Trucks & SUVs

Taking a Beating in the Deserts of Vegas

Toyota TRD Pro Eats Dust and Loves Every Minute of It

In the deserts of Vegas, the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro proved it could handle just about everything thrown at it. It can make any sports car lover seriously consider abandoning the track in favor of life in the dirt, gravel, mud and sand.

Don't call it an SUV

Quick Spin: 2015 BMW X6 xDRIVE50i

Though it loses out on some of the functionality of its brother, the X5, the new X6 is an impressive machine to both drive and ogle.

A 'light truck' that's actually light

Ford’s Reigning Champ Arrives Anew, Stronger and Lighter

The Ford F-150 is the reigning champ of the truck world, having been the most popular truck in America for 37 years and -- get this -- the most popular overall vehicle for 32. Even more impressively, the 2015 Ford F-150 is not just miles ahead of the competition; it's miles ahead of its former self.

The Best of the IIHS's Top Rated

10 Safest Cars of 2014

When purchasing a new car, crash safety ratings tend to fall below other priorities like style, fuel economy, performance, amenities, cost and even brand loyalty. That’s unfortunate, since more than a handful of cars will consistently fail to perform well in the one situation we all hope to avoid: a serious accident. If you're smart, and especially if you have kids in tow, you'll take the time to bone up on which vehicles are the safest. Of the 22 cars that received the highest safety rating from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), these are the absolute best.

Old School and Off Road

Vintage Explorers: 7 Adventure Vehicles for the Perfect Off-Road Trip

Steep slopes, muddy trails, river crossings and scree slopes turn a garden variety trip into a journey. Adrenaline junkies, take note: off-road excursions are just as exciting as transcontinental road trips, if not more so. Set yourselves up with any of these great vintage off-road adventure cars and you'll see why.

This Week's News On Wheels

This Week In Motoring: September 2, 2014

This Week in Motoring: a whale of a plane, the Uber/Lyft wars, one man's reunion with his vintage Porsche, a commemorative Land Cruiser and more.

Riding Rough Around The Edges

Tossing Dirt: The TORC Off-Road Championship

About two hours north of Green Bay, Wisconsin past idyllic countryside, dairy farms and wide open roads sits the small town of Crandon, where the peaceful silence of nature is replaced by the roar of 900 horsepower engines competing in The Off-Road Racing Championship (TORC) battling for victory while jumping, drifting and wrecking at the world famous Big House. We had an all-access pass to Jarit and Jessie Johnson from team Husqvarna as they continued their race for the championship.

Father of the modern SUV, for better or worse

The History of the Jeep Wagoneer, the First Sport Utility Vehicle

You can't build a successful SUV today without incorporating comforts like leather and DVD players alongside trail-dominating suspension and chunky all-terrain tires. If any car proved this formula was a successful one, it was the car that did it first: the Jeep Wagoneer.

Clean, Torquey and Efficient -- What's Not to Love?

Economy Plus: Driving 5 Great Diesels

The only problem with hybrids is how boring they can be to drive. Diesel cars, on the other hand, offer outstanding torque with hybrid-like fuel economy. We take five great ones out for a spin.

A Great American SUV, Proven

Six Weeks in the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel will haul you and your stuff for nearly 730 miles on one tank, all the while spoiling you with leather, panoramic roof, digital screens and tons of hauling capabilities. Is this the best American SUV ever made? After six weeks and a variety of tasks and duties, we think it's certainly up there.

A case study in the downsides of the CUV

The Bizarre Success of the BMW X6

The BMW X6 been around since 2007 and has found shockingly good sales success for BMW, even earning a refresh this year: all this, despite its inferior specs, a small interior, and the fact that it looks like it's been whacked with the same ugly stick as the Pontiac Aztek. So how does the X6 manage to draw buyers?

Jeep's radical departure pays off

In the 2015 Jeep Renegade, Very Different is Very Good

Jeep is an American automotive staple, but it hasn't done anything radically new in, well...ever. This signature Jeep American-ness on four driven wheels now gets its biggest injection of originality in the form of the Italian-made, Fiat 500L-based 2015 Jeep Renegade.

The weird vehicles that started it all

CUV DNA: The Original Crossovers

While the marketing term "crossover" is a recent invention, the concept is not. Automakers have been making cars that fill the gap between utility vehicles and family cars for decades. Here are three that helped to determine what the crossover is today, along with their modern-day kindred spirits.

Crossovers to the dark side

Five Best Performance Crossovers

Crossovers have changed in the recent past; you no longer have to trade in your testicles and driving sense to drive one. Even the haters (car nuts) have been proven wrong now that more horses, better driving dynamics and sleeker silhouettes have shown up in performance-focused crossovers. Here are five that break hard from the pack of mediocre crossovers still stuck in the driver's ed parking lot.

Business Class in All Rows

The 2015 Chevy Tahoe Rules the Weekend

In the 2015 Chevy Tahoe everyone is treated with business-class comfort. Is this the perfect weekend car? We find out with some time behind the wheel.

The second time's the charm

Bentley’s New SUV Could Be a Best Seller

It's a fact: Bentley plans to release an SUV in the near future. Here's everything we currently know about the car, its effect on the brand and what it needs to be successful.

Big tires, big ambitions

Want This, Get This: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport or 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

It used to be a well-known truth: getting an SUV that conquered the rough-and-tumble of off-roading and had good driving dynamics on the road was a holy grail, like marrying a woman with the physique of Lolo Jones and the brains of Marie Curie. Nowadays, that vehicular combination is no longer as elusive as you think. What you get in both the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk are excellent on-road manners and the kind of off-road chops that will have herds of mountain goats bowing in respect. You just have to decide how much you plan on doling out.

Be the country gentleman

Land Rover Series 1 Kit

Driving the iconic, century-old Land Rover Series 1 warrants a look that is 100 percent country -- so you'd be best suited for some rugged but still classy gear that's ready for the great outdoors. We've put together a kit that will have you looking almost as safari-slick as Robert Redford in Out of Africa. Almost.

Five reasons to start a family

Testing Five Great Alternatives to the Minivan

There's no question about a minivan's utility. But until someone comes up with one that doesn't at least partially emasculate red-blooded men, we choose to drive these other vehicles -- ones that offer up utility, a semblance of driving pleasure and better aesthetics than a toaster oven.

When more is way too much

The Business of Busyness

Nissan's third generation Murano bowed at the New York Auto Show this spring. The reason you didn't see it in our Ten Best list from the show is because I hate it the way my architect wife hates attached garages and vinyl siding. Car design is trending toward overbearing, thanks in no small part to the tastes of drivers. But there's still hope out there.

Its a Jeep Thing, now you understand

Octane Icon: Willys-Overland Jeep

The Willys-Overland Jeep not only helped win World War II, it wrote the recipe for every Sport Utility vehicle that followed. In this edition of Octane Icon we dig into how that came to be.

The drive is the destination

10 Great Drives: Less Traveled, All-American

Long holiday weekends aren't just for sleeping in and backyard barbeques. Hop in the car, embrace the fresh air and hug the asphalt like you don't have a care in the world. There are a ton of great roads out there, twisty, straight and some off the beaten path. We've listed some of the best (and some less-traveled) for your vacation enjoyment and paired them with the ideal vehicle to maximize the experience.

Hot rides

Dominate the Dunes: The 7 Best Beach Rides

Beach trips can be as much about getting there as what you do when you arrive. Mom's minivan might be practical, but it might also eviscerate every ounce of road style you've ever had. If you're at the beach on a regular basis (or you just dream of being there 24/7) it might make sense to upgrade your beach ride to one of these sandy shore, white wave seekers.

A small group of concepts deliver big production dreams

Four Great Concept Cars from the New York Auto Show

Though the New York International Auto Show isn't a haven for many concept cars, there are always a handful of them to get your attention and whet your appetite for what might come. This year, there were four that we could count, and they're all worthy of your dollars should they make it to production in some form.

An Empire State of Rides

New York 2014: 10 Cars That Matter

Sandwiched between the Geneva Motor Show and the Beijing Auto Show, the New York International Auto Show usually misses out on the biggest reveals of the year, but it still has plenty to offer. This year's show had its fair share of new designs and vehicles along with loads of improved sheetmetal. We've chosen ten standouts from our time on the ground that we'll be looking to drive in 2015.

An Irreverent Guide

Which Brash Car Are You?

Though most of us may drive sensible cars, deep inside we crave more. More power, more bravado, more speed in the form of a truly brash automobile. Check out our scientific diagram and follow the path to the wheeled monster that best expresses who you are in that pulsing animal heart of yours.

From Good to Great

Five Cars that Finally Arrived

Some car models start out great but then topple from grace -- the Nissan Maxima comes to mind (as much as we try to push it out). Then there are those automobiles that have only gotten better with time, tweaks, and tender loving care. Some have evolved gracefully, while others desperately needed a hefty dose of attention. Here are five models basking in the glow of recent changes that have brought them into their primes.

Can the world's largest automaker fix the problems ahead?

Rethinking Tomorrow: A Visit to Toyota City

Today, Toyota is making bold bets in a wide range of areas -- from alternative fueled vehicles and suped-up tricycles Robocop would sell his hex nuts for, to emotion-sensing AI, household “partner” robots, and smart homes -- all in hopes anticipating the shifting mobility needs of tomorrow. Statistics are one way to understand how the company’s master plan will make for a better and Pikachu-cute future; then again, the world's largest automaker is well aware that practice makes perfect, and that's on display at their global headquarters, known as Toyota City. We explored the brand's paradigm-shifting innovations, including personal mobility prototypes, robots, EV infrastructure and more.

10 Concepts We're Praying Find their Way to Production

Geneva 2014 Concept Cars: Beautiful, Daring and Downright Awesome

Watching concept cars bow at international auto shows is like watching the festivities at Paris Fashion Week: displays are daring, beautiful and sometimes just downright petrifying. The world gets to see bold, shocking statements or captivating ones that might just make it to market. The best examples are fuel for dreams of what may come. This year, the Geneva Motor Show proved to be fertile ground. From a student-submitted sports car to a practical van, here are our 10 favorite concept cars from the show.

Takes on the flat and the bumpy

Quick Spin: 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class

No longer just a lame substitute for a real SUV, crossovers have grown in terms of quality, capability and available amenities such that there seems virtually no end in sight. Mercedes-Benz has been busier than just about anyone lately when it comes to redesigning their lineup and introducing new models, and the GLA Class is the latest to come down the Teutonic pike to fill this new crossover mold. We made our way to Málaga, Spain to take two iterations out for a spin: the GLA250 4Matic and the zippier GLA45 AMG.

Get it dirty, just not inside, please

Behind The Wheel: 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE

With a long history of producing rugged SUVs before that term even existed, Land Rover could sell incredibly well based on just their name. Still, they decided the all-new aluminum-bodied flagship Range Rover wasn't enough. They've spiffed up their biggest seller, the Range Rover Sport, and we had the chance to drive it through one of Chicago's snowiest winters see how it performed off the clean tarmac.

Big guns for those haulin' runs

Pack ‘Em In: 5 Great 7-Passenger SUVs

It's no longer enough for a big SUV to transport seven; it has to look good and feel good (for both driver and passengers) while doing it. Our intrepid Octane crew drove five of the best seven-passenger SUVs out there and found a flavor for just about anyone. While none of these five SUVs are perfect, each is grand in its own right by virtue of style, quality and utility.

Rock Your World, Apocalypse or No

Want This, Get This: Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 5023 or Bremach T-Rex

For the fortunate few who need to do serious work in a serious world (or for those with big amounts of extra coin laying around), there are two serious players at opposite ends of the cost spectrum: the Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5000 and the Bremach T-Rex. Whether it's off-road adventure, payload hauling or search and rescue, both mean business.

Mittens, check. Shovel, check. Big balls, check and check

Breakdown: Volkswagen Polar Expedition Amarok

The Volkswagen Polar Expedition Amarok was specially built to promote the 2014 Winter Olympics by completing the trans-Russia Amarok Polar Expedition, a trip that can't be made by any ordinary vehicle. We're talking about 16,000 miles from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the far southeastern Kamchatka peninsula across snowy Russian terrain, often in the complete absence of roads. We break down the snow beast.

More crossovers than Iverson

Crosstraining: Driving Five Great Crossovers

Crossovers are the hottest segment in the automotive industry today thanks to solid fuel economy, practicality and bad-weather driving security. And while that popularity means the field is downright dizzying, there are quite a few excellent options from all corners of the earth. GP's Octane crew drove five solid examples and came away with loads of insight on what the CUV market has to offer.

Wreaking Havoc In A Winter Wonderland

Photo Essay: Red Bull Frozen Rush

We recently traveled to snowy and frigid Newry, Maine, where the Sunday River Ski Resort hosted the first-ever Red Bull Frozen Rush truck race. Pro 4 off-road racing trucks hit the slopes, racing up and down in a wild, aggressive, violent scramble over ice and snow, aided in no small part by spiked BF Goodrich tires. We rode along in a truck, watched drivers fly their trucks through the air like madmen daredevils and froze our tushes off all in the name of watching racing history unfold. Check it out yourself here.

The gifts that keep on giving

20 Cars We Want To Drive in 2014

Just about every morning, before our cup of joe, we slap ourselves as a reminder of how lucky we are to drive some of the best cars in the world and get paid for it. 2013 was another year of stupendous privileges, with wheel time in Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Land Rovers, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Porsches, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benzes, Audis, BMWs, Aston Martins and more. We've been the beneficiaries of a huge upswing in the automotive marketplace in terms of style, quality and driving excitement through virtually all segments. And you know what that means: 2014 should prove to be even better. Here are the cars we most covet for the new year, each one a standout in its segment by virtue of its quality, technology, design, driving experience or all of the above. In a stellar field, these are the ones that stir the petrol in our veins the most. As we embark on a new year, here's a toast to what should be an incredible 2014 on the digital pages of Octane.

Rising Stars from the Rising Sun

Aces of Asia: 10 Best Japanese Cars

Japanese cars have long been the epitome of reliability and trustworthiness, but they haven't always been beautiful to look at. Things have changed with the current generation of Japanese cars, which boast great design and more personality than ever, along with driving dynamics that can rival (and even best) the Germans in some cases. Their bombproof reliability hasn't been altered through the generations, either. Here are the ten best rising cars from the land of the rising sun.

Sleighs are for losers

Blizzard Beasts: 10 Best Vehicles for Winter

You're an hour late to the Christmas get-together, but not because that red velvet blazer you love so much is nowhere to be found. No, instead you're trapped in a snowdrift in your vintage AMC Gremlin. No fruitcake for you. You could've fared better this holiday season with some better wheels. May we suggest some truly treaded steeds for your hapless self?