Tag Archives: desert

1986 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Review

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In the eighties, Toyota wanted to replicate the success of its Land Cruiser SUV but in a smaller and more affordable package. Cue the 4Runner which debuted in mid-1984 as a 1985 model. Instead of developing an entirely new model like the Land Cruiser, Toyota used the Hilux chassis to create the 4Runner (sold as the Hilux Surf in other countries).  The first generation was nothing more than a pickup truck with a roof over the bed. The purpose of the 4Runner was to provide the versatility and the go anywhere ability of the Hilux truck while giving the comfort and utility expected of an SUV. I reviewed a third generation, a 1997 4Runner which was the first generation to be built as a separate model, not sharing any body parts or frames with the Hilux. I liked it very much, but I never really thought of reviewing the original 4Runner at all. I asked my friend if I could review his old Volvo 242 or something like that. It was a really cool old Volvo in burgundy and with a manual transmission. However, when I contacted him, he sold it and got this 4Runner. How could I say no to reviewing the original 4Runner with only two doors and a manual transmission?

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1986 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Teaser

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Review coming soon!

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2007 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Review

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There are many things that I do not understand about the world: the existence of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the difference between turtles and turquoises, and why everybody is obsessed with the Jeep Wrangler. Don’t get me wrong; the Wrangler’s cool factor is sky high, and there’s no manlier car than a Wrangler. But what perplexes me is why everybody has to have one. The Wrangler has a long history that dates back to the 1940s, but it wasn’t till the later generations that the Wrangler became popular. The 1997-2006 TJ generation (Wranglers’ generations are classified by code names) that I reviewed back in December was a fun and supremely capable off roading machine, but as a SUV overall, it was way too compromised to make me want one. The TJ was loved by only the diehard off roading enthusiasts and some individuals of the general population. But when the redesigned Wrangler debuted in 2007 (code named JK), all of a sudden everybody wanted one. The JK generation featured many new firsts that were not previously available with the previous generations. This generation offered a four door body style dubbed “Unlimited”,  its first ever navigation option, power windows, and remote locks. Despite its popularity in my hometown, I never got the chance to review this generation. The reason being is that if I am going to review a Wrangler, it better be a two door and a manual. Sadly, the increase in the Wrangler’s popularity also correlates to more consumers buying the Unlimited with an automatic transmission. But this summer, I finally got the chance to review a proper Wrangler in two door configuration with a stick.

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2013 Mercedes-Benz E550 Convertible Review

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People say that summertime is the best time to drive a convertible, and they would be right. I don’t usually like convertibles, but driving with the top down on a mountain road certainly sounds appealing, which brings me to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E550 Convertible. The E-Class’s ancestry heralds back to the 1953 “Ponton” sedan, but it was not until the fifth generation that a convertible body style was added to the E-Class’s lineup. The next generation did not have a coupe or convertible body style, and the CLK model was introduced as a replacement. Funny thing that even though it was styled to resemble the E-Class, it was actually based off the C-Class. I had the opportunity to review a 2008 CLK350 Convertible, and while it was a nice car, it wasn’t anything special. The CLK was discontinued in 2009, right when the E-Class was redesigned. Now in its eighth generation, the E-Class’s lineup brought back the coupe and convertible body style.

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2010 Porsche Panamera S Review

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As a company known for making only sports cars, Porsche shocked the automotive industry when it introduced its first ever SUV, the Cayenne, in 2003. This move upset Porsche purists who believed that Porsche was selling out, and that it should stick to making sports cars only. However, money speaks for itself. The Porsche Cayenne was an instant success, and it quickly became Porsche’s best selling vehicle (still is). It makes sense. Consumers were ditching minivans and sedans for the SUV, and prioritize a high driving position and the SUV image. When you put the Porsche badge on the type of vehicle in demand, you get an instant success. After the Cayenne, Porsche wanted to expand its company. They came up with the idea of a performance sedan that would take on BMW and Mercedes-Benz. As usual, this incited rage from Porsche purists, and it did not help that an automatic transmission would be the only transmission available in the US. When the Panamera debuted in 2010, it was criticized for its styling. But it had the Porsche badge on a practical sedan. Like the Cayenne, it also became an instant success. I have always wanted to drive a Porsche Panamera ever since it came out just to see if it did drive like a Porsche. Fun fact about this car: this Panamera was the third model sold in America, and it was ordered a year before it was delivered.

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 300E 2.6 Review

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The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been around since the late 1950s to 1960s. Adhering to Mercedes-Benz’s W-naming convention for their models, the first E-Class model, the W120 “Ponton”, debuted in 1953. It was noted for its stylish body and its first rate engineering. Fast forward to the fourth generation E-Class, which became the most successful Mercedes-Benz model to date. Over 2.6 million of these were built from 1976-1986. Fast forward to the eighth generation, and the E-Class is now known as a true luxury sedan. I had the opportunity to review a 2014 E350, and my findings were that it was a capable and nice sedan. However, my friend came to me with an interesting car to review: a 1990 300E (in 1993, Mercedes-Benz used a new different naming system where the models would be called the  E-Class). He has one of the best jobs a car fanatic can dream of: a BMW dealership valet and delivery driver. He gets to drive cars that only I can dream of. Lamborghini Aventador? Check. Mercedes C63 AMG? Check. Rolls Royce? Check. And many more. Strangely, he said he loves his 300E more than any of those cars. Now that intrigued me, so I had to see why. This generation is dubbed as the W124 which lasted from 1985 to 1996 with a refresh in 1993. While I am not a fan of the latest Mercedes-Benzes, I have always liked the old ones for their elegant design and faultless engineering.

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2014 Ford F-350 Platinum Review

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As part of the F-Series, the F-350 officially came into existence in the  1953-1956 second generation F-Series (1st generation was the F-3). It was not till the tenth generation of the F-Series that the Super Duty trucks were introduced. Before the Super Duty, anything other than a F-150 had a “heavy load” version which came with heavy duty mechanicals and axles. In 1999, the Super Duty trucks were created as to differentiate the F-150 from the larger trucks. From this point on, the F-150 and the Super Duty trucks were separate models while still being part of the F-Series. As of 2014, that remains true. Continue reading

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