The FJ Cruiser has fun written all over it. Retro styling evokes Toyota's legendary FJ40 from the halcyon days of the 1960s. This thoroughly modern edition is built atop a shortened 4Runner frame employing a 4.0-liter V-6 and 5-speed automatic transmission with 4x2 or part-time 4x4. Selecting the 6-speed manual gearbox nets full-time awd with a locking center differential. The FJ's clamshell side doors aid rear seat access. A Trail Teams Special Edition, now offered in Radiant Red, features Bilstein shocks, Active Traction Control, 10-speaker JBL sound, floating ball multi-information display and unique cabin trim. Convenience, Upgrade, Off-Road and TRD packages along with individual options enable buyers to build the FJ of their dreams.
Toyota's curvaceous crossover now comes in a choice of three trim levels. The LE replaces the former base model while gaining standard heated mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. Moving up to the midrange XLE adds leather trim, Smart Key with push-button start, a backup camera and power tailgate. Carryover 2.7-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V-6 engines team with front- or all-wheel drive. The flagship Limited V-6 has standard navigation, panoramic sunroof, JBL Synthesis sound with satellite radio, USB/iPod port and Bluetooth streaming audio. Option packages enable these features to be added to the XLE. Designed at Toyota's Calty Southern California studios, the Venza continues to deliver a smooth, carlike ride with SUV-style cargo capacity.
The Volvo XC90 offers classic Volvo attributes in a midsize SUV. An IIHS Top Safety Pick several years running it's safe, comfortable, and practical.
The XC90 seats up to seven people. Rear and front passenger seats fold down to provide more cargo room. A second-row child booster seat is standard equipment. The 240-hp 3.2-liter inline-six is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive, matched with a Geartronic six-speed automatic transmission, allowing driver selectable shifting. When equipped for towing it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth are standard features. Safety features include electronic stability control, side-impact and side curtain airbags, Roll Stability Control, Blind Spot Information System, and all-disc anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.
As the Touareg was heavily revised for 2011 (larger, lighter, more refined), not much changes with VW’s SUV this year. The new Touareg Sport with Navigation model has an 8-in. color touchscreen and a 60-gig hard drive. The VR6 and TDI models get a touchscreen radio with an in-dash 6-CD player. As before, the base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6, plus a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 (that gets 28 mpg on the highway!) and a hybrid powertrain that blends excellent performance with great economy. The hybrid system mates a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with an electric motor fed by nickel-metal hybrid batteries. This pricey ($61,110) Touareg Hybrid can travel at speeds of up to 30 mph on electricity alone before the gasoline engine automatically kicks in.
R&T Overview:As we’ve seen, a sporty SUV is by no means an oxymoron. And who better to produce such a beast than one of the first SUV manufacturers, Land Rover. The Range Rover Sport comes in three trim levels: the HSE, the HSE Lux and the top-line Supercharged model. The HSE is impressively equipped with park assist, keyless entry, interior mood lighting, 8-way power seats for both driver and passenger, Bluetooth connectivity and navigation all as standard equipment. The HSE Lux comes with higher-spec heated leather seats that offer memory settings for the driver. The Supercharged comes with a stomping 510-bhp supercharged V-8, perforated leather seats with contrasting-color stitching on the seats and armrests as well as darker grille and side vents.