The annual SEMA Show kicked off on Tuesday in Las Vegas. For a few days, the auto industry’s focus drifts away from reality and into a fantasy world of big, wild, extreme builds of all shapes and colors. Some interesting themes flow through this year’s show, including unlikely off-road vehicles, re-engined classics and potential world record breakers.
Off-Road & Off-Grid
While there were plenty of burly trucks and 4x4s to be found at SEMA 2014, this year’s show has kicked it up a notch. Major manufacturers like Kia, Toyota and Hyundai have turned unassuming commuter vehicles into full-blown earth-roaming machines, and the show is hosting one of the world’s biggest, nastiest expedition vehicles in the KiraVan (pictured below).
That beastly, high-tech Unimog command center isn’t something that many a driver would want to pilot over the gnarly stuff, but an everyday minivan with a little muscle? That’s a potential vehicle for the everyman adventurer. As we previewed back in June, Toyota has taken the minivan to the extreme, sliding a Tacoma 4×4 truck frame below the Sienna’s family-hauling body and calling it the Ultimate Utility Vehicle.
The UUV was designed to serve as command center for the 16,500-mile (26,550-km) North American leg of Toyota’s Ever-Better Expedition, allowing Toyota engineers to monitor and analyze the other vehicles on the expedition and send data back to HQ. It therefore includes a serious electronics kit with 60-in Sony LED TV, mobile satellite TV receiver, mobile Internet and integrated Wi-Fi, a 2,500-watt JBL audio system, and a Flir night vision camera with HD recording. We plan to look at the UUV in a little more detail within the next few days, but we had to mention it here as one of the coolest off-road designs of the show.
While the UUV brings a roadgoing vehicle off-road, the Tundrasine pulls a rugged truck back onto the asphalt. Toyota has stretched the 1794 Edition 4×4 CrewMax 5.7L V8 Tundra pickup by just over 90 inches (229 cm), painted it in the very limousine-like shade of Midnight Black Metallic and kept the pickup bed in back for good measure. The brown-leather interior is inspired by private luxury jets.