Toyota 4runner Trd Off-road Suspension Flex Test | How Does Kdss Work And What Does It Do?

Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Suspension Flex Test | How does KDSS work and what does it do?

You've seen this particular Toyota 4Runner before because it was the subject of the first Suspension Deep Dive I wrote for Autoblog. It's still hanging around my driveway and available to make the occasional repeat appearance because, well, it's mine. I chose the TRD Off-Road for a couple of reasons, some of which will come into play on my Flex Index ramp.

First, it's the only model other than the TRD Pro that comes with a push-button locking rear differential, electronic crawl control and multi-terrain select. Second, it can cost as much as $10,000 less than a TRD Pro, particularly if you're content with cloth seating and no sunroof, as I am. I used some of the money I saved to buy the third item: an option called KDSS, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. Importantly, this clever option can only be fitted to a TRD Off-Road; it's not even available on the TRD Pro.

2020 Mazda Mx-5 Miata Rf Road Test | Automatic Transmission, Performance, Roof

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Road Test | Automatic transmission, performance, roof

Somewhere in Hiroshima, a parade of nearly finished Miatas glides along a track waiting to receive their beating hearts, the powertrains that'll let them ply their road-carving talents the world over. One – let's call him Fred – is eager to begin his new life as a 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata, bringing joy to his future owner and just generally being awesome, even if the RF power targa-ish roof that's already been applied to him is a tad dweeby. Visions of hairpins and power slides and expertly executed heal-toe downshifts dance in his head … and then it happens. He is given the one thing every new Miata dreads: an automatic transmission. Poor guy.

This will not, entirely at least, be yet another diatribe in the ongoing Quixotic campaign to Save the Manuals(!). Automatic transmissions can be quite good and even beneficial in sports cars, especially on the track where removing the need to operate a clutch and expertly execute those heal-toe downshifts lets you better focus on the steering, what the chassis is doing and just going faster. That the computers can shift quicker than you can is another obvious advantage.

2020 Toyota Rav4 Trd Off-road | Road Trip, Fuel Economy, Comfort

2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road | Road trip, fuel economy, comfort

This 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road would spend more time on boats than off road. The Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail tires would be more noteworthy for their elevated road noise than their puncture resistant design or severe snow rating. My selection from the Multi-Terrain Select system among Mud & Sand, Rock & Trail and Snow was always "none of the above." Admittedly, then, driving from Portland, Ore., to Victoria and Vancouver, B.C. with a few ferry trips along the way is hardly a tall task for the RAV4's new, most-rugged trim level.

Part of me knows this is a bit lame (or a lot), but the rest knows that if you're really game for serious off-roading, no amount of upgrades to a RAV4 will make it a great choice. You'll find better approach/departure angles and a 4WD Low setting in a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, while a used 4Runner would be the obvious Toyota alternative for similar money. That said, the new-for-2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road has plenty of appeal, especially for folks who like the idea of a rugged, off-road ready SUV but know that A) they're unlikely to take it off-road much and B) appreciate the RAV4's superior fuel economy and family-friendly space. Basically, folks like myself.

2019 Subaru Forester Long-term Update | Road Trip Down South

2019 Subaru Forester Long-Term Update | Road trip down south

Our 2019 Subaru Forester long-term tester is rounding second base in its stay at Autoblog's Michigan HQ, yet the blue-painted, gold-wheeled crossover hadn't left the Midwest throughout its first six months here, so I sought to change that by taking it down to New Orleans. The goal: Determine if the Forester is a good road trip car. Of course, my girlfriend and I also wanted to go to Mardi Gras, but either way, we were in for some long days of driving.

There are a few umbrella categories a vehicle should excel in to make a vacation and road trip better for all involved. For me, those include comfort, utility and its driver assistance systems.

2020 Honda Cr-v Touring Road Trip Drive | Checking Out The Changes For 2020

2020 Honda CR-V Touring Road Trip Drive | Checking out the changes for 2020

Over the past two decades, the Honda CR-V has embodied Honda's reputation for building durable, comfortable and user-friendly family cars that don't require a ton of unscheduled attention (aside from a brief hiccup with transmission reliability). As it has slowly become the automaker's bread-and-butter model, Honda's product planners have put correspondingly increased effort and resources toward keeping the CR-V fresh and competitive.

For the 2020 Honda CR-V, Honda tweaked the styling, added features and simplified its engine offerings in what is the first significant update since this generation dawned for the 2017 model year. There's also a new hybrid offering for those OK paying a Honda a bit more so they can pay oil companies less.  

Subaru Helps Drivers Keep Their Eye On The Road With Driverfocus

Subaru helps drivers keep their eye on the road with DriverFocus

Transcript: This safety tech keeps you focused on the road. Subaru's DriverFocus distraction mitigation system is one of the first technologies of its kind. It's designed to help detect distracted or drowsy driving. DriverFocus uses facial recognition and biometrics. A driver-facing camera keeps a digital eye on the driver and will chime if it notices you taking your eyes off the road. DriverFocus will also recognize the faces of up to 5 drivers and keep driver profiles. The system will welcome you and move your seat to your desired setting. DriverFocus comes standard in the Subaru Forester Touring Edition.

 

Toyota Bringing Off-road Variants To Chicago Auto Show

Toyota bringing off-road variants to Chicago Auto Show

Toyota has just released a teaser image for the Chicago Auto Show, and it should get the attention of off-roaders. It shows a tan Toyota Tacoma cruising through a dirt road, indicating that the company has off-road variants coming. While the image suggests a Tacoma, it won't just be the midsize pickup getting special or updated models. The company released a statement alongside the image: "The forecast for the Windy City looks sporty and outdoorsy,  with a touch of nocturnal mischief as Toyota debuts new variants to the portfolio." We're rather curious about the "nocturnal" part. There may be some new lighting features on some of the off-road models. Toyota introducing rugged or special-edition trucks and SUVs at the Chicago Auto Show is becoming something of a tradition. Last year it brought the RAV4 TRD Off-Road, Land Cruiser Heritage Edition, Sequoia TRD Pro and updated Tacoma. The year before that featured a bunch of TRD Pro updates.

Toyota 4runner Trd Off-road Suspension Deep Dive

Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Suspension Deep Dive

The 2020 Toyota 4Runner represents the 11th year of a fifth-generation design that debuted as a 2010 model. So it's not new, but that also doesn't stop it from being more successful than ever. Sales have been on the rise every year since, with a notable spike in 2015 after it got a minor facelift and a freshened dashboard. There were welcome tech updates for 2020. However, nothing much has changed on the mechanical side in all of that time. Why is that? The answer has two parts. The competition has morphed into crossovers, leaving the 4Runner as one of the last truck-based SUVs standing. It's also legendary in its own right when it comes to off-road performance and durability. Instagrammers and Overlanders, as well as those who follow Overlanders on Instagram, seem to be magnetically drawn to it. The one that best encapsulates this vibe is the TRD Off-Road (known as the Trail before 2017), a thoughtfully-equipped model that occupies the second rung in the price ladder. There's no doubt the TRD Pro is a nice piece, but the TRD-Off Road is far less expensive, much easier to find, and it still has the same locking rear differential, Crawl Control, and the Multi Terrain Select traction control optimization system. Sure, you won't get the Pro's knobbier tires and tricky shocks, but you can replicate both in the aftermarket and still have a good chunk of money left over. And the TRD Off-Road offers a potent option you can't get on the Pro: KDSS, the Kinematic Dynamic Suspension System. Let's take a deep dive into the suspension of a 4Runner TRD Off-Road with KDSS. The 4Runner's front suspension is very similar to that of the Toyota Tacoma, the dearly departed FJ Cruiser and even the Lexus GX. All of the parts aren't necessarily interchangeable, but they all use a double wishbone layout with coil-over shocks that is functionally the same. It takes five links to locate a wheel in space, but each use of an A-shaped wishbone counts as two. Front suspensions obviously need to turn, so the fifth link is always the steering linkage (yellow arrow). This one is mounted ahead of the front axle, a position that is generally thought to be superior. It's also easy to execute when the engine is mounted longways, as it is in trucks and truck-based SUVs like the 4Runner.   The upper wishbone is mounted high, a position that reduces the load on the arm and its bushings, and makes it easier to optimize steering and camber geometry. Here the pivot axis is angled steeply down toward the rear, an arrangement that produces an anti-dive effect that works against the tendency for nose-dive under braking.   The lower wishbone (yellow) is hard to see here because every system wants a piece of it. The coil-over shock (green) bolts to it after it necks down to sneak past the driveshaft, but the elephant in the room is the massive and weird-looking front stabilizer bar (red) running along the front edge. Most 4Runners (and all Tacomas) have a smaller front stabilizer bar that loops over the top of the steering to connect with the open hole (blue) in the steering knuckle via a linkage. But this 4Runner has KDSS, which features a larger bar that runs along the front of the lower wishbone and is attached to it directly with an unusual bushing and clamp arrangement. You want KDSS whether you're going off-road or not. The system is essentially a pair of fatter stabilizer bars that are better at suppressing body roll (and upset stomachs) on winding roads. But such high roll stiffness is usually terrible off-road, where wheel articulation is king. The magic of KDSS is that it can sense these situations and let the bars go limp and effectively "disappear" at the opportune moment without driver intervention. The direct bolt-on mounting we see here is central to the way it works.   Normally, stabilizer pivot points are fixed rigidly to the frame and the links that connect to the moving suspension elements are out on the free ends. But you can switch that around if you attach the bar ends to the suspension directly. Here the KDSS stabilizer bar's pivot points are floating on links, with an entirely rigid one on the passenger side (yellow) and a hydraulic cylinder (green) on the driver side. The hydraulic side stays rigid on paved roads, and that holds the bar's pivot axis firmly in space so the stabilizer can offer twisting resistance to counteract vehicle roll in corners. Moguls and other lumpy off-road terrain causes the cylinder to go limp, and that allows this corner of the bar to move up and down freely. This action destroys the bar's ability to generate any roll stiffness, which is a boon to off-road wheel articulation. The end result is the same as the push-button stabilizer bar disconnect system on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, but the method is entirely different and there's no button to push. But it's more than that. The ability to disconnect a stabilizer bar means you can mount a fatter one in the first place, and that's why a KDSS 4Runner corners flatter on winding roads and is better able to handle, say, a rooftop tent than a non-KDSS 4Runner. That same KDSS 4Runner will also articulate better when driven off-road despite its bigger stabilizer bars. There are downsides. KDSS costs $1,750. It comes with a front skidplate that hangs down a little more to allow for the expanding motion of the front strut. There's also a limit to how much you can lift a KDSS 4Runner. Estimates vary, but 2 inches seems to be the maximum.   The front bump stop is a rubber chunk that gets squished into the lower wishbone. Those concentric cuts help to make the engagement a bit more progressive, but the specific reason for the pebbly texture escapes me. If I had to guess, I'd say noise reduction.   All 4Runners come with sizable front brakes that consist of ventilated front rotors and 4-piston fixed calipers. They employ an open window design, which means a routine brake pad change is a simple matter of removing a pair of pins (yellow) and pulling the pads straight out. As ever, you'll have to unbolt and remove the caliper if the rotor needs attention.   The rear suspension of the 4Runner uses coil springs and a solid rear axle located by five links. The FJ Cruiser used a similar arrangement, but the Tacoma looks totally different back here because it uses leaf springs. That prominent bellows indicates another KDSS hydraulic cylinder, but the spare tire is in the way and needs to be cleared out before we can see very much detail.   A five-link axle mounting system should have two links per side, but we can only see one of them (yellow) here. Both would be clearly visible if this were a Ram 1500 or Jeep Gladiator. Instead we see a prominent outboard-mounted shock absorber, a placement that makes them more effective and allows them to nestle up to the tires where they're less likely to be snagged by trailside rocks. They're also ridiculously easy to access if you want to swap them out.   Each side's elusive "missing link" can be found inboard of the coil spring and just above the axle housing. We're now up to four.   There are bump stops, and then there are bump stops. The blocky one (yellow) is the actual bump stop. Its cupped shape hugs the axle itself without need for a flat landing pad, and the small void is there to soften the initial blow. There's also a structure within the coil spring itself, but this is more of a rubber secondary spring (green) than a bump stop. This gives the rear suspension a dual-rate function that comes into play when the vehicle is loaded. Toyota engineers shy away from progressive coil springs because of durability and noise concerns, so they chose this route instead.   Link number five is easy to see with the spare tire absent. It's a lateral panhard rod that keeps the axle from moving left and right. The fixed end (yellow) is attached to the frame and the moving end (green) is connected to the axle. Longer is better here, because a big swing radius reduces the amount of left-right translation that will occur as the link moves through its arc. For the same reason, it's even more critical for it to start out level at rest. The slight rise apparent here will almost certainly disappear with a couple of people on board.   The KDSS rear stabilizer is hard to miss with the spare tire out of the way. As in the front, the bar ends are fixed to the suspension and the pivot points seem to float. The passenger side pivot link (yellow) is always rigid and the driver side link is a hydraulic strut (green) that can either be rigid or limp depending on whether the vehicle is cornering on asphalt or riding the moguls off-road. The fact that it's back here at all is unique because most stabilizer bar disconnect systems only work at the front. KDSS, on the other hand, actually needs to be present at both ends for it to work at all. When cornering, the front and rear KDSS struts are "in phase" and both experience either compression or tension at the same time. The pressure is balanced, and so the pistons within the struts don't move. Moguls put the system in "opposite phase" in which one end is in compression while the other experiences tension. This large pressure differential allows the struts to move freely. The bars wobble about like a table with a short leg, but they can't generate any roll resistance.   The rear brakes are of two minds. The primary stopping power comes from a solid disc and a single-piston sliding caliper. But the rotor also has a deep "hat" section (yellow) that indicates the presence of a drum parking brake.   The TRD Off-Road rolls on 17x7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels and P265/70R16 tires. That translates to 31.5 inches tall in old money, but the combination isn't light. Lift with your knees. The 4Runner stands apart in a world that is increasingly dominated by crossovers. The suspension we just examined is a big part of its appeal, not only in concept but also in Toyota's dedication to the design details that make it a legitimate performer off-road. But the 4Runner will soon have company. The Ford Bronco will return this year, and all indications point to a layout that is similar to the venerable 4Runner. Will it stack up well against the Toyota? The answer is only a few months away. Contributing writer Dan Edmunds is a veteran automotive engineer and journalist. He worked as a vehicle development engineer for Toyota and Hyundai with an emphasis on chassis tuning, and was the director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com (no relation) for 14 years.

A Man Arrested For Firing Air Gun In Road Rage

A man arrested for firing air gun in road rage

Police in Japan have arrested a 40-year-old man suspected of firing an air gun in an apparent road rage incident earlier this month.

Tatsuhiko Sato was arrested on Saturday morning in the city of Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, on suspicion of damaging property. He turned himself in to police.

A Road Trip Review Of The 2019 Honda Passport

A road trip review of the 2019 Honda Passport

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — The 2019 Honda Passport is aimed squarely at someone like me. I turned 30 the weekend I had the Honda, and we decided to go camping in western Michigan to celebrate. Like any millennial couple pulled from an advertising department's demographics, we don't have kids but we do have a couple of dogs. After a weekend away, we say that Honda nailed it. The Passport isn't perfect, but it might be perfect for my family. And it might just replace our old CR-V when the time comes. Autoblog has already spent a good bit of time in the 2019 Passport, which is essentially a two-row Honda Pilot with a slightly sportier demeanor – off-roading in Moab, and later on a long road trip through Oregon. As West Coast Editor James Riswick put it, the Passport is an exercise in design, taking a competent but bland crossover and transforming it into a sharp SUV with some real presence. All it takes is a few tweaks, the most notable of which are the 6.2 inches cut out of the Pilot's rear and the 0.8-inch increase in ride height. It's handsome, though the Passport is still not nearly as tough-looking as a Toyota 4Runner or Jeep Wrangler. That said, the interior is a far more comfortable place to be than either of those vehicles. Honda does interior packaging better than nearly anyone, and so the Passport is clean and hugely functional, with tons of pockets in the doors and a huge bin in the center console. The missing third row means there's a large storage area under the rear floor, making up for much of the lost cargo area versus the Pilot. We packed enough for a weekend, but the Passport could have swallowed a month's worth of our gear. The rear is wide enough for a dog bed so they can relax in the shade while we camp. My only real complaint about the interior is that the cupholders aren't large enough to pass the Nalgene test, a strange oversight for a vehicle aimed at adventure seekers. Not that our weekend away could be called adventurous. Located on a blueberry farm, our tent was nicer than most cabins, with toilets and showers behind a wall. We had power outlets (I had originally planned to use one of the multiple outlets in the Passport) to charge our phones and decent cell service the entire time. We parked near our tent and spent the evening drinking wine, eating pie and making s'mores with the proprietor and other fellow glampers. If we hadn't already tackled Moab, I'd feel I was doing the Passport a bit of a disservice.   But the thing is, the Passport is made for weekends like this. The roads to the farm were dirt and gravel, with bits where the extra ground clearance helped, but it wasn't remotely challenging. I just wanted to pack a bunch of stuff in the rear, including my bicycles and my dogs, and take a weekend away. Like most buyers, I didn't need anything more than the Passport offered. For the few that do, the real 4x4 SUVs are an option. It may seem disingenuous to compare the Passport with the Wrangler or 4Runner, but that's what Honda signed up for when it decided to go after the active lifestyle crowd. With less extreme off-road capability but just as able to tote kayaks or snowboards, the Passport represents an arguably more realistic interpretation of buyers' needs. It's a much more livable proposition than those body-on-frame SUVs, with generally superior fuel economy, better ride and handling, and a more functional interior. The Passport also feels lightyears ahead of more direct competition like the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge and Chevy Blazer. Those vehicles can't match the Passport's utility or refinement, going high on style but missing out on substance. They're also not as adventure-oriented. The powertrain is smooth and quiet, and Honda seems to have worked out most of the kinks with its often frustrating nine-speed automatic. That said, there was the occasional hiccup while searching for the right gear. Honda is also still cursed with one of the worst adaptive cruise control systems on the market. It's far too cautious, leaving huge gaps and tapping the brakes when someone inevitably fills the space. We had the same issue in our long-term Honda Ridgeline. My advice: turn it off and just use the traditional cruise control. The Passport starts at $33,085, in the same ballpark as the competition and about $7,500 more than a base Honda CR-V. Our tester was a fully-loaded blue over grey Elite model. For $44,725 you get features like heated and ventilated leather seats, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, tri-zone climate control, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, taillights and fog lights, and safety features blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. A base Jeep Wrangler $33,040, though that's a barebones model with a soft top and a manual transmission. The entry-level Toyota 4Runner SR5 is a little more expensive at $35,155. If it's not obvious by now, I really dig the Passport. The things it does well — interior packaging, comfortable ride, a smooth V6 and a sharp design — it does just as well as any other leader in its class. My wife and dogs loved it, too, as it's a far more comfortable place for passengers than some of the competition. I wish the Passport delivered more on its pretense of off-road prowess, but as noted earlier the capability it does offer is more than adequate for realistic needs. When it comes time to replace her CR-V, I think I know what we'll be shopping.

More Details Emerge In Road Rage Incident

More details emerge in road rage incident

A man arrested on suspicion of beating another man on an expressway in eastern Japan reportedly says he did it because the victim hit his car.

Police say 43-year-old Fumio Miyazaki punched a 24-year-old man out of rage after forcing the victim to stop.

Man Arrested For Road-rage Assault

Man arrested for road-rage assault

Police in Japan have arrested a man on a national wanted list who is suspected of forcibly stopping a car and beating the driver on a highway.

Police say they arrested Fumio Miyazaki, whose address and occupation are unknown, on Sunday in Osaka, western Japan, on suspicion of causing injury.