Specs For Heavy-Duty '03 Rams Announced
Some information has surfaced about the upcoming Ram 2500/3500 trucks. You can add it to the report we gave you in February ("Dodge Heavy-Duty Axles," Drivelines). To bring you up to date, Dodge's big guns will be restyled for 2003 to look like their 11/42-ton stablemates, but the 4x4 models won't be saddled with IFS as their light-duty siblings were. Instead, they'll be fitted with a revised version of the five-link, coil-spring, live-axle front suspension found on the current trucks. The rear suspension will be revamped too, with longer leaf springs. And for the first time you'll be able to order a Ram 3500 with single rear wheels.
Also new in the Ram's chassis is a choice of transfer cases. The electric-shift NV273 torque-splitter will be offered in SLT Plus models. The ST and SLT trucks will retain the NV271 manual box. Both have 2.72 low-range ratios.
There are more new choices under the hood. The fabled Hemi name is back on a 5.7L, 345hp V-8 that replaces the 5.9L Magnum. The original Hemis from the '50s and '60s were legendary; the name comes for their hemispherical combustion chambers. These motors could be built to make so much power that most of the mills in professional Top Fuel drag racers (putting out 5,000 hp, give or take a few) are still based on the Hemi architecture.
If the current Hemi's 365 lb-ft of peak torque isn't enough for your hauling needs, you can still opt for the 8.0L V-10 with its 455 lb-ft, or go with the new High Output version of the Cummins inline-six turbodiesel, which pumps out 555 lb-ft at only 1,400 rpm.
Want more? We'll bring it to you when we get our hands on these babies. Hey, the 1500 may be the mayor of Truckville, but it looks like these trucks will truly rule.
New Kia SUVThe cute/ute Sportage is getting a stablemate. Kia announced it will add the five-passenger Sorento SUV to its lineup for 2003.
Kia calls the Sorento an "authentic SUV" (as opposed to...?) with features like a 3.5L, 192hp V-6, an electronic four-speed automatic transmission, a choice of two 4WD systems, four-wheel disc brakes, 16-inch wheels, and an Eaton limited slip in the rear diff. The Sorento is built on a traditional ladder frame with a double-wishbone front suspension and a multilink rear. With a wheelbase of 106.7 inches and a track width of 62.2 inches, it's a bit larger than Toyota's RAV4 but smaller than Ford's Explorer.
The Sorento will be available in two trim levels-LX and EX-both of which are loaded with features. The base LX has power windows and door locks, air conditioning, and a CD stereo. Go with the full-boat EX luxury package and you'll get features like a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, automatic climate control, leather interior trim, and Torque-on-Demand 4WD.
Prices have not been released as of press time, but Kia execs promised that the Sorento "will set a new standard for value in the compact SUV segment." It will also benefit from a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, a 5-year or 60,000-mile basic warranty, and a 5-year unlimited-mileage roadside assistance program.
Hummer H2 NewsTruck journalists are finally getting a chance to wring out the new Hummer H2, and from what we can see in these photos, they aren't pussyfooting around. Figuring that the Rubicon Trail is pretty much owned by Jeep, Hummer execs took the media to Moab and also to AM General's Proving Grounds in South Bend, Indiana, for a first-hand experience of the H2's off-road prowess. Yes, that's Moab's Golden Crack passing under the truck, and we gave you the hot smoke and dope last month ("The New Hummer").
Now to the silly stuff. Apparently fans of the new Hummer are so eager to get their hands on it that they're bidding for spots on dealership waiting lists. Online auction site eBay reports bids in the $5,000-$10,000 range-just to be put nearer to the front of the waiting list so the bidder can then pay over $50,000, plus taxes, to be the first guy on his block with an H2.