This Land Cruiser May Be the Best-Looking SUV Ever

The Toyota Land Cruiser, with more than 50 years of history, remains one of the best-looking SUVs on the road.

Maybe that statement doesn’t include the most modern versions, but the classic Land Cruisers, up to model year 2007, were commanding and exotic. Bulky but grand. Stately and grandiose.

The early ones, as in the 1960 through 1984 models, are fully fledged collector’s items and resemble the classic Jeep Wrangler. Properly restored, those older models can demand a pretty penny on the collector’s market.

As far as modern Cruisers go, the 100 Series is, to my eye, the best-looking SUV on the road that doesn’t wear an Audi badge. There’s something special about that retro boxiness.

Even if you’re not a fan of Cruisers, it’s worth checking out this updated 1981 FJ40 Series and ogling the modern awesomeness it has become. Continue reading >>>

What Full-Size SUV Would You Buy for Under $8,000?

There’s been a dilemma at my house this week. Every time I step out the door and need to take a bevy of children to lacrosse practice or Costco or wherever else our daily adventures lead, I’m faced with a choice between two vehicles:

A 2004 Chevy Tahoe or a 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Only the Toyota is mine. The Tahoe is on loan for the week. Both offer room for five kids and two adults (three of the kids are, like the Tahoe, on loan for the week) with just enough room to spare for some practice equipment and changes of clothes.

Neither SUV offers the cutting-edge technology or panache of modern versions of the Tahoe and Land Cruiser, but their affordability and work-a-holic attitudes make either one a solid choice for a buyer who needs a full-size SUV but has the budget for a used Civic. Continue reading >>>

Yes, These Cars Still Exist!

2016_ford_expedition

Sometimes the past has a sneaky way of catching up with you.

You’ll be motoring around, singing a happy song, when you notice something you haven’t seen since 1999. Except instead of looking how it did in 1999, it looks strangely modern. This is what happened to me recently when I got passed on the highway by a brand new Ford Expedition, complete with a temporary dealer license plate.

The last new Expedition I can recall seeing was from the late 1990s or early 2000s and it hadn’t occurred to me that Ford still makes them. Here we are, two decades after the Expedition was first introduced, and it’s still chugging down the production line.

But the old Ford isn’t the only car to remain in existenc long after some of us have forgotten it.

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10 Cars to Buy When You Get Promoted

2007 Bentley Continental Flying Spur

Hard work pays off. With luck, you’ll get out of a job what you put into it. If you’re a hardworking person, you’ll likely receive an opportunity to move up in the world. So maybe you’re moving on to something new, or you’re replacing someone who has left a position above you. Either way, moving up can be pretty awesome. So with your newly accepted promotion, you’ll want to spend your more generous new wages appropriately. So why not buy a new car, something that will really show the world your hard work has paid off (literally). People often say “you should dress for the job you want.” So why not drive a car for the job you want?

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Old, Heavy and Brutish: Classic SUVs Reach Collectible Status

1972 International Scout II

A friend in college had an old International Scout. I don’t remember for sure, but I think it was a 1972 model with a V8 engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. I’d probably remember the car in much more detail had I ridden in it more than once. In 3 years of living near this guy, the Scout sat outside his apartment in various states of being, well, assembled. He’d get it running occasionally, but never well enough to take it any farther than the closest Safeway for an emergency PBR run.

I sometimes wonder what happened to my friend and his Scout. As much as he loved that brutish SUV, I can’t imagine he would have gotten rid of it. Assuming a marriage and kids and a mortgage became part of his life, it’s quite likely he did sell it.

I hope he’s held on to it, as its value has risen over the last 15 years. Right along with the demand for other classic SUVs.

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Three Land Barges: Infiniti QX56, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator

Infiniti QX56

The price of gas is rising to $5.00 and beyond, yet sales of large SUVs are up in the double digits.

In terms of increase, the Infiniti QX56 (above) has been leading the pack, with year-to-date sales up 29.6 percent! How do you figure that? It is easily the ugliest new car on the road; it’s a “dressed-up truck…ultimately assembled from Nissan’s mainline parts bin”; it handles like a pig and costs $75,000 as tested. The new Toyota Land Cruiser starts at $78,000.

The continued popularity of luxury SUVs never ceases to amaze. Sales of big trucks and SUVs were up about 15 percent in February, so the rising cost of gas doesn’t seem to be a factor.

The major reason, in my opinion: “The wealthiest 20% of Americans account for the major share of new vehicle spending, and are less affected by gas prices.” There is not only pent-up demand for these big cars; they are part of the American dream. They symbolize power and wealth. $5.00 gas may end the party for these cars, but don’t bet on it.

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