In Previous Issues We've Revealed information about several new-for-'09 trucks, including the Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150, and Hummer H3T. Here's more new-truck news.
Nissan: Revised Frontier, XterraTwo of Nissan's trucks get facelifts for '09, as both the Frontier midsize pickup and Xterra SUV receive new front fascia and grilles as well as new wheel designs. The Pro-4X off-road package-Bilstein shocks, electric rear locker, additional skidplates, unique 16-inch wheels, and BFGoodrich P265/75R16 Rugged Trail tires-will now be available on Frontiers as well as their big-brother Titans.
GM's two-mode gas/electric hybrid drive system arrives in the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The electric-motor-backed 6.0L V-8 will be available in crew-cab/short-box models in either 2WD or 4WD (not AWD, but real, low-range-equipped 4WD). The two-mode system gives the 4x4 pickup an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city/20 mpg highway, which is an improvement over the conventional 6.0L's 13/18. The hybrid's working abilities are lower, however: Payload capacity drops from 1,714 pounds for the conventional crew-cab/short box to 1,418, while tow capacity is cut almost in half, from 10,400 pounds to 5,900. No word yet on hybrid pricing.
On the other side of the pickup coin, GM will offer its Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups with a new 5.3L V-8 option. Available on extended- and crew-cab models, the V-8 produces 300 hp, close to a 25 percent increase over the next biggest engine, the 3.7L I-5. Fuel economy ratings are still pending.
Minor exterior changes differentiate '09 Tacomas from previous models: The grille is now argent colored, and LEDs are used in the taillights. Toyota has added Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), and an automatic limited-slip differential as standard equipment on all Tacoma models for '09. Base prices for Tacoma 4x4 models range from $19,130 for the regular cab with a four-cylinder and five-speed manual transmission to $27,075 for the Double-Cab longbed V-6 with a five-speed automatic.
The Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango hybrid SUVs go on sale in August with prices starting at $45,570 for the Aspen and $45,340 for the Durango. These are Chrysler's first entries in the hybrid SUV market and use the same two-mode gas/electric hybrid system found in GM trucks. (The system was developed jointly among several manufacturers.) In these two SUVs the two-mode system backs 5.7L Hemi V-8s, but Chrysler is claiming the same fuel economy benefits as GM: a 40 percent improvement in city economy and a 25 percent improvement in overall mpg. Note, though, that the "4WD" systems in both the hybrids have single-speed transfer cases.
Here's a chance to get your club's activities in our magazine. We're starting a new Drivelines feature called Club Spotlight, a place for news about what 4x4 clubs around the country (and heck, around the world) are doing. If your club recently put on a trail ride, show, parade, OHV area clean-up, you name it, and you're shooting pictures and writing up the event for your club's newsletter, why not send us the story too? We're especially interested in events you're doing for your local community-food or toy drives, raffles, benefit shows, trail cleaning-as we hope those ideas will inspire other clubs to do the same.
Just shoot us an e-mail or letter with a short description of what your club did and where, plus some info about the club itself. If you're sending photos (please!), we need high-resolution digital files (images at least 3x5 inches at 300-dpi resolution) or good-quality color prints. Sorry, prints can't be returned.
You can mail your submissions to Club Spotlight, 4-Wheel & Off-Road Magazine, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or e-mail them to email@example.com. Please put Club Spotlight in the subject line.