2020 Toyota Tundra Trd Pro Drivers' Notes | Suspension, Engine, Interior

2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Drivers' Notes | Suspension, engine, interior

The 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is crawling into the new year with some worthwhile upgrades, but it's still the same truck we've known for a long time. Now, you can enjoy Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or Amazon Alexa on the 8-inch infotainment screen as you blast through muddy trails while taking advantage of those Fox Racing shocks, TRD springs and all-terrain tires. All the added tech is great, but the addition of Army Green to the color palette in 2020 is hands-down the best part of this year's Tundra TRD Pro. It makes the already imposing truck look even more aggressive. We love it, and we're sure truck buyers will, too. There's nothing distinctive under the hood of the TRD Pro, as it's blessed with the same 5.7-liter V8 found in any other Tundra. It makes 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque and channels that through a six-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is standard for the TRD Pro, and it accomplishes an impressively terrible 14(!) mpg combined. Unfortunately, that's about all we could manage with our week in the Tundra — using the right pedal is dangerously addictive with the TRD dual exhaust bellowing out its battle cry behind us.  Toyota loads the TRD Pro up with most of the features you might want as standard equipment, so it has a steep starting price at $54,275. With that high price, you get the 18-inch BBS forged wheels, LED headlights, TRD Pro leather-trimmed interior, JBL premium audio system and Toyota's full suite of driver assistance systems that includes niceties like adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and auto high beams among other features. Our truck only had a few accessories on it that brought the final price up to $55,020. Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The Tundra TRD Pro sounds great. The 5.7-liter V8's note funneled through the dual exhaust has character. It's low and there's a bit of rumble and growl in there. An angry thrumming was produced when I jabbed the throttle. It's forceful. Sometimes, I'd put the pedal about a quarter of the way down, let the revs build and then accelerate harder while jockeying for lane position. It sounds menacing throughout the band. The black chrome treatment is slick, too. TRD trim does a lot of material and cosmetic things for Toyotas of all shapes and sizes, and the sound the Tundra makes is one of my favorite results.  While I'm focusing primarily on the sound TRD gave the Tundra, I was impressed with the effect Toyota's performance arm has on the entire truck. The suspension is sprung nicely for both on and off-road dynamics, and the TRD Pro Army Green color makes this thing look the part of an enforcer. It's subtle and tasteful, yet in command.

The @Toyota Tundra TRD Pro in Army Green. I like it. TRD trim does some cool things for the Tundra. And the exhaust tuning sounds really good. @therealautoblog pic.twitter.com/Djb5j2bAqs — Greg Migliore (@GregMigliore) December 17, 2019 Assistant Editor, Zac Pamer: Toyota is finally getting around to adding Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into its infotainment systems, and this deserves some recognition. The 2020 Tundra is one of those models and it's about time as Toyota has been one of the last holdouts for implementation of the technology. It worked great on our Tundra TRD Pro tester, connecting instantly and working flawlessly the whole time. However, that's where the good stuff ends on this infotainment system. Toyota's software is still slow and behind most of the others out there. The graphics look dated, and there aren't any standout features to speak of. The interior design is similarly behind the times. The red and black TRD Pro flourishes are nice and plenty noticeable, but it doesn't fix the generally boring overall look and hard plastics. Stepping out of a new Ram 1500 and into this truck's interior will make you wonder why the Tundra costs so damn much. In a TRD Pro, some of it is forgivable because of its intended purpose as an off-road truck. Other Tundras, not so much. We've seen plenty of evidence to show a redesigned Tundra is coming, so wait it out if a competitive interior is top of mind. The current TRD Pro excels at being fun to drive, but these other sore points are where the American competitors have it nailed.

The BEST color for the Tundra TRD Pro: Army Green. pic.twitter.com/vk6EGSxWfD — Zac Palmer (@zacpalmerr) December 20, 2019 Associate Editor, Joel Stocksdale: The Tundra is an old truck, and that shows through in its stale interior and less refined driving experience compared with the latest crop of full-size pickups. That being said, there are some perks to it, some of which might be a by-product of its age. For instance, the visibility is so good, it makes this truck feel smaller than it is. The hood is lower relative to your seating position, and the pillars are nice and thin. It's a welcome change from the competition that can be nerve-wracking in tight spaces if it weren't for loads of cameras. Also surprising was the fact that the Tundra feels nimble for a big truck. Body roll is limited and the steering is quick and accurate. There's even some feedback. This is countered by a stiff, truck-like ride, but it was worth it to me. With that throaty exhaust growl, it almost felt sporty. Sure it's not the segment leader, but the Tundra still has its strong points.

2019 Nissan Murano Drivers' Notes Review | Price, Specs, Features And Photos - Autoblog

2019 Nissan Murano Drivers' Notes Review | Price, specs, features and photos - Autoblog

The 2019 Nissan Murano is one of six crossovers or SUVs in Nissan's ever expanding lineup. This third-gen model hit showrooms back in 2015 and received a minor update for 2019 focused mainly on appearance. Like its predecessors, the current Murano is a stylish offering compared to models like the Rogue and Pathfinder, much the same way the Maxima relates to the Altima sedan. It may seem odd to have so many models right on top of each other in terms of size and price, but Americans bought more than 87,000 Muranos in 2018, an increase of 8.9 percent over 2017. That said, sales are down significantly through June 2019. As before, power comes from a version of Nissan's long-running VQ engine line. This 3.5-liter V6 makes 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, sending power to all four wheels through a continuously-variable transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. Our fully-loaded Platinum model comes with niceties like leather seats with diamond-quilted inserts, ventilated front seats, heated seats both front and rear, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, LED lighting, a Bose audio system, and a 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A base front-wheel-drive Murano S starts at $32,415 with our Murano Platinum tester coming in at $46,420. Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: The Murano is a crossover that isn't confused about its purpose as a comfortable daily driver, but it also doesn't offer anything special to set it apart from the other mid-sizers. Perhaps the most distinctive part about it is the design, yet it's no more eye-catching than similarly stylish competitors like the Edge, Passport and Blazer. In fact, the Murano looks more like a generic crossover than any of those. Comfort is the priority in all facets, and that's probably the way it should be for the buyer Nissan is after here. The semi-aniline leather seats were big pillows that were shockingly great to sit in. There's a dedicated leather pad for your right knee to rest against that is greatly appreciated. Then the armrests on both sides are positioned just right for relaxed driving, soaking up the highway miles. The center armrest actually has a little split in the cushions that acts as a neat little nook/resting place for your elbow and arm. Some may dislike it, but I found that it worked for me. These may seem like no-brainer, small things, but the Murano nails it all, and not every car does. As for the rest of the interior … Nissan has some work to do. Even though this crossover was ever-so-slightly refreshed for 2019, it doesn't feel it on the inside. A clashing mashup of fake wood and silver trim muck up the dash in an attempt at looking luxurious. I appreciate all the physical buttons to control the climate settings and radio, but the steering wheel buttons are incredibly ill-conceived. The most-used control — volume up and down — is just out of your thumb's reach, meaning you have to physically take your hand off the steering wheel to press them. At that point the knob close to your right hand on the dash is easier to use. Then the cruise control "Cancel" button is a difficult stretch at the top on the right side. Pretty much everybody else makes these buttons usable without any sort of trouble like this, so Nissan really needs to get that layout changed. Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I've always liked the looks of the Nissan Murano, and in Platinum trim, this thing is blinged out. I give Nissan credit for really going for it with this sometimes polarizing design. Nissan made the Murano, which was always quirky, into a sleek, futuristic design for the 2015 model year. I think they've pulled it off better than companies like Hyundai and Ford, which have also tried similarly aggressive styles with mixed results. The Murano's prominent grille, angled headlights and long hood make a statement, while the chiseled beltline and raked roofline keep the design mojo going from stem to stern. Some think the Murano is a bit much. It probably is, but it's a risk-taking design in a crowded segment. Road Test Editor Reese Counts: Like so much of Nissan's current lineup, I forgot about the Murano about 10 minutes after I got out of it. It looks ... interesting? I don't know. I don't hate it, but I sure don't love it either. It's certainly more distinct than some of Nissan's other crossovers, but I'm not sure if that's a plus or minus. I do like the engine, or at least I like the power. With everyone going to downsized turbocharged inline-fours, it's good to see Nissan sticking with a naturally-aspirated V6. The VQ is a little uncouth, but I don't think most buyers will mind. Power is relatively smooth, though the CVT saps any bit of joy from the driving experience. It's fine I guess, but, like the Maxima, I don't know or understand who is buying these things. 

Tokyo To Provide Subsidy For Elderly Drivers

Tokyo to provide subsidy for elderly drivers

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is set to launch a subsidy to help prevent accidents involving elderly drivers.

Elderly drivers have recently been involved in a series of traffic accidents across Japan. In many cases, drivers mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brakes.

First Driver's Licenses With Reiwa Era Name Issued

First driver's licenses with Reiwa era name issued

Driver's licenses issued in Japan from Sunday show the new era name of Reiwa for the first time.

Licenses issued or renewed from May 5 have expiration dates that include the name Reiwa. The new era started when Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne on May 1.

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Drivers' Notes Review | Comfortably In The Middle

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport Drivers' Notes Review | Comfortably in the middle

There isn't a whole lot that's new for the Nissan Rogue Sport for the 2019 model year (a light refresh is coming for 2020). But Nissan's two-pronged Rogue strategy (the automaker bundles both the subcompact Rogue Sport and compact Rogue into the same sales figure each month) continues to be popular with consumers. In fact, the dual-headed Rogue ranks as the fourth-best-selling nameplate in America so far in 2019, sitting behind nothing but the Big Three's full-size pickup trucks.

Three trim levels are available — S, SV, and SL. All Rogue Sports are powered by the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that sends 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque to either the front or optionally all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

Drivers' Clothing Rules Revised After Monk's Case

Drivers' clothing rules revised after monk's case

The government of Fukui Prefecture in central Japan has revised a regulation on drivers' clothes, after a Buddhist monk was given a traffic ticket for driving in a robe.

The monk was ticketed in Fukui City last September. Police argued that wearing a robe could impair his driving and was a violation of the prefecture's road traffic laws.

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan Drivers' Notes Review | Cheap And Cheerful

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan Drivers' Notes Review | Cheap and cheerful

The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan received a very minor update for this model year, dropping the iA name (a carryover from the days of Scion) and adding a few trim levels. The car is still based on the Mazda2, a vehicle no longer sold in America. Aside from the badging and the grille, the styling both inside and out is distinctly Mazda. Before, the car was only available in one basic spec (again, a legacy of Scion), but now Toyota is offering three separate trims — L, LE and XLE. All three are still powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four, though only the L and LE are available with manual transmissions. The automatic improves fuel economy by 1 mpg across the board. Standard features on the XLE include leatherette seating, a 7-inch infotainment screen, keyless entry and ignition, and automatic climate control.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The Yaris is one of the stronger, better-looking cars in this diminutive class. It looks far nicer than its predecessors, and the interior is better than expected for this price point. Thanks to its Mazda genetics, the Yaris handles well with a tight chassis and solid steering. It's a tossable little sedan. I was able to get a carseat in back, which was slightly challenging with a car this small but nothing crazy. The Yaris is fun-to-drive, attractive and a decent bargain.

2019 Toyota Prius C Drivers' Notes Review | Sunsetting The C

2019 Toyota Prius C Drivers' Notes Review | Sunsetting the C

The Toyota Prius C was a fine little hatchback when it debuted back in 2012, but time is a cruel mistress. The car has been outdone and outclassed by a myriad of other products, including some from within Toyota's own ranks. It seems the automaker agrees, as it's ditching the model at the end of this model year. Still, you might be able to snag a deal on a spacious and fuel efficient little hatchback if you keep your eyes peeled.

Our tester was a Prius C LE, the top of two available trims. Standard features on this model include LED projector headlights, LED taillights, automatic climate control and navigation. The only two options on our car were Tide Pool Pearl paint for $395 and floormats for another $264. All in, this one stickered for $24,534.

2019 Audi Q8 Drivers' Notes Review | Sharp Dresser

2019 Audi Q8 Drivers' Notes Review | Sharp dresser

The 2019 Q8 is the latest and greatest from Audi, a so-called four-door coupe that was inspired by models like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe. These models trade in a little utility for a heavy dose of style, though the Audi is the least compromised of the trio when it comes to useable space. It's 21 cubic-feet of cargo volume behind the rear seats is roughly the same as the other two, but the way it's packaged allows for a more usable area. Rear visibility and rear headroom are improved, too. That said, new versions of both the X6 and GLE are on their way, so expect to see both of those models make some gains.

Like most Audis, the Q8 shares a lot with other Volkswagen Group models, namely the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. Our tester was the mid-level Premium Plus model. It's $4,000 more than a base Q8 Premium but includes features like 21-inch wheels, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, illuminated door sills, four-zone climate control, ventilated front seats and wireless charging. Other options on this model include $595 for the Daytona Grey paint, the $600 cold weather package and the $2,750 driver assistance package. The latter adds adaptive cruise with traffic jam assist, active lane assist and traffic sign recognition. All in, this Q8 will set you back $79,340.

2019 Lexus Is 350 Awd Drivers' Notes Review | Trouble In Tech Town

2019 Lexus IS 350 AWD Drivers' Notes Review | Trouble in tech town

The third-gen Lexus IS has been on sale since 2013 and has benefited from few updates in the meantime. Our tester was an Atomic Silver IS 350 with all-wheel drive, the most expensive model in the lineup. A base IS 300 (formerly known as the 200t) starts at just under $40,000, though our well-equipped tester toped out at $50,780. Rather than the 300's 2.0-liter turbocharged V6, the IS 350 uses Toyota's tried-and-true 3.5-liter V8 churning out 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That's less than models like the BMW 340i and Mercedes-AMG C43, but still a good amount of grunt.

Options on this car include the $2,365 F Sport package. Changes include accents on the front and rear bumpers, F Sport 5-spoke 18-inch wheels, a digital instrument cluster, perforated leather on the steering wheel, and a few F Sport logos sprinkled throughout. Other options include adaptive lighting for $300, upgraded audio and infotainment system for $2,845, and a heated steering wheel for $150.

2019 Lexus Lx 570 Drivers' Notes Review | Long In The Tooth

2019 Lexus LX 570 Drivers' Notes Review | Long in the tooth

Body-on-frame SUVs like the 2019 Lexus LX 570 might have ruled the market a couple decades ago, but the old-school form factor has given way to smaller, more efficient car-based crossovers. That said, there's still a big market for models like this. Just take a look at the success of the Toyota 4Runner or other luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade or the Ford F-150-based Lincoln Navigator. Crossovers may be more popular, but nothing beats an old-school SUV's chops when it comes to going off-road or towing big cargo.

The Lexus LX is available in two flavors: a five-passenger two-row model and a seven-passenger three-row model. We had a chance to drive both, the first in Michigan and the latter in Oregon. There's a $5,000 difference between the base price on the two models. Both models had the $1,190 Luxury Package (upgraded leather, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row and LX puddle lights). The three-row came with quite a few more options, including a heads-up display, a cool box in the console, a Mark Levinson audio system and a dual-screen rear entertainment system. All in, our two-row tester came out to $88,195 while the three-row would set you back $99,710.