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Lexus GX 460 gets upgraded styling, new features for 2020

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(June 20, 2019) PLANO, Texas — For drivers of the updated 2020 GX 460, being safe and looking stylish on either Rodeo Drive or Imogene Pass is a cinch. And thanks to an all-new available Off-Road Package featuring Multi-Terrain Select, tackling tough terrain is equally as easy. Adding extra peace of mind is GX’s now standard Lexus Safety System+, completing Lexus’ milestone of equipping all models with standard active safety equipment.

2019 Ford Raptor



PHOENIX — When Ford first introduced the F-150 SVT Raptor in 2010, it set a new standard for off-roading that few ever thought possible. It was not only a high-performance truck on the road, like the SVT Lightning it replaced, it was a completely improbable and delightfully flippant “Baja-ready-from-the-factory” high-performance off-road truck.

2020 Jeep Gladiator



SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It’s been 28 years since there’s been a Jeep-branded pickup, the Comanche, sold from 1986 through 1992. As one of the most highly anticipated new vehicles to launch in years the Gladiator finally arrives amid renewed interest in midsize pickups among the likes of Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger entries.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt



MIAMI — Though the electric car may be viewed by some as a recent development, its history dates back well over a century when, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the work of innovators in the 1800s led to the first electric vehicle on the road in the U.S. in 1890. By 1900, electric cars were a popular choice among budding automotive enthusiasts, more convenient than steam-powered vehicles and cleaner and easier to drive than the gasoline-powered versions.

Vehicle of the Week

2019 Toyota 4Runner — An off-road champ



By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Step back in time when the family sport utility vehicle — now known as a crossover utility — was built on a body-on-frame truck platform, was loaded with interior plastic, usually came with a spacious cargo area but tight rear-seat accommodations, and tended to wander on the road without constant inputs from the driver. You can have much of that same experience today at your neighborhood Toyota store. Ask for a test drive in a 2019 4Runner.

Here's the Thing

Traffic fatalities down in 2018 according to early estimate by NHTSA

(June 18, 2019) A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for 2018 shows that an estimated 36,750 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes representing a slight decrease of about 1.0 percent as compared to the 37,133 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Preliminary data shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2018 increased by about 12.2 billion miles, or about a 0.4-percent increase. The fatality rate for 2018 was 1.14 fatalities per 100 million VMT, down from 1.16 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2017.

Gas prices dropping fast as summer driving season heats up

(June 18, 2019) The national average of a gallon of gas dropped six cents on the week, following a consistent downward trend since Memorial Day. The decline is unusual for this time of year. Pump prices usually trickle higher during the summer months due to increased demand, according to AAA.

Tire expert explains why drivers shouldn't use winter tires in summer

(June 17, 2019) NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There’s nothing like driving a set of responsive winter tires when conditions turn cold and dangerous. Indeed, in many parts of North America it’s vital to rely on a set of winter or all-weather tires, whose softer compounds safeguard drivers in snow, ice and cold.

But once the snow and ice melt and summer heat sets in, those same tires can be major liabilities. The very compounds crafted to make tires safe in winter conditions aren’t built to withstand heat or consistently wet roads.

Inside the Industry

Ford reuses millions of plastic bottles for carpets

(June 19, 2019) BRENTWOOD, Essex, UK — Ford has found a clever way of reusing millions of plastic bottles. Each EcoSport SUV that the company produces is fitted with carpets made using 470 single-use plastic drink bottles.

And since Ford launched the EcoSport globally in 2012, it has provided a new lease of life for more than 650 million 16.9 ounce bottles, weighing an estimated 9,104 tons and that — if laid end to end — would stretch more than twice around the world.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder gain more power

(June 19, 2019) ATLANTA — Developed by the Porsche Motorsport department, the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder represent the most powerful and engaging variants of the 718 line-up yet created. Offering a blend of pure, unfiltered driver’s car character and track-oriented performance, both models are powered by a new 4.0-liter naturally-aspirated flat-six engine developing 414 horsepower and 309 lb.-ft. of torque.

An entirely new sport exhaust system designed specifically for the car underscores the exciting flat-six sound of the engine, which can rev up to 8,000 rpm.

Aston Martin Valhalla continues V car tradition

(June 18, 2019) NEW YORK — Formerly identified by its codename AM-RB 003, Aston Martin’s latest mid-engined hypercar collaboration with Red Bull Advanced Technologies and Adrian Newey has been officially named the Aston Martin Valhalla. Named after the warrior’s paradise celebrated in ancient Norse mythology, Valhalla follows Valkyrie on Aston Martin’s journey into the highest echelons of road car performance.

Abandoned Car of the Week

Paris Springs Sinclair and an old Packard



An old Sinclair gas station has been restored and turned into a Route 66 attraction in the village of Paris Springs Junction, Mo. The gas station, which was established in 1926 on the Chicago to Los Angeles highway, is now a tourist stop on the old route and contains some artful displays of old cars. One of those displays features a 1952 Packard that is being worked on by a "thirsty" mechanic.
(Photo by Jim Meachen)