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 |  Nov 24 2009, 1:33 PM

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Toyota was all ready to create a little positive marketing for itself by entering its new 2010 4Runner in the grueling Baja 1000 race. The only problem is, Hummer also signed up and decided to spoil all the fun.

Both the 4Runner, piloted by a host of drivers, including Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, a 22-time Baja winner and member of the Off-Road Motorsorts Hall of Fame; and the Hummer H3 driven by 20-time winner Rod Hall (and others), were entered in the Stock Mini class, meaning that they received only minor modifications.

The Hummer proved victorious, but it was close with the H3 only overtaking the 4Runner in the last 30 miles of the 673-mile race. The win now gives Rod Hall a total of 21 class victories, and solidifies Hall’s claim to being the only driver to have competed in all 42 Baja 1000 races.

“These production trucks are the right size. They’re fun, take a lot of abuse and just keep running and running,” said Rod Hall. “You’d be surprised at how much abuse the H3 can take.”

For the record, there were only three vehicles entered in the Stock Mini class, however, just finishing the race is its own little victory, as this year only 185 of 328 total vehicles (just 56.4 percent) of the vehicles entered made it to he checkered flag.

The Hummer H3 Alpha driven by Chad Hall of Rod Hall Racing also managed a victory in the Stock Full Class.

“Off-road motorsports is an integral part of Hummer’s vehicle development process and a cornerstone of the brand’s DNA,” said Hummer CEO James Taylor. “We’re extremely proud of the team’s resilience to earn these stock class victories and congratulate the Rod Hall Racing program on another successful Baja 1000. Race after race, they continue to prove the rugged nature of Hummer vehicles.”

The overall Baja 1000 winners were Andy and Scott McMillin, who covered all 673 miles in just 14-hours, 19-minutes and 50-seconds in their Trophy Truck Class Chevy Silverado.

[Source: SCORE and Hummer]

 |  Nov 11 2009, 10:21 AM

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Toyota has announced that the all-new fifth-generation 2010 4Runner will compete in the grueling off-road Baja 1000 race. The truck will compete in the “Stock mini” class, meaning that it will receive minor modifications in order to compete.

Toyota isn’t fooling around either and has hired Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, a 22-time Baa winner and member of the Off-Road Motorsorts Hall of Fame, to pilot the truck, along with along list of other qualified drivers. The race covers 672 miles and takes approximately 31 hours to complete.

“Historically, only half of the racers finish this incredible test of man and machine, but we’re confident the Fifth Generation 4Runner will be a major contender in the stock mini class and can handle the grueling course”, said Les Unger, Toyota’s national motorsports manager.

The 42nd Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 kicks off November 20-21, in Ensenada, Mexico.

Official release after the jump:

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 |  Sep 25 2009, 8:33 AM

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Toyota chose the Texas State Fair and its truck friendly audience as the venue to debut its latest 4Runner model. For 2010 this body-on-frame SUV is both wider and longer, further differentiating it from the Highlander crossover.

Toyota has opted to drop the V8 engine for the new model, instead offering a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower and 278- ft-lbs of torque. That’s a total of 36 more horsepower than the old V6 engine, and 10 more ponies than the old V8. Fuel economy has been improved, but isn’t exactly stellar, with 17/23 mpg (city/highway) for the 4×2 and 17/22 mpg for the 4×4 model. The tow rating for V6 models is 5,000 lbs.

Also new for 2010 is the addition of an entry level 2.7-liter four cylinder engine with 157-hp and 178 ft-lbs of torque. The four-banger is only available on the 4×2 SR5 model and, oddly, doesn’t offer much improvement in fuel-economy with a rating of just 18/23 mpg.

Three model choices will be offered, including the SR5 model, an on-road-friendly Limited model with added creature comforts and 20-inch wheels and a Trail grade model that offers true off-road capability with higher approach and departure angles, more ground clearance and a standard locking rear differential.

Additional off-road features include Toyota’s A-TRAC system on all 4×4 models, that can send power to any one wheel. Trail grade models get the CRAWL feature with five low-speed settings for different terrain. A Multi-Terrain Select system also lets the driver choose how much wheel slip is needed. All 4×4 models get Downhill Assist control, while all V6 models get Hill-start Assist Control.

The market for real SUVs like the 4Runner has all but dried up in North America as consumers switch to car based crossovers. That being said, Toyota seems to be taking the right approach by catering more to the off-road crowd than to soccer moms who are more likely to find themselves in a Venza.

GALLERY: 2010 Toyota 4Runner

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Sep 11 2009, 10:18 AM

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Toyota had set September 24th as the date to officially unveil the 2010 4Runner at the Texas State Fair, but thanks to an insider over at Toyota-4Runner.org, we have these leaked images.

As a true off-road capable SUV with a body on frame construction, the 2010 4Runner looks the part, with plenty of hard lines and A big square front end, helping to differentiate if from the more car-like Highlander.

Toyota is expected to drop the optional V8 engine for 2010 and offer the 4Runner with either a 161-hp four-cylinder or a 268-h V6 engine. Despite the lack of a V8, Toyota has promised the 2010 model will be more capable than in the past, while offering more comfort.

GALLERY: 2010 Toyota 4Runner

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[Source: Toyota-4Runner.org via Autoblog]

 |  Aug 27 2009, 4:38 PM

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Toyota has announced that the State Fair of Texas will play host to the debut of the all-new 2010 4Runner.

The new model promises to be “more rugged than ever,” which will help Toyota set the off-road-capable SUV apart from on-road machines like the Highlander. Once a staple of the Toyota lineup, car-based crossovers have eclipsed models like the 4Runner in the marketplace. Still, off-road capable trucks like the 4Runner play an important part in Toyota’s lineup, especially in parts of the world where a 4WD badge is a way of life.

Toyota has also promised the new 2010 model will be more spacious and more comfortable.

To date, Toyota has sold 1.8 million 4Runner models since the SUV was first introduced in 1984. And 70 percent of those vehicles are still on the road.

Toyota will unveil the new 201o 4Runner on September 24th.

Official release:

Continue Reading…