Here’s proof that your cross­over doesn’t have to be so bland


Here’s proof that your cross­over doesn’t have to be so bland

The cross­over is a unique plat­form that’s grown in leaps and bounds, and it also hap­pens to trail the truck seg­ment when it comes to over­all ve­hi­cle sales. Unof­fi­cially de­fined as a pas­sen­ger they car look sport­ing sim­i­lar to SUV their fea­tures, larger coun­ter­parts but drive like cars. And while they may not have full off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, they can still han­dle a de­cent trek, all the while of­fer­ing good gas mileage and leav­ing less of a foot­print. per­fect In short, ve­hi­cles crossovers for “soft-road­ing.” are the They’ll han­dle fire trails and medi­um­sized un­du­la­tions and they’re the per­fect plat­form for some­one who treads lightly. To be hon­est, it doesn’t take a rocket sci­en­tist to fig­ure out that it won’t be rock crawl­ing or jump­ing dunes, but when it comes to ad­ven­tur­ists look­ing to ex­plore some light to medium trails you just can’t beat ’em for over­all value. And while the cur­rent mar­ket seg­ment for cross­over cus­tomiza­tion seems to fa­vor Subaru own­ers, in spe­cific the Out­back and Crosstrek, RAV4 own­ers are on the come up, and it’s with good rea­son. Af­ter cel­e­brat­ing 11 con­sec­u­tive best-ever monthly sales, the RAV4 is a promis­ing con­tender. In fact, the sales of the RAV4 have been so strong (close to 400,000 units in 2017) that for the first time ever the RAV4 may beat the Camry as the best-sell­ing car in Amer­ica. That said, the RAV4 has be­come such com­mon sight that some are look­ing to push the bound­aries of not only their ex­plo­rations but their per­son­al­iza­tion ef­forts as well. And while cus­tomiza­tion for 4Run­ners, Ta­co­mas, and Tun­dras dom­i­nate the Toy­ota scene, the cus­tomiza­tion of their smaller RAV4 coun­ter­parts may not take it over, but it’s def­i­nitely pick­ing up pace. To help push the move­ment, Ryan Millen and Toy­ota teamed up to cre­ate a rally adap­ta­tion of the RAV4 and have since sparked a rise in those look­ing to do the same—in­clud­ing Toy­ota, whose in­tro­duc­tion of their “Ad­ven­ture” trim level was a par­tial an­swer to that, and a pack­age that re­sulted in an even big­ger fend­er­well gap due to in­creased ground clear­ance, go­ing from 6.1 to 6.5 inches. But do­ing so with 18-inch rims fit­ted with 55-se­ries tires leaves a fend­er­well gap that’s even more trou­bling than the ones found on the base model.

But re­gard­less of whether you have the “Ad­ven­ture” pack­age or the base plat­form, the build we’re fea­tur­ing may of­fer a glim­mer of hope or in­spi­ra­tion for your next pro­ject. In light of that, it’s im­por­tant to men­tion that many deal­er­ships are start­ing to of­fer their own “off-road­ing” pack­ages, com­plete with a wheel and tire pack­age, the manda­tory roof rack, and a few other bells and whis­tles, but it all comes with a pre­mium—a pre­mium that if spent well could eas­ily get you bet­ter qual­ity parts for the same money. The fea­ture ve­hi­cle here is a prime ex­am­ple of what the right wheel and tire pack­age can of­fer. Owned by a re­tired in­te­rior de­signer, the owner has al­ways had a fas­ci­na­tion with SUVS. Af­ter own­ing mod­ded 4Run­ners and a few Ta­coma trucks,

one could only imag­ine why one would down­size, and the an­swer is sim­ple: ef­fi­ciency. Let’s face it, the RAV4 is eas­ier to nav­i­gate, bet­ter on gas, and has just the right amount of ground clear­ance to suit most peo­ple’s needs. And since the ve­hi­cle is pri­mar­ily used as a city (or casino) dwelling ma­chine, the owner also uses it to travel fire trails and dirt roads on her prop­erty. In stock for­ma­tion, the RAV was al­ready well suited to travel light trails but she wanted to add some flair and give it a per­sonal touch that would make it stand apart. The in­tense wheel gap found on the XLE model of the RAV needed to be oc­cu­pied so The 3 Ami­gos (yes that’s re­ally the name of the shop) in El Monte, Cal­i­for­nia, mas­saged a set of Falken Wild­peak tires onto a set of rose gold/bronze fin­ished, 17x8 Fif­teen52 Tur­bo­macs—a wheel that by now most of you are fa­mil­iar with. Tur­bo­macs gained crit­i­cal ac­claim af­ter ap­pear­ing on Ken Block’s Gymkhana video back in 2008. Since then the se­ries has con­tin­ued to rat­tle the cages of au­to­mo­tive en­thu­si­asts and the cor­ner­stone of all of Block’s ve­hi­cles re­mains in the hands of the Fif­teen52 crew. To help keep the ve­hi­cle planted (and look­ing ag­gres­sive) is a set of 245/65-17 Falken Wild­peak A/T3W tires fea­tur­ing Falken’s patented 3-D Canyon Sipes and their new pro­pri­etary lower side­wall. Though road noise was slightly el­e­vated, it was to be ex­pected and eas­ily over­shad­owed by ben­e­fits in terms of func­tion and fash­ion. With ex­cel­lent all-weather ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the Falken tires sport an op­ti­mized for se­vere thread snow con­di­tion, pat­tern de­signed and when it comes to tread­wear, let’s just say they’ve got the deep­est tread in their cat­e­gory, in turn pro­vid­ing the long­est-last­ing wear as well. The fi­nal look of this RAV4 is one that trans­forms a once-com­mon gro­cery get­ter into one that com­mands but never de­mands re­spect. Again, wheel and tire com­bos go a long way if done taste­fully and this build serves as a great re­minder. Along the way some may be con­cerned about the re­duc­tion of gas mileage (be­cause of the larger wheels) but it hardly made a dent, ac­cord­ing to the owner. Then again, van­ity comes with a price, and a small loss in mpg is def­i­nitely a small price to pay for the ben­e­fits of hav­ing a RAV4 that looks this good.

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