does the nostalgia aspect, and with great visibility, relative lightness (2600 pounds!), and a traditionally fantastic Honda shifter, a bone stock Electron Blue Pearl Si would be a hoot to drive hard, and drive hard everywhere. I have no intention of buying one now or anytime in the future, but for some reason the 6th-gen Si just seems fun, and the idea of it has me captivated. Gotta love the cars Honda built in its Golden Age.

So, what car (or truck) is tickling your automotive fancy at the moment? For the sake of keeping it realistic, let’s stick to things that are reasonably attainable and that can be had within a modest budget (or at least within your own). Hit the comments below to let us know what you’re crushing on– rational or not.

The ROXOR is an under-equipped, out-gunned novelty

Ross Ballot October 23, 2018 All Things Hoon

A while back Mahindra unveiled the ROXOR, a new four-by-four with the looks and feel of the past but with intent to take market share from the ever-evolving-and-expanding class of off-road vehicles currently on the market. It certainly nails the nostalgia feel when going solely based on its looks, but, as we all know, appearance isn’t everything.

Upon its release, we of the Hooniverse writing staff had a quite heated argument in our Slack channel over the purpose and prospect of Mahindra’s new ORV. And, as you can expect, it was a many-sided discussion that left us divided on where we as a group stand in regards to the ROXOR.

As one of your resident die-hard off-road guys, I took a stand: the ROXOR, though attractive conceptually, is a novelty. It’s a show-piece meant to garner stares, and not so much as to compete as a serious off-road vehicle. It’s for those who want to look the part, but don’t care as much about actual wheeling.

Recently I finally got to lay my eyes on a ROXOR in person for the first time. Though I didn’t get to drive it, I did get to poke around a bit for about half an hour… and it didn’t change my mind one bit.

Jump with me, and let’s discuss why this thing is outclassed by basically everything.

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Hooniverse Asks: How are you taking advantage of the fall season?

Ross Ballot October 10, 2018 Hooniverse Asks

Fall truly is spectacular here in New England. Though the cold of winter looms just ahead, the tolerable temperature and gorgeous foliage of autumn make it far and beyond my favorite season. It’s the most enjoyable time of year to be outside, a time when you can do anything and not suffer brutal heat or bitter cold, and looking just about anywhere in your scope vision reveals trees showing off the best colors they have to offer.

It also means that the fall is, at least in the Northeast, the best time to work on vehicles and make use of them alike. They’re content operating, being that it’s not scorchingly hot, and so are you. As such it’s impossible to not want to be doing something automotive-related every waking moment, be it simply tinkering with a project outside or off-roading deep in the woods so as to revel in the changing leaves and fair conditions. Bonuses like football on Sundays, a plethora of delicious beers in rotation, and more than a fair share of hiking only make it better. I’m doing everything in my power to take full advantage of it while it lasts. While many are knocking off autocross events and track days while they can, I’m doing the opposite: the above image is from an off-road trip this past weekend out at the wheeling paradise that is AOAA.

How about yourself? What car, truck, or bike related things are you doing to make the most of the autumn season?

(Not So) Rotten Rental Car Review: Nissan Murano

The last rental car I had from the very same Enterprise facility was a straight-jacket-white Dodge Journey that smelled like a dirty sock. One that had been misplaced for 25 years, filled with Cheez-Wiz, and left out in the sun.

As such, it was reasonable to go in with low expectations. The line of Sentras glared at me; I hoped my hardest I wouldn’t be allocated one of Nissan’s cringe-worthy sedans. Much to my surprise, it was a midsize crossover in which I was put.

A Nissan Murano is a far cry from the Journey I so feared, and it’s leaps and bounds better than I expected. With the first-gen Murano having been one of the cars to lead the charge in the early days of the mainstream crossover, the newest version of the stylized high-riding nearly-a-wagon has evolved into more of the same: a wanna-be futuristic, desperately stylized, high-riding, near-wagon. But it’s a shockingly good one, from interior to powertrain, even despite some of the highly questionable styling elements.

Some vehicles are just good vehicles, and the current-gen Nissan Murano is unequivocally one of them. It has its flaws, but as a whole, it’s pretty damn solid. 

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Project Car SOTU: Stormtrooper 4Runner

We’ve all been there, past the point of frustration and agony and anger and heartbreak and “I fucking hate this giant metal piece of shit,” cresting the point of “why do I even do this?” and stepping well into the territory of, “I’d be better off if I had no involvement in this whatsoever.”

I was there, at that point, with the Stormtrooper 4Runner, wanting to push it off a cliff. And many a days and night as of late, this has been my sentiment towards the truck: aggravated, more so than any “toy” should be causing.

But luckily, it wasn’t all bad. The Stormtrooper 4Runner has been a project vehicle in every regard, but since our last update it’s also provided a few days of important, life-enhancing glory.

What’s been happening in the land of the Stormtrooper 4Runner? Read on to find out.

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