Ask Nathan: A Peugeot Pickup for the USA, Toyota KDSS Issues and VW Tiguan Off-Road?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Do you think we will have a Peugeot pickup truck? 
  • Questions about the Toyota KDSS suspension system?
  • Why didn’t you take the Tiguan up GMH stage 3? 

The first question comes from a fan wants to know if we will see a Peugeot pickup truck here IF the FCA merger is finalized. 

This is the Peugeot Landtrek pickup. It’s comparatively inexpensive and is assembled in China. Some say, it’s impressive. (Image: PSA)

Q:  Nathan, Andre and crew! If the FCA merger is fully approved, do you think we’ll see a Peugeot pickup truck in the United States? 

Here’s the thing about that idea before people scream that the Peugeot pickup is a cheap Chinese truck. It’s based on the Changan Kaicheng F70 and its been out for a little while. My brother, who still lives in South Africa drives an earlier example and he loves it.

Regardless of what people think of China, I know that some of their modern trucks are tough and simple and well made. Our cousin has almost 200,000 kilometers on his Great Wall with no problems other than tires. Solid truck, just like the F70! Other countries laud their rugged inexpensive nature without precocious. 

I remember Nathan went to China several times and even reported on some of what he saw and sampled. It was through unbiased eyes and I like that. So do you think that if Fiat and Peugeot get together, we will see a Peugeot pickup come to the USA? Maybe as a Ram Dakota? 


Jimmy C


A: Hi Jimmy

You’re right, I have seen some well put together vehicles coming out of China – some on American streets. I’ve driven a few in China as well. They have improved greatly over a few years. 

A few things here: Yes, “IF” Peugeot manages to make the merger with FCA work, we should see some of their products here. Even PSA (Peugeot Société Anonyme) said they want to bring products back to the United States. They have had a keen interest in coming stateside for some time. 

One of many things this partnership should provide is greater EV tech for FCA and serious truck and performance tech for Peugeot. There is serious potential across the board. 

Could this truck hide the backbone for the upcoming Ram Dakota? (Image: PSA)

Possible Ram Dakota? 

Now, as for importing a truck from France or China – I doubt it will happen that way. Chicken/import taxation and political issues would make for a pricey proposition – at best. It would be much more cost effective to build it in North America. 

That could lead to a new Ram Dakota… maybe. 

If that happens, it’s entirely possible that they would look at the platform and possibly the interior setup as prime for our market. The engines, which consist of a small displacement diesel and four-banger gas engine, would most likely not meet U.S. EPA standards. 

Fortunately, FCA builds a powerful, turbocharged I-4 used in the Jeep Wrangler and the solid Pentastar V6. The turbo produces 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The V6 makes 285 hp and 260 lb-ft. Those are respectable numbers for a midsize pickup. Both work well with an eight-speed automatic and the V6 has a slick 6-speed option as well. 

That is a slick looking interior. (Image: PSA)

I like the Peugeot pickup truck setup, and totally dig the interior. It’s like a much nicer Chevrolet Colorado. If they can undercut the competition with pricing, packaging and introduce a compelling design, it might not be that far fetched.

I suspect we will know a lot more in a few months.  

— N

The next question comes from a fan who is considering a Toyota 4Runner or a Lexus GX460, but is unsure about the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) option.  

2013 Toyota Prado KDSS suspension. (Image: Toyota)

Q: Hi Andre / Nathan, Hope you and everyone at TFL is safe and well. I’m an avid viewer / follower of your news, views, reviews etc.

I’m looking to buy either a 4Runner Off Road Premium (OR) a Lexus GX460. However, I’m seeing several posts related to either a perceived or actual lean to the passenger side as a result of KDSS system.
My questions are all related to KDSS and they are: 
  • How big of an issue is the KDSS lean in these vehicles? 
  • Would you recommend getting KDSS –  lean or no lean? 
  • How much of an on-road or off-road capability loss will it be to buy one of these vehicles without KDSS? 
Greatly appreciate any advice you can provide.
P.S: My on-road and off-road use is just about equal. My off-roading level ranges between beginner and intermediate trails (never exceeds Intermediate trails)

A: Hi Robbie! 

Thanks for the great email! 

Let’s get right to your questions: 

How big of an issue is the KDSS lean in these vehicles? 

If you go online and poke around, you’ll see a few reports here and there about the lean issue. As far as I can tell, there have been no recent recalls for Toyota/Lexus’ KDSS. In some cases, the leaning issue resolves itself, it’s also fairly easy to mend – in most cases. 

The KDSS setup is hydraulic and, simply put, it can become a bit unbalanced. By elevating one side and bleeding the system, many people were able to correct the lean issue on their own. 

KDSS has been around since 2004 (debuting on the Lexus  GX) and has been updated and perfected since. 

Would you recommend getting KDSS –  lean or no lean? 

It depends on two things: are you okay with spending $1,000 – $1,630 (4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium options) for the system? Will you truly notice the difference off-road? 

I find the system to be seamless and extremely capable, but for my own personal needs, it’s not that necessary. The regular suspension setup on the 4Runner TRD Off-Road I recently sampled was excellent. 

Still, I did notice  body roll on tight urban streets. Even sweeping corners made it wallow a bit. While I didn’t mind it, some will. I think KDSS would address that issue. 

I suspect that the Lexus GX 460 would benefit even more with the KDSS setup – especially on the road. 

2015 toyota 4runner trd pro off-road
Image (TFLcar)

How much of an onroad or offroad capability loss will it be to buy one of these vehicles without KDSS? 

I think the biggest issue is on the road. Toyota trucks that come with an off-road suspension (TRD Off-Road and whatnot) are already excellent in the rough. They tend to be soft on asphalt. I think that’s the whole point of the KDSS for many. It makes for a much better street vehicle without sacrificing off-road ability. 

I hope that helped! 

— N

The last question comes from a fan who wants to know why I took the VW Atlas up a trail, but opted not to take the VW Tiguan up the same trail. The Tiguan he refers to is below. 

Q: Hi All. 

Firstly, let me say I love your YouTube videos. They are “natural”, fun, well filmed and informative… well done!
I enjoy off-roading and have owned and used many off-road vehicles including the Suzuki Jimmy (best little off-road vehicle ever). 
I’m originally from South Africa and am currently working in the USA. 
I have leased a 2019 VW Tiguan (without credit this was all I was able to accomplish and the lease was within my budget) with 4 motion and was interested in it’s off-road ability as it seemed it would almost  compare to the Freelander 2 in capabilities (albeit the Freelander 2 was supposed to be used for light off- roading).
I watched all your videos on the new Tiguan but noticed something interesting… for some reason TFL tested the Tiguan up Gold Mine Hill but did not attempt stage 3 as Nathan said he was unwilling to take it up stage 3. 
However Nathan did take the VW Atlas up stage 3. The reason I find this interesting is that the off-road specifications (approach, departure, breakover) on the Tiguan seem better than the Atlas yet the Atlas was successful up stage 3. The only spec that is better on the Atlas is the ground clearance but not by a significant amount (7.9 to 8.0 inches respectively.)
So why am I commenting on this? Simply because I would like to see if the VW Tiguan would make it up stage 3. 
Would you be able to test this (or encourage owners who are willing….I know longshot right? ????) at some point in the future as this would prove its ability as a fairly capable off-roading vehicle and even perhaps place it close in capability (with some small modifications) to the new Jeep Compass Trailhawk. 
I’m hoping to purchase this vehicle in the future for some off-roading(not boulder conquering courses) and would love to see if the VW Tiguan could handle Gold Mine Hill stage 3. 
If the Tiguan could make stage 3 this would be a great option as it is very comfortable on road and for every day use as well. Plus it has enough space for some longer trips. I recently used the VW from Michigan to Florida and back and also got respectable fuel consumption. The best I got was 35mpg highway which I thought was decent. 
Anyways, I thought I would request that. Thanks again for a great show keep it up Looking forward to the next review. 
Many thanks!
— Sheldon 
Volkswagen March 2018 Sales
[Photo: Volkswagen]

A: Thanks for the email Sheldon! 

First, watch this video below. Go to about 5:15, if you want the basic and simple explanation for the Atlas. 

Yep – it’s about those tires. Tires make ALL the difference, especially off-road. We noticed that the Bridgestones on the Tiguan were slippery simply heading up to the GMH area. Remember: we drive several miles on dirt roads to get to our shooting locations, including the old Gold Mine Hill. 

Those tires were fine on the road, but there was poor traction in dirt. The Continental tires on the Atlas were beefier, far more aggressive in the rough and had more meat on them. 

I have no doubt the Tiguan would make the GMH third stage, but I was worried about losing traction and scraping the underside. We have to return these vehicles back to the automaker. Preferably, in one piece.

Even a few millimeters makes a difference when sliding sideways. Whenever I feel that’s a real possibility, I try to err on the side of caution. This was a wise decision as other vehicles have acquired their fair share of scrapes, including an older model Tiguan.  

For a small crossover, I think the Volkswagen Tiguan is excellent. I hope you enjoy your new ride! 



Speaking of small vehicles (and chunky apes who drive them)…