V-8 Wrangler back again, Toyota’s hybrid Tacoma, biggest Mini now EV


2024 Jeep Wrangler: More of everything, even the V-8

Intake: A host of updates are headed the Jeep Wrangler’s way for 2024. Stick with us here: The 2024 Wrangler Rubicon will offer an 8000-pound Warn winch, a 100:1 crawl ratio, and a new Dana 44 HD rear axle that allows you to fit 37-inch (or larger!) tires and tow up to 5000 pounds (up from 3500 in the 2023 model). A 12.3-inch center infotainment screen that features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be offered on all trim levels. Two new models join the fray: a Sport S 4xe, which lowers the entry point to plug-in hybrid Jeep life, and a Rubicon X. The latter is a posh take on the Rubicon, pairing leather upholstery and a premium stereo with 35-inch tires via the Xtreme 35 package ($3995), steel bumpers ($1995), and an integrated off-road camera ($795). There’s a new seven-slot grille on all trims, a new windshield-integrated antenna, 10 new wheel designs, and more. Hybrid Wranglers will now be able to power external devices thanks to four 120-volt outlets with 30 amps of total output that draw from the vehicle’s battery pack. Our favorite tidbit? The 6.4-liter V-8-equipped Wrangler Rubicon 392 will soldier on for at least one more year.

Exhaust: The breadth of the Wrangler portfolio is astounding. Want a fun-looking, open-air pavement cruiser that can scoot about under electric power? The Wrangler can do it. A hell-raising, dirt-flinging desert stormer? It can do that, too. Trail-ready mountain-stomper? Check. — Nathan Petroelje

Mercedes’ GLS SUV gets facelift, off-road tech for 2024

Intake: Mercedes’ big six- or seven-passenger SUV gets a mild makeover for 2024, with a new nose and taillights. Inside, customers can choose from two new leather upholstery options. The range of interior trim finishes has also been revised with new High-Gloss Brown Linden Wood. The “Off-Road Mode” in the GLS turns special controls such as gradient, lateral inclination, compass, and steering angle into a visual experience; thanks to the standard Surround View system with a 360‑degree camera, it offers the “transparent hood” function found on its small GLC sibling and Benz’s electric EQS SUV. When the Off-Road mode is active, the central display shows a virtual view under the front of the vehicle. This enables the driver to recognize obstacles in their path such as large rocks or deep potholes sooner and more easily. The Off-Road Engineering Package, available for the GLS 580 4MATIC, includes an underbody guard and in combination with the SUV’s standard Airmatic suspension, provides 1.2 inches more ground clearance.

Exhaust: The GLS, as luxurious as it is, is prepared to do some work: All-wheel drive and a gear ratio designed for pulling power allow a towing capacity of up to 7716 pounds and a tongue weight of up to 309 pounds. There’s also Trailer Maneuvering Assist and an updated Trailer menu in the central display. The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS goes on sale later this year. — Steven Cole Smith

Toyota Tacoma goes hybrid for 2024

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear tailgate shot

Intake: In this teaser photo released yesterday, we got our first look at the hind end of the all-new 2024 Toyota Tacoma. Of note is the small badge on the lower right-hand portion of the tailgate: i-Force Max, the name for the hybrid system that Toyota uses on the Tacoma’s full-size pickup sibling, the Tundra. The half-ton pairs a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 with a 48-hp, 104 lb-ft AC electric motor fed by a 1.9-kWh nickel-metal battery. While it’s not clear which engine will be used in the Tacoma, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of turbocharged four-cylinder in the engine bay, possibly supplemented with a similar electric setup. The tailgate shown is that of the top-trim, TRD Pro, which may mean that, like the Tundra, only upper trim levels will get the hybrid treatment; lower trims may suffice with just the engine. Toyota has promised more details in the months to come.

Exhaust: The Tacoma has been America’s best-selling midsize pickup for several years running, in part because of the stone-dead reliability that comes from its relatively archaic setup with an older 3.5-liter V-6 and a six-speed automatic. Will the new, more complex setup mar the Tacoma’s rugged image? — Nathan Petroelje

Four year later, badass off-road Atlas spawns … a trim level

Intake: At Chicago, in February, we saw the freshened-but-not-reinvented Atlas. At New York, in April, we meet a little spritz of novelty on top of those 2024-model-year changes: An outdoorsy variant called the Peak Edition. For a yet-undisclosed premium, the Peak Edition adds some cosmetic touches: The smallest wheel size in the Atlas range (18 inches) is painted black and wrapped in all-terrain tires, whose more aggressive texturing adds an air of trail-readiness. Most of the body trim—grille, roof rails, window surrounds, wheel arches—is black, rather than chrome. Inside, you’ll enjoy the faux-leather, ambient lighting, and decorative trim panels brought by the Atlas family’s 2024 freshening, along with a Peak Edition–specific badge on the steering wheel, orange stitching on the seats, and black metallic check patterns on the dash and door inserts. The new trim level is inspired by a 2019 concept based on the pre-freshened Atlas and named Basecamp, but its 1.5-inch lift kit is nowhere to be seen on this production-ready variant.

Exhaust: Peak Atlas, or peak poser? However you feel, you probably hold a strong opinion about vehicles that aspire to outdoorsiness. The 2024 car market, from the hardcore 4x4s of Ford and Jeep to the plastic-fendered family haulers of Subaru and VW, has you pinned. — Grace Houghton

Mini previews all-electric Countryman

2024 Mini Countryman Electric preview

Intake: Mini has offered a first glimpse at its next-generation Countryman, and, if you don’t like change, you should look away now. For a start, the Countryman will be Mini’s first electric-only model, with no gasoline-powered version to be offered. It will also be the first Mini to be built in Germany, and it’s the least “mini” of any Mini yet, having grown by over five inches in length and two inches in height over the outgoing model. On the plus side, from what we can see, despite the colorful camouflage, the new car appears to retain the overall proportions of which Mini fans are so fond. The details are disguised, so final judgment will have to be reserved until the wraps come off. Mini has revealed the car’s electric credentials, however, and they are a huge step forward from those of the limited-but-fun Mini Cooper SE. The Countryman will come in two flavors: the two-wheel drive E offers 191 hp, and the SE ALL4 sends 313 hp to both axles. With a battery capacity of 64.7 kWh, Mini claims a range of 280 miles, although that’s based on Europe’s rather optimistic WLTP cycle. Production begins in November 2023 with deliveries to follow in 2024.

Exhaust: This should be the most eco-friendly Mini ever made. It’s being built at the BMW Group’s “green plant” in Leipzig, which is powered by four massive wind turbines which store electricity in 700 battery packs recycled from BMW i3s. The Countryman’s dashboard steering wheel headliner and floor mats are all made from polyester recycled from PET bottles and carpet remnants, which reduces rubbish going to landfill and cuts carbon emissions. — Nik Berg

Ohio drag strip adds special class to get teenagers off the street

Intake: Edgewater Sports Park is like any other racing venue: It wants exciting and safe racing. This is why the Grandview, Ohio, track wants to attract teen drivers with a new bracket racing class specifically for high school students. The rules outline a class designed for cars that would normally be found in high school parking lots: eligible cars must have DOT street tires and run the quarter-mile strip with an ET (elapsed time) no quicker than 11.60 seconds. Helmets are only required if your car can make a pass quicker than 14 seconds. See the track schedule at Edgewaterrace.com

Exhaust: Since bracket racing is about the driver’s skill and ability to run the exact time they “dial in” at the starting line, rather than a true head-to-head race between the lanes, it is the perfect way to level the playing field here. What better way to get some thrills in Mom’s beige boringmobile? Wait, don’t answer that. — Kyle Smith 


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    Wranglers are really cool. Too bad they have SO many problems over the years, from crummy paint to rusty frames. A friend has had two in this century, including a 2018 Rubicon, and a niece had one, and both people have had seemingly nothing but problems. Online sources tend to echo the experience of my friend and my niece. Off-roading or not did not much matter to the problems: he does not off-road his, while she often did.

    Jeep Wrangler: 74.2 Percent Resale Value (After Five Years)
    The Jeep Wrangler has topped our best resale value list before, and it manages the same feat again for 2022. The average Wrangler will hold onto 74.2 percent of its value after five years, shrugging off depreciation like it shrugs off obstacles on the trail. The Wrangler is the benchmark for off-road SUVs and an icon in its own right. Its prodigious capability makes it easy to overlook its sloppy on-road driving experience. Thanks in part to its high retained values, the Jeep Wrangler won IntelliChoice’s 2022 Best Overall Value Popular Vehicle award.

    Steve, you and Rider79 are talking two different things. The high apparent resale value helps offset those high repair costs–if one sells his Wrangler. I’ve got a friend who owns a Jeep-only repair shop. He is able to keep his staff completely booked just working on Jeeps (primarily Wranglers). Expanded his shop for the second time in less than 10 years.

    That increase in business might be related to the increase in resale value. One doesn’t put good money after bad. They are worth investing in.
    Jeeps are also a very highly modified vehicle keeping the Jeep specialty shops busy.

    I am the proud 1st and only owner of a 2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. It’s the 2-door, stretched version that has been driven a scant 30,000 miles… of pure fun. It was primarily used off-road during hunting seasons.
    I’ve had a few weird issues with “control modules” but the Jeep has even gotten me home on “Limp Mode”. The engine has the ability to keep going at a reduced speed.
    I am constantly offered more than the original price by anyone that knows its true value. We simply won’t part with our baby.

    I’m glad you didn’t rush to add the one line in the press release that said the turbo 2L was getting a stick shift option. Not only did Jeep say otherwise in its own press release, but they’ve reached to at least one website (as far as I know: I don’t search every single one) to say that it’s false and a screw up on their part.

    2024 Wrangler owners: “Thanks, Bronco, for making Stellantis step up and add these improvements to stay competitive with your product!” 😄

    8000-pound Warn winch
    A 100:1 crawl ratio
    Dana 44 HD rear axle that allows you to fit 37-inch (or larger!) tires
    12.3-inch center infotainment screen
    Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
    Rubicon, pairing leather upholstery and a premium stereo with 35-inch tires via the Xtreme 35 package, steel bumpers, and an integrated off-road camera.

    Also, Wrangler owners: “Hey, Bronco owners, don’t you wish you had a plug-in hybrid or a V-8? Or could tow 5,000 pounds?” 😄

    I think it’s awesome that Edgewater is doing bracket racing for High Schooler’s. I wish they had it in the late 90’s when I was in school. I had a dark green 85 caprice with a 350 and welded rear diff. I worked on it at Diamond Oaks, was taking Autobody. Me and my friends called it “The Grennadier” and I thought it was fast. It’s a positive, safe way to get young enthusiasts into drag racing. Great program!:)

    The new Tundra has a V6 with 3,444cc of displacement. Which makes it a 3.4L, of course, not a 3.5L.

    Yeah, I know, nobody likes a know-it-all, but just sayin’.

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